Panama authorities confiscate huge cocaine shipment headed to Turkey

Panamanian authorities have seized a container hiding 616 packs of cocaine on their way from Ecuador to a port in Turkey’s southern Mersin provice, the Central American country’s National Aeronaval Service (SENAN) announced on Thursday.

The cocaine was hidden in cases of bananas, according to SENAN.

The illicit cargo was discovered on Wednesday night, SENAN Commissioner Edson Castillo told Spanish news wire EFE, as a result of “follow-up and intelligence work”.

The packs of cocaine were placed separately, “properly packed inside cases of bananas”, Panamanian prosecutor for drugs Ricardo de la Torre, told EFE.

In June last year, Colombian authorities had seized 4.9 tons of cocaine in the seaport city of Buenaventura, destined for Turkey again. The drugs that were seized in the police operation were worth some $265 million, according to Colombian Minister of Defence Carlos Holmes Trujillo.

Turkish mafia boss Sedat Peker, who left the country last year to avoid arrest, insinuated that the government loyalist clique of Pelicanists and former minister Mehmet Ağar were involved with the trafficking of thedrugs confiscated in Colombia.

In a video he published earlier in the week, Peker said, “The head of our deep state, Mr Mehmet Ağar, apparently doesn’t know where to send the narcotics police,” referring to a raid conducted on his property earlier. “The Pelicanists - they know what they’re doing, they do the coordination for all this on television broadcasts.”

“I will tell you where the 5-10 tons of drugs are actually held,” Peker said. “Everybody knows where the drugs are. The important thing is to go confiscate them.”

“Four tons 900 kilos of cocaine - no operation in Turkey for the receiving end. Not on a single person,” Peker said.

There has been no publicly available investigation on the thwarted drug shipment in the country.

The group referred to as Pelicanists, named after the 1992 thriller the Pelican Brief, is a network of media personalities focused mainly on slandering opponents of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

The secretive group is believed to be led by Erdoğan’s son-in-law and former finance minister Berat Albayrak and his brother Serhat Albayrak, who heads Turkuvaz Media Group, one of the largest media conglomerates in the country.

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