Turkey, World, Europe

PKK drug smuggling network busted in Belgium

Terror group earns millions of euros from drug smuggling in Europe, according to Belgian media

02.09.2017
PKK drug smuggling network busted in Belgium FILE PHOTO

Ankara

By Hasan Esen

BRUSSELS

A drug smuggling network of the PKK terrorist group in Belgium has been busted in a police raid, according to local media reports on Friday.

Brussels-based Begla news agency said that Belgian police seized 30 kilograms of cocaine, 12 kg of heroin, a large number of ecstacy pills, ten firearms, ten vehicles, and some €800,000 ($941,680) in a raid on a house in Hasselt, Belgium.

Although the agency did not specify when the operation took place, it said the raid was part of an ongoing investigation in an Austrian court.

It said the court had already sentenced four drug smugglers to over 21 years in jail while a fifth suspect was being sought under a European arrest warrant.

Ten more suspects were arrested under similar charges, said the report.

Hasselt regional daily Het Belang van Limburg also confirmed the report, adding that an Austrian court and Belgian police were working together to take down an international drug gang that supplies heroin, cocaine and amphetamines to half of Europe, including Switzerland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Austria.  

In another operation, nine kg of heroin and €75,000 were seized in Austria, it added.   

The Belgian police captured the leader of the gang thanks to the support and information from the Austrian court.  

Profits meant for terrorist group

The illicit profits would have gone to Turkey, presumably to the PKK terrorist group, the report said, citing the court.

The court also indicated that with heroin alone, the PKK earned millions of euros annually.

The drugs entered Europe through the Dutch port of Rotterdam and Belgian port of Antwerp, after which they were shipped to a PKK warehouse in Hasselt.

The PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the EU, and US, has engaged in a decades-long insurgency in southeast Turkey.

Ankara has repeatedly criticized European countries, including Belgium, for not doing enough against the terror group. Turkey has also blasted PKK drug trafficking in Europe and urged action against it.


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