Police mess up operation ‘heroin truck’
The Slovak police and the Ministry of Interior have come under fire from the opposition over a botched operation at Christmas, which saw a truck full of contraband make its way to Turkey from Slovakia.
Former interior minister Robert Kalinak from the Smer-SD party is claiming that certain facts surrounding the case are being kept secret because of the possible embarrassment they would cause the police and the ministry.
A truck set off for Istanbul from the town of Dunajska Streda loaded with a component required for the production of heroin, being used as a lure in an international police operation to catch a gang of drug traffickers in Turkey. Things did not go as planned, though, and the Czech truck driver (who knew nothing about the consignment or that he was being tracked by Slovak police all the way) ended up spending four days in a Turkish jail.
Kalinak has criticised several aspects of the operation, such as the use of a normal truck to transport a hazardous substance, a driver with no special permit, or how the operation had not been disclosed to Interpol or other authorities, which is required when involving a non-EU country. The operation was overseen by EU agency Eurojust.
Kalinak is demanding to see documents that demonstrate the procedure used by the Ministry of Interior, as well as police communications from 14 to 24 December, as there is an allegation that the truck and driver even got lost while in Turkey after a GPS fault. Kalinak says the police failed and had put the truck driver’s life in danger.
Interior minister Daniel Lipsic rejected the accusations of Kalinak, blaming instead the Turkish police for the bungled operation. The forwarding company that carried the shipment will be calling for legal remedy from the authorities for exposing its driver to such a risk.
Ironically, while in the post of interior minister Kalinak himself withstood a no-confidence vote in parliament after the police accidentally sent explosives on a flight to Ireland.