Russia, working with U.S., seizes cocaine, arrests traffickers, says Moscow

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) said on Tuesday it had worked with U.S. authorities to seize large quantities of cocaine and break up an international drug smuggling ring.

In a rare statement on law enforcement cooperation between Moscow and Washington, the FSB said it had seized 330 kilogrammes (728 lbs) of cocaine — mostly in the Moscow region — in a joint operation with the U.S. Justice Department’s Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) this year.

It said the joint operation, which began in St. Petersburg in May, helped identify and detain members of a criminal group smuggling cocaine from South America to Europe and Russia.

The FSB said that the amount of cocaine seized could have been sold for around 1 billion roubles ($13.6 million).

Russia’s bilateral relations with the United States are at post-Cold War lows, strained by issues ranging from the conflict in Syria to U.S. allegations that Moscow meddled in its 2016 presidential election.

The countries continue to cooperate on international security and other global issues however.

The DEA and the U.S. embassy in Moscow did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

($1 = 73.6570 roubles)

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