Businessmen from Armavir, suspected of drug trafficking, convicted for cooked poppy

Businessmen from Armavir, suspected of drug trafficking, convicted for cooked poppy

After 4 years since the start of criminal proceedings and following numerous acquittals, the court convicted businessmen who resold cooking poppy.

The Armavir Court has sentenced Elena and Dmitry Boldyrevs to 8.5 years, and their freight handler Alexander Molotkov - to 5 years in a high-security prison for the sale of drugs. Criminal prosecution against them over confectionary poppy selling started in 2012.

Among other things, the Boldyrevs were selling cooking poppy, which was put in packages with a weight from 40 to 300 grams. According to Novaya Gazeta, the couple only purchased goods, working with certain suppliers. So, when Elena Boldyreva was warned that, according to  the latest researches, poppy seeds contain narcotic agents, she did not take any action. Boldyreva decided that as long as there is no official ban on the sale of these goods, there is nothing to worry about.

According to the defendant, a Federal Drug Control Service (FDCS) officer in Armavir tried to get her to pay, promising not to open a criminal case in return. The businesswoman refused, thinking that her trade is legitimate. After her refusal, the FDCS officers initiated a check into a possible drug distribution point

Investigators believe that they are dealing with an organized crime group, which included the Boldyrevs, freight handler Molotkov, and taxi driver Ghadzhiyev, who "repeatedly committed grave and especially grave crimes."

The Boldyrevs purchased poppy in their original packaging and with all the necessary certificates. But drug-fighters saw it as a malicious intent, claiming that the defendants tried to hide traces of the crime, and that the weight indication and the title on the package were necessary for conspiracy.

In legal terms, the Boldyrevs’ actions fall under art. 14 para. 2 of the Russian Criminal Code ("Not a crime action, although formally containing signs of an offense under this code, but in view of its insignificance, not representing public threat"). Still, in 2012, the case was taken to court. The prosecution asked 11 years in prison for Elena Boldyreva and 10 - for Dmitry Boldyrev.

Several months later, the case was returned to the prosecutor. The judge recalled that the sale of poppy is not prohibited in this country. However, the trial resumed, and in late 2012 the defendants were acquitted. The court reasoned that the defendants could not be held responsible for cooking poppy in the whole package, which had not been opened.

The court decision was canceled on appeal. But after a retrial, the Boldyrevs were once again acquitted. However, this time the judicial board on criminal cases of the Krasnodar Regional Court stepped in and again quashed the verdict, calling the poppy seeds not the "target of crime" but its "modus operandi." After this statement, the businessmen stood accused not in the sale of just poppy seeds, but "narcotic poppy."

The court has consistently returned the case for additional investigation to the prosecutor's office, which, in turn, complained against the court, accusing it of having a highly superficial approach.

Such lawsuits are not uncommon in Russia, especially nowadays, Novaya Gazeta reported. As a rule, drug-fighters find the so-called impurities in cooking poppy - pieces of poppy pods or stems. The weed pieces of poppy do contain narcotic substances and are prohibited in Russia. This leads to calling the entire product a narcotic drug, not just its "foreign material." Hence, criminal cases initiated on the basis of this, despite the fact that the cooking poppy is not banned in Russia.

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