Police in northern Greece have intercepted a shipment of cocaine hidden inside containers of bananas imported from Latin America. Two containers were seized at the port of Piraeus, and taken to the port of Thessaloniki, where 100 “bricks” of cocaine – weighing 161kg – were found. The value of the drugs was estimated to be €3.2m. The shipment was discovered during an inquiry Greece launched together with North Macedonia authorities and the US Anti-Drugs Agency.
It followed the confiscation of an earlier 100kg consignment of cocaine also hidden inside banana containers, in a warehouse in Thessaloniki. In that incident, 14 people were arrested. The latest shipment was intended to be distributed across Greece and other European countries.
The organised drug trade is an increasingly profitable and growing transnational crime, which poses severe risks to public health, as well as security. European retail prices for cocaine are the highest in the world, with prices reflecting high levels of risk and demand. Seizures of drugs are therefore critical in disrupting the network of criminals, traffickers, and suppliers.
The interception of the shipment highlights that smuggling routes for the drug trade continue to encompass relatively complex transnational networks. Law enforcement must explore new and wider technological tools and techniques to identify, investigate and prosecute complex international drug trafficking rings. In addition, they should continue to cooperate and share intelligence to counter the networks that make up this pernicious trade.
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