MOSCOW, February 18. /TASS/. The drug business thrives in times of economic crisis, head of the Russian Federal Drug Control Service (FSKN) Viktor Ivanov told journalists on Thursday.
"Drug trafficking is also a business, but a shadow one. Economic crisis manifestations affect it, but to a considerably smaller extent than the country’s effective economy," Ivanov said.
"On the contrary, drug trafficking begins to thrive in these conditions, because economic difficulties in the economy in many ways lead to the so-called sustainable liquidity deficit in which the financial systems have a chronic shortage of liquid funds which prevents crediting of the active economy, and in this case drugs (and proceeds from their sale) begin to replace this liquidity," Ivanov said.
The Federal Drug Control Service chief said previously that the worldwide annual turnover of narcotic drugs is estimated, according to the UN data, at $500 to $800 billion. According to him, proceeds from drug trafficking are laundered and legalized, getting into the global banking system.
According to Ivanov, Russia’s Federal Drug Control Service froze drug dealers’ assets worth 1 billion rubles ($13.3 million) last year.
"Russia’s Federal Drug Control Service blocked the assets of drug dealers worth almost 1 billion rubles," Ivanov said at the Service’s board meeting.
The retail sales of drugs are based on numerous small local chains of small dealers while single drug dozes are sold on the street by drug users, Ivanov said.
"This retail trade is noticed actually by every citizen because this is done in streets, courtyards and apartment block entrances through direct contacts with drug users. About 17,000 such rank-and-file drug sellers were convicted in 2015 and about 2 tons of narcotic drugs were seized from them," the head of Russia’s Federal Drug Control Service said.
Also, more than 4,000 court rulings were passed against drug business organizers in 2015, he said.
"In 2015, courts passed 4,250 judgments against the organizers of drug business, of which 3,611 rulings were based on criminal cases opened by the Federal Drug Control Service, Ivanov said.
"A fourth of criminal communities liquidated by the Federal Drug Control Service were either organized outside Russia or had structural units located abroad," he added.
As 13,500 drug sellers were brought to criminal account last year, the drug police seized almost 27 tons of concentrated drugs from them, thus preventing the economic damage of 114 billion rubles ($1.5 billion) from the delivery of wholesale drug batches to retailers, he said.