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At today's press conference at the Customs Office in Maribor, representatives of the Customs Administration of the Republic of Slovenia and the General Police Directorate gave details about the recent seizure of a large quantity of illegal drugs. On 13 November this year customs and police officers found 105 kilograms of heroin in the vehicle of a Turkish lorry driver attempting to enter the country at the Gruškovje border crossing.

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Taking part in the press conference: Slavko Koro┼í, head of the Organised Crime Section at the GPD Criminal Police Directorate, Marjan Fank, head of the Criminal Police Section at the Maribor Police Directorate, Milan Jarnovi─Ź, director of the Maribor Customs Office, and Milan Klep, the officer in charge of the Gru┼íkovje customs post.


As explained by Marjan Fank, the head of the Criminal Police Section at the Maribor Police Directorate, a 58-year-old Turkish citizen driving an articulated lorry arrived at the Gruškovje International Border Crossing from Croatia at 10.00 p.m. on 13 November. When the lorry entered Slovenia, customs officers carried out a customs inspection of the goods in the trailer. During inspection of the cab they found 200 black packets (measuring 18 x 10 x 3 cm) concealed under the lining of the sides of the cab. The packets contained an unidentified brown substance.

Suspecting illegal drugs, they carried out a preliminary test which showed that the packets contained heroin. The gross weight of the seized packets is 105 kg. The wholesale value of the drugs would be 2 million euros, while the retail value would be 10 million euros.

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The customs officers notified the criminal police, who carried out an inspection of the scene and started gathering information. During the course of the investigation they discovered that the drugs had been loaded onto the lorry in Bulgaria and that the destination of the lorry's legitimate cargo was the United Kingdom. According to the information gathered to date, the drugs were to be removed from the vehicle on its way through Germany.

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As a result of the suspicion of the criminal offence of illegal manufacture of and trafficking in illegal drugs, doping substances and preliminary ingredients for the manufacture of illegal drugs under Article 186/I of the Penal Code (KZ-1), the 58-year-old Turkish citizen was arrested the same day and on 14 November 2008 brought before the duty investigating magistrate of Ptuj District Court, who remanded him in custody. In accordance with the Penal Code, the Turkish citizen's tractor unit, which had been used to transport the illegal drugs, was impounded. The above criminal offence carries a term of imprisonment of one to ten years.

Droga02Last year police officers at the Gruškovje IBC seized 16 kg of heroin from a Turkish citizen who had entered Slovenia with a goods vehicle, while customs officers seized 32 kg of heroin from another Turkish citizen in a car (also last year). Today's seizure represents the largest at this border crossing in recent years, following the seizure of 98 kg of heroin in 2005, previously the largest haul.

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Slavko Koroš, head of the Organised Crime Section at the GPD Criminal Police Directorate, described how heroin trafficking is organised.

According to Koroš, most heroin comes from Afghanistan, where its production is controlled by organised crime groups, for the most part in areas with limited government control. An important role in heroin trafficking on route to the European Union is played by Turkish organised crime gangs which operate in the area between the opium-producing countries and the consumer countries in Europe, and which have established important contacts in these countries. Heroin is for the most part still transported along various branches of the Balkan routes, while a considerable amount is transported via the northern Black Sea route, which is increasing in importance. The central Balkan route, which runs across Slovenia, is becoming increasingly current. International crime gangs use this route to smuggle a vast variety of goods (drugs, arms, explosives, people, etc.)

Statistics - figures for Slovenia

This year the police have dealt with 1,588 criminal offences relating to abuse of illegal drugs, which is around 2% more than in the same period last year, when the number was 1,555. The police have also dealt with 2,305 administrative offences in the field of illegal drugs.

More than 130 kg of heroin has been seized in Slovenia this year, compared to the 60 kg seized last year. It should be stressed here that the production of opiates in Afghanistan is constantly increasing. We also remember the seizure of 98 tonnes of acetic anhydride in Slovenia. Acetic anhydride is an essential ingredient in the production of heroin and travels in the opposite direction to the heroin itself.