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    ANTIAIRCRAFT MISSILE SYSTEM SEIZED FROM CRIMINALS IN YEKATERINBURG

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    MOSCOW, FEBRUARY 25 (RIA Novosti) - A portable antiaircraft missile system has been seized from a local criminal group in Yekaterinburg in the Urals region in the east of European Russia, the Russian Interior Ministry said on Wednesday.

    According to acting minister Rashid Nurgaliev, this happened in January, when a "large network of organized crime" was exposed in the city. A disassembled Igla system was found in a hideout in a private house.

    Before that, the police used to find this kind of weapons only with militants in Chechnya, Nurgaliev said.

    The hideout was found to contain an entire arsenal - alongside the Igla it had 12 grenade launchers, 20 submachine guns, 11 pistols, 5 grenades, nearly 5,000 different-caliber cartridges, 21 mufflers, a lot of explosives.

    This is an indication that the Yekaterinburg criminal group had firm channels for replenishing its arsenal, believes Nurgaliev. The ring's specialty was killings to order, mediation in disputes between economic entities, robbery.

    According to the Interior Ministry, the criminal group has committed over 100 crimes, including some twenty murders.

    The acting minister said the arms could also move from the hideout to Chechnya. Investigators have information that Yekaterinburg was a transshipment base for the delivery of arms to other parts of Russia.

    The Interior Ministry has put the investigation of this case under special control.

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