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Fugitive Turkish drug lord sent to prison in İstanbul after arrest in Spain

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Atilla Önder, an international drug trafficker who was wanted on an INTERPOL Red Notice, was arrested in Spain on Thursday and sent to a prison in İstanbul the same day, the Demirören news agency (DHA) reported.

Önder, “one of the world’s most important drug lords wanted on a Red Notice,” according to Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, was handed over to Turkish police on Thursday after his arrest in Madrid by the Interpol-Europol police.

After undergoing a health check as required by law, Önder, who was previously convicted in Turkey, was sent to İstanbul’s Metris Prison to serve his sentence on Thursday.

According to DHA, he was wanted on several charges, including “establishing a criminal organization,” “drug trafficking,” “forgery of official documents,” “unauthorized possession or exchange of dangerous goods” and “contravening Law no. 6136 on firearms and knives and other weapons.”

Turkey’s inadequate controls for addressing illicit finance make it a significant transit country for illegal drug trafficking, according to a March report by the US State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.

This is particularly the case for opiates smuggled from Afghanistan to Europe and synthetic drugs produced in Europe and shipped to Asia, the report said.

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