St Petersburg press article, 1993: the detained one metric ton of cocaine will be recycled for medical purposes

невское время

Nevskoye Vremya’s press article from February 25, 1993, St Petersburg, titled: “we will be treated by cocaine”.

On February 21, 1993, St. Petersburg’s  Department of the Ministry of Security of the Russian Federation (known as UMBR, the predecessor to FSB) announced that it intercepted «an attempted ton of cocaine into Russia» at the Vyborg border crossing. Four days later, the head of UMBR Viktor Cherkesov said that the cargo had arrived from Columbia on a ship, and had passed Finnish customs unnoticed disguised as “cans of Colombian stew”, but that Russian customs officers noticed that some cans did not have markings, and upon opening one found cocaine inside. «The seized cocaine became the property of the state and will be used for medical purposes,» said Cherkesov, quoted by the newspaper «Nevskoe Vremya» in the article «We shall now be treated with cocaine» published on February 25, 1993. Cherkesov said that as of 1993 in St. Petersburg there were not enough cocaine reserves for medicinal purposes and these needed to be replenished. At that time such explanations did not cause a public uproar.

In his interview Cherkesov chose not to name the company, which was the intended recipient of the cocaine in St. Petersburg (as the shipment was planned to be repackaged for further re-export to Western Europe. «The company’s name is kept undisclosed as the investigation is ongoing.», he said. He also withheld the name of the single detained suspect, whom he described as «citizen of Israel, and former citizen of the USSR».

Later, the Belgian newspaper Le Soir published its own investigation, according to which the seemingly valiant operation of St. Petersburg’s security services was in fact a breach of an ongoing Interpol-coordinated international operation under the code name «Acapulco», which had been in the works for three years, and began with a wiretap by Colombian police.

“”moved from Bogota to Göteborg, and then, from Gothenburg to Kotka (Finland), the container was finally intercepted by the Russians, contrary to all logic and jointly coordinated plans – at the Vyborg border crossing.”

According to Alain Lallemand – the investigation’s author (who would later go on to write a book on this case), the organizer of this delivery was a certain Oscar Donat, who was subsequently arrested in Israel. In the early 90’s Donat was the owner and operator of the giant St. Petersburg customs-clearance terminal «Eurodonat Terminals».

According to The Insider, Sergei Adoniev, convicted for scam in the US in 1998, was suspected by FBI of involvement in the case original cocaine smuggling case. The whole operation appeared to be supervised with Soviet émigrés in the US. See Swiss analytical report in the TBCA, in particular, on FSB and crime connection of Soviet emigration to the US. And FBI’s report (excerpts) on “Organizatsiya”.

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