Aslan Gagiev gang on trial: spetsnaz officers, order bearers, crime unit operative charged with 41 murders

Aslan Gagiev gang on trial: spetsnaz officers, order bearers, crime unit operative charged with 41 murders
Aslan Gagiev (Dzhako) Photo: Facebook

Viktor Pronin and Andrei Sankin - officers of the ‘Bulat’ Special Rapid Response Unit, and Ruslan Yurtov, an ex-operative of the crime unit, will soon appear before the court.

Investigators have completed the probe into the case of a gang of hitmen headed by Aslan Gagiev (Dzhako). The Investigative Committee of Russia for the North Caucasus is to sue 12 members of the gang, including officers of the ‘Bulat’ Special Rapid Response Unit and a crime unit operative. The gang leader, recently extradited from Austria to Russia, will be tried separately, Kommersant said. The Supreme Court is going to study the 3.000-volume case file, which will determine the jurisdiction since it would be unsafe to try the case in North Ossetia, where the killers had been based.

Investigators consider Dzhako the founder and leader of one of the most ruthless criminal communities responsible for at least 60 murders of officials, including the Vladikavkaz mayor Vitaly Karaev and North Ossetia Vice Prime Minister Kazbek Pagiev, bankers, entrepreneurs and law enforcement officers; the assassinations were all committed within a few years, starting from 2004. Gagiev’s gang included about 50 people, some of whom used to be law enforcers and military men.

An international red notice for Gagiev was issued in 2014 and he was detained in Austria in January 2015. After long extradition paperwork, Dzhako was brought to Russia in June 2018. He was officially charged with establishing a criminal syndicate (part 1 of Art. 210 of the Criminal Code), several gangs that were part of it (Art. 209), and committing six premeditated murders (Art. 105). He pleaded not guilty and refused to give testimony following the advice of his lawyers.

Viktor Pronin and Andrei Sankin  - officers of the ‘Bulat’ Special Rapid Response Unit and Ruslan Yurtov, an ex-operative of the crime unit, will soon appear before the court. They are directly related to the September 2011 murder of Andrei Burlakov, the former owner of the German shipyards Wadan Yards. They are charged with the murder of Alexander Leonov, an ICR transport control investigator, and other grave crimes. Overall, they will be tried for 41 murders and murder attempts.

Earlier, 23 other gang members had been sentenced to imprisonment; seven others are on the wanted list, and another one, Georgy Kusov, is awaiting extradition from Belgium.

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