A new twist on the drug trade’s criminality:
Greek police say a Colombian criminal gang has stolen expensive medical equipment from four Athens hospitals, with similar thefts seen across Europe. Three men and a woman, who apparently returned to Bogota,
Three suspects, still at large, have been identified. Bogota police have recovered four endoscopes, which tend to be used for internal examinations.
The Athens thefts happened last month. The Colombians had entered as tourists.
Police said a drug gang probably wanted endoscopes to check that drug-smuggling mules had really swallowed the drugs.
If you think the drug gangs would be able to afford buying their own, it’s a matter of scale:
Attica security chief Christos Papazafiris, quoted by Greek media, said:
- Medical equipment worth more than €500,000 (£434,000; $563,000) was stolen from St Savvas Hospital on 15 May
- Equipment worth €115,000 was stolen from the Lamia and Larissa hospitals between 19-22 May
- Two gastroscopes (used to inspect the interior of the stomach) were stolen from the gastroenterological department of Volos hospital on 21 May
The losses are hitting a Greek health service struggling because of austerity cuts in recent years, imposed under the EU bailout deal.
Mr Papazafiris said similar thefts had taken place in the past four years in Lithuania, Luxembourg, Spain, Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland, Italy, France and Croatia.
Multiply the amounts stolen from Greece times ten countries, and now you’re talking.