A New York city court has arrested a group of alleged drug traffickers, including a Russian charter pilot, a Russian respected business daily said.
Kommersant said it has been revealed that 41-year-old Konstantin Yaroshenko and other members of the group are accused of trafficking drugs from Latin America to Africa and then to Europe and the United States.
Yaroshenko's lawyer, Alexander Bozhenko, said his client was kidnapped by the U.S. intelligence agencies.
Prosecutors say Yaroshenko was an organizer of drug trafficking.
All of the members of the group have denied the accusations; however, if convicted, may face up to 30 years imprisonment.
The group was rooted out by Liberia and later U.S. and Liberian national security services conducted a special operation and arrested the members of the group.
Yaroshenko arrived to the capital of Liberia, Monrovia, on May 28 to meet with some entrepreneurs, who allegedly found him via the Internet.
It was expected that the prospective businessmen would examine the plane to see if it was suitable for a flight and discuss contract details.
In a Monrovian hotel, the pilot was arrested by agents wearing civilian clothes, did not identify themselves, and later transferred him on a cargo plane to the United States. The lawyer said that during his detainment in Liberia, the pilot was chained by his arms and feet.
"Konstantin [Yaroshenko] says that for two days he had no water or food and was beaten," the lawyer said. "Besides [they] demanded him to sign some papers," he continued.
On the third day, he was taken to an airport and flown to unknown destination. Upon arrival, Yaroshenko was driven to a holding facility. He was told later he was in New York.
Besides drug smuggling, Yaroshenko was accused of attempting to bribe Liberian officials.
Yaroshenko is currently in a detention facility in Manhattan.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has sent an official note of protest to the U.S. State Department as it had not received proper notification on the arrest beforehand.
MOSCOW, July 20 (RIA Novosti)