400 kg flour instead of cocaine delivered to Moscow from Argentina by Security Council Head Patrushev
The British Telegraph has learned about the role of ex-FSB director Nikolay Patrushev in the operation of special services to intercept 400 kg of cocaine.
Head of the Russian Security Council Nikolay Patrushev is involved in the operation to intercept delivery of 400 kg of cocaine, stored in the Russian embassy in Argentina, to Europe, The Telegraph reports without specifying its sources.
As noted by RBC citing the British newspaper, Patrushev's official visit to Argentina in December 2017 coincided with the final stage of the operation to intercept delivery of 400 kg of cocaine to Europe, during which five people were detained.
During the visit, Nikolay Patrushev signed a memorandum of understanding with President Mauricio Macri, however, Telegraph believes that Patrushev also had a ‘secret mission’.
According to the newspaper, Russian special services agreed to transport diplomatic packages on Patrushev's plane. Then on December 9, the head of the Security Council returned to Moscow on an airplane carrying suitcases with flour, with which the cocaine was replaced before shipment.
To recall, the joint Russian-Argentinian operation of law enforcement officers to identify the channel for major cocaine supplies from South America to Russia began after the discovery of 12 suitcases with almost 389 kg of cocaine estimated at about €50 million in the warehouse of the diplomatic mission in December 2016. Russian Ambassador to Argentina Victor Koronelli reported on the discovery to the head of the Interior Ministry of Argentina Patricia Bullrich, after which the police seized the drug, replaced it with flour, and organized a round-the-clock covert surveillance of the ‘goods’. The suitcases laid at the embassy for more than a year, since one of the suspects no longer worked in the embassy. However, a year later, he agreed on their delivery to Moscow by the embassy’s courier service.
Four days later, two members of the group — Vladimir Kalmykov and Ishtimir Khudzhamov — were arrested in Moscow while trying to collect the suitcases. At the same time, a former embassy employee Abyanov was arrested; Buenos Aires police officer Ivan Bliznyuk, who allegedly was responsible for the purchase, and airport employee Aleksandr Chikalo, who organized the delivery of suitcases, were detained and taken into custody in Argentina. Yesterday, it became known that an alleged leader of the organized crime group (according to Clarin, his name is Andrey Kovalchuk) had been declared wanted by Interpol.
The situation on international markets is worsening because of trade wars and protectionist policies. However, Dmitry Medvedev noted that the Government expects the expansion of the Russian economy until 2024.