Ton of heroin seized by Turkish police in international waters ‘belonged to Taliban’
AA photoTurkish police have reportedly determined that a ton of drugs seized from a ship in an operation off the Suez Canal belonged to Taliban.
The Turkish authorities on June 2 staged a major anti-drug operation on a Congo-flagged ship called “Commander Tide” and confiscated a total of 1,071 kilograms of heroin, which has the estimated market value of approximately 200 million Turkish Liras.
British and Turkish police launched joint efforts after receiving intelligence that the ship was often used to carry drugs on the South America-Europe route, daily Milliyet reported on June 8.
The Department of Struggle Against Narcotic Crimes, in cooperation with British security officials, started to track the ship over “carrying suspicious cargo.”
Authorities determined that the ship was brought under tracking two years ago for a similar reason, but no drugs on it were found at the time.
After finding out that the ship took from the Mediterranean to reach the Atlantic Ocean over Gibraltar in order to smuggle drugs from Asia in March, the authorities established that the ship had anchored off Pakistan-India territorial waters in order to wait.
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu ordered an operation to be carried out in order not to risk the tracking process after receiving information from security units.
While the ship was waiting off India, a file prepared by the Turkish Interior Ministry was sent to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) by the Foreign and Justice Ministries.
Authorities from the DRC said there was no ship carrying their flag, which was followed by the conclusion of the preparations to launch an operation in international waters by the end of May.
Upon the orders of the Turkish Defense Ministry, the operation was launched with joint efforts of the Naval Forces Command, the Coast Guard Command and the police.
The route of the ship heading to the Suez Canal was brought under satellite surveillance by British security units and the Turkish authorities took action after the ship passed the canal and started heading to the Mediterranean. Nine Turks were detained in the operation.
It was determined that drugs were carried on the ship, which did not approach any port via small boats.
After carrying out investigations on the heroin packages, police concluded that they were from Afghanistan and originated with the Taliban.
According to officials, the operation was supported by two maritime warplanes and helicopters and lasted for 26 minutes.