Drug network crackdown reveals: more and more teenagers are being drawn into the drug maelstrom in Lithuania, with tragic consequences

Kaunas law enforcement officials report on a successful operation to unmask an international gang of drug traffickers.

 Kaunas law enforcement officials report on a successful operation to unmask an international gang of drug traffickers. <br>Lrytas montažas.
 Kaunas law enforcement officials report on a successful operation to unmask an international gang of drug traffickers. <br>Lrytas montažas.
Elektroninė cigaretė<br>123rf nuotr.
Elektroninė cigaretė<br>123rf nuotr.
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Oct 3, 2023, 3:38 PM

This is especially true in the context of the alarming news about the tragic consequences of the proliferation of drugs: for example, a 17-year-old died of drug poisoning last weekend in Marijampolė, and two 17- and 18-year-olds who were using drugs with him ended up in hospital.

Another 16-year-old teenager from Marijampolė was poisoned by drugs on Monday and admitted to the hospital with complicated complications.

Drugs break people's destinies, and young people are particularly vulnerable to death and severe symptoms.

One of the branches of the drug route has recently been disrupted, reportedly thanks to the efforts of Kaunas criminals and prosecutors.

Law enforcement officers attended a press conference at the Kaunas Regional Prosecutor's Office on Friday at 10 a.m., which will reveal the details of the gang-busting operation. Medical doctors from Kaunas clinics will be in attendance as well. According to the portal lrytas.lt, they will inform about the health consequences of the drugs disposed of by the group of distributors.

A joint investigation is being carried out by the Kaunas Regional Prosecutor's Office and the Kaunas District Chief Police Commissariat.

Following the opening of this pre-trial investigation, the criminal chain led to a large and well-organised international group.

15 suspects arrested in Lithuania

Large quantities of synthetic drugs were produced in a laboratory in Greece. A law enforcement raid in the country led to the arresting 5 suspects, the dismantling of a drug production site, and the discovery more than 50 kilograms of drugs. Weapons and large amounts of cash were also found.

From Greece, drugs were being supplied to Lithuania and other European countries, the USA and Australia.

Once the drugs reached Lithuania, local distributors introduced them to schoolchildren and older people.

Following opening cases for downloading and trafficking, 15 suspects were arrested, the youngest of whom was just 16. He was distributing drugs to young people of a similar age.

Arrests occurred in Vilnius, Kaunas, Pasvalys, Ukmergė and other cities.

Some of the drugs found during searches were mixed with e-cigarette liquid.

Smile and other synthetic drugs have been found to be widely distributed among young people.

Around 10,000 doses could have been made from the drugs found during raids in Lithuania.

Lithuanians helped unmask the drug squad

"These pre-trial investigations are distinguished by the fact that the communication, transactions and payments took place exclusively on the internet, which police officers monitoring the investigation have established that the narcotic substances are coming to Lithuania from Greece," said Tomas Staniulis, prosecutor of the 2nd Criminal Prosecution Division of the Kaunas District Prosecutor's Office.

After contacting Greek law enforcement, Greek officials identified a large drug laboratory based on information from their Lithuanian counterparts.

"In Greece, the suspects face life imprisonment, while in Lithuania they could face up to 15 years in prison," said Mr Staniulis.

Pre-trial investigations were launched in May this year and are still ongoing.

According to Aleksey Gubenko, Head of the Criminal Police Property Crime Investigation Department of the Kaunas County Chief Police Commissariat, during the arrests, various types of synthetic drugs were detected entering Lithuania from Greece, as well as cannabis, and around €20,000 in cash.

Cryptocurrency was also found in computers, which was also used for payments.

Not all threads have been detected yet

"Greek law enforcement officials were contacted through Europol and the Lithuanian Criminal Police Bureau, and a joint investigation was launched to identify the people who were manufacturing the drugs and supplying them across Europe," said Gubenko.

Following the arrest of 15 suspects in Lithuania, other persons involved in the distribution of drugs are currently being identified.

In Greece, the hidden strands of a deadly drug business are also being sought and other members of the network are being identified.

A Greek police representative from Thessaloniki also attended the press conference and remotely reported on the successful operation to unmask the drug trafficking network and the seizure of large quantities of synthetic drugs.

The consequences are dire

"The new psychoactive substances we are dealing with in this investigation mimic the effects of long-established narcotic substances. It is estimated that an average of two new substances a week are introduced in Europe.

This makes them difficult to control and makes it difficult for doctors to recognise what has actually happened to a patient.

In the Emergency Department, we mainly deal with adolescents experimenting with complex health problems," said Audrys Kukulskis, an emergency medicine doctor at Kaunas Clinics.

Students and other drug patients have dangerous complications, such as strokes, seizures, heart problems, unconsciousness and impaired consciousness.

Tragic cases occur, such as the death of a 17-year-old last weekend from drug poisoning.

Teenagers are left to their fate

"These crimes sometimes do not require an organised group, as one pre-trial investigation has shown.

"At the age of 16, the suspect, who lives in Lithuania, managed to download drugs from Greece, carry out a series of chemical reactions, make the appropriate number of doses and attempt to distribute narcotic substances to his so-called 'posse' of 400 people.

Therefore, particular attention must be paid to preventing and detecting these crimes, with appropriate penalties," said Mr Staniulis.

The prosecutor pointed out that society tolerates narcotic and psychotropic substances.

For this reason, a significant number of young people are involved in the distribution and use of drugs.

"It is unfortunate, but attempts are being made to involve young people. Their immediate environment sees the consequences but tolerates them. There is no help given, just teenagers left to their fate.

It is regrettable that when there is such a demand for drugs from abroad and such a demand for drugs in Lithuania, we are faced with such severe, irreversible consequences", said T. Staniulis.

Law enforcement has identified 15 suspects in Lithuania in these investigations, but there is no way to count the number of victims who are minors involved in the drug racket. If one child is identified, this number should be multiplied by ten, because their family members, teachers and other people are affected.

The trend is worrying; as such, pre-trial investigations are increasing.

"It would be perfect if society did not tolerate such cases," stressed Mr Staniulis.

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