RIGA, JAN 14 — Latvian police, in collaboration with foreign law enforcement authorities, have seized two tons of cocaine, which is the largest amount of this narcotic ever seized in the Baltic country, police representatives said on Monday.
A successful international operation on Jan. 8 led to the busting of a cocaine trafficking scheme and the confiscation of more than two tons of the drug in Latvia, Andrejs Grisins, head of the Latvian criminal police, said at a news conference in Riga.
The police official said that the drugs, found and seized in the eastern Latvian district of Koknese, apparently were not meant for the local market.
In the operation, Latvian police, along with the Omega counterterrorism squad and US law enforcement officers, seized 42 cardboard boxes filled with cocaine, which had probably arrived from Ecuador. The boxes contained 2,195 variously labeled packages of cocaine.
The wholesale value of the haul is estimated at around 65 million euros (74.5 million U.S. dollars), Grisins said, adding that the total retail value might be close to a billion euros (1.15 billion U.S. dollars).
Five Latvian citizens, including one who has already been tried for smuggling and money laundering, have been arrested in connection with the case.
An investigation is under way to establish the destination of the record-large cocaine cargo. Drug traffickers tend to use Latvia as a transit country for smuggling narcotics to Scandinavia or the east. – XINHUA