The “tango connection”: more arrests made in Argentina and Russia in cocaine through diplomatic luggage sting

EPA/BORIS ROESSLER

The “tango connection”: more arrests made in Argentina and Russia in cocaine through diplomatic luggage sting


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Six suspected members of a drug-trafficking ring were arrested in Argentina and Russia as part of a joint police investigation that was launched more than a year ago after almost 400 kg of cocaine were found in the Russian Embassy in Buenos Aires.

Argentinian Security Minister Patricia Bullrich said that the probe led to the arrest on February 22 of a naturalized Russian who was a member of the police force in Buenos Aires and another citizen of the South American country.

The investigation started in 2016, when the Russian ambassador to Argentina called local authorities to report that traffickers were trying to move 16 bags of cocaine from the Buenos Aires embassy by way of a diplomatic flight.

Once authorities confirmed that traffickers were trying to move 16 bags of cocaine from the embassy by way of a diplomatic flight, “a tracking device was placed in the suitcase that was to be used to make the shipment to Russia, which was its destination,” Bullrich told reporters.

The luggage was flown to Russia in 2017, after  authorities replaced the cocaine with flour while it was still at the embassy, and Bullrich said three Argentinian customs officials traveled to Russia to monitor the delivery.

Two individuals were arrested when they went to pick up the cargo, while a former embassy official was arrested in his Moscow apartment.

Another suspect is still at large and is wanted under an international arrest warrant.

“This has been one of the most complex and extravagant drug-dealing operations that Argentina has faced,” Bullrich said.

Russian security service agents had also traveled to Argentina to assist in the probe.

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