TALLINN – In the spring of this year, police officers have caught several drug traffickers in the southwestern Estonian resort town of Parnu and seized amphetamine, carfentanyl and cocaine.
On May 12, customs officers in Ikla, Parnu County, stopped a Mercedes vehicle with a Latvian license plate regarding which there was reason to believe that the car might be used to bring drugs into Estonia. A search of the car revealed approximately 570 grams of a gray-beige substance containing carfentanyl. On the evening of the same day, another vehicle with a Latvian license plate was stopped in Parnu, from which a plastic package containing about 235 grams of cocaine was discovered.
A month earlier, on April 15, police officers discovered more than five kilograms of white powdered substance from a Volvo with a Latvian license plate during a border check in Ikla. An expert analysis established that it was an amphetamine. In addition, police found some 260 grams of carfentanyl in the same car.
According to Margus Raspel, head of the office for criminal investigations at the West Prefecture, there was a man of Latvian nationality was in both of the cars stopped on May 12 and both men were detained by police on suspicion of handling drugs. Raspel said that in the car stopped on April 15, there was also a man of Latvian citizenship who was detained as a crime suspect. Later on April 15, the police in connection with the drugs found in the car also detained a woman of Latvian citizenship who was suspected of also bringing drugs from Latvia to Estonia. All four Latvian citizens have now been taken into custody with court permission.
"The destination of the seized drugs was not Parnu, they were supposed to reach other places in Estonia, but fortunately we seized them before they went into circulation," Raspel said. He added that carfentanyl is an extremely strong and dangerous narcotic substance, which in Estonia is generally circulated more in Harju and East-Viru counties. According to Raspel, carfentanyl is a synthetic substance that is one of the compounds derived from fentanyl but is about one hundred times more potent than fentanyl. "Therefore, carfentanyl is a very rapidly addictive substance both mentally and physically and can easily lead to overdose or death. By removing this substance from the market, we are actually saving lives. To this end, the police are continuing work to dismantle groups of drug traffickers and intermediaries in order to prevent drugs from reaching Estonia," Raspel said.
Liisa Nuut, prosecutor at the West District Prosecutor's Office, said that law enforcement agencies are constantly working to eliminate the sources of income of criminals. "Crime must not be profitable for anyone, because only then will the initiative to be involved in it disappear. All the more so because drugs that are so dangerous pose a real threat to human health and lives. The carfentanyl seized in recent months would have been enough to intoxicate 230,000 people and selling it could have brought in more than two million euros in criminal proceeds. This is frightening given Estonia's small size, because consequently there must be a demand for such dangerous substances here as well," Nuut said.
In all three cases, criminal proceedings have been launched and are led by the West District Prosecutor's Office and carried out by the West Prefecture's office for criminal investigations. Suspicions have been brought against two men and one woman of illegally handling large quantities of drugs in a group, for which the court may sentence them to three to fifteen years in prison. One man is suspected of handling large quantities of drugs illegally, for which he can be sentenced to one to ten years in prison.