Viktor Ivanov, the head of The Federal Drug Control Service of the Russian Federation (FDCS), met diplomats from 46 countries and gave them information about drug dealers. Names and addresses of these criminals were identified during special operation “Mosaic”. The list includes 1,500 names, 1,180 are citizens of the USA. According to LEA the criminal community consisted of about 10,000 participants. Three Russian citizens were the websites’ admins, managing drugs trafficking.
Opening of investigations
FDCS officers found traces of international drug dealers’ activity last year. As a result of investigative efforts policemen identified alleged admins of the criminal community.
Three Russian citizens registered in the Netherlands, two websites – rcfor.me and isomerism.net and established client bases of bulk dealers. Admins undertook marketing studies and in order to meet the demand they placed orders in production centers located in South-East Asia. Drugs were delivered via DHL service, in packages weighing not more than 2 kilograms so to improve stealth.
Russian law agencies turned to Chinese and Spanish colleagues for assistance. As a result, police of three countries planned and made a controlled purchase. Drugs were tracked from a Chinese manufacturer to a customer in Spain, where criminal proceedings were initiated. It provided grounds for arresting admins.
During the investigation, FDCS officers recorded 6,000 shipments to 47 countries of the world. At the moment they carry out labor-intensive and technically complex work with the aim to identify all drug dealers involved.
Russian Pablo Escobar
The international drug empire was managed by Alexandre Sitnikov, 25 years old. Alexandre is considered to be a self-educated genius. He graduated from a technical University, is a fluent English speaker – but he failed to put skills and talents to good use. Instead, Sitnikov came up with an idea to run a high-tech drug cartel. Alexandre administered websites and managed drugs production and trafficking throughout the world.
The websites comprised of more than 8,000 registered users and the listings consisted of 30 kinds of synthetic drugs. Orders were paid in cryptocurrencies and the annual income estimated millions of dollars. Alexandre spent money on travelling, expensive cars and real estate. He registered all property on his wife’s name, who, by the way, filed for divorce as soon as she learned about her husband’s arrest. Mass media have already compared the scope of Sitnikov’s drug empire with Escobar’s and Heizenberg’s, nicknaming him “Russian Escobar” or “Jessy Pinkman”.
In the airport “Tolmachevo” (Russia) police arrested Sitnikov and two his associates, who are most likely assistant administrators of the web drug shops. Officers found grow boxes and cannabis plants in their apartments. Suspects claim that they grew marijuana for own use.
Obviously, the main evidence in this criminal case is Sitnikov’s laptop. Police say that all the details of incriminating information all stored on its hardware, although previously it was stated that sensitive information was encrypted. We can guess that Sitnikov provided private keys just like notorious DPR Ross Ulbricht did. Moreover, it is not clear how legal enforces got admins’ IPs, in spite of the fact, that criminals used Tor browser to keep anonymity.
According to the Russian constitution, its citizens cannot be extradited, meaning that admins will be brought to a Russian court. They are charged with illegal drugs trafficking and face life sentences.
Diplomatic meeting results
US representatives were also present on the meeting arranged by FDCS. Viktor Ivanov gave them information about 1,180 American drug dealers involved in criminal activity and data on over 6,000 tracked shipments, containing illicit substances. In his speech, he appealed in particular to prosecutors of Nebraska and Oklahoma John Brunning and Scott Pruitt. Ivanov noted their high civil responsibility and integrity against marijuana legalization. He admired their principal anti-drugs position and expressed the hope of their assistance in the investigation.
During the last years, the interaction between Russian enforcement agencies and Western ones decreased significantly. Thus, experts fail to predict how willingly other countries will join in for this international investigation.