Moscow police detain 3 Belarussian criminals

MOSCOW, October 10 (Itar-Tass) - Moscow police detained three Belarussian criminals belonging to the so-called group of "firefighters," including their leader Gennady Beryozin, 35, the Interior Ministry's department for combating organized crime and terrorism told Itar-Tass on Tuesday.

"All the detainees were on the interstate wanted list for serious offenses. The Department's operation puts an end to the existence of the "firefighters group," an Interior Ministry official underlined.

Thanks to the coordinated action by law-enforcement bodies of Russia and Belarus, six active members of this group were detained in the Moscow region in the period from April until June.

"Some time ago, another three "firefighters" were arrested in an elite apartment house in Kutuzovsky Prospect Street - gang leader Gennady Berezin, and his accomplices Oleg Chirkov and Vyacheslav Litsenstein.

"Police seized from them fake Russian and Belarussian passport," the police official said.

"At present, police are checking the detainees for involvement in crimes committed in Russia; the issue of their extradition to Belarus is under consideration," the organized crime department emphasized.

The "firefighters" group was set up in the Gomel region in the mid 1990s. In August 2006, the Gomel regional court found guilty 27 gang members of 100 crimes, including 80 serious and very serious crimes, and sentenced them to 3 to 14 years in jail.

But 11 gangsters escaped justice. Most of them fled to Russia where they lived under fake documents.