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    INTERNATIONAL GROUP OF SMUGGLERS WHO SMUGGLED FLOWERS FROM NETHERLANDS AND ISRAEL DETAINED IN MOSCOW

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    MOSCOW, January 21 (RIA Novosti) - Staffers of the Directorate for Struggle against Economic Crimes (UBEP) of the Main Department of the Interior (GUVD) of Moscow detained a group of contrabandists who smuggled flowers from the Netherlands and Israel.

    As chief of the press group of the UBEP GUVD of Moscow Filipp Zolotnitsky told RIA Novosti on Wednesday, some time ago operatives obtained information that an international criminal group, engaged in large-scale smuggling of flowers from the Netherlands and Israel, was operating in the capital.

    "It was found out that flowers from these countries were brought at first to Lithuania where they were reloaded into trucks and dispatched to Russia. The trucks were sealed at the customs house, after which the trucks were to go to Moscow," Zolotnitsky said.

    But instead of undergoing the customs clearance of the cargo, the drivers went to a storehouse in the Moscow Region where the customs seals were removed, and the flowers went into retail trade. The sale went through dozens of short-lived dummy firms.

    As a result of the operation carried out by the UBEP personnel under the code name of Flora on the night from Tuesday to Wednesday, two trucks with flowers worth about 600,000 dollars were detained.

    "Two citizens of Lithuania and four Russian citizens were detained at the storehouse. A charge under the article 'smuggling on a particularly large scale' will be brought against them," the press group's chief said.

    "A search for their accomplices at the customs who helped them smuggle contraband flowers is under way," he went on to say.

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