Most Estonian drug mules arrested so far have been recruited from Estonia and tasked with smuggling the product back home, the head of the anti-drug trafficking division of the police's criminal investigations unit has said.
"[Use of couriers] is a way for Estonian criminals to get cocaine for cheap and bring it here," Toomas Loho told ERR radio.
He said he did not know whether this was what happened with the women apprehended in Peru over the weekend, but that it was a characteristic of most previous cases that ended in arrest. The Estonians were often in debt or were "slightly gullible," agreeing to do the deed for free airfare alone.
"I don't know of intimidation being used. Money has been the motivator for going," he added.
Loho said the 5.8 kilograms found on the girls in Cuzco could have fetched traffickers a profit of about 1 million euros, with the girls' cut being perhaps a few thousand euros.
About 10 percent of drug couriers are apprehended, uudised.err.ee reported, citing international research.