Half of foreign drug traffickers caught in Turkey smuggle heroin
Teams from the Aksaray Police Department seized 33.5 kilograms of heroin in September 2009. A report revealed that 50.8 percent of Turkish drug traffickers caught abroad in 2009 were smuggling cannabis.
According to the report, the number of Turkish citizens arrested abroad decreased between 2006 and 2009, though the number of foreigners caught in Turkey increased in the same time period. Officials from the National Police Department believe the increase in the number of foreign drug traffickers caught in Turkey stems from a rise in cooperation between drug gangs and Turkish citizens.
In 2009, 409 foreign traffickers were taken into custody in Turkey and 311 Turkish citizens were apprehended abroad while 437 foreigners were caught in Turkey and 354 Turkish citizens were caught abroad in 2008. In 2005, 203 foreigners were caught in Turkey and 353 Turkish citizens were caught abroad.
Iranian citizens topped the list of foreign drug traffickers apprehended in Turkey in 2009 and were most often caught with heroin, opium and methamphetamine. Foreign nationals caught with heroin mostly came from Georgia, Turkmenistan, Albania, Bulgaria and Macedonia. Other arrested foreigners include Bolivians, who were caught with cocaine, Azerbaijanis, who were caught with heroin and cannabis, and Nigerians, who trafficked heroin and cocaine.
Turkish nationals apprehended abroad were mostly involved in drug trafficking in countries with large Turkish populations. The report also notes that the amount of drugs seized on Turkish citizens is low, implying that many of them carry drugs for personal use.