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Ukrainian police detain recruiters of drug mules to Brazil

Eight victims have been identified, four are now back to Ukraine.

Ukrainian police detain recruiters of drug mules to Brazil
Photo: mvs.gov.ua

Police in Kyiv Region have detained four people suspected of recruiting local residents as drug mules to Brazil, the regional prosecutor's office has said on its website.

Regional prosecutor Dmytro Chibisov said that in 2015-16 the suspects recruited and shipped Ukrainian nationals to involve them in criminal activities, including drug trafficking.

The criminals promised credulous people legal and high-paid jobs in tourism and a job as gem couriers. They bought them tickets and paid for their accommodation. A person was then sent a text from an "employer" with an assignment to deliver a bag of valuable from San Paolo to Thailand.

During the registration and luggage inspections, Ukrainians were detained. In particular, eight Ukrainian nationals, who took up the job, were found to carry over 25 kg of cocaine during the luggage check.

"Eight victims have been identified, four managed to return to Ukraine. One of the victims was convicted in Thailand," the prosecutor said.

Interior Ministry spokesman Artem Shevchenko said on Facebook that the recruitment organizer was arrested without bail, three others can go out if the bail of 200,000 hryvnyas is paid for them. He said it was much less than what they earned on human trafficking.

In December 2016, police uncovered a scheme in which Ukrainian nationals were recruited as drug couriers to Russia.