Russia Demands Access To Drug Smuggler Imprisoned In U.S.

By McCarton Ackerman 02/19/14

Russia's Foreign Ministry wants to send doctors and diplomats to visit Konstantin Yaroshenko after reports that he's suffering from declining health.

Konstantin Yaroshenko.jpg
Konstantin Yaroshenko Photo via

Russia is demanding medical access for a Russian drug smuggler  who has been imprisoned in the U.S. since 2010 for smuggling. Konstantin Yaroshenko, currently serving 20 years for conspiracy to smuggle cocaine into the United States, has reportedly been suffering from declining health and recently displayed symptoms of a heart attack.  His lawyer, Alexei Tarasov, said Yaroshenko was not receiving treatment despite expressing concern he had only days to live.

"The Russian side emphasized that the full responsibility for the life and health of our fellow citizen lies with the United States authorities," said the Russian Foreign Ministry. "We have repeatedly drawn attention to the worsening of his chronic illnesses that resulted from the torture and abuse he suffered during his arrest."

The Russian Foreign Ministry is now planning to send both doctors and diplomats to Fort Dix Federal Correctional Facility in New Jersey, where Yaroshenko is serving out his sentence, and asked U.S. officials to “not obstruct this mission, but instead offer all possible assistance.” Moscow is also calling for him to be extradited. A U.S. embassy spokesman denied the lack of visitation rights and medical access, declaring that “Russian consular officials have visited Mr. Yaroshenko a number of times, most recently in January." They declined to comment on the specifics of the case unless Yaroshenko signed a privacy waiver.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.