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Turkey releases crime boss sought on INTERPOL Red Notice on bail

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Turkish authorities have released on bail a criminal gang leader who is one of Sweden’s most wanted criminals and is sought on an INTERPOL Red Notice after police captured him in southern Adana province, the Demirören News Agency (DHA) reported on Tuesday.

The suspect, Ismail Abdo, who has been engaged in a dispute with his former partner, Rawa Majid, nicknamed the “Kurdish Fox,” over domination of the drug market in Sweden, has allegedly brought the conflict to Turkey.

According to DHA, Adana police stopped a suspicious car in Seyhan and took driver Ahmet Y. and the suspect, who had no ID card on him, out of the vehicle.

The suspect, wearing body armor, was identified as Ismail Abdo, who is wanted by INTERPOL for “leadership of an armed criminal organization.”

The police seized one unlicensed loaded pistol and 12 bullets.

A feud had started between Abdo and his former partner Majid in Sweden over the drug market, DHA said, adding that Majid had Abdo’s mother, who lived in Uppsala, Sweden, killed in September 2023.

Many gang members have tried to enter Turkey due to the clashes between the two groups, according to DHA.

On September 6, 2023, members of the gang led by Majid clashed with Abdo’s men in an armed attack on a cafe in Sarıyer, İstanbul, injuring a 37-year-old Azerbaijani national identified only by the initials E.A. and who was not involved in the incident. In retaliation for the attack, Abdo’s gang killed one of Majid’s men and wounded another in an attack also in Sarıyer on March 27.

Abdo, who was referred to court after questioning by the police, was released on bail of TL 20,000 ($620). Ahmet Y. was also released and placed under judicial supervision.

Meanwhile, Majid was also captured by the authorities in Turkey in 2022 while he was being sought on an INTERPOL Red Notice for “drug trafficking and attempted murder.” Turkey rejected Sweden’s extradition request and released him a few weeks later. It was revealed that Majid had been granted Turkish citizenship.

Swedish media previously reported that top-secret documents intended to help capture Majid were found on the mobile phone of one of his gang members. A Swedish police source suggested that the leak likely came from an unidentified official in Turkey, constituting a serious breach of international information-sharing protocols.

According to police sources cited by VICE World News in April 2023, some of Europe’s most wanted criminals are evading arrest by obtaining Turkish citizenship. Those involved in large-scale drug trafficking are exploiting Turkey’s investor citizenship program and the country’s policy of rejecting extradition requests for new citizens.

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