9 December 2004
SOFIA - Turkish police has arrested two diplomats from North Korea's embassy, after seizing them in the act of handing 700,000 pills of a banned drug to dealers.
The North Korean diplomats, based on Bulgaria, were arrested after a raid on Sunday in Istanbul, according to Turkish police. The diplomats were suspected of smuggling hundreds of thousands of narcotic pills into the country.
The North Koreans are accused of smuggling fenethylline, a synthetic drug more commonly known as Captagon, from Bulgaria.
The diplomats were attempting to deliver the drugs to two Turks who were also arrested. The accused diplomats were using their diplomtic plated-cars in transporting the drugs according Turkish police.
"N. Korea's A State Policy?"
Joong Ang, a Korean newspaper, has claimed that drug smuggling is a North Korea's state policy:
"N. Korean diplomats have been detained in various places around the world on drug trafficking charges in the past. Pyeongyang uses its diplomats for drug smuggling operations to raise hard currency, largely aimed at funding its military operations, according to testimony of defectors."
9 December 2004, JTW