The topic of underage drug dealers continues to be a hot topic. Schoolchildren and students wishing to earn money without much effort get caught up in ads from drug dealers on the Internet and go to distribute psychotropics. In February, we reported on trials, detentions and juvenile sentences for 2021 and early 2022. However, the terrible conveyor belt hasn’t stopped, and young Belarusians receive huge sentences almost every day.
On February 17, two underage girls, who worked as couriers in an online shop, were detained in Slonim. Photos and coordinates of packages with narcotics were on their phones. One of the detainees had been working in the shop since July 2021. The second had been “working” only for a fortnight. Both girls are social orphans, and their parents have been deprived of parental rights. The teenagers were not charged with any criminal offence; they studied at a specialized secondary school in Slonim. They started to work in an online shop to earn money and get rich quick. The girls are in custody, they got charged under Part 3 of Article 328 of the Criminal Code (illegal purchase, storage and transportation of extremely dangerous psychotropic substances, committed by a group of people with the purpose of selling).
At the same time, a 16-year-old boy was detained in Hrodna. He’d started working as a bookmarker three days before his arrest. And during that time, the boy managed to make 23 drugs and earned $92. Now he is charged under Part 3 Article 328 of the Criminal Code.
On February 21, two students from the local college were tried in Barysau. The 16- and 17-year-olds bought more than 30 grams of mephedrone, stored it in a stock in the woods in the Minsk district and then took it to the woods near Zhodzina. Another cache of 45 grams was in the woods in Borisov. The guys worked as couriers in an online shop and spent the money received for work on food. The guys were charged under Part 3 of Article 328 of the Criminal Code (illegal acquisition, storage and transportation of extremely dangerous psychotropic substances, committed by a group). They were sentenced to six years in jail.
On March 2, in Luninets State Polytechnic College, an off-site court sitting was held. He illegally acquired 0.2 grams of marijuana, for which he was charged under Part 1 Article 328 of the Criminal Code (illegal, without intent to sell, purchase, storage and transportation of drugs). The young man pleaded guilty in full, sincerely repented and assured the court that he would return to the path of correction. He was sentenced to two years of restricted freedom.
On March 12, a 17-year-old girl and her 18-year-old boyfriend were detained in Brest. The young people had bought more than 50 rolls of psychotropic drugs on the Internet and were laying them in the city. The suspects hid them in hiding places and took photos of them. Then they sent the images to the curator with the coordinates. The pair were searched, and law enforcers seized 15 rolls of illegal substances. They were charged under Part 3 of Article 328 of the Criminal Code and sent to the pre-trial detention centre.
On March 12, an under-aged girl was detained in Minsk. The 17-year-old girl from Minsk was buying alpha-PVP and mephedrone online, taking them from hidden locations, packaging and placing them in caches. Investigators stated that the minor had repeatedly consumed some of the illegal substances personally. The girl was taken into custody and charged under Part 4 of Article 328 of the Criminal Code.
On March 17, an under-aged girl was tried under part 4 of article 328 of the Criminal Code in Zhabinka. The trial was closed because of the girl’s age. The girl studied in the 11th grade.
She was registered in the narcology centre. She had no previous criminal record. The teenager was sentenced to 10 years in jail to be served in an educational colony. She will also be compulsorily treated for drug addiction.
On March 18, a 16-year-old resident of the village Ostrino was detained in Hrodna. The girl worked as a courier in an online shop. Photos with coordinates of packages with narcotics were on her phone. The law enforcers found and seized more than ten packages with mephedrone. The girl said that she had been working for the online shop for only a week. She explained her deed by the desire to help her mother financially and earn money. The teenager will be tried under Part 3 Article 328 of the Criminal Code.
On April 11, two under-aged drug dealers were tried in Brest. The young people worked as pawnbrokers in an online shop. They used to pick up psychotropic drugs in the specified places, then cut them into small batches and put them in caches around the city. At the time of arrest some of the psychotropics were seized from the teenagers. The guys were sentenced to 10 years in jail.
On April 12, an investigation was completed in Vitebsk against a 15-year-old resident of Shumilino and an 18-year-old girl from Vitebsk. Since December 2021, an 18-year-old college student from Vitebsk and a 15-year-old schoolboy from the urban settlement of Shumilino communicated with “curators” on Telegram. They cut it into small doses and made bookmarks on the territory of Vitebsk and then received a reward. They were arrested in January 2022. The actions of the teenagers were qualified under Part 4 of Article 328 of the Criminal Code.
On April 18, Brest judge pronounced a verdict in the criminal case of illegal turnover of especially dangerous psychotropic substances. Among the accused was a 16-year-old teenage courier. He used to take alpha-PVP, cut it into small batches and put it in caches in the city, reporting the geographical coordinates to the administrator of an online shop. He received a cash reward for the work done. The guy was sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment in an educational colony.
On April 21, a 15-year-old boy was detained in Mahiliou for planting drugs. The boy got a message on social networking site in late March with an offer to earn money. Clicking on the link, he got into a chat room where the work was explained. After the training, the boy received his first assignment from the tutor, which he completed. His next task was to pick up the shipment and pack it into individual doses, and then make a stash. During the search, he was apprehended by law enforcers. The teenager had been working in the online shop for only two weeks – he was eager to earn money on his own to buy a trick bike. He was charged under Part 4 of Article 328 of the Criminal Code (trafficking of highly dangerous psychotropic substances in an organized group).
On May 16, the Hrodna court sentenced a juvenile for trafficking in psychotropic substances. The 17-year-old boy, a citizen of Russia, negotiated the purchase of alpha-PVP through Telegram. He transferred money and got the coordinates with the drug. He was accused of distributing the drug in Grodno (Article 328, part 3 of the Criminal Code). The guy was sentenced to six years in prison and 20 basic units of fine. His mobile phone was confiscated by the state.
Teenagers detained under Article 328 do not only go through searches, torture and imprisonment. More often than not, they are then tried publicly in their schools and colleges, in front of their friends and teachers. It affects the psyche of young people, who then end up in prison for ten years or more for a crime that does not correspond to the severity of the punishment. But most importantly, the law enforcers receive bonuses, awards, flats and cars for this. The price of which is the broken lives of girls and boys.