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Russia Investigates an Online Drug Trafficking Ring

Russian Authorities arrested four suspects in an investigation into a large scale drug trafficking network that operated from Ussuriysk, Primorsky Krai, Russia. The Drug Control Department of the Ministry of the Interior confirmed that the suspects were in custody and had been charged on June 5.

During the investigation, undercover officers bought from one of the main suspects—a 42-year-old in Ussuriysk. Afterwards, while conducting a search at his place of residence, authorities found a “derivate of ‘N-metilefedron.’” This name, even when fully translated either refers into the English language, sizes not fit any International Nonproprietary Name. It either refers to methcathinone or N-methylephedrine. Since N-methylephedrine is less valuable than ephedrine and the only other reference is to methcathinone, N-metilefedron will now be in reference to methcathinone.

The 42-year-old had 1.2 kilograms in his possession. During the investigation into the man’s activities, authorities located three local accomplices. The four sold drugs at “significant and large scale,” the officials reported. They used online shops and electronic payment systems to obtain the drugs, although the majority of that may have been the role of the one 42-year-old.

Others arrested were described as locals between 21-years-old and 42-years-old. And currently, authorities are looking numerous similar cases in and out of the region that may be connected. There has been an increased number of arrests with suspected connections to the original four. After looking over many of the crime blotters in the area, one can see a clear increase in the overwhelming number of 4-MMC arrests with ties to online drug trafficking.

Earlier this month, authorities arrested three more for the possession of the same drug: a 21-year-old, a 27-year-old, and a 32-year-old. Two from the Ichalkovsky district and one from Nizhny Novgorod Oblast. Officials determined that the N-metilefedron came from the internet.

And another 42-year-old was arrested this month for trafficking the same drug. He purchased the drugs, including N-metilefedron and amphetamine, from outside of Russia. Then drove back to his apartment in Russia where he sold the drugs through “apps” for digital currency. Police caught him with roughly half of a kilogram of amphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, and a “synthetic analog.” Authorities charged him with “Illegal possession of drugs on a large scale.”

The Drug Control Department connected involvement in 14 different crimes. Several additional suspects are under investigation, including those who had already landed in custody. The Ministry of the Interior hopes to join any connected crimes into a single criminal proceeding, one channel reported. The investigation is ongoing.

Authorities had already proven involvement in 14 episodes of illegal activities in conjunction with the arrest of the main four. Those from Ussuriysk are in custody and could face 25 years in prison if the judge finds them guilty. And the charges may increase depending on the outcome of the ongoing investigation.

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