Turkey seizes two tonnes of marijuana at northwest border crossing

Turkish officials seized two tonnes of marijuana at a border crossing with Bulgaria, Turkey’s trade minister said on Wednesday, adding that it is so far the biggest seizure of the drug at country’s border gates. 

Officials found 213 packets of cannabis stashed in a lorry that was travelling from Italy to Georgia, state-run Anadolu news agency quoted Minister Ruhsar Pekcan as saying. 

The seized marijuana has a street value of 124 million lira ($20.4 million), Anadolu said. 

Turkish officials have seized significant amounts of cannabis at northwestern border gates recently, indicating an increase in drugs brought to Turkey from western Europe.

Some 306 kilograms of marijuana was also found on Wednesday in a concealed compartment of a trailer at the Ipsala land crossing from Greece, 140 km south of Kapıkule. That haul is believed to have a street value of 18 million lira ($3 million), Anadolu said. 

The Kapıkule crossing in the northwestern province of Edirne is a key route used for narcotics trafficking from Asia to Europe. About 80 per cent of the heroin produced in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran is believed to pass through Turkey. 

Since 2015, Turkish authorities have carried out extensive operations in southeast provinces to destroy the cannabis plantations in the region. The shortfall left by the drop in domestic supplies appears to have been picked up by traffickers bringing cannabis from outside the country, The Times said.