ISTANBUL: Istanbul police on Dec. 11 seized a total of 1,725 tubes containing cobra venom smuggled from Syria, with a market value of approximately 30 million Turkish Liras ($7.8 million). This amount is reported to be the highest amount ever seized in a raid in Turkey.
Upon intelligence received by the directorate of anti-smuggling and organized crime branch, the police contacted a suspect selling the venom under the pretense of buying it.
Once the police and the seller met in a pre-disclosed location, the police team revealed their identities. They then seized 1,725 tubes of cobra venom in the suspect’s luggage.
The authorities sent some samples from the tubes to the Istanbul University’s Faculty of Pharmacy for examination and launched an investigation to determine the suspect’s contacts.
The Istanbul anti-smuggling police recently found 123 tubes of cobra venom hidden in the bottom of the Fatih district’s historic city walls in the beginning of December.
The person caught in the most recent operation was determined to have connections with a Syrian suspect detained in the prior operation.
Cobra venom is used in various industries, including medicine, chemistry, cosmetics and arms. Considered to be the world’s second most expensive venom after scorpion toxin, cobra venom is produced in limited amounts in Turkey.