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August 31, 2009

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Drug squad busts international ring

DRUG squad detectives in northeastern China's Heilongjiang Province have busted a cross-border group growing and trafficking in marijuana.

Twelve suspects, including 10 foreigners, were apprehended.

On August 22, officers also seized 2.3 kilograms of dry leaves and heads, more than 5.4 kilograms of reefers, 200 bongs, or smoking pipes, and two rolling machines, China National Radio reported yesterday.

The general team of narcotics control of Heilongjiang's public security department was informed in August 2007 that someone was selling marijuana reefers to inbound Russians.

A task force led by Cui Cunde, chief of the general team, was set up immediately for further investigations, which revealed that some Russians were also involved in the cross-border operation.

The case was then reported to the narcotics control bureau of the Ministry of Public Security and listed as a priority. In the next two years, the task force shadowed suspected leaders of the group.

A 42-year-old Chinese man, identified by his surname as Wei, and a Russian named as Andrea, 26, were the masterminds, the task force said.

Wei, a hotel manager in Dongning County of Heilongjiang's Mudanjiang City, provided Andrea, a representative of a Russian company's Dongning office, with the marijuana and a workplace for producing the reefers for sale.

Wei ended his collaboration with Andrea and launched his own business at the end of 2007 after he learned how to roll the reefers himself, officers said.

Andrea picked wild plants in Dongning's mountainous area, dried them and rolled them into reefers that he both smoked and sold.

During the period, 15 Russians and three Chinese joined the business to sell marijuana to inbound Russians and smuggle them to Russia.

On August 21 this year, the task force found 10 among the 15 Russians had crossed the border and officers swooped the next day.

Six Russians, including Andrea, were detained for allegedly producing, trafficking and consuming marijuana, while four others are serving up to 15 days in jail for consuming marijuana.


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