A consignment of bananas containing around 100 kilograms of cocaine was found in Lidl supermarket in Prague’s Zbraslav district on Wednesday, the website TN.cz reported on Thursday. The information has been confirmed by the spokesperson for the National Anti-drug headquarters, Barbora Kudláčková. The fruit is believed to have been sent from Columbia in what was apparently a mistake by the traffickers. The police have introduced special measures concerning all cargos arriving from South America. The amount is estimated to have a street value of around 1.0 bllion crowns.
Plans to tap domestic supplies of medicinal cannabis have hit a problem after the Czech competition office opened an investigation into the tender for suppliers, the daily Mladá Fronta Dnes reported on Wednesday. The probe follows a complaint by one of the unsuccessful bidders in the tender staged late last year to grow and supply cannabis. Medicinal cannabis is currently being offered on prescription in the Czech Republic with supplies shipped in from abroad and with costs several times higher than they would be for the homegrown product, the paper reports. The competition office says its investigation could take two months or longer.
Bavarian police say they intercepted 15 kilogrammes of pervitin which traffickers tried to pass across the Czech border last year. That total is down by half compared with the total intercepted in 2013, but around the same levels as 2012. But German police say the intensity of drugs being shipped across the border has not diminished. Rather, the hike in pervitin seizures in 2013 resulted from a massive police clampdown on trafficking that year.
Czech police have announced two separate international successes in the fight against drugs. In the first case they say they have intercepted a mainly Bulgarian ring which imported the drugs needed to produce methamphetamine (or pervitin). The drugs were sourced from ordinary on sale drugs in Turkey and shipped either directly to the Czech Republic or through Poland. The drugs could be bought for half the price in Turkey compared with Poland. In a separate case, they pounced on a ring selling meth and marijuana, partly based on indoor cultivation of cannabis plants in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
In the Czech Republic, the use of illicit drugs such as pervetin (methamphetamine) rose significantly over the last ten years but it is the abuse of a legal substance, alcohol, which presents an even bigger problem. Those are two of the main findings in an annual report just released about the state of drug abuse in the country.
The annual report for drug abuse in the Czech Republic for 2013, presented by national anti-drugs coordinator Jindřich Vobořil, has shown that the number of long-term pervetin (methamphetamine) users in the country has increased significantly over the last 10 years. In 2003 there were around 18,800 addicts while last year the number was 34,200. The anti-drugs coordinator stressed that the abuse of legal substances, namely alcohol, remains a major problem, estimating the country had at least 500,000 alcoholics. The head of the National Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Addiction, Viktor Mravčík, revealed that annually between 30 and 40 people overdose on opiates, pervetin or other illicit drugs, while around 300 people die from alcohol poisoning.
Czech and German police have broken up an international pervitin producing gang, which operated in Prague and Leipzig. The German Federal Criminal Police Office made the announcement on Thursday. It said German police arrested seven people, who were found in possession of 2.9 tonnes of chlorefedrine, a chemical drug used for manufacturing pervitin. That quantity would be sufficient to make 2.3 tonnes of the drug, which could be sold on the black market for roughly five billion crowns (184 million Euros).
Pharmacies in the Czech Republic have begun selling medical marijuana on prescription. So far the drug – which goes for around CZK 300 a gramme – is available only at one chemist’s in Prague and one in the south Moravian town of Uherské Hradiště. The marijuana, which was legalised last year, can only be acquired using an electronic prescription and is provided to people suffering from multiple sclerosis, chronic pain and other ailments.
The Spanish police are reported to have arrested four Czech nationals caught smuggling 369 kilograms of cocaine on a boat heading for the Canary Islands. The boat was sailing from South America under a Czech flag and the drugs were hidden in a number of secret compartments. The four offered little resistance and the boat was towed to port in Las Palmas.