Snitches to riches: Turkey introduces new rewards for drug bust tips

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 12.02.2020 14:26
Informants will receive up to TL 500,000 for mass drug busts. DHA Photo
Informants will receive up to TL 500,000 for mass drug busts. (DHA Photo)

Bolstering its war on drugs, Turkey introduced larger rewards for people offering tips on narcotics Wednesday.

According to the new regulations published in the official gazette, people providing tips on production or mass distribution of drugs will be awarded up to TL 500,000, depending on the number of narcotics seized.

Information leading to the seizure of heroin and cocaine will be paid the highest at TL 60,000 per kilogram, while marijuana will fetch a reward of TL 15,000. The regulations, however, require an "owner" – a suspect linked with the drugs – to be caught as well, for informants to be paid the full amount. Informants of unattended drugs or seizures without any suspects will receive one-fifth of the reward.

The regulations not only cover mass producers or criminal organizations but small-time dealers and drug users as well. Seizures below 50 grams for heroin and cocaine and 200 grams for marijuana will be ruled as individual crimes and will be rewarded as such, with the reward being fixed at TL 2,400 regardless of the amount.

The announcement came a day after authorities busted record amount of drugs at the northwestern border. According to Commerce Minister Ruhsar Pekcan, customs officers at the Kapıkule border crossing between Turkey and Bulgaria seized 2.07 tons of cannabis in what she described as "the largest such amount to be seized in a land border crossing."

Turkey has been consistently ramping up its efforts in its war against drugs. In 2014, the Turkish government launched "The Rapid Action Plan against Drugs" to counter drug use and smuggling on multiple fronts. Efforts include outreach to addicts with rehabilitation and awareness campaigns and operations targeting smugglers and small-time dealers carried out by newly formed "narco teams." These operations especially focus on areas near schools and other places frequented by young people, the most vulnerable targets for drug peddlers.

In last year's operations, 18.5 tons of heroin, 80.7 tons of cannabis and "skunk" (a genetically modified or hybrid strain of cannabis) and 1.5 tons of cocaine were seized. Police also confiscated 566 kilos of methamphetamine and more than 1.2 tons of a cheap synthetic cannabinoid known as "bonzai." Authorities also seized 8.9 million ecstasy pills and 22.7 million Captagon pills in nationwide counternarcotics operations.

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