First thievish blood spills in Armenia 

First thievish blood spills in Armenia
Zap is the first defendant Photo: The CrimeRussia

The recent murder of thief in law Andranik Harutyunyan (Ando Khromoy) in Yerevan has shacked up both law enforcement officers and crime lords. It is not clear who could kill the mob, who does not claim to the leading role and has not been in conflict with anyone for a long time. Nevertheless, the name of another Andranik, Sogoyan, aka Zap, emerged as if by itself. First, he had previously been involved in contract killings, and second, he had a personal motive for eliminating Harutyunyan.

Thief in law Andranik Harutyunyan, known as Ando Khromoy, or Masivtsi Andik (Andik from Massiv) was killed on July 2 in Yerevan. 

The footage captured by the CCTV shows how four men sit in the gazebo and play backgammon. Suddenly, a man approaches them from behind and starts firing. Two players are hiding under the table, two more scatter. The killer continues firing, but at some point, one man manages to run out from under the table. The shooter rushes after him. At first, they disappear from the frame, but then reappear in the foreground, and an unarmed man tries to attack the killer with a stick. He continues to shoot. Finally, the victim falls, and the killer, making a few more shots, escapes.

Everything happened in the courtyard of the house number 17 on Mikoyana Street, where Harutyunyan lived. According to the video, he was masterminding Ando's murder. Immediately after the incident, the nearby men called an ambulance, but then they took the mob to the hospital by car. Police found an abandoned car with traces of blood.

Ando Khromoy was brought to the hospital already dead. Four gunshot wounds were found on the body of the deceased, one of which hit the head area, two bullets hit the shoulder, another shot was fired in the back.

According to the IC of Armenia, shells, one bullet, as well as blood-like traces and a sports bag thrown by the killer were found at the crime scene.

Andranik Harutyunyan was born in 1973 in Yerevan, in the family of a trolleybus driver. In total, he served 14 years. He was crowned in 1996 (at the age of 22), along with Manethi Tha Samo and Gorik Oktemberyansky in Moscow by respected thieves Kndo Maiis Yerevansky, Rafik Khoyetsyan (Hoi) and Rafael Piloyan (Mkan).

From the 90s to the 2000s he lived in Russia, mainly in Moscow. He supervised several gangs involved in theft, robbery, fraud, drug sales. In 2009, Harutyunyan was sentenced to 3 years and three months for drug possession (Article 228 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). 

In early 2016, Ando Khromoy was detained in Moscow. The reason was his illegal stay in the territory of the Russian Federation. Six months before this, the court decided that Harutyunyan had to leave the country, but he disobeyed and remained. After that, he was expelled to Armenia, where he settled in the 5th Nork massif.

Андраник Арутюнян

Andranik Harutyunyan

When he returned, Ando Khromoy noticed some changes in the mores of the new generation of thieves. Therefore, he drew attention to the ties with representatives of the official authorities. 

A year ago, he was detained during a check of all thieves in law living in Armenia. He was charged with storing drugs together with Alexander Makaryan (Alo). The security forces discovered plastic containers with methadone during a search in the Harutyunyan's house. It's no secret that he was a drug addict for a long time.

Now about 100 police officers are investing his murder. In turn, according to some sources, the thieves in law also discussed the killing of Harutyunyan and are also looking for his customers. Moreover, both of them fear that it could only be the beginning of some significant civil strife. In any case, this murder cannot remain undealt. But so far it only raises more questions - who killed the thief of an average hand, who tried not to stick out, and why he didn’t strive to power?

Андраник Арутюнян (Андо Хромой)

Andranik Harutyunyan year ago

At the same time, the first thing that attracts attention is the conflict between Ando Khromoy and another mob - Andranik Sogoyan (Zap). The fact is that Khromoy was among those who participated in the beating of Zap in 2016.

Zap, 50, is a representative of the Leninakan clan that historically opposed the Yerevan clan, to which Ando Khromoy belonged. However, this was not the main reason for the conflict. The fact is that Zap rubbed shoulders with the authorities of Armenia.

Андраник Согоян (Зап)

Andranik Sogoyan (Zap)

This story dates back to the 2000s when Zap moved from Russia to the Czech Republic. There he patronized compatriots. However, he ran into one of the local businessmen with Armenian roots, who did not want to transfer part of his profits to the common fund. In response, he received several knife wounds but survived. 

Then Zap's henchmen tried to eliminate the stubborn businessman, but they killed the driver, a Czech citizen, by mistake. Local law enforcement officers reacted with the particular operation. As a result, Zap and his accomplices turned out to be behind bars.

Zap’s lawyers made every effort to make their client free, and in 2009 the mob was acquitted and released in the courtroom. Two of his henchmen were accused of illegal possession of firearms. Some time later, the case regarding Zap was resumed. In 2013, he was convicted of murder and attempted murder, after which he was sentenced in absentia to 22 years in prison, and was deported to Armenia, where Sogoyan had been in custody.

Зап на суде

Zap during the court hearing

However, contrary to expectations, the Armenian authorities did not cooperate with the Czechs, and the mob remained to live in his homeland. Even then, such a loyal attitude of officials towards Zap seemed suspicious, and it became clear that he owed something to the authorities and local security officials. 

That assumption was confirmed when a political conflict occurred in Armenia, in which Sogoyan supported the power, and not the opposition, upheld by mobs. On July 17, 2016, a group of armed men stormed a police station in Yerevan and captured nine hostages. The raiders demanded the release of opposition leader Zhirayr Sefilyan, as well as the resignation of President Serzh Sargsyan. During the attack, one policeman was killed. After the attack, the confrontation with government forces began. A crowded protest breaks out.

Возле захваченного полицейского участка

The attack spot

At this time, Sogoyan personally conducted conversations with citizens, where, using his influence, urged them not to take the side of the opposition. In the end, after a couple of weeks, the gunmen surrendered. Arrests began. But Sogoyan not only remained free, but he also acquired the title of “the godfather.” In the summaries of the operatives, Zap passed as the chief thief of Armenia, so that the criminals treat him with respect. As the local press wrote later, Head of the Armenian Police Vladimir Gasparyan personally protected Zap. 

Naturally, this state of affairs did not suit the ideological representatives of the criminals, and in 2016 Sogoyan was beaten by six thieves in law, who waited for him on the street. Zap was accompanied by his henchman Suren Avetisyan (Pasha Tha Suro Leninakansky) and nephew Artem Ghazaryan (Zapi Egan Artem Leninakansky), when Gevorg Melikyan (Gevorik Oshakansky), Samvel Harutyunyan (Maneti Tha Samo), Rafael Khoetsyan (Afo), Norayr Piloyan (Koncho), Artem Mikaelyan (Artem Gorisky) and Ando Khromoy met them. After a verbal complaint, they attacked Zap and debunked.

Владимир Гаспарян

Vladimir Gasparyan

However, the authorities also rescued Sogoyan and sent the majority of his offenders to Turkey, where they joined the Sukhumi clan of Merab Dzhangveladze (Merab Sukhumsky). Zap, deprived of his title, held a grudge and masterminded several contract killings. It was always considered unworthy of the thief, but he had nothing to lose. 

It is believed that his first victim was former mob Hayk Nikoghosyan (Hayko Karabakhsky). He joined the family of Armenian thieves in exile who had a grudge against Zap and called him not a "thief," for which he paid the price: Zap's people made Nikoghosyan disabled by shooting his legs in his own house.

Гайк Никогосян (Айко Карабахский)

Hayk Nikoghosyan (Hayko Karabakhsky)

The next crime, the organizer of which was Zap, was committed at the end of 2017. Then a mob from the clan of Tariel Oniani (Taro) - Gocha Alpaidze (Alfason) - was shot in Turkey. He managed to survive. He had no conflict with Zap but brawled with a relative of Shakro Molodoy Nodari Asayan (Nodar Rustavsky). The reason for the disagreement was their claim to control the south of Russia and the Rostov region, where Nodar Rustavsky ruled for many years. So it turned out that Zap accepts orders to eliminate the mobs, having no personal motives other than financial ones.

Following the attempt on Alfason, a few days later, David Alkhanashvili (Dato Pankissky) was killed in Istanbul; Zap was among the organizers of the crime. But if in the case of Aiko it was still possible to talk about defending his honor with Zap, then the last two crimes looked like the services of the Kalashov's clan - even though Zap was deprived of the thieving title, supporters of Shakro Molodoy still recognized him as the thief.

Дато Панкисский

Dato Pankissky

At the same time, it was believed that Sogoyan left his homeland after what happened to him in Armenia, preferring to ply between Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. Moreover, his enemies turned back soon. Furthermore, it was reported that he once again helped the new Armenian authorities. In particular, the nephew of the ex-President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan, Narek Sargsyan, was handed over to the police by Zap.

After the velvet revolution (April-May, 2018), when Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan came to power in Armenia, a criminal case was initiated into the acquisition, storage, sale and transportation of weapons, ammunition, explosives, and narcotic substances, in the framework of which Narek Sargsyan was declared wanted. On December 7, in Prague, he was detained by law enforcement officers of Armenia together with foreign colleagues and the Interpol National Bureau. They found a passport in the name of a citizen of Guatemala, Franklin Gonzalez.

Нарек Саргсян

Narek Sargsyan

Although both the Head of the Armenian police and the Head of the National Security Service (NSS) denied the assistance of the mob in catching the ex-President’s nephew, there were a lot of opposite proofs. Firstly, extensive contacts in the Czech Republic helped to learn about the whereabouts of Sargsyan, and secondly, he was no longer hiding, he could often be seen in public places.

At the end of 2018, Sogoyan was taken from the restaurant to the police in the company of three other mobs - “for prevention,” then Zap was taken to the hospital with a broken arm. 

His activity suggests an attempt to take revenge against the background of periodic police operations against the mob; he could lead the thieves, so Zap intimidates everyone with the first murder of the kingpin in the capital of Armenia.

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