Belarus KGB: Massive spike in drug smuggling into Poland

Belarus KGB: Massive spike in drug smuggling into Poland Minsk - Rising demand in Poland for recreational narcotics is behind a sharp spike in the smuggling of drugs and intermediate chemical substances from Russia through Belarus, an official from Belarus' KGB secret police said Tuesday.

Clandestine shipments of psychotropic narcotics manufactured in Russia and ready for use in Poland or elsewhere in the European Union shot up a whopping ten times over the same period, said Valery Nadtochaev, a KGB spokesman.

The volume of illicit transfers of Russia-produced chemical materials needed for narcotics manufacture through Belarus to Poland had increased sevenfold since 2008, Nadtochaev said.

"Poland has become one of the world leaders in the production of synthetic drugs ... we are seeing a huge increase in the smuggling of precursor materials from Russia through Belarus," he said.

Belarusian arrests of persons on narcotics trading charges were up 60 per cent, but the volume of drugs getting through to Poland remained massive and was likely to continue to rise, according to the KGB report.

Belarus as per the terms of a "favoured-nation" trading agreement with Moscow polices its eastern border lightly, with few if any checks to persons or transport entering the former Soviet republic from Russia.

Belarus controls its western and northern borders with Poland and the Baltic states Lithuania and Latvia more closely, but smugglers often find routes into the EU using the region's thickly-forested and swampy terrain, sometimes with the assistance of local villagers with few other means to generate income, Nadtochaev said. (dpa)