MOSCOW, June 7. /TASS/. Police are checking information that detained investigative correspondent of the Meduza media outlet Ivan Golunov could be linked to a drug ring, the press service of the Interior Ministry’s Main Department in Moscow said on Friday.
The photos posted on the official website were made as part of an effort to thwart this group’s activity, it said. Only one photo published there was taken during the searches in the journalist’s apartment.
"The other photos, posted today on the official website of the Interior Ministry’s Main Department in Moscow, were made in the framework of an operation and investigation to curb the activity of the drug trafficking group in the Moscow Region," the statement said. An investigation is underway to find out whether the journalist could be linked to this group.
Some Telegram channels claimed that the police provided no evidence that the photos had been taken in Golunov’s flat, with his acquaintances insisting that this is not his apartment. However, the Interior Ministry’s spokesman, Yuri Titov, said these photos with drugs were made during the searches conducted in suspect’s flat that he rented in a residential building on Veshnyakovskaya Street.
Golunov, 36, an investigative correspondent from the Riga-based Meduza online newspaper was detained in downtown Moscow on June 6. According to police, he was carrying several packages containing 4 grams of mephedrone, a synthetic stimulant drug. Three packages, a parcel containing a powdery substance and scales were found in his house. A criminal case was opened against Golunov into an attempt to commit a crime, and illegal production, sale and transportation of drugs.
His lawyer Dmitry Dzhulai insisted that police had planted the drugs on his client, explaining that this could occur at the moment when the journalist was confronted by the police. A police spokesman rejected the claims that the journalist was beaten during the detention.
Meduza’s Director General Galina Timchenko and Chief Editor Ivan Kolpakov believe that Golunov could be prosecuted over his professional activity.