TALLINN -- The Estonian Central Criminal Police has arrested a large group of people suspected of operating a team of around 30 cocaine traffickers operating between Europe and South America, according to the Postimees newspaper.
The alleged ringleaders are believed to have been arrested several weeks ago after months of surveillance but police and the prosecutor's office have remained tight-lipped about the case for fear of endangering the case against the suspects.
Estonian drug smugglers started to be caught carrying cocaine in South America a year ago. An average of six to seven Estonian drug traffickers were previously caught in foreign countries per year, but this year as many of 30 have been uncovered.
Seven perople have been detained on arrival in Europe and 23 in South America: 12 in Venezulea, five each in Argentine and Peru, two in Ecuador and two each in Trinidad and Tobago and Uruguay.
The amounts of cocaine seized vary from one to seven kilograms. According to the traffickers they had been promised lucrative work as couriers or drugs 'mules' and tens of thousands of kroons as one off-payments. The price of one gram of cocaine now amounts to about 75 euros on the street in Estonia.
According to Veiko German, drug group superintendent with the Central Criminal Police, a kilo of cocaine can be bought for around 4,000 euros in South America, giving a clear indication of the easy profitto be madeon every kilo that gets through the net.