Turkey conducts largest narcotics op in its history: Interior minister
Soylu said 70 million Turkish Liras were seized and a 500-million-lira traffic was halted with the operation against a drug trafficking organization operated internationally, including the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Chile, Ecuador, and Brazil, the minister told reporters.
“It was the largest operation in the history of the republic. The largest operation on drug and crime revenues was done,” he stated.
Operation Swamp was conducted in 11 provinces in Turkey, he said, noting that the criminal organization had two senior leaders.
“One of the group’s top executives is wanted with an [Interpol] red notice and has been sentenced to 26 years in prison in Brazil and the Netherlands,” he said.
About two months ago, a detention was made for this operation, however, the operation was continued without announcing to the public, he stated.
Anti-narcotics teams targeted individuals involved in drug trafficking and other illegal activities in Turkey, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, England, Spain, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, and other countries since the 90s, state-run Anadolu Agency quoted an anonymous security source as saying.
One of the leaders of the organization arrested in Istanbul was earlier jailed for drug trafficking but escaped from a prison in Brazil. He later fled the Netherlands after breaking his electronic handcuffs while under judicial control on drug trafficking and money laundering offenses and then arrived in Turkey.
Authorities issued arrest warrants for 94 suspects in 11 provinces, including Ankara, Antalya, Aydin, Bursa, Diyarbakır, Gaziantep, Istanbul, Kahramanmaraş, Kırşehir, Kilis, and Mersin, the source said.
Officials also seized a number of properties, seven safe deposit boxes, assets and bank accounts of the group’s members and executives, as well as accounts of 16 companies owned by the individuals.
The crime network in question has been linked to over 11 tons of cannabis seized since 1993, two tons and 500 kilograms of base morphine and 140 kilograms of heroin, over 18 tons of cocaine seized in 2012, along with 20 tons of cannabis seized in a ship in 2016.
Efforts are underway to arrest the remaining suspects, the source said.