Turkey: Syrian detained for toxic smuggling

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Syrian up for toxic smuggling

Ankara - Turkish authorities had detained a Syrian truck driver who attempted travel to Syria with 500kg of sodium cyanide, a highly poisonous chemical substance, the government said on Thursday.

The chemicals were found in secret caches in the truck of Mohammed Janbia as authorities searched the vehicle at the Cilvegozu border gate between Turkey and Syria on September 27, a government statement said.

Both scientists and the police criminal laboratory have established that the substance was sodium cyanide, a fast acting poison capable of causing death by preventing body tissues from using oxygen.

Following last month's terrorist attacks in the United States, border controls had been tightened against the possibility of the smuggling of materials useable in the making of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons, State Minister Mehmet Kececiler told reporters.

He said all necessary measures had been taken against the trafficking of illicit substances at the border posts, which had also been equipped with radioactivity detectors.

Border authorities in Turkey's southeast regions, which neighbour Iran, Iraq and Syria, had been put on high alert, the minister added.

Police continued to question the detained Syrian man on Thursday as part of a broad investigation to establish how the chemicals, produced and sold by a Turkish company, ended up in his hands.

Sodium cyanide is used in the metal and mining industry, particularly in the extraction of gold. - Sapa/AFP


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), October 11, 2001

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