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The head of Russia's biggest drug-trafficking gang arrested in Mijas

The head of the criminal organisation was arrested in Mijas.
The head of the criminal organisation was arrested in Mijas. / AFP
  • In a joint operation between the National Police, Guardia Civil and police in Estonia, three other leaders were also detained in Tallin

The National Police, Guardia Civil and police from Estonia, working together on an operation called Fulcrum-Carinatus, have broken up the biggest Russian drug-trafficking organisation in Estonia, called Kemerovo. A police raid carried out simultaneously in both countries has resulted in the leader of the organisation being arrested in Mijas, and three other members have been detained in Tallin (Estonia).

The Estonian authorities have been investigating this criminal group for more than two years. The operation took on another dimension after the revenge killing of the top name in the Russian criminal world in Estonia in September 2016. Before his death, according to a statement issued by the National Police in Spain, he had exercised total power and it was he who received money from the criminal organisations based in Estonia, as their contribution to the so-called ‘obshack’, or ‘common account’.

He had been involved in all aspects of crime (weapons trafficking, drugs, extorsion, prostitution, people trafficking) and acted as a judge whenever disputes arose between other leaders. His absolute power had been recognised since the 1990s, and he presided over the so-called ‘shodkas’, meetings which were attended by the 15 most influential criminals. Such was his power that these meetings were known in the underworld as “the round table”.

At one of these meetings he withdrew his support for another member of the group who until then had been controlling the amphetamine market in Estonia, but had lost merchandise worth one million euros. Because of this, ‘the boss’ is said to have ordered that he was to be killed. This led to a battle between the different organisations over who would take the place of the dead man and there were several killings and shootings between the clans, all of whom wanted more control over criminal activities and specialities.

This latest police operation targeted the leader of the Kemerovo organisation in Spain, who was involved in all types of crime although he mainly concentrated on drug trafficking.

As the police explained, there were two reasons this man was in Spain. On one hand he wanted to set up an operational base for these criminal activities, and on the other he needed to launder money.

Security is also believed to have been a factor in his decision to move to Spain, because he feared that he would become the victim of one of the aforementioned ‘balance of accounts’ killings.

One of the hired assassins involved in these shootings, who belonged to a rival organisation to Kemerovo, had been detained in June in Reus (Tarragona), shortly after arriving in Spain. A short while previously, in Estonia, he had shot one of the members of Kemerovo after barging into a meeting which was taking place at a hotel in Tallin. The police are not ruling out the possibility that his presence in Spain was related to the ongoing war between clans.

As soon as the head of the criminal organisation had settled in Mijas, Spanish and Estonian police set up a joint operation to find out what illegal activities he was involved in. He had put strong security measures in place, and from his base here he issued instructions to his most trusted assistant about controlling the drugs market in Estonia.

Once there was sufficient indication of criminal activity, the simultaneous operation was carried out in Tallin and Mijas. When officers searched the property in Mijas after his arrest, they found documentation and computer material which is now being analysed, an axe and a large knife which he had hidden under his pillow.

At the same time in Tallin, the other leaders of the organisation were arrested, including the deputy leader of the group, a martial arts expert who recruited the so-called ‘soldiers’ of Kemerovo in the gymnasium he managed. They then took orders directly from him.

Ten of these ‘soldiers’ have been detained in the past year by the Estonian security forces. Their homes were also searched, and computer material and documents seized.