15 young people under trial for narcotics business

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Confiscated marijuana. Picture is illustrative. Source: EMTA

The North District Prosecutor's Office of Estonia has sent to court the materials of a criminal investigation in which 15 people are accused of the handling of narcotic substances worth altogether over €2.1 million, which they brought to Estonia from various other European countries for the purpose of resale.

According to the information gathered in the course of the investigation, the group engaged in the handling of narcotic substances under the leadership of two male citizens of Georgia, both aged 29, at least from the end of the summer of 2018 until the middle of the summer of 2020, when the police apprehended the last members of the group. 

According to the charges, at least 263 kilograms of marijuana, nearly one kilogram of ketamine and 2.4 kilograms of cocaine, over 6,000 MDMA tablets and almost two kilograms of MDMA in crystalline form moved through the hands of the group.

District Prosecutor Raigo Aas said that according to the investigation, the young people brought narcotic substances worth over €2.1 million in wholesale into Estonia from foreign countries.

"It was established in the course of the pretrial investigation that members of the group brought narcotic substances to Estonia both by car and by passenger bus from Spain, Germany, Latvia and Lithuania and resold them mainly in Tallinn. With such quantities, the criminal income to be earned from the street sale of the narcotics would have reached an estimated up to €5 million," Aas said.

Of the 15 people against whom charges were lodged, 10 have been taken into custody and five remain in custody to date. 

"In said criminal investigation, charges were filed also against one attorney, who transmitted the instructions of his client in custody to a member of the group not in custody for the continuation of the sale of narcotics," the prosecutor added.

Rait Pikaro, head of the service for narcotics and organized crime at the criminal bureau of the North Prefecture, described the ending of the activities of the multinational group consisting mainly of young people in their 20s as an important victory for law enforcement. 

"The evidence gathered shows us a situation where the lives of many young people were spoiled for the sake of momentary financial gain - both for those who participated in the activities of the group as well as for those whose addiction the accused attempted to turn into their source of wealth. The leaders of the group used vile means of manipulation on young people, gradually expanding their criminal reach and recruiting ever new drug mules for change," Pikaro said. 

He said that even though the accused used various encrypted means of communication, the police managed to gather strong evidence about their criminal activity, establish the size of criminal income, and seize at each opportunity assets of the accused, such as cash, pieces of technical equipment and vehicles, to the maximal extent.  

The size of the suspected criminal income seized is close to €100,000.

The leaders of the group have been charged with unlawful handling of narcotic drugs committed for the purpose of significant proprietary benefits. The rest of the members of the group have been charged with unlawful handling of large quantities of narcotic drugs.

The Tallinn-based Harju County Court has scheduled the preliminary hearing for March 5. 

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Editor: Helen Wright

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