Police and Omsk region officials suspected of covering up black loggers' gang

Police and Omsk region officials suspected of covering up black loggers' gang
Acting Governor of Omsk Region Alexander Burkov

The damage from illegal actions of lumberjacks is estimated at 1 billion rubles ($16.8m). Without ties with the government and the police, it would be impossible to conduct activities on such a scale, the Head of the region is sure.

The Omsk region police detained 5 members of the organized criminal group of 'black logger', who are involved in a large number of forest crimes in the Tarsky region. All the detainees were previously convicted. For several years they put pressure on the local regional forestrystaff and entrepreneurs. This was stated at the briefing by the Governor of the Omsk region, Alexander Burkov, and Head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia in the Omsk region Vyacheslav Kryuchkov. According to the Head of the region, the forest was cut illegally and exported from the region in commercial quantity. The damage from illegal actions of lumberjacks is estimated at 1 billion rubles.

"Could this happen without the patronage of the government heads and law enforcement agencies? If it is confirmed that representatives of the State Forestry Agency participated, appropriate measures will be taken. I also think that without patrons at a high level it was impossible. We need to wait for the results of the audit," Burkov said.

In this case, according to Vyacheslav Kryuchkov, 'black loggers' nightmarized local residents for several years. "Now we are looking for mechanisms for legalizing the felled forest. Police and officials may have covered gang members," Kryuchkov said. "Local officials never complained about these 'black loggers'."

The problem was discovered in October during the visit of the regional Head. He demanded an office check in the forestry department of the Omsk region, the materials were transferred to the ICR.

However, after the visit, according to local residents, sawmills do not stop. "The main criminal group that operated in this area was liquidated. A number of defendants are at large, a set of measures aimed at detaining them. There are a number of gangs, but they are not so close-knit, so they do not affect the operational situation, and a complex of measures is also carried out against them," said police chief Vyacheslav Kryuchkov.

The Head of the region demanded that the chief of police find the main organizers of the crimes, not nonthreatening lumberjacks.

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