Smugglers taking Iranian methamphetamine from Armenia to Japan are arrested

Smugglers taking Iranian methamphetamine from Armenia to Japan are arrested –

Prague Post – Police have cracked an international drug smuggling ring that used Czech and Slovak couriers to take Iranian methamphetamine from Turkey and Armenia to Japan.

Czech authorities are detaining three people, and more are being held in other countries, police spokeswoman Barbora Kudláčková said on the police website.

More arrests are possible, she added.

The suspects held in the Czech Republic face up to 18 years in prison if convicted of unauthorized production and other handling of narcotics and psychotropic substances and of poisons.

Czech, Slovak, Turkish, Armenian, Japanses and British police cooperated with Interpol and Europol on the case, which was codenamed Sake.

The methamphetamine that was smuggled into Japan was purchased in Iran, where a gram sells for about 200 Kč. In Japan, the same amount sells for 19,000 Kč.

In most cases, the couriers traveled in mixed pairs or as spouses or siblings, making it more difficult to detect them.

The couriers traveled by plane from Prague and Vienna to Turkey or Armenia, where they would get specially adapted suitcases that hid a kilogram of methamphetamine. The couriers then flew to Tokyo by way of Abu Dhabi or Dubai.

In Tokyo, they went to a predetermined hotel where they drugs were dropped off.

The couples received 100,000 Kč plus travel expenses for their efforts.

Detectives worked on the case three months, during which time they managed to establish the organizers of the group, some of whom were staying in the UK. The detectives documented five methamphetamine shipments to Japan.

Japanese authorities detained a man and a woman attempting to import about 2 kilograms of methamphetamine concealed in two suitcases. These two have been convicted and face sentences of seven to 10 years in prison and fines of up to 6 million Japanese yen.

Further, two Slovak people were arrested in Britain before they could leave for Turkey or Armenia with about 5 kg of methamphetamine that was most probably destined for the Japanese drug market. One of the two Slovaks is being considered for extradition to the Czech Republic.

Under the same international cooperation, a Slovak with permanent Czech Residence was caught in a hotel in Antalya, Turkey, just as he took possession of a bag hiding 2 kilograms of methamphetamine. The unidentified Slovak was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

The trend of hiring Czech couriers to transport methamphetamine to Japan began in 2011. Most of the couriers come from underprivileged regions or have significant economic problems. The recruiters are usually Czech or Slovak citizens with links to foreign crime groups, the police said.

Prices for methamphetamine on the Japanese market are considerably higher than in European markets, and police expect the smuggling to continue.

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