Cop arrested in Belarus denies guilt

Written by Nathan Greenhalgh Lithuania

VILNIUS - New details about the arrest of a high-ranking Lithuanian policeman emerged on Thursday, as the arrested cop denied his guilt.

According to statements from Lithuania's Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the press, Laimonas Bankauskas, head of the Vilnius Police Department's equestrian police division, is maintaining his innocence and claiming the 45.5 grams of methamphetamine found in his possession by Belarusian police was planted.

Belarusian authorities are alleging that Bankauskas was attempting to smuggle the drugs across the Lithuanian border in to Belarus. Bankauskas was arrested on Monday in the Belarusian border town of Ashmyany, 50 km southeast from the Lithuanian capital city of Vilnius.

The same day, a 34-year-old man from Kaunas was arrested in Lithuania near the Belarusian border in possession of 100 kg of hashish, with an estimated street value of 2 million litai (?580,000). It's unclear if the cases are related or not.

The Vilnius police department declined to comment on the case. The Lithuanian foreign ministry said it would ensure Bankauskas' legal rights in the authoritarian country should his case go to trial.


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