MOSCOW, April 25 (RAPSI) – Investigation into a criminal case against gang members allegedly involved in committing serious and very serious crimes in Russia’s Komi Republic and Arkhangelsk Region has been completed, the Investigative Committee’s press service reports.

There are 21 defendants in the case including an alleged criminal group leader Yury Pichugin; they are held in detention. According to investigators, three of them have signed plea deals and will be tried separately.

Depending on their roles, the defendants are charged with organizing a criminal gang and participating in it, establishing and participation in a militia group, 6 murder counts, kidnapping, illegal trafficking in arms, explosives and bombs, extortion and large-scale fraud.

Investigators claim that between 1992 and 1994 Pichugin organized a gang, which included athletes, former law enforcement officers and military servicemen. The crime syndicate was involved in racket, large scale embezzlement, robbery, real estate fraud and other crimes, including management of funds transferred to and from prison inmates.

In February 2017, Russia’s Investigative Committee reported that it managed to disrupt the activity of the organized criminal group operating in the Komi Republic.