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28 Nov, 2023 15:01

Network of Ukrainian-run drug labs busted in Russia

Almost 1.5 tons of the synthetic drug mephedrone and 35 tons of components have been seized, the Interior Ministry has revealed
Network of Ukrainian-run drug labs busted in Russia

Russian police have busted a major network of drug laboratories in Moscow and several other regions of the country, the Interior Ministry has said. The illegal activity was supervised from Ukraine, it added.

Officers have so far detained 21 suspects, including 12 Ukrainian nationals, as part of the case, the ministry’s spokeswoman, Irina Vovk, announced on Tuesday.

“It has been established that over the past few years a whole network of drug laboratories was created by perpetrators in the Moscow, Pskov and Ryazan regions,” she said. 

According to Vovk, the laboratories produced mephedrone, a synthetic stimulant drug of the amphetamine and cathinone classes. Almost 1.5 tons of the drug and some 35 tons of components to make it were seized, the spokeswoman said.

The investigation found that the recruiters sought people in Ukraine who then traveled to Russia, rented premises and obtained the necessary equipment and began making the illegal substance, she said.

The final product was placed at stash points and then distributed through dedicated websites. The Ukrainian curators coordinated their subordinates through online messenger platforms, the spokeswoman added.

“There was a clean-cut hierarchy and strict discipline within the criminal community. Those violating the rules established by the leadership were severely punished, up to physical elimination,” Vovk said. 

The money earned by the network was distributed among its members and invested in further production of the drug, the spokeswoman added.

Vovk also recalled that the police had previously busted a Ukrainian-run network of laboratories in Moscow Region in 2020. More than a ton of mephedrone was seized in several locations, with 16 people, including 11 Ukrainian citizens, detained.