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Cocaine found in Russia’s embassy in Buenos Aires belongs to ex-maintenance worker

As a result of the operation, suspects from both states have been detained

MOSCOW, February 23. /TASS/. A batch of drugs found on the premises of Russia’s embassy in Buenos Aires belonged to a former maintenance worker who had ended his work trip by that time, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Friday.

On Thursday, a source with the Russian Foreign Ministry told TASS that special services of Russia and Argentina had teamed up to curb drug trafficking.

"Law enforcement agencies of Russia and Argentina conducted a joint operation to cut off a channel smuggling a large batch of narcotic drugs (cocaine) from that South American country to the European market," she said in a commentary. "As a result of the operation, suspects from both states have been detained. An investigation is underway and later on, the case will be referred to the court."

"The above-mentioned consignment was found ready to be shipped at one of the Russian embassy’s facilities in Buenos Aires, which is an educational and residential compound," she said. "It was established that it belonged to a worker of the embassy’s maintenance personnel who had already ended his work trip under a short-term employment contract."

"As for the media allegations that the consignment might have been shipped through diplomatic channels, we would like to stress that the way this question is raised shows a lack of knowledge of the order and procedure of how diplomatic mail is sent and, needless to say, that its content is not determined by the mission’s technical personnel," Zakharova said.

"We are surprised how the issue is highlighted by ‘experts.’ Some of them have even begun alleging that the incident ‘casts a shadow’ on our diplomatic mission," she said. "On the contrary, the success of that operation has stemmed from effective actions of the Russian ambassador and diplomatic staff."

Efficient collaboration

Information about suspicious bags was reported to the Argentine law enforcement agencies following an initiative of Russia’s Ambassador in Buenos Aires Viktor Koronelli that had been approved by Moscow, Zakharova said.

"As a result of the joint operation conducted also in the building owned by the embassy and in full respect for its diplomatic status, it was established that there was a narcotic drug in the bags," she said.

Apart from that, Moscow underlined a high level of effective interaction during the operation between the Russian and Argentine law enforcement agencies, in particular with Argentina’s Security Ministry and Minister Patricia Bullrich.

"The experience has become another evidence of a truly partnership developing with that country in various fields, including law enforcement," the commentary said.