The value of the seized drugs on the illegal market could range from EUR 4.5 million at wholesale to EUR 15 million at retail. According to the information available to the police, the cargo may have been destined for the Eastern European market.
Two persons are currently being detained in the criminal proceedings, including a Latvian citizen.
According to VP spokeswoman Gžibovska, investigating a previously initiated criminal case, on March 12, law enforcement officers of the Central Criminal Police Department's Organized Crime Department, in cooperation with the State Revenue Service's Tax and Customs Police Department, stopped a truck on the Riga-Daugavpils highway near Jēkabpils. The vehicle had a Lithuanian license plate.
The driver of this truck, a Lithuanian resident born in 1964, was arrested on suspicion of drug trafficking at the scene. The driver was alone in the car and the arrest went smoothly.
At the same time, the police carried out a planned operation in Riga, where another suspect was detained at his place of residence - a man born in 1972 and a Latvian citizen.
During the search, bundles wrapped in black cellophane were found in a load of artificial stone slabs in the trailer of that truck. An expert report shows that these bundles contained hashish.
The total amount of substance removed from the hiding place in the vehicle is about 1,000 kilograms, but the exact amount of the substance will be clarified as part of the investigation. Searches carried out at the place of residence of a detained Latvian citizen also removed various objects that could have a role in the criminal proceedings.
Sandis Radziņš, the chief of the 2nd Department of the Organized Crime Department of the Main Criminal Police Department of the VP, emphasizes that this is the largest hashish cargo seized by the VP so far and the information at the disposal of the police shows that it was intended for foreign markets.
"During the last ten years, we have seized several hashish cargoes in Latvia that were meant for foreign markets. It is no secret that the destination market for such large cargoes is not Latvia. In particular, this cargo was most likely being transported to Eastern European countries," Radziņš said.
In connection with the incident, criminal proceedings have been initiated pursuant to Section 253.1, Paragraph three and Section 190.1, Paragraph three of the Criminal Law - for possible unauthorized manufacture, storage, transportation and sale of narcotic or psychotropic substances in an organized group.
Such acts are punishable by imprisonment for a term of five to 15 years, with or without confiscation of property, and by probation for a term of up to three years.
The seized drugs are still being examined and an active investigation is ongoing in the criminal proceedings.
The detainees have been remanded in custody as a security measure, police said.