Anti-drug police officers have arrested distributors of synthetic drugs which are believed to have caused mass poisoning and seven deaths in the city of Surgut, a spokesperson for the Federal Drug Control Agency (FSKN) office for the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous District said on Monday
"Members of two organized-crime groups were arrested on September 26 in possession of the synthetic drugs presumably consumed by the victims," the source said.
In all, five people have been arrested on suspicion of distributing psychoactive substances, including four Ukrainians who are members of organized-crime groups, he said.
"The arrested individuals were links of a distribution network and involved in contactless distribution of substances," the spokesperson said.
Since September 24, anti-drug police have found 25 caches containing synthetic drugs in Surgut and seized in total about one and a half kilograms of the substances.
It was reported that the first victims showing signs of a mental behavioral disorder asked for medical aid on September 18. It was found that the victims started experiencing these problems after using an unknown psychoactive substance bought on the Internet.
By Monday, the number of victims had soared to 180 people and seven had died.
Police have already identified the website which sold the substances and measures are underway to find the organizers of the trade.
A criminal inquiry has been launched under Article 238(3)(v) of the Russian Criminal Code (sale of goods and products not complying with requirements for consumer health or life safety, resulting in death by negligence."
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