A Russian courtroom has sentenced 4 males to prolonged jail phrases for making an attempt to smuggle practically 400kg (880lb) of cocaine in suitcases from the Russian embassy in Argentina.
Argentine authorities seized the cocaine, price $62m (£45.5m), hidden in suitcases within the Russian embassy college in 2018.
Moscow’s Dorogomilovsky district courtroom sentenced the alleged mastermind, Andrei Kovalchuk, to 18 years, his lawyer Sergei Yurosh instructed AFP, however stated they deliberate to enchantment. A former worker of the Russian embassy in Argentina, Ali Abyanov, was handed a 17-year jail time period.
Two different males, who had reportedly tried to transfer the suitcases from a overseas ministry storage facility in Moscow, have been sentenced to 16 and 13 years respectively.
The plot was foiled when investigators changed the medication with flour to monitor the gang in a joint Russian-Argentine operation.
Kovalchuk was arrested in Germany in 2018 after occurring the run, and extradited to Russia the identical yr.
The case triggered controversy in Russia on the time, when media questioned contradictory official accounts of occasions.
Patricia Bullrich, Argentina’s safety minister, stated that the gang had sought to use the Russian diplomatic courier service to fly the cocaine to Europe. However when Argentine police launched photos of a Russian plane used within the sting operation and bearing the variety of safety council chief, Nikolai Patrushev’s, aircraft, the Kremlin denied any of its fleet had been concerned.
Argentine investigators consider the cocaine – which they described as being very pure – was doubtless to have originated in Colombia or Peru.
The medication have been destined for Russia and, it’s believed, for Germany, the place Kovalchuk lived.
Russian and Argentine police mounted the sting operation after the Russian ambassador instructed authorities of the medication discover in 2016.