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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

LSD, PCP, Crack Filter Into Moscow, Police Say

Moscow's burgeoning illegal drug trade has been infiltrated by dealers from Latin America and Europe, a top police official said on Wednesday.

Vladimir Khairetdinov, who heads the city's war on drugs, said that police have begun confiscating drugs previously unheard of in Moscow -- PCP, also known as "angel dust," LSD and crack.

He said these drugs have started to filter into Moscow from Latin America, Germany and Finland, which indicated that foreign drug traders have begun operating in Moscow.

This new influx was bound to further strain the city's efforts against a drug trade that has grown steadily over the past two years. Khairetdinov said that his department has investigated 2,183 cases involving the illegal drug trade in 1993, compared to 993 in 1991. There are 500,000 drug-users in Moscow, he said.

He said that users can easily purchase "traditional" narcotics that come from the former Soviet Central Asian and Caucasian republics. These include a powdery opiate derived from poppies that costs 400,000 rubles ($228) per kilogram, hashish sold in four-gram matchboxes for 100,000 rubles ($57) and cocaine, at 263,000 rubles ($150) per gram.

"All of them are available in Moscow, basically, in railway stations," he said. "The situation is getting worse year by year."

With only 30 officers, the city's anti-narcotics department could not stem the increase in the narcotics trade, Khairetdinov said.

"We definitely need to reinforce our department," he said. "Otherwise, the drug trade will be uncontrollable in the city."

Police have repeatedly asked parliament to change old anti-drug legislation to make it easier to prosecute drug-related cases.

The State Duma, the lower house of parliament, is debating a new criminal code, but the final law is not expected until next year.

Khairetdinov said that even with a new law, police were unable to fight alone against the illegal drug trade. He proposed setting up a joint commission that would include the public prosecutor's office, doctors and police.

"By common efforts the evil could be eradicated," he said.