SBU busts major drug lab in Kyiv region in raid against local branch of int'l drug cartel

17:50, 24 July 2019
Ukraine
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The lab, located outside Kyiv, produced over 200 kg of synthetic drugs monthly.

Law enforcers established that the lab would recruit about a dozen people every day to "work" in Russia. The organizers would hire traffickers, traders, drivers, packers, and security. A total of six persons were detained, including two IT staff, who technically supported the operations of more than forty new members of the criminal organization working across Ukraine.

"Computer equipment and cellphones were discovered [during the search], as well as over 180 kilograms of a ready-made "salt", or alpha-pvp, worth almost $5 million in the black market. Among seized items there are also RPG-22 anti-tank grenades, as well as drug traffickers' draft notes and a ledger.

Read alsoLaw enforcers in Ukraine's Odesa bust drug trafficking ring

The Security Service of Ukraine recalled that in March this year, operatives had already conducted a large-scale special raid against members of said group. It had been established that drug traffickers since 2014 have established an extensive network of online drug sales for cryptocurrency in the former CIS countries via various websites and chat bots on Telegram. Cryptocurrency would then be exchanged into cash, and the money would be legalized in Ukraine.

Twenty-eight active members of the drug cartel were detained. During the warranted searches carried out in March, about $10 million was seized, along with weapons and drugs.

During the pre-trial investigation it was established that following the arrest of the Ukraine branch's members, the cartel's leaders, who are Russian nationals living outside Ukraine and put on the international wanted list in 2016, have not ceased their illegal activities. They put their efforts into actively restoring the drug trafficking network.

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