Russia Angered by US Refusal to Extradite Jailed Pilot

MOSCOW, January 31 (RIA Novosti) – The refusal by the United States to extradite a Russian pilot sentenced to 20 years in jail for drug trafficking will seriously harm bilateral ties, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

The ministry said the US refusal to extradite Konstantin Yaroshenko in line with the Council of Europe’s 1983 Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons was “groundless.”

“The situation around Yaroshenko is absolutely inadmissible and will harm bilateral relations and cooperation in law-enforcement,” the ministry said in a statement.

Yaroshenko pleaded innocent to drug smuggling charges but was convicted and sentenced in April 2011 for colluding to smuggle cocaine into the US. He was caught after replying to an advertisement posted by agents with the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), who claimed they were selling a cargo plane for $1.

Yaroshenko said that he had wanted to buy a plane, but had no plans to use it to transport drugs. He said his poor English prevented him from understanding the nature of the deal that was discussed.

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