March 28, 2023

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Turkey seizes record amount of cocaine from South America

Inside Crime, The National
Photo EFE/ Orlando Barria

A new investigation Inside crime Turkey reveals how it seized record quantities of cocaine South America» to that country in recent years.

For example, in June in the Ecuadorian port of Guayaquil, authorities seized about 850 kilograms of cocaine in a container of bananas destined for Turkey.

According to experts consulted by Inside Crime, the seizures are “only the tip of the criminal iceberg, as Turkish organized crime, which has historically dominated heroin trafficking in Europe, increasingly turns to cocaine to compensate for the decline of opiates.

Inside crime In his research, he analyzed several reasons why Turkey is the new transcontinental route for cocaine.

Interaction with other drugs

“Turkish traffickers dominate the global heroin trade, creating deep networks of corruption in their country and a motley network of contacts in ports, logistics chains and distribution gangs across Europe,” explained Ryan Zingaras, a historian at the Naval Academy’s Graduate School of History. Inside crime.

In the 1980s, according to a press investigation, Turkish smugglers coordinated the so-called “Balkan Route,” a road “from Iran and Afghanistan through Turkish territory to Europe, with several branches through the Balkans.” He details.

By the time Turkish gangs incarcerated in Spain met the first generation of Colombian and Galician cocaine barons, in the 1980s, the Turks already had the connections, infrastructure, experience and political clout to smuggle anything. Journalist Cengiz Erdink is the author of a book about drug trafficking in Turkey.

“It was a relationship based on the exchange of heroin, which at the time was very expensive for cocaine,” Erdink said. Inside crime. “In the 1990s, 25 kilos of cocaine were exchanged for one kilo of heroin,” he added.

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According to the expert, Turkish heroin came to South America, while Colombian cocaine went to Europe.

“It’s unclear how these early Turkish gangsters sold cocaine, but it shouldn’t have been difficult considering the presence of ethnic Turkish gangs in most European cities,” Erdink said.

Read the study Inside crime completeness Here.

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