Drug prosecutions on the rise in Czechia, with higher online sales

Police last year seized CZK 2.5 billion in drugs, and noted a sharp increase in dealers using the Telegram social network.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 27.06.2023 07:30:00 (updated on 26.06.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Czech police prosecuted 3,418 people on suspicion of drug offenses in the Czech Republic last year, which was 272 more than in 2021. Increasingly, drug sales are taking place online, the annual report of the National Drug Control Centre (NPC) showed.

The highest number of prosecutions, 559, was in Prague, followed by Central Bohemia with 448 suspected offenders. The lowest number last year was recorded in the Vysočina region, with 85.

Out of all those prosecuted, some 3,099 were Czech citizens, followed by 75 Slovaks, 57 Ukrainians, and 40 Poles. There was also a gender gap, with police prosecuting 2,902 men and 516 women on suspicion of drug offenses.

In the criminal proceedings by the NPC, police officers seized property and financial means worth over CZK 105 million, while the seized drugs were worth over CZK 2.5 billion.

"A significant success was scored in terms of the amount of cocaine seized in 2022, almost 1.2 tons in two investigated cases drugs were found among goods in large grocery chain stores," NPC director Jakub Frydrych said.

Police uncovered hundreds of kilos of Colombian cocaine in boxes with bananas in several Czech supermarkets last June. Last year, the NPC also seized 41 kilograms of methamphetamine, almost 19,000 ecstasy tablets, and steroids.

Although the sale, distribution, and use of cannabis drugs and methamphetamine continue to dominate in the Czech Republic, the police say the abuse of and trafficking in psychoactive drugs is also on the rise.

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More activity on Telegram, dark web

Drug sales continued to shift to the Internet last year, not only on sites on the dark web but also increasingly on the Telegram social network. Distributors are sending drugs to users via mail order and courier services, and their customers pay in cryptocurrencies.

"The anonymity, a relatively easy process, and a wide range of addictive substances offered for sale on virtual markets compete with regular street sales," the police explained.

This trend began in 2021 when online drug sales boomed due to the coronavirus pandemic and connected lockdown restrictions.

On the Telegram social network. the most demanded substances are cocaine, methamphetamine, MDMA, and marijuana.

Until 2021, the activity of drug dealers on Telegram was negligible in the Czech Republic, detectives said. Currently, the police are monitoring about 30 groups on Telegram that operate mainly in the Russian and Ukrainian languages. The number of participants in a group ranges from 7,000 to 20,000 people, the report writes.

"This previously marginal modus operandi of drug distribution, which has been common in Eastern European countries for many years, has allowed Ukrainian and Russian-speaking dealers to quickly penetrate the Czech drug market," the NPC said.

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