Dad can. Criminal Investigation Department Ex-Head’s son gets away with selling drugs  

Dad can. Criminal Investigation Department Ex-Head’s son gets away with selling drugs
Danila Chikunov was released the next day, and his four friends are threatened with serious charges Photo: The CrimeRussia

One’s family being a senior police officer often means they have immunity on par with that of MPs. Even if your dad worked as the Deputy Police Chief in a fairly small town and you were caught with a large amount of drugs ready to be hidden for customers to pick up later. Crimerussia.com found out whether the Russian Investigative Committee stands a chance to prosecute a drug dealer with influential connections.

Drug sale case defendants accused the police of forging data, perjury, and forgery by officials in the Republic of Bashkortostan, as crimerussia.com found out.

Russian Federal Drug Control Service employees and investigators who investigated the case and police officers who arrested the defendants exceeded their official powers and committed forgery, according to Ruslan Yanchurin, brothers Marat and Artur Khaliulin, and Aleksey Lobanov, the defendants accused of creating a gang and selling drugs.

The drug sale case would not have normally received such extensive coverage; there are thousands of similar cases that have to do with hiding drugs for customers to pick up later. There were five defendants initially. However, one of them was released the very next day. Soon, his father and police colonel Valery Aleksandrovich Chikunov used his influence to reclassify him as a witness.

"My dad is chief Town of Ishimbay police officer"

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Detention of Danila Chikunov

A group of young people that sold amphetamine by hiding it for customers to pick up later was arrested in the City of Sterlitamak (Bashkortostan) in May of 2015, according to the police. Chikunov who went to Sterlitamak from St Petersburg and the brothers rented an apartment. First, the police arrested Chikunov and Marat Khaliulin. The police found 350 packages (150 grams) of amphetamine ready to be sold and everything necessary for its distribution in a BMW 7 Series rented by Daniil Chikunov. 1.5 more kilos of the drug was found in the apartment. 

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Toyguns were needed shoot tubes with drugs in places of cache

Everything was straightforward, one would think. All the arrestees were obviously guilty. However, strange things began happening the very next day.

Daniil Chikunov who introduced himself as “one of the chief Ishimbay police officers’ son” when arrested was released the next day and left to St Petersburg unobstructed, according to one of the brothers. Ishimbay is a small town near Sterlitamak and the Salavat village. But prior to leaving he helped the police arrest Ruslan Yanchurin; he called him and told he wanted to meet to discuss “something serious”. Yanchurin claimed the police planted drugs when arresting him. Artur Khaliulin was soon taken to the Service Sterlitamak Department. He was in hospital when his friends got arrested. He was there because “he took some (drugs)”, according to Chikunov. He was arrested upon leaving hospital; the police found drugs in his belongings. The police found his belongings and planted the drugs when he was in hospital, according to the brothers.

Yanchurin and Lobanov have been placed under house arrest; the brothers were sent to jail. Daniil Chikunov is doing well, according to some reports. He allegedly got married and became a father.

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Life is good, when there is someone to intercede

"Dark horse" or "gray cardinal"?

Of course, such a magical solution to problems with the law could not be avoided without the intervention of Danil's father, Lieutenant-Colonel Valery Chikunov, who at that time was acting as the Head of the Russian Interior Ministry's department in Ishimbay district. It is known a little - the policeman served as an operative in Salavat  for a long time, and caught bandits, as it should be for the people of his profession. Then he was transferred to the police station in the neighboring Ishimbai, where he headed the Criminal Investigation and for some time served as the Head of the district police. But there he got remedial action order from the inter-district Prosecutor's Office following the results of the conducted verification of the compliance with the requirements of the anti-corruption legislation. It is unknown where he serves now.

Witnesses do not face trial 

The criminal case against the four defendants has been referred to court. However, hearings were rescheduled several times due to all 12 witnesses not appearing in court. The witnesses began backpedaling one after another due to serious mistakes in the case file, according to human rights activists Anton Drozdov and Igor Golendukhin working for the Committee for Civil Rights who attended all four hearings of the brothers’ case. One of the witnesses even said they were in another city at the time specified in the documents.

Meanwhile, the drug dealing gang operated in Sterlitamak, Ishimbay, and Salavat, according to prosecutors. The gang was created by the brothers in 2014. It sold drugs by hiding them for customers to pick them up later. The gang was quite creative when it came to where to hide drugs. They packaged amphetamine in plastic tubes that the brothers shot from car windows using plastic pistols while sitting in the back of the car. Chikunov would continue driving; sometimes he would not even really slow down.

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Operative photo of the trunk of the car at the moment of inspection during detention

Marat Khaliulin and Daniil Chikunov have known each other since 2008, according to the case file. They went to Salavat from St Petersburg to visit Artur Khaliulin in late May of 2015. Chikunov claimed he “had financial problems” at the time and agreed to work as a driver for the brothers who did not have driver’s licenses. That is why they rented the BMW 7 Series and registered it on Chikunov. They drove to Sterlitamak on the car. Meanwhile, Marat Khaliulin’s account of the events differs quite a bit. He claimed Chikunov worked as the Biznes Finans (a St Petersburg company) CEO in 2015; he loaned money to his friends and had plenty of money himself.

Chikunov claimed they stopped in the City of Ufa where the brothers left the car for a little while. They asked him to “open the trunk from the inside and then (they) put something in it” once back. The brothers asked him to drive them to different places the next day, according to Chikunov. The police officer’s son claimed he was not a part of this and did not ask what was going on because he “was not interested”. Still, he saw brothers shoot “some polymer tubes” from the car windows using the toy pistol, according to him.

The defendants had filed multiple complaints about mistakes in the case file. They claimed the mistakes meant the case file was forged. They also complained about violation of the Russian Criminal Procedure Code. However, the only response they got was a bunch of formal letters from supervisory agencies. This trend continued until the human rights activists working for the Committee for Civil Rights and the media got involved, covering the situation extensively. Many testimonies have obviously been forged, according to the human rights activists. There are inconsistencies even within the same documents.

Two inspections have been instituted in connection to the case. One of them (regarding Daniil Chikunov’s arrest) has been instituted by the Bashkortostan Prosecutor General’s Office, while another – by the Sterlitamak Investigative Division of the Office of Investigations of the Bashkortostan Department of the Russian Investigative Committee. The second inspection instituted following reports of the four defendants is to be completed tomorrow, on September 24.

Video: Appeal of Ruslan Yanchurin

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