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How do Belarusian teenagers become ‘drug dealers’?
In the photo: Ilarion is talking to his lawyer after a hearing.
On May 22, Minsk District Court opened the hearing of Ilarion B., 18 who is charged with violating Article 328 (4) of the Criminal Code - the provision that deals with illegal drug trafficking. The youngster is facing between 10 and 20 years in pison.
Ilarion was a highshool student in Minsk. He earned for his living by writing lyrics and composing tracks for the popular Russian hip hop artist Egor Kreed. But at some point, he says he desparately needed the money to help a girl from a problem family. When "the crisis" in his work began in winter, Ilarion got involved in the distribution of drugs although he 'did not take them’, the youngster told the judge.
Ilarion B. became a drug dealer not long ago – in the winter of 2017. He managed to make 500 BYN ($250) after investing 800 BYN in the business. It means that he was in the red at the moment of the detention. He described the way he got involved in the illegal business at the first hearing.
We are publishing this information to prevent other teenagers from making Ilarion’s mistakes. It is very easy to become a criminal. You do not need to go anywhere or look for anyone – drug dealers find Belarusian teenagers themselves in social media. In Ilarion’s case, the dealer who sold the drug to the teenager remains ‘unknown.’ That person is at large but Ilarion is standing trial.
Replied on VKontakte, downloaded a messenger
Somebody sent a message to the teenager on VKontakte in December 2017. He wrote that they needed couriers. “It looked like spam from an unknown page,” Ilarion said. “I needed money a lot at that moment. I decided to try it and to stop later since I knew that new orders for my music would be made in spring.”
Ilarion downloaded and installed a special messenger and found the nickname of the person who contacted him on VKontakte.
"He gave me information about the cost of the substance called α-PVP and I bought about 70 grams for 800 Belarusian roubles. There was no task, I bought it myself and took it from a cache in the centre of Minsk. I contacted my buyers with the help of the same network. I do not know who they were – individuals or shops. I got to know about them on that messenger. I took the substance from caches and returned home by public transport," Ilarion said.
The teenager bought the substance thrice in December 2017 – January 2018 and sent money to the unknown person’s account. He did it to resell the drug but he was doing it alone so he may be convicted under Article 328 (3) which envisages a 'milder’punishment (less years in prison.)
The first buyer was found and Ilarion sold him about 20 grams of α-PVP. He got 500 BYNs on the Russian epayments platform Yandex.Money. Then he made 4-gram packs and hid them under trees in a forest near Minsk (there were 5 caches). He photographed the spots, came home and started uploading the pictures to the website that deletes links later.
People in plain clothes knocked on his door at that very moment. They found the remaining substance, scales and gloves in the flat. The youngster was detained.
That was it.
Ilarion’s actions from the legal point of view
This is how Ilarion B.’s actions are described by the state. There are no lyrics (Egor Kreed and the young girlfriend) here. The wording is dry and cold.
Ilartion B. joined (quotation) ‘an organized criminal group headed by an unknown person in order to distribute dangerous psychotropic substances on the Internet. The unknown person (organizer) coordinated B. and other unknown persons’ actions. According to the investigators, a criminal mechanism was used in the group to organize and commit crimes on the basis of unity and manageability. The group is characterized by a stable nucleus and distinctive roles.
The unknown person (organizer) included new people in the group so that they would distribute dangerous psychotropic substances. The person distributed roles among the group members and was advertising the substances on the Internet with the purpose of their distribution on the territory of Belarus. The organizer controlled the income by making personal accounts and providing the privacy of correspondence for the distributors by encoding incoming and outgoing traffic in a protected online messenger. Unknown web purses were used and drugs were hidden in caches.
The organizer of the criminal group is not standing trial. The word ‘unknown’ is present in almost every sentence.
According to the investigators, B. illegally bought the substance with the purpose of distribution and sold it in Belarus. He was operating under cover and his messages were encoded. He left the drug for his clients in caches. He bought at least 73.43 grams of the substance and preserved part of it. Ilarion left about 18.43 grams in five caches for his future clients not far from Minsk. The young man was detained in his flat on February 7. The remains of the lot were found and confiscated.
Euroradio will keep following Ilarion B.’s case.