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11 May, 2023 12:14

Russia’s FSB seizes half a ton of cocaine destined for Poland

The agency says it confiscated several hundred packages of drugs on the border with Belarus

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has intercepted a large shipment of cocaine destined for the EU, on the country’s western border, the agency said on Thursday. The agency added that it had apprehended the mastermind behind the smuggling operation.

A total of 492kg (1,080lbs) of Latin American cocaine was confiscated in Smolensk Region on the border with Belarus. The consignment was being transported to Poland in two vehicles, the agency added.

The stash, comprising 116 packages, was discovered by Russian law enforcement officers during a search of a truck registered in Türkiye.

The FSB said it subsequently established that another vehicle with a consignment of cocaine was following on the same route. This truck was pulled over and a further 373 packages containing cocaine were discovered.

The operation led to the arrest of one foreign citizen, whom the agency described as the “drugs trafficking organizer.” A criminal investigation into the matter has now been opened. The agency, however, did not identify the suspect’s country of origin.

A video released by the FSB shows what appears to be several rows of cocaine packages being counted by agents. Another clip shows a man wearing a yellow jacket apparently being arrested by two operatives.

The FSB also noted that “European and Latin American organized criminal networks had stepped up their efforts to tap into the Russian black market of drugs, as well as to use our territory to transit cocaine to the states of the European Union.”

In April, the FSB arrested three foreign nationals – two from Colombia and one from the EU – over an attempt to smuggle some 700kg of cocaine with an estimated value of more than 2.5 billion rubles ($33 million). At the time, the agency said drug cartel members had wanted to use Russia mainly as a transit base for their trafficking operations, but also planned to sell some cocaine in the country.