Briton arrested as police raid cocaine lab in Greece

Last updated at 17:48 13 June 2007

Police have arrested five suspects - including a Briton - after raiding a cocaine lab near Athens. They described the lab as the first of its kind to have been discovered in the European Union.

Cocaine weighing 26kg (57lbs) was seized along with drug manufacturing equipment at the lab on the coast about 50km (30 miles) south of Athens.

The Finance Ministry, whose fraud department handles such operations in Greece, said information for the operation was provided by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and Greece's National Intelligence Service.

The ministry's fraud agency said a British man, two Venezuelans and two Albanians were arrested on drug trafficking charges. Authorities did not release their identities.

The agency said the suspects were believed to be linked to a Colombian drug cartel.

An agency statement said the lab used "primary materials" to manufacture cocaine. It said it was the first time such a lab had been found in the EU, but did not give other details.

Greece has pledged to expand co-operation with overseas agencies to fight trafficking.

Earlier this month, Greek police arrested one of Australia's most wanted men, convicted cocaine trafficker Tony Mokbel.

He is facing extradition to Australia to serve a sentence of at least nine years and face additional charges for drug trafficking and murder.

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