Investigator gets prison term for drug set-up


An undercover drug-enforcement authority agent framed his girlfriend in a drug-transaction set-up. But despite the conviction, he has not been sent to jail, because the sentence is suspended.

The European Radio for Belarus managed to find only one drug-related case which ended with the bars for a police provocateur, not a girl who was buying drugs at the request of undercover agents.

About six months ago, Alesia Darozhka, a 19-year-old student of a college in Hrodna, used the internet to find her date. E-mails, dating, a sudden love ended up with pregnancy. But what followed after was not that romantic at all. Initially, the guy said that he was a drug addict and asked her to help him get a doze. When Alesia managed to fulfill his request, her lover confessed that he was simply doing his job.

Alesia Darozhka did not end up in a colony, after charges against her were dropped. But police agent Sokolov was first fired from the force and then tried. He was sentenced conditionally to two years for the abuse of position.

The European Radio for Belarus asked Yury Semianchuk, a chief investigator with the district prosecutor’s office in Hrodna who was assigned to this case, how the girl managed to escape imprisonment.

Yury Semianchuk: “The girl filed a statement that she had been in close relationship with this police officer before the criminal case was opened against her. When a police officer uses his relationship with a woman to frame her as a drug dealer, then we open criminal proceedings against such officers.”

It turns out that Alesia was saved by being “close” with the agent. The prosecutor office admitted that undercover agents routinely used set-ups because this way it is easier for them to achieve good performance results.

Yury Semianchuk: “There is what is called performance targets. To achieve them, they do not infiltrate themselves. Rather, they frame other people, because it is easier and faster.”

Getting right contacts among drug dealers and winning trust is time-consuming. Delayed cases affect performance of the police force. Bad performance affects the number of strips on their shoulders. Therefore, agents pick people from the street who could look like trustworthy buyers. By the way, most of the well-exposed drug-related cases took place in Hrodna.

In the view of the investigator, such “used” people do not need to be tried and sent to prison like it is presently done. Rather, they should be protected from the police.

Yury Semianchuk: “Those people should not be subjected to prosecution. They should be treated as witnesses, not as suspects. In reality, they are punished. I think this is not right.”

Alesia Darozhka wanted to enroll at the university this year. But her mother says the girl’s psychological condition is not right for studies. Alesia left the town, trying to keep a low profile.

Leakadzia Darozhka: “He has simply taken life and health from my girl. I will not wish my biggest enemy to live through what we have lived through with her.”

The former agent Sokolov is going to appeal the verdict and has already filed a complaint to a higher court. Apparently, he does not feel himself guilty. Perhaps, he even hopes to return to the police service.