STA, 30 January 2020 - The police investigation that led to the dismantling of a well-organised international drug ring earlier this week uncovered the biggest synthetic drugs lab ever found in Slovenia, police representatives told the press on Thursday, as they talked about the investigation in more detail and updated earlier information.
This is the first time that a "wholesale" drugs lab was found operating in Slovenia, Criminal Police Administration director Boštjan Lindav said, adding that this in itself is a landmark.
The police seized 125 kilos of amphetamines and enough precursors to make another 300 kilos of amphetamines in nearly 50 house searches featuring nearly 500 officers Tuesday morning. Equipment to make and package drugs was also seized, as were firearms.
The investigation leading up to the Tuesday bust lasted 28 months, which Lindav said was normal for an investigation of such complexity.
The police believe that a 38-year-old Slovenian citizen from Kamnik was the head of the drug cartel. In the course of the investigation, the police secured evidence of at least 61 crimes perpetrated by 45 members of the ring, said Ljubljana criminal police chief Damjan Petrič.
Apart from the amphetamines and precursors, the police seized 4.7 kilos of cocaine, 9.6 kilos of heroin, 28.3 kilos of marijuana, a kilo of hashish and 6,300 ecstasy pills on Tuesday. More than EUR 240,000 in cash was also seized.
Petrič said that the price of drugs depended on purity, quantity, place of delivery, frequency of purchase by individual buyers and previous cooperation with them. The price of cocaine, for example, varied from EUR 4,000 to EUR 21,000 a kilo.
The members of the ring made a total of about EUR 1.3 million in illegal gains during the course of the investigation.
A courier made EUR 41,000 for transporting nearly 17 kilos of drugs in this period, whereas the person in charge of the network of couriers and dealers made EUR 140,000, Petrič illustrated.
The Ljubljana District Prosecution filed requests for investigation against 46 suspects, whereas 18 people who were arrested on Tuesday have already been brought to an investigative judge. Six suspects were also arrested in Croatia.
Lindav said that the ring was very well organised, and that its members were very careful and confident, as they had not been deterred from drug trafficking despite their earlier drug-related sentences and the fact that one of them was in prison at the time.