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Published On: Fri, Feb 23rd, 2018

400 kg of cocaine found in Russian Embassy in Argentine prompted sting operation

nsnbc : Argentine police seized nearly 400 kg of cocaine from the Russian Embassy in Buenos Aires and arrested several members of a drug trafficking ring Argentine’s Security Minister announced on Thursday.

In this photo taken on Dec. 14, 2016, and released on Feb. 22, 2018 by the Argentine Security Ministry.

Photo taken on Dec. 14, 2016, and released on Feb. 22, 2018 by the Argentine Security Ministry.

Argentine’s federal Minister of Security Patricia Bullrich told reporters at a press conference that the drugs were discovered in an annex of the Russian Embassy in Buenos Aires, and that the cocaine had a street value of around $50m.

“A gang of narco-criminals was trying to use the diplomatic courier service of the Russian embassy” to ship the drugs to Europe, she said. She also told reporters that Russian and Argentine police had decided to mount a sting operation after the Russian ambassador informed them of the drugs find in December 2016.

“The cocaine was replaced by flour and monitoring devices were placed to monitor delivery” of the 16 bags of the drug, Bullrich said. She said the sting had resulted in the arrest of five suspects – two in Argentina and three in Russia.

The drug, of “very high purity,” was destined for Russia and probably also Germany, where the suspected mastermind lives. “We believe the German police will arrest this fugitive,” Bullrich said.

The minister said Russian security service agents “came to Argentina on three occasions to assist in the investigation” that took more than a year. One of the two people arrested in Argentina is a naturalized Russian who was a member of the police force in Buenos Aires, said Bullrich. Investigators believe the cocaine likely originated in Colombia or Peru.

Experts in the links between drugs and diplomacy may have paid attention to the fact that “the discovery” of the 400 kg cocaine in the Russian Embassy in Buenos Aires in 2016 came after the end of the Cristina Kerchner presidency and the end of the “special relationship” Argentina and the Russian Federation had during her tenure.

CH/L – nsnbc 23.02.2018

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