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Police, customs tackling narcotics reaching Estonia by mail

Mailed package containing narcotics.
Mailed package containing narcotics. Source: (Estonian Tax and Customs Board)

The Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) and the Estonian Tax and Customs Board (MTA) are making it a priority this year to combat increasing efforts to order narcotics and psychotropic drugs from abroad by mail.

According to Rait Pikaro, head of the Narcotics and Organized Crime Department of the PPA’s North Prefecture, joint operations will be organized this year aimed at catching those ordering narcotics by mail and reselling them.

"Generally speaking, those ordering narcotics by mail are between the ages of 18 and 35, many of whom have never bought drugs on the street before," he described. "At the same time, there is no difference whether one buys drugs by mail or a street dealer — in both cases, the person is making a decision which can ruin their plans for the future."

Pikaro noted that most commonly ordered from the internet are ecstasy and cannabis, however they have also gotten ahold of amphetamine, psilocybin mushrooms, fentanyl and cocaine.

According to Raul Koppelmaa, head of the Narcotics Department of the MTA’s Investigative Unit, those ordering narcotics and psychotropic drugs via mail include a lot of young people and first-time users. "In speaking to them it turns out that ordering drugs from the internet is taken very lightly as the risk of getting caught is mistakenly judged to be low," he explained.

"This year, however, we have had to initiate a criminal case in cooperation with the Prosecutor’s Office over the contents of a package ordered from the internet nearly every day," Koppelmaa continued. "We reach the person who ordered the drugs detected in a package in over 95 percent of cases — it is really only a matter of time."

In 2016, the MTA encountered over 600 cases of mailed and courier packages shipped from abroad suspected to contain drugs, a twofold increase over cases in 2014 and 2015. In the first two months of this year alone, 150 packages have been identified as suspected to contain drugs.

Editor: Aili Monika Sarapik

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