Eight young Lithuanians suspected of large-scale drug smuggling from US

  • 2024-04-26
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Eight young Lithuanian citizens have been named suspects and four of them have been arrested as part of the Customs Criminal Service's pre-trial investigation into large-scale drug smuggling from the United States. 

Over 34 kilograms of drugs, mainly cannabis, with an estimated street value of over 1 million euros have been seized, according to law-enforcement officials.  

"The pre-trial investigation is being conducted into the possession of narcotic substances with and without the intent to distribute, as well as into drug trafficking," Gedvydas Vaivada of the Vilnius Regional Prosecutor's Office told a press conference on Thursday.

Formal suspicions have been brought against eight Lithuanian citizens and four of them have been remanded in custody for varying periods, he said.

All suspects are aged between 18 and 20 years. They are unemployed, several of them are students, and some of them might have engaged in criminal activities as minors, the prosecutor said.

"The initial consignments were spotted and started being intercepted about a year ago, reaching their peak in October last year," he said.

According to Arunas Ivoska, head of the Customs Criminal Service's Drug Control Division, the pre-trial investigation began in May 2023 after shipments from the US containing cannabis were found during customs checks.

"The number of detections per year intensified, later reaching as much as 40 percent of all shipment interceptions. Consignments ranged from half a kilo to several kilos or more," Ivoska said. 

The authorities have seized "a total of 34 kilos of cannabis, and as well as small quantities of cocaine and psychedelic mushrooms," he added.

The street value of the drugs is estimated at around 900,000 euros, the official said, adding that the illicit substances were distributed in Vilnius and its surroundings.

"During the investigation, we have established that these are not isolated shipments or individuals but rather several groups of individuals coordinating and planning their actions to smuggle drugs into Lithuania from third countries," he added.