EBU LT drugs

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Lithuanian and Russian law enforcement officers have cracked down on a major drug transit channel from Russia into EU countries.

The statement was delivered by Lithuanian Police Chief Saulius Skvernelis and Viktor Ivanov, director of the Federal Drug Control Service of the Russian Federation at a press conference in the Lithuanian Police Department.

According to the officers, Lithuanian and Russian drug control authorities have carried out the operation for the last five years, although the criminal cartel operated since around 2003.

A drug precursor used to be produced in the Russian city of Perm, later processed into amphetamine and trafficked to Scandinavia via Lithuania.

Officers have detained 73 persons over the period of five years, with 21 arrested in Russia and 52 in EU member states. There have also been arrests in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Belarus, Norway, Poland, the Netherlands, Germany and Russia.

According to Skvernelis, 45 people have been charged with drug trafficking in Lithuania.
Ivanov said that the scope is reflected by the fact that the cartel produced 135 tons of almost ready drugs or 0,5 billion doses.

Based on his estimates, the cartel could have earned around 1.5 billion US dollars from such "business."

Drugs would be smuggled into EU member states via one-day firms with the help of Lithuanian criminal gangs.

The Lithuanian police chief said the Agurkas gang (its leader is nicknamed Agurkas, which means a cucumber in Lithuanian) had links with the cartel.

In his words, the crackdown on this channel took five years partly due to the fact that possession of precursors was not criminalized in Russia until 2010.

A number of the criminals have already received prison terms. Meanwhile in Lithuania, the pre-trial investigation continues.


Map of drugs trafficking near the presser

Soundbite (Russian), VIKTOR IVANOV, Director of the Federal Drug Control Service of the Russian Federation:
The cartel was operational since 2003 and produced 135 tons of the precursor. It's in fact ready amphetamine which after minor processing becomes a powerful drug. One can make around 100 tons of the drug from this substance. That's 0,5 billion doses.

Video of Federal Drug Control Service of the Russian Federation

Soundbite (Lithuanian), SAULIUS SKVERNELIS, Lithuanian Police Chief:
We talk about a branch of one criminal gang, which leaders are detained. The so called Agurkas criminal union. This was the activity of the gang. The Agurkas gang was one of the main Europol-wide problems in Europe.

Video of Federal Drug Control Service of the Russian Federation