According to officials from Peru, it was the first time they had such an incident with a Turkey-bound ship.
On a raid on Friday (March 24) at a warehouse in one of Peru’s biggest ports, El Callao, authorities seized 2.3 tons of cocaine, with an estimated value of more than 20 million dollars, intended to be shipped to Turkey.
El Callao’s police chief, Colonel Luis Angel Bolanos, stated that this was the first time they had such an incident with a ship heading to Turkey. ”Usually, we are aware of ports in Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, and France,” the official said.
The drugs were disguised as ceramic tiles packed in wooden boxes.
Peru produces 26% of the world’s coca, the primary ingredient in cocaine, a 2023 World Drug Report shows. The country’s location and proximity to the Pacific Ocean make it a popular destination for drug dealers seeking to smuggle cocaine.
Turkey has become a cocaine hub
According to a recent report by the United Nations, cocaine consumption has been on the rise worldwide in the last ten years, leading to an increased supply. Reportedly, in 2021, cocaine production increased by 35 percent compared to 2020.
The UN furthermore pointed out that Turkey has increasingly become a hub for large-scale cocaine trafficking and a place of substance use. For instance, Colombia’s narcotics police confiscated five tons of cocaine from a Turkey-bound ship in 2020. The massive cocaine stash had an estimated value of 265 million dollars.
The interception of illicit drugs heading to Turkey has spiked in recent years.
According to a 2021 report by Turkey’s Interior Ministry, the country has become an ideal alternative location for traffickers as North American and European authorities increasingly seize more cocaine. Countrywide confiscations hit a record of 1.4 tons in 2017 and continued breaking records every subsequent year, with 2.8 tons seized in 2021.