Georgia Busts Transnational Drug Trafficking Ring

On July 20, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the General Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia reported busting a transnational organized crime ring involving citizens of Georgia, Bulgaria, and Turkey engaged in trafficking substantial quantities of narcotics, including Heroin, Cocaine, Buprenorphine, Methadone, Methamphetamine, Amphetamine, and MDMA.

The law enforcement agencies said the mode of delivery was so-called “drop sales” to pre-arranged locations, and charges were brought against 16 dealers, two senior members, and three ring leaders.

In addition, the authorities uncovered the methods employed by the group to legitimize their illegal earnings and transfer funds out of the country.

The police and prosecution said substantial quantities of Heroin, Cocaine, Buprenorphine, Methadone, Methamphetamine, Amphetamine, and MDMA were imported by this trafficking ring into Georgia, with buyers depositing a total of 15,233,071 GEL, 2,577,004 US dollars, and 10,210 euros into Georgian bank accounts between 2021 and 2023. The illicit earnings were diverted to purchase real estate overseas, primarily in Cyprus the release says. The group also established legal entities in Georgia to handle the cash and facilitate the acquisition of real estate in Batumi.

The leader of the criminal group abroad and the individuals apprehended in Georgia have already been charged under articles 260 of the Criminal Code of Georgia (Illegal manufacturing, production, purchase, storage, transportation, transfer or sale of drugs, their analogs, precursors or new psychoactive substances) and 194 of the Criminal Code (Legalization of illegal income (money laundering)). Conviction under these charges could result in sentences of up to 20 years or life imprisonment.

On July 21, Tbilisi City Court Judge Tamar Mchedlishvili sentenced all six individuals accused of a transnational drug crime to prison as a preventive measure. The judge granted Prosecutor Shmagi Gobejishvili’s petition to extend the prison terms for three of the arrested individuals and three others who are currently wanted. The pre-trial session is scheduled for September 14.

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