MOSCOW, February 27. /TASS/. No one turned up in Moscow to collect the bags that were supposed to contain the ‘Argentine cocaine’, lawyer Alexander Kostaniants defending the suspect Ali Abyanov told TASS on Tuesday.
"The suitcases that were supposed to contain the ‘Argentine coke’ [which the security serviced had replaced with flour] reached Moscow but no one turned up to collect them," he said.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said earlier the Russian and Argentine law enforcement agencies had held a joint operation to plug a channel for delivery of a large consignment of drugs [389 km of coke] to the European market and had detained the suspects, who were Argentine and Russian citizens.
The ministry said the consignment of coke had been found in one of the buildings on the compound of the Russian embassy in Buenos Aires. It belonged to a member of the ambassadorial staff who had rounded up his mission in Argentina by that time.
The FSB public relations center said the Russian and Argentine authorities had detained the suspects [three in Russia and two in Argentina]. Russian investigators have placed Andrei Kovalchuk, the presumable mastermind of the scheme, on an international wanted list.
The FSB also said the information available to it indicated that Kovalchuk might be on a hideout in Germany. The Russian embassy in Berlin said along with it that Kovalchuk had never been its staff member.
In the meantime, Moscow City’s Tverskoi district court has charged the man in absentia with drug trafficking and has authorized his arrest.