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Russian Olympic medallist arrested in Goa drug bust

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An Olympic medallist from Russia, Svetlana Varganova, who won a silver medal in a women’s swimming event at the 1980 Games, and a former Russian policeman were among three persons arrested in a drug bust in Goa, according to the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) said on Saturday.

The former Russian cop, identified as Andre, has been identified as the kingpin in the operation, the NCB said.

The operation was conducted by the NCB’s Goa unit over the past two weeks.

“Based on a tip-off that a Russian drug cartel was actively operating in Arambol and its adjoining areas in Goa, a probe was launched. As per the intelligence inputs, a Russian woman named S Varganova was found involved in the supply of drugs to foreign nationals. During the investigation,” the NCB official said.

On the basis of intelligence inputs, a local man named Akash was questioned and investigations revealed he was part of a larger network and working on the directions of a Russian person, who was the kingpin of the cartel.

During the entire operation, different kinds of drugs, including 88 LSD blots, 8.8 grams cocaine, 242.5 grams charas, 1.440 kg hydroponic weed, 16.49 grams hash oil, 410 grams hash cake – were seized along with ₹ 4.88 lakh cash, he said, adding that the NCB also recovered Indian and foreign currencies, fake documents, IDs and material required to grow hydroponic weed.

Andre revealed that he was growing hydroponic weed at his local residence. Tree pots of hydroponic weed plants were recovered from his house, the NCB official said. He was also operating a wider network that supplied drugs to foreigners in Mumbai.