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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Report: Increase In Parcels Containing Drugs In Estonia

A recent report by the Tax and Customs Administration (MTA) in Estonia revealed that the number of packages containing narcotics arrived in the country has seen an increase.

According to the report, the International Postal Department seizes an average of one pack a day that has drugs inside. The number of narcotics packages intercepted by Estonian border authorities have been growing since the past few years. Also, not just the number of parcels has seen an increase, but the average quantity of substances inside. According to the report, over the past few years, the average quantity of narcotics seized increased from a few grams to ten as many as 100.

Senior Inspector Reet Õunapuu from the Tax and Customs Administration (MTA) confirmed that drug shipments are detected more frequently in the country.

A few weeks ago Estonian customs intercepted a package with over 100 grams of hash inside.

“There are more and more websites offering illicit drugs on the internet. Since these internet shopping pages are public, it is believed that buying from there is permitted, “speculates Õunapuu.

A few years ago, customs seized packages with amateurish stealth. For example, marijuana was mostly just put into the letter while nowadays, it is wrapped in multiple vacuum sealed packaging, which does not allow specific odor to spread. The report also mentions the creativity of drug dealers, with instances when narcotics were found in CD cases or even in shampoo bottles.

“Otherwise, when a large mail bag is opened, you can already smell the odor of marijuana,” said Õunapuu.

No matter how stealthy the package is, trained eyes of customs workers can easily intercept a narcotics package. When a suspicious parcel is spotted, the customs call for a postal worker to perform a closer inspection.

Recently, customs officials seized a mushroom grower kit on their way from the Netherlands to Estonia. In the package, even the instructions for growing were included so a beginner could understand how the basics work. However, the possession of the fluid in the parcel could be punished by authorities.

Possessing opium poppy, cannabis or coca for illicit cultivation could be punishable by up to five years of imprisonment in the country. Delivering to the EU or to a cross state border is punishable by a fine or up to five years of imprisonment. Many people believe that possessing marijuana seeds is legal if you don’t plant them. However, in Estonia, it is illegal to possess hemp seeds.

“Since THC can be detected in hemp seeds, they fall in the category of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances,” a senior inspector said.

MTA workers categorized countries by risk. The country with the highest risk is where most narcotics packages come from. For example, powder and hemp seeds come from the United Kingdom. The Netherlands leads the list in illegal parcels, lots of marijuana comes from the Czech Republic but even Mexico and Switzerland are considered as risky countries. For these countries, postal workers use specific scanning equipment to intercept illicit packages.
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