In Russia, drug dealer arrests occur at an increasing rate. During 2017, hardly a day passed by without a significant drug bust. One connected to online drug sales, more specifically. In late June, within only a matter of days, Russian police made a vendor arrest, a reseller arrest, and one major supplier arrest.
Unlike the marketplaces in many countries, the RAMP forums encourage local deals. Not the same way someone would meet a local drug dealer—but local in the sense that the buyer can order from a vendor who places products in various discrete locations throughout an area. The buyer pays and receives a photo of the hidden cache. Vendors themselves or busted ones, at least, rarely drop off the so-called “treasure” personally.
In recent cases, investigators from the Anti-Narcotics Directorate of the Ministry of the Interior worked from the bottom to the top of the drug trafficking ladder. Not necessarily RAMP; URLs with drug names written next to them scattered across walls and signs throughout Russia. At the “top,” vendors often employee other locals to hide the drugs. These connections are routinely caught and turned against the original dealer.
Sometimes the suppliers themselves slip up and get caught. A recent case involved nothing more than the police discovering a package at the right time. After Smolensk Police caught a package that contained a white powder. The package bore the address of a 23-year-old male in Smolensk.
The suspect repeatedly violated drug laws in the years prior, so investigators needed little assistance. Upon raising the man’s apartment, police found more suspicious substances. White powder contained in 80 plastic bags. A laboratory test later confirmed these packages contained carfentanil.
Others contained 4mmc. He later admitted to buying the drugs in bulk for distribution around the city. He faces a maximum of life in prison.
Internet Sales “Warehouse”
In the Sverdlovsk region, officers of the Anti-Drug Trafficking Department and officers from Yekaterinburg raided the apartment of a 32-year-old woman in Upper Pishma. She too had previously committed a drug offense. Several reports mimed the official press release—one inherently devoid of detail—and only referenced her prior conviction as the reason for the search. Given the number of officers that participated in the takedown, this option seemed unlikely but it was the only explanation given by authorities.
Inside of her apartment, police officers found a large sports bag with two kilograms of speed. A few days later, after another arrest in a nearby location, officers found two more kilograms of speed. In addition, after studying the second suspect’s electronic devices, the police found 25 caches throughout the region.
She fessed up after officers pressed her on the matter. According to the officers that took her statement, the 32-year-old received drugs from an unidentified source and stored them at her house. When one of the online store “employees” that she worked with needed a batch of drugs, the woman packaged the specific drug and sent them to said employee. The employee then delivered the drugs to them and user. Payments were in a digital currency. She faces a maximum of life in prison.
9,000 E Pills, 2 Kilos of Cannabis from an Internet Supplier
Days after those two busts, investigators in the Kemerovo region completed an investigation into two large-scale importers. The investigation began in November 2016. Customs Officers in Germany and Canada alerted Russian authorities of two incoming packages with suspicious contents.
Russian authorities intercepted the packages and searched both of them for said suspicious items. They found cellophane-wrapped packages of marijuana that totalled almost four kilograms in combined weight. The addressee was a 30-year-old in Kemerovo. Police arrested him and held him for questioning. He told investigators that months before, his neighbor asked him to receive international mail—for monetary compensation.
The 34-year-old neighbor, like some of the men and women above, had repeatedly broken Russia’s drug laws. Police rushed out and arrested him at his home. With the assistance of K-9 units, police found almost 9,000 ecstasy tablets. The pills weighed four kilograms.
Investigators determined that during 2016, the suspect found suppliers on the internet (darknet markets and forums) from Canada and Germany. He then made numerous orders and inherently violated dozens of customs laws. Thus, for the severity of his trafficking and importation, authorities said that he will serve from 15 years to life in prison.