Turkish police seize 220 kilos of cocaine on board ship destined for Europe

An international tip-off and surveillance of suspects led to the discovery of a huge stash of cocaine on board a ship at Mersin Port, in southern Turkey, on Tuesday.

According to local media reports, Turkish customs and police discovered 220 kilos of cocaine hidden among the ship’s declared cargo of A4 paper. The ship had originally set sail from Brazil. Two men have been arrested.

The huge find was the result of a multi-force international investigation that focussed on a suspected narcotics dealer in the Netherlands. Acting on intelligence provided by the Dutch and Spanish authorities, Turkish police became aware that the suspect, named by his initials U.U., was planning to ship drugs to Europe via Mersin.

Tracking U.U.’s Turkish collaborator M.N.Y., Turkish authorities were able to intercept the cocaine shipment and arrest M.N.Y. during the operation.

Police also managed to detain U.U. at nearby Adana Airport, 86 km from Mersin, as he was about to board a flight.

Tuesday’s successful drugs bust in Mersin follows Turkey’s largest ever seizure of cocaine over the summer, when Turkish customs found 540 kilos of the drug hidden inside a shipping container at the Port of İzmit.

Sniffer dogs helped locate the cocaine, contained in 500 small packs that had been placed inside sacks of ferrochrome alloy. The record haul in August was valued at around TL 216 million (around £22 million). The ship carrying the cocaine had also set sail from Brazil.

In June, Turkey carried out a major narcotics operation arresting 67 people. Codenamed Operation Swamp, the swoop targeted a major Turkish criminal gang with international affiliates in Brazil and the Netherlands.