Nine sent to court in Turkey over Bolivian drug ship

Nine suspects captured onboard Bolivian-flagged ship carrying tonnes of marijuana taken to Turkish court following country’s first narcotics operation in international waters since 1990s

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

A Turkish Coast Guard ship

Nine suspects, who have been detained after a Jan. 6 seizure of a vessel carrying tonnes of illegal drugs, appeared in a Turkish court on Saturday.

On Tuesday Turkish security forces launched an anti-drugs operation in international waters off the coast of the Libyan city of Tobruk, 13.6 tonnes of marijuana in powdered form.

The illegal shipment had reportedly been on the way to European countries, Turkish police said.

A Bolivian-flagged cargo vessel, the Joudi, docked on Thursday in a Turkish port, the military confirmed on Friday.

Four prosecutors took testimony from the nine arrested crewmembers – all Syrian nationals – police said.

Turkish coast guards carried out the mission after getting special permission from the Turkish Foreign Ministry in cooperation with the Bolivian government according to UN treaties on drugs trafficking.

The operation, codenamed "Albatross," was reportedly carried out with the support of narcotics and special operations teams from the Turkish police.

Turkey’s Interior Ministry previously said that it was the country’s first security operation in international waters since 1990s.

Ministry officials also disclosed that the 13 tonnes of marijuana was one of the biggest amounts of illegal narcotics seized in a single operation.

TRTWorld, AA