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Estonian police say breakthrough has been achieved in combating fentanyl trade

TALLINN - Estonia's Central Criminal Police believe that they have reached a breakthrough in the fight against the fentanyl epidemic that has been claiming lives in Estonia for 15 years, Postimees said.

The current state of affairs is that fentanyl has disappeared from the market and about ten drug barons are behind bars or awaiting trial. According to Postimees, there can hardly be a better time for helping the six thousand or so individuals who have fallen victim to the epidemic.

"We're in Christmas Peace now when it comes to fentanyl," Vahur Verte, public prosecutor who has been prosecuting drug crimes for eight years, told Postimees. He said this was the first time ever for him to witness a situation like this.

"Some time at the end of August we started getting signals that as a result of someone's work the fentanyl available on the market, first, had started to be weaker and, second, the amounts had begun to decrease. Today we are in a situation where the market is empty," the prosecutor said

Postimees has learned that the specialized fentanyl team at the Central Criminal Police has been trying for five years to get to the very top of the bunch of people handling the production of fentanyl, its import and caches in Estonia, who communicate among themselves only eye to eye or by encrypted messages, use bitcoins as means of payment, and would rather face a longer jail sentence than make a confession when caught by the police.

At the end of July and at the beginning of August several arrests were made. The people arrested include brothers Paul and Dimitri Karberg, accused by prosecutors of the handling of more than three kilograms of fentanyl -- an amount that can be described as colossal.

More important still was the discovery of the first known stationary fentanyl lab in Estonia, run by an organization led by an IT businessman from Harju County identified by law enforcement authorities as Aleksander A. In all, 2.5 kilograms of the drug was seized from him.

The Central Criminal Police says that now, four months later, in looks like these individuals were the last major players of the fentanyl ring in Estonia.

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