International operation liquidated route for smuggling methamphetamine precursors

The arrest of 18 people, the seizure of about 3 tons of drug precursors, and in Poland about 3.3 million ephedrine and pseudoephedrine tablets are the result of the activities of the Carpathian OSG, CBŚP, the PZ division of the National Prosecutor’s Office, services and prosecutors’ offices from Romania, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The activities were also supported by Eurojust and Europol. It was established that the group made a total of nearly 100 deliveries of precursors containing 168 million tablets.

The investigators established that during the period of the criminal group’s activity, a total of nearly 100 deliveries of drug precursors to Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia were made. It was established that the group transported a total of almost 168 million tablets, from which about 4.7 tons of methamphetamine with an estimated wholesale value of over half a billion zlotys on the black market could be obtained.

Officers from the Carpathian Branch of the Border Guard, policemen from the Katowice Board of CBŚP and prosecutors from the Silesian Branch of the Department for Organized Crime and Corruption of the National Prosecutor’s Office in Katowice are conducting an investigation into an international, organized crime group. The gang has been operating for 2 years in several European countries, including Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Lithuania and Romania. Investigative findings show that huge amounts of drugs containing ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, which are methamphetamine precursors, were smuggled from Romania to the Czech Republic and Poland.

Due to the international nature of the investigation, an inter-state investigative team (JIT – Joint Investigation Team) was established, consisting of the Polish National Prosecutor’s Office from the departments in Katowice and Wrocław, the Romanian Prosecutor’s Office at the Supreme Court of Cassation in Romania, the Slovak Prosecutor’s Office of the Slovak Republic and the Czech Prosecutor’s Office General of the Czech Republic. Operations in individual countries were carried out by local services, including the Romanian Poliția Română, the Slovak Národná Kriminálna Agentúra, the Czech Policie České Republiky and were coordinated by Europol and Eurojust. Support was also provided by policemen from the Management Board in Wrocław of CBŚP.

Coordinated international operations were carried out in Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania, where a total of 18 people were detained. In Poland, in the following provinces: Śląskie, Łódzkie, Dolnośląskie and in Warsaw, officers detained 8 people. As part of the international operation, approximately 3 tons of drug precursors and several batches of drugs were seized in Romania. In Poland, about 3.3 million tablets containing ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, worth over PLN 4 million, were seized. During the operation, several properties were searched, including the places of residence of the suspects, storage rooms and offices of accounting offices.

In several countries, property belonging to suspects was also seized in the form of cash in various currencies and valuable gold and silver coins, with a total value of approximately PLN 10 million, of which almost PLN 1.2 million in Poland. In the course of the activities, the Romanian services also secured documents regarding the sale of a company producing drug precursors in Romania and detained its director, who was then arrested. Everything indicates that the organizer of the procedure and the leader of the group was a Slovak citizen detained by the Slovak law enforcement authorities. The charges presented to persons detained in Poland by prosecutors from the Silesian and Lower Silesian National Prosecutor’s Offices concerned participation in an organized criminal group, as well as possession of drugs and aiding and abetting in the production of large amounts of drugs, which is punishable by 15 years imprisonment. 5 people were temporarily arrested at the prosecutor’s request. Suspects who are detained in other countries will be prosecuted in accordance with local law.

The findings of the investigation show that a private company legally operating in Romania, producing drugs containing ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, which are drug precursors, was used for the criminal practice. They were distributed as two pharmaceutical products, one of which was registered as a medicine and authorized only in Romania. In the case of the second product, the Romanian company did not have a permit for its production and sale in Romania, or for export to other EU countries. Tablets manufactured in Romania were officially purchased by companies in the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Lithuania and Spain, which purchased them without a marketing authorization in these countries. However, the drugs did not reach the declared destination, but to various places in Poland, from where they were further distributed.