Latvia not a major drug route, despite recent hauls

The head of Latvia's customs inspection service said Wednesday that the country was not becoming a major transit point for illegal narcotics despite several large scale seizures in recent weeks.

State Revenue Service Customs Administration Director Talis Kravalis told LTV's Rita Panorama show the volumes of narcotics transiting Latvia are small compared to most other countries, while admitting that his officers uncovered an illegal shipment on average every other day.

"Latvia is too small to be a final destination [for drugs]... but it is part of the larger picture," Kravalis said.

A seminar organised to discuss drug trafficking and related issues was not a response to increased flows but a regular event, he said.

"The theme of the seminar changes every six months or so to reflect what's happening on the ground... given the current geopolitical situation, fears of terrorism and so on, we and the European Commission chose the theme 'Passenger Control'," Kravalis said.

He also underscored that smuggling was not just a matter of drugs, involving alcohol, fuel and weapons too.

"Nevertheless our biggest headaches are cigarette and narcotic contraband," Kravalis admitted, while saying a three-year plan was being undertaken to install modern scanning equipment and video monitoring along Latvia's eastern borders. 

As previously reported, in April, a record haul of more than a tonne of hashish was uncovered in a single shipment, believed to have a street value of between €8m and €12m.

 

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