ATHENS, Dec. 11 (Xinhua)-- Two of five Colombian nationals suspected of stealing expensive medical equipment from four Greek state hospitals last May and June have been arrested in Germany and Colombia on the basis of international arrest warrants, Greek police announced on Monday.
Within a week endoscopes and other medical instruments and supplies worth about 500,000 euros (589,000 U.S. dollars) were stolen by the gastroenterology departments of state hospitals in Athens and the cities of Volos, Larissa and Lamia in central Greece.
The perpetrators had acted in the same pattern. The cross- borders investigation led to the traces of a Colombian gang.
During a regular press briefing held in Athens on Monday, Greek Police Major General Christos Papazafiris, chief of the Regional Police Directorate of Attica Prefecture, said that a 50-year-old man believed to have carried out the break-ins was arrested in the Colombian capital of Bogota.
While a 25-year-old woman, who was the recipient of parcels containing stolen medical equipment, was arrested in Frankfurt, Papazafiris said.
Greece will seek their extradition, while the search continues to locate and arrest the remaining three suspects who are still at large and have been identified by Greek police in cooperation with European and international police authorities, Papazafiris said.
Based on the investigation conducted by Greek police in collaboration with police forces abroad, it is believed that the same ring also stole medical equipment from Luxembourg, Spain, Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland, Italy, the Netherlands, France, Croatia and Lithuania.
Authorities believe that the instruments are used to facilitate the trafficking and recovery of ingested drugs being smuggled across borders by Colombian drug cartels.
Four endoscopes stolen from Greek hospitals were recovered by police in Bogota.