Police bust woman-led drug gang in Istanbul
Police teams busted a drug gang in Istanbul’s Sarıyer district after seven months of surveillance, apprehending the ring’s female leader and 15 suspects, the Sabah newspaper paper reported on Feb. 22.
Police squads launched an operation in the early hours of Feb. 19 in Sarıyer’s Çayırbaşı neighborhood, targeting a site where the synthetic drug “bonzai” is produced and traded.
In the crackdown, police seized four guns, 12.5 kilograms of bonzai, and a large amount of chemicals used for making bonzai.
It is also reported that the gang’s leader is registered at Turkey’s social security institution as a worker at a hairdresser, and paid for her social security premiums with the money she made from drug dealing.
The woman had been taken into custody in April 2017 along with 28 other suspects and tried for “establishing a criminal organization for drug trade.” All suspects walked free from the trial.
Following the trial, the ringleaders reportedly moved to Istanbul’s Gaziosmanpaşa district to conceal their identities. However, police still suspected that the gang was engaging in drug dealing and started to monitor its activities.
After seven months of surveillance, the police launched a dawn raid to apprehend the gang leaders and other suspects.
The gang allegedly recruited children as young as nine years old to deliver bonzai to drug users, Sabah reported. The gang initially handed out free bonzai to children and then used the children as deliverers after they became addicted.
Police are also investigating whether there is any connection between four murders committed in the Sarıyer district in recent years and the drug gang.