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  Tuesday, September 17, 2019
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Russia's drug control chief Viktor Cherkesov has warned of a "war" between special services, citing the arrest of five senior officials in his agency
Russia's drug control chief Viktor Cherkesov has warned of a "war" between special services, citing the arrest of five senior officials in his agency, the Kommersant business daily reported Tuesday. The Federal Security Service (FSB) detained Gen. Alexander Bulbov, head of technological support at the Federal Drug Control Service, and four of his colleagues last week on suspicion of power abuse. The officials were investigating a high-profile furniture smuggling case, which resulted in the arrests of five senior FSB officers last spring. The latest arrests gave rise to speculations on a conflict between the two services. "Why did the arrests target specifically those drug control officials who had been officially assigned, at the request of the Prosecutor General's Office, to investigate the large-scale criminal cases of [furniture retailer] Tri Kita?" the paper quoted Cherkesov as saying. Media reports suggested the incident was retaliation by the FSB against the arrest of its officers last spring as part of a probe into smuggling involving Russia's two largest furniture dealers, Tri Kita and Grand. The smuggled furniture was reportedly stored in the FSB's warehouses. Cherkesov stood up for his colleagues, and said the FSB had tried to compromise the evidence gathered in the Tri Kita case. "How else can you explain the search of the apartment of an investigator whose only job was to assist the probe as a member of the Prosecutor General's Office team?" The head of the drug control service also cited a government news agency and Internet reports, which said there could be new arrests in the service. According to Cherkesov, this further illustrates the campaign that has been waged against his agency.
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