35 Latvian drug mules sentenced last year

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Last year, 35 residents of Latvia were sentenced abroad for drug trafficking, the Foreign Ministry's State Secretary Andrejs Pildegovičs told Latvian Radio 4 on March 5. 

That is an increase by two people over 2016, he said.

"By publishing this statistic, we would like to, once again, draw people's attention to the fact that the risk isn't worth taking. There's a good chance for punishment, especially in Southeast Asia," said Pildegovičs.

"The risk is very real. It's big. Jail terms are long. We do what we can to provide consular help, and there have been cases when it was possible to avoid capital punishment," he said. 

"We have dozens of residents serving very serious sentences. It's not just Southeast Asia, but also South and Central America. These are the places where narcotic plants are grown. Lately, African countries have been popping up too," the official said. 

It is well-established that people from the Baltics are often recruited to traffic drugs, with a 2013 documentary by the Re:Baltica center describing their fates in South America in detail. 

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