Spanish police in Mijas, Málaga Province, arrested an Estonian man suspected of leading a drug ring, the criminal investigation of which also led to the arrest of three other men in Estonia this week.
Spanish and Estonian police carried out a joint operation this week in the course of which four men aged 27-57 were arrested, a spokesperson for the Office of the Prosecutor General said. According to allegations, the men formed and belonged to the criminal Kemerovo group.
According to ERR's information, the man arrested in Spain was Vjatšeslav Gulevitš, alias Slava Kemerovski, who is known in the Estonian criminal world as the leader of the criminal group. One of the other three men is likewie one of the leaders of the group, according to gathered information, while the remaining two are members thereof.
The suspect arrested in Spain is to be extradited to Estonia. The Estonian prosecutor's office requested that Harju County Court take the remaining three men into custody, stating that there was reason to believe that they would otherwise continue committing crimes.
The men's real estate, vehicles and cash have been seized.
"International joint operations, the seizure of criminal gains and court decisions that have entered into force confirm that the fight against organized crime is efficient," said Estonian Prosecutor General Lavly Perling.
According to the press officer, some of the men have prior convictions for drug-related offenses.
Vahur Verte, the state prosecutor assigned to the case, said that he does not rule out the number of suspects in the case increasing.
The state prosecutor also stressed how important cooperation with Spanish colleagues has been for the duration of the investigation. "International cooperation has become regular for us, and this week's operation demonstrates the success of this cooperation," he said.
Ago Leis, director of the Organized Crime Department of the Central Criminal Police, said that the preliminary investigation had lasted for a year and a half. "In the first half of the week, this long-term effort was realized and we simultaneously detained criminal suspects in Estonia and Spain," he noted.
According to Leis, officials of the Central Criminal Police assisted with the arrest in Spain. He added that the arrests send a message to criminals that the police will catch them no matter where they are in Europe.
The pretrial proceeding is being conducted by the Organized Crime Department of the Central Criminal Police and led by the Office of the Prosecutor General.
Editor: Aili Vahtla