18:00 / 07.06.2022

Russian tourist convicted of smuggling a drone into Uzbekistan

Customs officers said they saw a drone with the tourist, but missed it. Two days later, she was arrested on charges of smuggling an unmanned aerial vehicle into the country; a criminal case was initiated. She was acquitted in court, but the drone was confiscated.

Photo: Polina Ermakova

Russian tourist Polina Yermakova said on her Instagram page that she was arrested on May 17 for smuggling a drone into the country. Interestingly, at that time it had been two days since she had crossed the Uzbek border. The Russian citizen said that the customs officer did not object to the import of the quadcopter.

Gazeta.uz contacted Polina Yermakova and clarified the details of the incident. It turned out that the woman first traveled to Kyrgyzstan, and on May 15, crossed into Uzbekistan.

“There was a very interesting situation at the border. As I was crossing the border, I presented my passport and it was stamped with the entry stamp. After that, I went through a metal detector, where my bag was checked and everything I was carrying in it was clearly visible. The border guard asked me: “Do you have a drone?” I said: “Yes, I do. May I go?” He told me I could leave,” Yermakova said.

He admitted that he had not read the rules for importing drones before entering Uzbekistan.

“The drone was not hidden anywhere, it was lying in my bag. I am very interested in why the problems started not in Uzbekistan, but in Tashkent. We were going to take a train from Tashkent to Bukhara on May 17. The train was leaving at night, and I arrived at the station at about 21:30. I was stopped by traffic police. I also went through a metal detector, where the inside of my bag was visible. After that, they took me to the police station, and it all started there,” the tourist said.

It turned out that Polina Yermakova was charged under Article 244-4 of the Criminal Code (illegal import, transfer, acquisition, storage or use of unmanned aerial vehicles). At the June 3 court hearing, the tourist was found not guilty, but for some reason the drone was not returned to her.

Khusen Tangriyev, spokesman for the chairman of the State Customs Committee, commented on the situation in response to a query from Kun.uz:

“P. Yermakova, a citizen of the Russian Federation, entered the Republic of Uzbekistan from the Kyrgyz Republic on May 15 at 08:30 through the checkpoint of the Dustlik border customs post in the Andijan region.

When the movement of this citizen across the customs border was examined on the basis of surveillance cameras, it was found that P. Yermakova did not inform the customs authorities about the presence of prohibited or restricted goods in the Republic of Uzbekistan and did not fill out a passenger customs declaration.

Also, the citizen was subjected to customs control by customs officers in a simplified manner, and her actions did not arouse suspicion among customs officers, and the citizen was not interviewed.

While P. Yermakova was boarding a train on the Tashkent-Bukhara route at the Central Railway Station in Tashkent, the MIA Transport Police found a DJ Mavic Air 2 unmanned aerial device in her bag. A criminal case has been filed in this regard. According to the investigation, on May 15, 2022, the citizen entered the Andijan region through the green corridor of the “Dustlik” border customs post.

At the same time, P. Yermakova left the Republic of Uzbekistan for the Kyrgyz Republic on June 3 this year, passing through the “Dustlik” border customs post in Andijan region.

The criminal case against the citizen was dismissed by the Mirabad district court, and the Dji Mavic Air 2 drone was confiscated and handed over to the Defense Ministry.

It should be noted that a similar incident occurred with another Russian Maxim Limar. Earlier this year, a blogger returning from Bukhara to Novosibirsk was arrested after a quadcopter was found among his luggage, but he was later released.

It should be noted that the import, sale and use of unmanned aerial vehicles has been prohibited in Uzbekistan since January 1, 2015, with the exception of cases provided for in separate resolutions of the Cabinet of Ministers.

In May 2019, liability for smuggling drones into the territory of the country and their use was strengthened.

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