Bulgaria Tipped Off Foreign Partners about Cocaine Load

Crime | August 17, 2012, Friday // 08:06|  views

Bulgarian Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, says there is a link between the seizing of the 3 tons of cocaine in Spain and the arrest of alleged Bulgarian drug lord, Evelin Banev AKA Brando. Photo by BGNES

The Bulgarian authorities have sent the tipoff about the Bulgarian ship carrying 3 tons of cocaine off the coast of Spain, according to the Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov.

Speaking for the Bulgarian Telegraph daily, Tsvetanov explains that there is a link between the seizing of the huge amount of narcotic and the earlier arrest of alleged Bulgarian drug lord, Evelin Banev AKA Brando, who is suspected of having been part of an Italian gang for years.

"For several months now the colleagues of the Main Directorate for Combatting Organized Crime, GDBOP, worked to find the masterminds of the drug trafficking chain, who are from Bulgaria, They organized the hiring of the crew and the finding of a ship. The three men who were arrested in the country were part of the same Italian gang Brando is associated with. The cocaine's final destination was Spain. GDBOP alerted counterparts abroad about the plan and the people involved," the Minister says.

Spanish authorities nabbed Tuesday 31 people, including 21 Bulgarians, after seizing 3 tons of cocaine brought from South America on a ship caught off the southern coast.

The operation codenamed Cartel has been carried out jointly by GDBOP, the French police, the US DEA and the UK COCA.

The cocaine is of very high grade and its value is estimated at around EUR 150 M.

The SV Nikolay (Saint Nikolay) ship is owned by Burgas-based company Seaborne Trade.

People from the maritime transport business, speaking off-the-record for Darik radio, have commented that Seaborne workers have not received their salaries for a while and it could be possible that they were aware of the content of the shipment.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry confirmed they knew about the bust since Tuesday, but no one from the Bulgarians in the crew has requested official assistance.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov stated Thursday that Bulgarian sailors could not be warned not to get on board.

Two men were arrested in Bulgaria Thursday in connection with the seizing of the 3 tons of cocaine.

One of the arrested, R.K., 37, from the capital Sofia, was allegedly the organizer of the narcotics transport. He has a clean criminal record.

The second one is H.H., 46, also from Sofia. He has a long rap sheet for a number of crimes and has been tried in another country. He is believed to have been involved with the hiring of part of the crew.

The owner of the Seaborne Trade company, Doychin Doychinov, was also arrested later and is being held behind bars for 24 hours before appearing for arraignment before a judge.

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Tags: Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, Spain, cadiz, Cocaine, ship, Bulgarians, seaborne trade, Burgas, drugs, Boyko Borisov, GDBOP, DEA, cartel, Evelin Banev, Brando


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