The Russian man, 22 years old but unnamed by state news agency TASS, was arrested by plainclothes officers in Vilyuchinsk, a closed city on the Kamchatka Peninsular in Russia’s Far East.
Vilyuchinsk is the renowned naval base that is home to the Russian Pacific Fleet’s much-feared nuclear submarines. During Cold War, the base, located in Avacha Bay, was labelled on NATO charts as the “hornets’ nest”.
Until 1994, special papers or a permit were needed to even enter the city, which today neighbours a large missile base.
Yet, a sting operation there left police floundering for charges to press against their suspect.
According to the TASS report, police received a tip-off that the man was dealing drugs and send in undercover officers to buy drugs to the value of 3,000 rubles (about B1,500).
The kind of drugs to be bought was not reported, but the exchange of cash for a bag containing “ground white powder” left the officers in want.
After conducting a “test” of the powder, which turned out to be nothing more than crushed paracetamol, the officers moved instead to file charges of fraud.
If found guilty, the suspect now faces up to five years in prison for his unethical business practice.