The drug smuggling chain was busted as a result of a “months-long multi-stage international operation,” Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) said in a statement on Tuesday, adding that the first members of the gang were detained as early as in May. The operation was conducted together with the US Justice Department’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section (NDDS).
“In close cooperation with international partners,” the Russian security service identified the members of the smuggling chain and managed to detain many active gang members, including a ringleader in an operation in June, the statement said.
A video released by the FSB to the Russian media shows agents in plain clothes dragging the suspects from their cars during the arrest, as well as boxes of seized cash and drugs. The FSB also busted the gang’s hideout in the Moscow region and seized a total of 330 kilograms of cocaine, worth one billion rubles ($13.6 million).
The operation has become a rare example of collaboration between the Russian and the US security services as relations between Moscow and Washington remain quite strained. Despite this, the two nations apparently continue to work together in fighting international criminal networks, as well as terrorist groups.
In December 2019, US President Donald Trump lauded the coordination between Moscow and Washington that helped the Russian security services prevent a terror attack on New Year’s Eve. At that time, the Kremlin said that Russian President Vladimir Putin had called Trump to express gratitude for the information that led to the suspects’ arrest.
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