Spain busts Dutch-Turkish gang smuggling 3 tons of cocaine

New Delhi: Spanish police on October 17, detained a Dutch gang of cocaine smugglers, mostly of Turkish descent, as they were smuggling cocaine from Latin American countries to Europe by sailboats.

Spanish police carried out an operation on the sailboat ‘Goldwasser’ off the coast of the Costa del Sol. The police initially found 2.5 tons of cocaine on the sailboat, but after the boat was towed to Vigo in northwestern Spain, a further 500 kg of cocaine were found. The seized three tons of cocaine makes the operation one of the largest drug busts for the Spanish police. The police also conducted simultaneous operations in the gang members’ houses, where they seized weapons and approximately 35,000 euros in cash.

As part of the operation, at least five people have been detained, including the gang’s 60-year-old leader. The Dutch citizens were of Turkish descent and that among the gang members is also a Swede as well as US citizens and Latin Americans.

Turkey has ranked 12th in the Global Organised Crime Index 2021, which was published on September 28, 2021 by the Global Initiative Against Organised Crime. Turkey’s criminality score was 6.89 out of 10, higher than any other country in Europe as well as in Asia, except for Iran (7.10), Afghanistan (7.08) and Iraq (7.05).

The index examines crime in countries and regions in the categories of “criminality”, “criminal market”, “criminal actors” and “resilience” and their sub-categories.

With 6.4 points, Turkey ranks 13th worldwide in the criminal market category. As for sub-categories, it scored 7.0 in human trafficking, 9.0 in human smuggling, 4.0 in flora crimes and 3.0 in fauna crimes.

Turkey tops the human smuggling ranking while sharing the first place with Democratic Congo and Iraq in the arms trafficking ranking.

In the criminal actors index, Turkey scored 7.38 and ranks 12th. It scored 8.0 in the sub-category of “mafia-style groups”, 7.5 in “criminal networks”, 9.0 in “state-embedded criminal actors” and 5.0 in “foreign actors”.

In the state-embedded actors category, Turkey is second only to Syria, which scored 10 out of 10. Democratic Congo, South Sudan and Afghanistan also scored 9.0 in this category.

Turkey, which is among the 57 countries in the “high crime rate-low resistance” category in the report, ranked 151st among 193 UN member countries in the resilience index. Turkey’s average resilience score is 3.54, and its scores in sub-categories are 6.5 in territorial integrity, 2.0 in anti-money laundering systems, 4.0 in economic regulation capacity, 4.0 in victim and witness support, 3.5 in crime prevention and 3.5 in non-state actors against crime.

Turkey is becoming a hub for narcotics smuggling. The preparations for the current Spanish police operation dubbed “Midas-Ballestrinque” goes back to 2019, when the Spanish police conducted intelligence work to determine the people suspected of transporting cocaine by sea. Afterwards, the police concentrated their works on boats sailing between Costa del Sol and Gibraltar.

Later, the Spanish authorities determined that the drug gang purchased the ‘Goldwasser’ sailboat. Turkey has developed a well-established crime network with the support of the present government. The mafia-government nexus has also been brought to light by mafia don Sedat Peker who fell from government patronage. His revelation revealed that the government is involved in arms smuggling, human trafficking and now, drug trafficking.

(IANS)

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