Turkish police boosts fight against synthetic cannabis

ISTANBUL - Police forces in Istanbul and nearby cities have launched drug raids, detaining dozens and seizing large amounts of drugs and chemicals on Thursday and Friday to abate the rising use of synthetic drugs.

Hundreds of Istanbul police made raids in several districts of Istanbul aided with the assistance of helicopters.  

In Umraniye, on Istanbul's east side, more than 10 people were detained Friday in 12 different raids by 400 police officers.

On Thursday, in Kartal, more than 500 narcotic and riot police busted into 20 houses and captured large amounts of weed and synthetic cannabis -- a cheap, addictive and potent form of marijuana, known as "bonzai."

Meanwhile on Istanbul's west side in Zeytinburnu and Fatih, more than 5 kilograms of drugs and nearly nine thousand ecstasy pills were seized by police forces in operations which saw 9 people detained. 

In Turkey's western city, Sakarya, police forces captured almost 35 kilograms of "bonzai" Thursday, and more than 16 kilograms of chemical materials for drugs. 

Turkish authorities escalated the fight against the recently notorious bonzai drug, in which at least 20 people have died in last four months from its usage.

According to a report by opposition MP from CHP, seizures of bonzai in 2011 to 2013 increased eight-fold as the substance is cheap and has become easy to access in recent years.

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