BELGRADE, Yugoslavia -- Yugoslav authorities have broken a heroin smuggling ring which they said was a major European link in a drug supply line from Turkey to the United States, a police spokesman said today.
Yugoslav police and customs officers in cooperation with the Interpol organization arrested one Turk and eight Yugoslavs, including a woman.
The spokesman said the group, led by Turk Mehmed Ali Karakafa, had smuggled about 286 pounds of heroin during the past two years in four autos with Yugoslav registration plates from Istanbul to Palermo, Sicily.
When they arrested the nine in Belgrade, the police discovered 36.3 pounds of heroin under seats of an auto. The Belgrade police spokesman said the drug was worth $2.6 million.
Police said the heroin was manufactured somewhere in Turkey, placed in a car and taken on a fixed route to Sofia, Belgrade, Milan, Rome and Palermo. From the Italian port the heroin was smuggled in ships bound for the U.S. market, the police said.