MOSCOW, September 30 (RIA Novosti) – Russian police are offering a 1 million ruble ($30,000) reward for information on the whereabouts of a key member of an international drug ring suspected of smuggling “hundreds of kilograms of cocaine” from Colombia to Europe and Africa via Russia.
“The Russian Interior Ministry is offering a 1 million ruble reward for assistance in locating the suspected organizer of a drug ring, Oleg Titov, who according to investigators is hiding in the Republic of Ukraine,” police said in a statement Monday.
Titov, a former citizen of the Soviet Union who is on the Interpol wanted list, was “for a long time” hiding in the village of Makeyevka in eastern Ukraine using a forged passport in the name of Sergei Mikhailichenko, Russian police said.
The suspected drug baron faces up to 25 years in jail in Russia.
Police from Russia, the UK and Panama earlier participated in an operation to nab the members of the drug ring, who have been sentenced to between 18 and 22 years in jail. The drug trafficking gang's leader, Leo Francis Morgan, is serving a 24-year sentence in Panama.
Russia's Federal Drug Control Service (FSKN) said last week that seizures of cocaine on Russia’s borders had risen tenfold this year, adding that the increase seemed to be connected to a general increase in trans-Atlantic imports of drugs.