Bulgaria: Bosnian Heroin Trafficker Caught

Bulgarian police arrested a Bosnian citizen at the Kapitan Andreevo checkpoint on the border with Turkey, after finding 22 kilograms of heroin in his car worth about US$1.6 million.

Authorities said the heroin came from Istanbul, and was destined for Bosnia-Herzegovina. Police found the drugs Thursday in 23 packets inside the car’s gasoline tank.

The Kapitan Andreevo checkpoint is a popular entrance point into the European Union (EU) for heroin mostly coming from Afghanistan through Turkey. Once inside Bulgaria, traffickers can easily distribute drugs to other EU states.

The EU has been pressuring Bulgaria to tighten controls of its borders, in large part to deal with drug trafficking. In addition to several recent large drug busts, in an operation against a cocaine trafficking ring and cannabis traffickers, Bulgaria has been cracking down on corruption in its customs and law enforcement agencies.

In May Bulgarian authorities arrested 32 customs officers working at the Kapitan Andreevo, on charges of racketeering. According to Sofia City Prosecutor Nikolay Kokinov, the officers set a price for turning a blind eye to smuggling based on what sort of cargo the smugglers were transporting.

Bulgarian police detained another Bosnian national on suspicion that he might be connected to the heroin trafficker.