Who seeks to replace amphetamine mafia in Crimea? 

Who seeks to replace amphetamine mafia in Crimea?
Photo: RIA Novosti/Oleg Zolotov

Changes in the political status of Crimea affected the life of its population in a variety of ways. For instance, they also had an impact on narcotic business. One by one, large manufacturers and distributors of synthetic drugs are being arrested in the region. However, another terrible drug is replacing the popular amphetamine. Will the law enforcement agencies find a way to deal with the new drug mafia or simply hold the leash?

This year, the region's operatives had detained several groups of individuals, who were charged with drug trafficking. Were all of those people connected? Is it possible that the peninsula is now completely free of drug trafficking? One of the defendants in the case of the illegal drug trade was a police officer. So, is the supply chain to Crimea and Sevastopol blocked, or are these arrests made only for a show?

For a start, here is some depressing statistic. Every day, about 3.5 million Russians consume intoxicants. Another 4.3 million use drugs from time to time. A total of 18 million have tried drugs at least once in their lives. Only 700 thousand drug addicts in Russia are registered in drug rehab clinics. Most addicts die within 1-5 years from the start of continuous use of the drug, about half of them participate in grave or extremely grave crimes.

Breaking Bad. Crimean version

Drugs were and are sold almost openly. Regular customers, drug addicts with experience, always know who can help you "get high." Why is it so difficult to catch the distributors in the act? The drug dealers use a criminal system with its own unwritten rules. The slang of this community is constantly changing. Yesterday heroin was called "gerasim," and today it is "H" or "bread," depending on the region. The delivery options are also changing.

On June 1, 2016, the police arrested a 31-year resident of Yalta. He received requests for opiate mixtures, such as "spice" and "bath salt" on the Internet. After that, he left the "product" in a designated area and sent the buyer a map of this location, marking a cache on it.

To confuse a possible police agent, the potential buyer was sometimes offered to undergo an exciting adventure, which could result, for example, in an appointment to the dentist.

In late April, Simferopol law enforcement officers discovered a drug laboratory. Just like the main character of the TV show Breaking Bad, who led a double life, the laboratory owner - let's call him "local Walter White" – was a practicing dentist, a prosthodontist. He conducted experiments in chemical manufacture of amphetamine. In the basement, the dentist kept the necessary equipment for the manufacture of amphetamine, and chemicals, namely precursors. In particular, the officers confiscated more than 2 kg of "1-phenyl-2-nitropropene," which would be enough for the production of 15-20 thousand doses of the narcotic substance. The price per gram of amphetamine on the black market varies from 5 to 50 USD.

В подпольных лабораториях синтезировали наркотик в больших объемах

The drug was synthesized in large quantities in the clandestine laboratories

Mr. White from Simferopol has been receiving the chemicals from old friends from Kiev and Kherson for the past two years. He argues that he has failed to achieve the quality of the drug needed for the release on the market, but law enforcement officers have a different opinion: having a good knowledge of chemistry and medicine, the dentist achieved impressive results and, presumably, managed to make a cottage industry out of his amphetamine. At the moment, a criminal case has been initiated under art. 228 of the Russian Criminal Code, but the investigation is ongoing, and the dentist may also face articles for marketing and distribution.

A similar laboratory for the manufacture of amphetamine was found in February 2016. The drugs were sold in the city center. A stall, which was closed during the day, turned into narcotics shop at night. The prepackaged amphetamine was sold inside plastic toys. The stall was owned by two men, one of whom had previously been convicted of drug offenses. Both men independently synthesized amphetamine, producing it in large doses. Some caches with narcotic drug were found in their car, some - in a stall and at home of the criminals. One of the detained claimed he had received "the potion recipe" in prison while serving his sentence.

Another 28-year-old resident of Sevastopol was getting drugs via the Internet and sold them through distributors. He had amphetamine with a total value of 1 million rubles.

Чаще всего наркотики продают через Интернет, указывая на тайники «закладки»

Most often, the drugs are sold via the Internet, with distributors pointing to where the caches are located

Unfortunately, employees of medical institutions, who are meant to help patients, are often found on the wrong side of the fence. Every day, hundreds of pharmaceutical preparations containing narcotic drugs fall under the control of faceless hospitals and pharmacies. Only a sudden check can verify shortage or excess of these drugs. This is what happened in Saki, where after the inspection, 17 employees were brought to disciplinary liability for administrative offenses. The hospital was fined for 150 thousand rubles. The reason for the fine was stated as an incorrect account of the "dangerous" medical preparations, the lack of enhanced control (sealing of cabinets and safes). Still, nobody can say how many "goods" have gone off-label.    

Police are here not only to guard you

In January 2016, a police sergeant in Sevastopol was trying to sell a narcotics drug to a client, but was caught in the act. It was the third time that the employee tried to sell drugs. At home, he had packages with different synthetic drugs. Thus, for the first time in two years, a direct link was finally established between the city police and drug trafficking. We would love to hope that this case served simply as a reminder of the "old regime," which commonly employed "protection racket" for drug traffickers. For instance, back in November 2011, the staff of Sevastopol Department for Organized Crime Control, headed by Valentin Tsygankov, actively solicited bribes from drug traffickers. Besides, they had full control over the drug trade, directly removing the competitors and setting their own monopolistic prices for trading with "death." The main participants of the Sevastopol drug trafficking were Alexander Lisyuk, Anatoly Mazur (Tolkachev), and Eduard Tretyak, a native of Donetsk. By the way, Eduard invited his 17 colleagues from Donetsk, also Organized Crime Control Department members, to join the trade. Some of these wolves in sheep’s clothing stayed in law enforcement agencies even after Crimea became part of Russia.

When Crimea was in Ukraine, there was a competition between Baltic-Italian-Ukrainian mafia and the crowned thieves from Moscow, who sided with the Georgian kingpins. Crimea and its drug business was supervised mainly by the center of Kiev. There were times when the security forces did not let the Moscow kingpins, who arrived to "solve issues" on the peninsula, off the plane in Simferopol. The synthetic amphetamine monopoly lasted until the onset of the so-called Crimean Spring. Crimean Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov later openly spoke on this matter: "For a long time, the drug trafficking problem concerned nobody, there were cases when police provided "protection racket" for drug traffickers." The cleansing of Crimean police is conducted also through employee transfers from other regions of Russia.

Late last year, a big drug ring was exposed in Crimea. A total of 11 people were arrested, who supervised the supply of opium, cannabis and amphetamine on the Kerch peninsula, in Simferopol and Feodosia. The main defendants in this high-profile case were two villagers of Semisotka in Leninsky district - the husband and wife. It was they who organized this criminal business. Spouses had subordinate agents, drug dealers. Each of them had a few more serving people, each designated for a certain area. These delivery guys transported "goods" to certain locations or sold them "on the spot." A large amount of cash and jewelry were confiscated from the detained. A gunfire started during the special operation, resulting in the death of a Special Forces officer of the Russian Federal Drug Control Service in the Republic of Crimea, Evgeny Filenko, who was shot in the face. Filenko had a wife and a little daughter. For courage and heroism, he was posthumously awarded.

Евгений Филенко был посмертно представлен к награде

Evgeny Filenko was posthumously nominated for award  

In February 2016, a major drug trafficking group was exposed. The network was based in Bakhchysarai District and Bakhchysarai city. They established a sustained drug trafficking route throughout the region. The group was led by a previously convicted 44-year-old man, who had been released from prison in 2013. During the time spent at liberty, he bought a BMW car of the 2015 production year, and an apartment in Simferopol. During a search, the police found 113 thousand rubles, multiple caches with marijuana and amphetamine. The leader was arrested in 2015, but it took quite some time and a lot of efforts to seek and catch other members of the gang. The criminal group has been charged with 19 serious and extremely grievous crimes.

Dawn of heroin mafia era

A bloody battle against synthetic drugs began on the peninsula. The amphetamine mafia is in agony. But all of this only serves to make room for a more powerful and evil monster – the heroin mafia, which is taking control of multi-level drug dealers and their powerful patrons alike.

Investigation of age-groups of drug addicts has shown that marijuana and opium are now popular among pupils from the middle and high school, students of technical schools, as well 1st and 2nd year students of the universities. Amphetamines are used by people aged from 25 to 45. And now, this target group is being hooked on heroin instead.

So, where do the traders find the "clean" powder? It arrives from Afghanistan through streamlined paths in Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, and then straight to Caucasus. Russian heroin market is directly supervised by Caucasian organized crime groups. After Crimea joined Russia, representatives of the Caucasian community swiftly steamrolled the local drug dealers, who had dealt in trafficking amphetamine and cannabis.

After that, the heroin caches are found more and more often on the peninsula. In early June, in the heart of Sevastopol, a local resident accidentally discovered a substantial amount of heroin with a total weight of more than 1 kg. Police officers immediately arrived at the scene, seized the forbidden substance, and painted out markings that led to the cache location. For legal reasons, further actions of law enforcement officers have not been disclosed.

Caption Photo: The arrest of drug traders
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