The Slovenia Times

Large cocaine shipment seized in Koper

The Koper port. Photo: Bojan Kralj/STA

Police seized a large shipment of cocaine in the port of Koper a few days ago, reportedly after two divers were spotted trying to pull out large bags from a ship transporting soy from South America.

The Koper Police Department has confirmed seizing a large quantity of illegal drugs in the port in the past week, after the public broadcaster TV Slovenija reported on 18 March that 260 kilograms of cocaine were discovered which would have netted about €10 million on the black market.

The TV report said that security guards spotted the two divers as they were trying to pull out five largish bags containing the valuable illegal cargo from the ship's ballast tank. The pair, a Brazilian and an Albanian citizen, allegedly arrived at the port on water scooters via the Rižana River.

The Koper Police Department did not provide information about the amount seized or other details, but it did say that two foreigners were arrested on suspicion of illegal production and trafficking in illegal drugs, illegal substances used in sports and ingredients needed to make illegal drugs.

The pair were brought before an investigating judge, who remanded them in custody.

The investigation is ongoing and the police will inform the public of the results when criminal proceedings have been completed.

Major drug busts in recent years

Providing statistics on major illegal drug busts since 2021, the police noted the 2022 seizure of 1,518 kilos of BMK glycidic acid at a shipping container at the Koper port.

According to some calculations, this precursor could be used to produce around 800 kilograms of amphetamine or around 1,400 kilograms of methamphetamine, both of which are illicit drugs.

Other major drug busts include that of almost 678 kilos of cocaine in 2022 and 429 kilos in 2021.

Slovenia is still mainly a transit country and a gateway to the EU market for illicit drugs and their precursors, while smaller amounts remain in the country, the police said.

The Koper port is one of the major points of entry used by drug cartels. Cocaine is smuggled into the country by containers, mainly from South America - Colombia, Brazil and Ecuador.

Cocaine also comes from Spain and the Netherlands, from where criminal rings smuggle it by means of trucks and cars with modified compartments.

Heroin enters Slovenia from Iran via the United Arab Emirates and Turkey by the sea route, while drug precursors are smuggled mainly from China, the police said.

Meanwhile, Slovenia is considered self-sufficient in terms of cannabis supply, as several cultivation facilities are discovered annually, and a large amount is also imported from Spain, the police explained.


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