MOSCOW, December 27 (RIA Novosti) – The fugitive head of a major heroin smuggling ring has been arrested in the United Arab Emirates, Russia’s anti-drug agency reported on Thursday.
Atobek Gulmamatov was on an international wanted list for several years for repeated smuggling of opiates from Afghanistan to Russia, the Federal Drug Control Service said in a statement. He was arrested in a joint operation by officials from Russia, the US, UAE, Kazakhstan and Belarus acting in concert with Interpol.
Gulmamadov, who holds Russian and Tajik passports, is currently awaiting possible extradition to Russia.
In a raid on one of the ring’s cells in Russia, the police confiscated some 900 kilograms of heroin, half of which was being smuggled under Gulmamatov’s direct supervision, the statement said.
Members of Gulmamatov’s ring also tried to make deliveries to Russia’s Samara region, the city of St. Petersburg and the republic of Tatarstan this year, but at least 15 of them were detained by the police.