Czech customs officers on Wednesday stopped a car at the Vietnamese Sapa market in Prague and found eight kilogrammes of pervitin, Czech Radio reported on Friday. The street value of the drug has been estimated at around five million crowns. The driver, who is a foreign national, was arrested and faces up to 12 years of prison.
Eight people, including the ‘cooks’ and carriers, have been charged in connection with one of the biggest international drugs cases in recent years, Czech Radio’s news server has reported. The charges are in connection with a gang which for decades is alleged to have supplied the Swedish market with pervitin, or methamphetamine. The breakthrough came after Swedish police, alerted by suspected Czech carriers and the fact that some of the drugs appeared to be produced in the Czech Republic, turned to their Czech colleagues. Further investigation resulted in arrests in Prague, the Liberec region, and in Sweden. The gang’s alleged Czech lab was also uncovered, where police say at least 3.5 tonnes of the drug was produced with a value of around one billion crowns.
With the start of the summer holidays the police will launch a nation-wide operation aimed at reducing alcohol and drug abuse among minors, a police spokeswoman said on Monday. Over 1,500 police officers are to take part in the operation checking on pubs and restaurants to make sure minors are not served alcohol or allowed into game bars. One of the reasons for the wide-ranging measures is that Czech youngsters top the European ladder in the consumption of alcoholic beverages and cigarettes. In 2015 a similar operation detected 660 children who had been drinking, in 2016 it was 395. Music festivals where alcohol and drugs are also widely available will also be targeted.
Twenty-two people have been charged in connection with drug smuggling into a Příbram prison; 12 of those charged are prisoners. Among the suspects are friends and relatives of prisoners at the jail. Five of the accused are women; if found guilty, the suspects, between the ages of 21 and 63, face a sentence of up to 10 years.
Police have detained 17 people charged with supplying chemicals for the production of the drug pervitin and the creation of a lab to produce it. Police estimated the lab had produced several tonnes of the drug and that the network was one of the major suppliers to domestic drug makers. Drugs produced supplied Germany, Poland, Austria, Scandinavia as well as the domestic market. Police described it as one of the most significant drug swoops in the last decade. The detained could face up to 12 years in prison if guilty.
Tuesday marks the final day in which Czech smokers will be able to light-up in pubs and restaurants. As of Wednesday new anti-smoking legislation signed into law early this year formally comes into effect, bringing the country in line with the rest of Europe. Adam Kulhánek is a doctor and addiction specialist at Charles University’s Faculty of Medicine, and also a member of the Coalition Against Tobacco NGO. I asked him what impact he expected the smoking ban to have:
Czech drugs control employees report a drop in the illegal production of pervitin or crystal methamphetamine in home labs following tighter control of medicines containing pseudoephedrine in neighboring Poland. After such medicines were taken off the list of over-the-counter drugs sold in the Czech Republic drug dealers relied heavily on Poland where they obtained 70 percent of the pseudoephedrine used in the illegal production of this home-made drug. Drug experts say tighter norms in Poland will now increase interest in these medicines where norms are still lax, such as Bulgaria or Turkey.
Police say they have charged 21 people in connection with a drugs scandal at a prison house near Pribram in south Bohemia. According to a police spokeswoman over 100 officers took part in a raid on the prison earlier this week, confiscating a vast amount of drugs, tablets and needles. The convicts reportedly bribed the guards to allow them mobiles and turn a blind eye to the fact that drugs were regularly smuggled into the prison in food and personal belongings.
Two Czech football internationals have become caught up in a police investigation into an alleged drug dealer, the Czech Radio station Radiožurnál reported on Tuesday. Former Viktoria Plzeň player Ondřej Vaněk is suspected of acquiring narcotics from Vítězslav Meišner, who has been charged with selling ecstasy and cocaine. Current Plzeň player Jan Kopic is suspected of loaning Meišner CZK 500,000. The two players are due to appear as witnesses when the case comes to court soon, Czech Radio said. The station has police evidence that appears to show Vaněk, who now plays in the Russian league, asking Meišner to find him some "pills". Kopic is said to have made the substantial loan to Meišner just a month after their first meeting.