At least 74 suspects were arrested and millions of dollars seized in the largest anti-narcotics operation in Turkey’s history, the Interior Ministry said on Tuesday.
The operation, titled Swamp, was conducted in collaboration with nine countries and led to the arrest of 74 suspects and the seizure of 70 million Turkish liras (over $10 million), while 281 properties were seized as part of the operation, the ministry said in a statement.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu told reporters in the capital Ankara that the crime group has two kingpins, with one of them wanted with an Interpol red notice, handed down a 26-year prison term in Brazil and the Netherlands.
Anti-narcotics teams targeted individuals involved in drug trafficking and other illegal activities in Turkey, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, England, Spain, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, and other countries since the 90s, according to a security source, who requested anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
Prosecutors in the capital Ankara issued arrest warrants for 94 suspects in 11 provinces, including Ankara, Antalya, Aydin, Bursa, Diyarbakir, Gaziantep, Istanbul, Kahramanmaras, Kirsehir, Kilis, and Mersin.
Officials also seized a number of properties, seven safe deposit boxes, assets, and bank accounts of the group’s members and executives, as well as accounts of 16 companies owned by the individuals.
Efforts are underway to arrest the remaining suspects, the source said.
*Writing by Havva Kara Aydin and Erdogan Cagatay Zontur