MINSK -- Thirty-seven individuals, including a Russian national, have been convicted in Belarus in a high-profile drug-trafficking case.
The Minsk City Court on October 15 found the defendants guilty of being members of two organized criminal groups called White&Fluffy and Concern Kalashnikov, which had been involved in distributing unspecified illegal psychotropic drugs via the Internet.
More than half of the defendants were handed prison sentences of between 10 and 15 years, while several others were handed suspended sentences and subsequently released from custody. The only woman in the case was sentenced to 14 years in prison.
The trial was held on the premises of a central detention center in Minsk, as none of the courts in the Belarusian capital had the capacity to fit the large number of defendants, their lawyers, and witnesses.
According to the court, the youngest of the defendants was 18 and the oldest was 46. Eight of the defendants had university degrees and 15 had permanent legal jobs. Eleven of the defendants had prior criminal records.