Slippery South American Drug Cartels Going Bananas in Greece

ATHENS – Greece is becoming a hub for South American drug gangs to use as a conduit to move drugs and they’re becoming even more inventive and creative about it, including using bananas to hide their stashes.

Officials found 654 kilograms (1442 pounds) of cocaine worth an estimated 200 million euros ($210.80) in a banana shipment from Ecuador on April 29 that was the second big seizure of its kind this year, said Kathimerini.

That supported intelligence indicating that Latin American cartels are using Greece as a gateway for their drugs – with local help – the paper said, although it wasn’t indicated how the Greek underworld was involved.

The shipment was intercepted at the port of Calabria on its way to Thessaloniki, though sources say the Italian inspection was not connected to a Greek-American operation unfolding at the Piraeus cargo terminal at the same time, the report added.

At the Greek port, which is operated by the Chinese management company COSCO, a joint team of drug enforcement agents spent more than two weeks examining dozens of containers destined for Piraeus and Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city.

Earlier in the year, authorities in Thessaloniki had seized 100 kilos (220.46 pounds) of cocaine in a similarly packed shipment of bananas from Ecuador destined for a company in northern Greece. No word what the brand name was.


NEW YORK – For the antiquities seized by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, in the context of multiple criminal investigations against high-profile traffickers and smugglers, the value of which exceeds $20 million, as well as for other important matters that fall within the competence of the Ministry of Culture, such as reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures, the Tomb of Amphipolis, and the Dikteon Cave of Crete, we had the opportunity to talk with Greek Minister of Culture Lina Mendoni, after the repatriation ceremony of the 29 looted antiquities at the Greek Consulate in New York on March 21.

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