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Argentina foils diplomatic luggage cocaine plot

24 February 2018

She told reporters that Russian and Argentine police had chose to mount a sting operation after the Russian ambassador informed them of the drugs find in December 2016.

Police in Argentina seized more than $60m (£43m) of cocaine from the Russian Embassy and arrested six people including an Argentine policeman and a former Russian diplomat.

Envoy Víktor Koronelli, and three members of Russia's FSB - Federal Security Service - alerted Patricia Bullrich, Argentina's minister of security, to the suspicious cargo hidden in the embassy compound's Russian school.

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Police have seized almost 400 kilos of cocaine from the Russian embassy in Buenos Aires and arrested several members of a drug trafficking gang, Argentina's security minister announced Thursday. Bullrich said the guards entered the school at 2 a.m.

Russian security services had helped in the investigation and one of those arrested in Argentina was a serving police officer in Buenos Aires, she said.

The group failed to move the suitcases on three occasions throughout 2017, until on December 9 of that year the Russian government coordinated a flight for an official visit to Argentina, and the diplomatic luggage was loaded onto the plane. Russian authorities simultaneously arrested Abyanov from his Moscow apartment.

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The mysterious "Mr. K" is thought to remain at large in Germany with an global order for his arrest, according to Security Minister Bullrich.

On Thursday, Argentina's security minister announced that 389 kilograms (856 pounds) of the drug were discovered in luggage in 2016 and that agents swapped the cocaine for flour.

The report said that Viktor Koronelli, the Russian ambassador to Argentina, along with three other members of the Russia's Federal Security Service informed Bullrich on December 13, 2016 regarding 16 luggage pieces which they thought contained drugs.

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Argentina foils diplomatic luggage cocaine plot