TALLINN - Estonia's honorary consul in Argentina has quit his job due to the increasing number of Estonian citizens caught acting as drug couriers in South America.
A record 25 Estonians are being held in South American nations, all charged with attempting to smuggle drugs out of the continent.
This has led to an increased workload for honorary consul Peet Pullisaar, who has been called on to assist the alleged drug couriers with legal matters.
Pullisaar's role is mainly ceremonial. Estonia's honorary consuls around the world receive no payment for their work, which normally involves organizing cultural events and assisting citizens with minor administrative matters.
"Because of the increased extra duties I'm unable to continue doing my main work like I have been doing it until now," Pullisaar said.
Foreign Minister Urmas Paet released Pullisaar from the role on Sept. 20.
He has held the position since 1994 from his home in Olivos, Argentia, and has been awarded with national decorations for his service.
The search is now on for a new honorary consul. The Foreign Ministry said the Finnish embassy had now agreed to assist Estonians in Argentina, as part of the European Union unitary consular protection agreement.
The increased number of drug couriers has been blamed, among other things, on Estonia's visa-free agreements. The Central Criminal Police, or Kapo, said in July that the boost in drug trafficking was a direct result of the large number of such agreements that Estonia now enjoys.