Estonian tax and customs officials bust 28kg of marijuana

Confiscated marijuana. November 2018.
Confiscated marijuana. November 2018. Source: MTA

In the framework of a criminal case, officials of the Estonian Tax and Customs Board (MTA) in early November caught 28kg of marijuana and some 900g of cocaine being moved in Estonia. Altogether six people are facing allegations in connection to the drugs.

Employees of the MTA's Investigation Department at the beginning of November detained organisers of illicit marijuana and cocaine trade, a domestic courier and a buyer of narcotic substances.

According to the allegations, the individuals detained had committed ten episodes of crime during which altogether some 900g of cocaine and 28kg of marijuana were handled. Those belonging to the criminal group were identified in the course of the criminal procedure, all of whom played a role. The leaders of the group were tasked with organising the transport of the substances to Estonia as well as the movement of money.

The storage and packaging of the drugs took place at a house rented specifically for this purpose, at which over 13kg of marijuana was found in a search. The help of separately hired couriers and hiders was employed for the handover of the drugs. During the search, over 6kg of marijuana was confiscated from the arrested buyer, as were €10,000 and a passenger vehicle.

According to Raul Koppelmaa, head of the Anti-drug Unit of the MTA's Investigation Department, the surveillance proceeding was sizeable and complex.

"Evidence collected in the proceedings was sufficient to arrest the criminals immediately during the criminal offence," Koppelmaa explained. "In Estonian terms, these were large suppliers, and the termination of their activity marked the fulfilment of one of the significant objectives of the Anti-drug Unit of the MTA."

Office of the Prosecutor General Assistant Prosecutor Raigo Aas, who is leading the criminal investigation, said that the men arrested during the investigation in question were the ones supplying Harju County's drug market to a great extent.

"Considering that the committing of drug-related crimes has become their lifestyle, the Prosecutor's Office sought custody of three suspects for the duration of the pretrial procedure," he said.

Harju County Court agreed with the Prosecutor's Office application and took into custody two leaders and one buyer of the drug business. Three others are likewise facing allegations, but are not currently being held in custody.

The pretrial procedure of the criminal investigation is being led by the Office of the Prosecutor General and conducted by the MTA


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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