Defendants of “cocaine case” call incident provocation

Defendants of “cocaine case” call incident provocation
Photo: Gennady Gulyaev / Kommersant

According to the defendants, the employees of the Russian MIA and FSB “artificially created conditions for the accused to commit crimes, of which they are accused."

The persons of interest accused in the case of smuggling a large consignment of cocaine from Argentina called the incident a provocation, Kommersant reports referring to the materials of the case voiced in the court. According to the defendant’s version, the FSB and the Ministry of Internal Affairs “artificially created conditions for the accused to commit crimes, of which they are accused.”

At present, the court is considering a request to mitigate the defendants’ pre-trial restriction. Vladimir Kalmykov, Ishtimir Khudzhamov, and Ali Abyanov were arrested as early as December 2017. In early February 2018, the court extended the term of their custody until April 13. They are accused of selling and smuggling drugs in a particularly large amount (part 5 of Art. 228.1 and part 4 of Art. 229.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). In March, the part “as part of an organized group” was added to the charge.

The alleged organizer of smuggling, Andrei Kovalchuk, was detained in Germany, RIA Novosti reports. The Tempelhof court arrested him and put in custody in Moabit Prison. In Russia, Kovalchuk was arrested in absentia.

Ishtimir Zudzhamov said that he and the other accused worked with the investigation, trying to entice Kovalchuk to Russia. In this regard, he asked to mitigate his pre-trial restriction. Another person involved in the case, Vladimir Kalmykov, asked to transfer him under house arrest, promising not to hide from the investigation, as the “cocaine case” “thundered all over the world.”

In mid-February, it transpired that 12 suitcases with cocaine had been found in the school building at the Russian Embassy in Argentina. More than 360 kilograms of the drug was intended for dispatch to Russia. The drug itself on the territory of the embassy was found in December 2016; in December 2017, as part of a joint special operation of law enforcement agencies of the two countries, cocaine in suitcases was replaced with flour, and bags were equipped with GPS sensors to track the route of their delivery. The suitcases were delivered to Russia.

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