NEWS IN SHORT

New details on Turkish truck incident

AN INTERNATIONAL crime group based in Slovenia operating in several EU countries, which arranged the transport of acetic anhydride to Turkey at the end of 2010, was planning to use the chemical to produce heroine and then use money from the sale of the drug in Europe to buy weapons that would be sold to the IRA and ETA terrorist organisations, Slovak Police Corps President Jaroslav Spišiak told a press conference on April 27.

AN INTERNATIONAL crime group based in Slovenia operating in several EU countries, which arranged the transport of acetic anhydride to Turkey at the end of 2010, was planning to use the chemical to produce heroine and then use money from the sale of the drug in Europe to buy weapons that would be sold to the IRA and ETA terrorist organisations, Slovak Police Corps President Jaroslav Spišiak told a press conference on April 27.

The story of the Czech truck driver who spent Christmas 2010 in a Turkish prison after he unwittingly became a part of an international anti-drug sting launched on December 10, began when he set off from a warehouse in Dunajská Streda, loaded with what the driver believed were 17 tonnes of disinfectant, but which was actually acetic anhydride, a chemical used to refine morphine into heroin. The driver was arrested upon his arrival at an Istanbul warehouse on December 24 and was only released after several days, once the true circumstances were clarified.

According to Slovakia’s Interior Ministry, the acetic anhydride was stolen by the international gang from a factory in Europe and could have been used to produce some 400 kilograms of heroine, which the gang was planning to sell back to drug users across Europe, including Slovakia. The ministry said 400 kilograms of heroine would constitute around 10 million doses, enough to supply 10,000 drug users for a year. The street price of the final heroine was estimated at about €16.6 million.

Spišiak said the police sting operation was meant to expose the entire operation but it ended prematurely.

“We had the whole criminal gang under watch, but the Turkish part was marred,” Spišiak said, as quoted by the Sme daily. He stated that the operation had to be halted because the life of a man who had organised the whole transport in Slovakia was in danger.

“They were controlling him, saying that if the action was marred or revealed they would kill him,” Spišiak said.

The gangsters holding the man, two Slovenians, were subsequently detained in Slovakia, Spišiak said and Sme reported that another six people were detained in March in Slovakia and three more in Slovenia in April.


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