'Suspicious' mail shipments to be controlled more strictly

On Thursday, May 20, the Saeima conceptually approved amendments to the Postal Law in order to strengthen the control of suspicious mailings, particularly narcotics, as well as to expand the capacity of the State Revenue Service (VID).

The aim of the changes is to extend the customs authority's rights to cross-border mail inspection, removal, storage and destruction of suspicious mail items, says the bill's annotation.

The amendments provide for the definition of a suspicious mailing. It is intended to be defined as a cross-border shipment which is suspected to contain narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances, raw materials (precursors) intended for the manufacture of these substances, new psychoactive substances or items containing them.

If the postal operator is suspecting presence of banned substances and objects, it will have to inform not only the State Police, but also the VID.

If a customs official checking cross-border mail items finds a suspicious mailing, they will have to inform the postal operator of necessary suspension. The postal operator will have to suspend the sending of such a consignment to the addressee and immediately transfer it to the customs official, as amended by the law.

Officials of the SRS Customs Office will send an invitation to the person to come to the VID within 30 days to receive it. If a person does not come to receive it within 30 days, the VID will be able to destroy the consignment.

At present, the number of criminal proceedings relating to cross-border mail is increasing rapidly. They contain various types of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.  The majority of drug mail shipments in Latvia come from the Netherlands, as well as a small part of Spain, the UK, Belgium and Germany, the authors of the draft law indicate.

In order for the changes to take effect, the Saeima must adopt them in the second and third reading.

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