News

2017.08.10 11:14

Lithuanian Customs busted a huge shipment of cocaine

Algirdas Acus 2017.08.10 11:14

Lithuanian officers had doubts about the character and the route of the freight when the alleged casting moulds for plastic lids and covers came from Ecuador, in April, with a stopover in Colombia and the German port of Hamburg.

Lithuanian officers had doubts about the character and the route of the freight when the alleged casting moulds for plastic lids and covers came from Ecuador, in April, with a stopover in Colombia and the German port of Hamburg.

Cargo received from the two South American countries contained a number of drug shipments in past few years.

However, a Vilnius-registered company, headed by a Russian citizen with a residence permit, constantly raised legal obstacles in order to avoid checking.

‘They said we would damage equipment, they wrote letters to Customs that they totally reject any drilling’, said Telesforas Šimkus from Klaipėda Customs unit.

Only when officers managed to prove that the check would not damage the equipment, a check had been conducted and inside the casting moulds and cooling chambers tight packages of cocaine covered in silicone were discovered.

A total weight of the busted cocaine is over 610 kg, its approximate value on the black market is nearly 49 million euros.

Lithuanian prosecutors believe the cocaine was intended for European Union countries.

‘It is likely that the cargo was not intended for Russia or a third country, because there are much easier ways to enter those countries than through the EU’, said Klaipėda City Chief Prosecutor Simonas Minkevičius.
 

Shotlist
Shots provided by Lithuanian customs officers, sound bites by LRT

Sound bite (Lithuanian)

TELESFORAS ŠIMKUS, representative of Klaipėda Customs:

They said that there was a threat if we would try to drill mechanically in order to check. They said we would damage equipment. Later they wrote letters to Customs that they totally reject any drilling, because equipment would be damaged.

Sound bite (Lithuanian)

SIMONAS MINKEVIČIUS, Klaipėda City Chief Prosecutor:

If we look into turnover of drugs in Lithuania it is naïve to think that this entire amount was intended for Lithuania. It’s common sense, common sense. But again… (makes a pause) most likely these drugs would have stayed within the EU. To send it to Russia through Lithuania is not very handy, when there are states with much easier transit. Non-EU states without any of our bureaucratic and other obstacles, and it gets into Russia by much easier ways. So by looking from this analytical perspective, the most likely is that the drugs, at least most of them, would have stayed within the EU. In which countries, it’s hard to say yet, we can only guess.