Bulgaria's Cocaine-Traffickers Most Prominent in SEE Region

Politics | September 17, 2006, Sunday // 00:00

Bulgarian criminal gangs are among the major cocaine traffickers in South-Eastern Europe and the Black Sea region, a Darik News investigation has revealed.

Over the past months local drug dealers have abandoned the heroin trade, because of the drug's high price and the low demand and they switched to cocaine Nikolay Hristov reported. A total of five major organizations in the Balkan country have their hands on the cocaine market, the investigation has showed.

Interior Ministry insiders claim that most of the drug trafficking goes through Varna port at the seaside, where a gangster by the allias of Ivo Gela (the gel) controls all packages. The man used to be close with businessman Georgi Iliev, who was shot dead last summer.

Ivo Gela had woven a tangled web of underlings throughout the seaside city, and the whole network is headed by a man called Valyo Bandita (the bandit).

Sourthern seaside traffickers answer to people from the circles of Dimitar Zhelyazkov dubbed Ochite, one of Bulgaria's most notorious underworld suspects, while Sofia is the turf of people close to defunct strong-arm organization VIS.

Konstantin Dishliev, who was murdered in one of many ganglike hits in 2005, also used to be one of the key figures in the cocaine trade in Sofia.

Two Bulgarian gangs from Spain that have a past in car-stealing also often land a helping hand in the cocaine traffic, people at the Interior Ministry believe. These are the link between Latin America and Europe and often aid drug trafficking from Venezuela or Colombia through Bulgaria to the Netherlands and Spain.

Bulgarian traffickers rarely risk transporting drugs by car, and their preferred transportation means are yachts and ships.

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