Spanish police nab crime lords Artem Saratovsky, Chia, Ika Sukhumsky and others 

Spanish police nab crime lords Artem Saratovsky, Chia, Ika Sukhumsky and others
Detention of thieves in law in Spain during a gathering Photo: Still from operative video

The operation on the detention of crime lords took place during a gathering in one of the restaurants in Marbella, where the crime lords discussed the plans for the reorganization of the Armenian-Georgian criminal syndicate and the killing of rivals.

The thieves in law detained the day before by the National Police of Spain were citizens of Armenia and Georgia Artem Sargsyan (Artem Saratovsky), Irakliy Pipiya (Ika Sukhumsky) and Lasha Barateli (Chia). They are suspected of being complicit in the organized crime, namely, in an attempt to take control of the remnants of the Armenian-Georgian mafia, which the Spanish authorities defeated at the end of June during an operation called Kus.

To recap, all three crime bosses were arrested by the court of Marbella without bail. They are accused of attempted murder, forgery of documents and belonging to a criminal group.

Артем Саргсян

Artem Sargsyan

The operation on detaining the crime lords was held during a gathering in one of the restaurants in Marbella, where the crime bosses discussed plans to reorganize the Armenian-Georgian criminal syndicate. Besides, they agreed to the murder of the leader of a rival gang.

The police closed in on the criminals in July, when they obtained information that there are several people in Marbella who are connected with "one of the most important thieves in the law in Europe." According to law enforcers, Artem Sargsyan, who lived in Lithuania, ordered the group leaders, who settled in Spain, to gather to "resolve the issues between the clans."


Georgian thief in law Irakliy Pipiya was ‘crowned’ in Moscow in 1999. In 2001 and 2008, he was detained at the largest ‘thievish’ gatherings in the Moscow region, in Fryazino and Klyazma. A week after the capture on a ship, Pipiya was caught in Moscow with a dose of heroin and subsequently sentenced by Savelovsky court to six months of the general regime. Having freed from the colony in January 2009, the thief in law moved to Europe. In November 2011, he married an Italian in Rome.

Previously convicted Artem Sargsyan (Artem Saratov) was ‘crowned’ in Turkey in June 2013, along with Dato Dzhangidze, Bondo Sturua and others. In 2014, he was detained with a dose of heroin in Domodedovo district of the Moscow region. Being handed down a suspended year, he literally ran out of the courtroom. On July 23, 2018, the Armenian police opened a criminal case against him on kidnapping and extortion. According to the department, the crime was committed by Artem Sargsyan and Artem Kazaryan in March 2013 together with a group of individuals. According to the police, they held a man in captivity and, using violence against him, forced him to abandon his $150.000-share in the workshop for the production of bread, the co-owner of which he was.

Georgian thief in law Lasha Barateli was ‘crowned’ in 2014. In December of the same year he was brutally attacked in St. Petersburg. Masked people were waiting for him i the entrance of the house on Leninsky Prospect. The unknown beat up Barateli, stabbed him in the face one after another and fled in an unknown direction, taking the mobile phone of the victim. According to the sources of The CrimeRussia, Barateli was not recognized as a member of the clan of Ded Khasan. The purpose of the massacre of Chia was a demonstration of what awaits all the others whom Rovshan and his associates approach. When Barateli got to the hospital, he was detained by the Criminal Department for the burglary that happened three years ago. Georgia refused the extradition of Barateli, who was wanted by Interpol at its request.

After the detention, electronic devices, fake Polish and Ukrainian passports in their names, as well as a significant amount of cash were seized during searches in apartments and hotel rooms.

Ираклий Пипия

Irakliy Pipiya

The first special operation against the Armenian-Georgian mafia under the code name Kus was held in November 2017, when members of the gang of Georgian thief in law Kakhaber Shushanashvili (Kakha Rustavsky) were detained. About 30 of his assistants of Georgian origin were rounded up, 14 searches were conducted in houses and companies related to the gang. He is currently serving the term in a Spanish prison for some charges.

The second operation took place at the end of June 2018. It resulted in the detention of 129 people, including seven thieves in law. It was reported that among the detainees was crime lord of Armenian origin Erik Dzhaginyan (Ero Tomsky) and some Artak Oganyan. The operation turned up nine pieces of firearms, cartridges, vehicles, jewelry, contraband cigarettes, drugs, bullet-proof vests, equipment for melting down precious metals and about $120.000 in cash.

Лаша Баратели

Lasha Barateli

Among other things, the searches turned up Russian passports. Mafia’s activities are associated with "drug trafficking, arms sale, tobacco smuggling, money laundering, corruption in sports betting and other property crimes throughout Europe." The criminal group is suspected of having criminal ties in the US, France, Italy, Belgium, and Lithuania.



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