Moscow Police Find 'Underground Town' of Migrant Workers

Moscow police have raided an old bomb shelter that illegal migrants working at a secret defense industry plant have turned into an underground village, complete with a shop and a mosque.

The shelter was located on the premises of the plant, not far from Mozhaiskoye Shosse in the city's west, Lifenews.ru reported Thursday.

The place housed more than 110 people despite having an area of only 200 square meters, unidentified police officers who participated in the raid told the tabloid.

Most of the place was occupied by separate male and female dormitories with two-tier beds. The migrants cooked on the premises, despite the shelter having no ventilation system.

"We couldn't have imagined that so many people could live in such a small area," police told Lifenews.ru. "It stank so awful there you could faint."

But some of the dormitories were actually well-tended, sporting television sets and clean bedsheets. Police said they were likely used by senior workers.

There were also shower booths, a shop and an improvised Muslim prayer room in the shelter, police spokesman Andrei Mishel said Thursday, RIA-Novosti reported.

The plant was fenced in by a four-meter blind concrete wall. A resident of the neighborhood told Lifenews.ru that the migrants were rumored to be banned from leaving the premises.

Police said the factory in question produced blades and needles for sewing machines, but Lifenews.ru said it was only a cover-up, and the plant actually made missile complexes for the Defense Ministry.

The workers, most of them Uzbek natives, were qualified for high-level defense industry jobs, the report said.

Nevertheless, most of the migrants are facing deportation to their motherland, while 16 are being investigated for possible involvement in various crimes committed in Moscow, RIA-Novosti said.

The plant's director, whose name has been withheld, may face numerous criminal charges, including organizing illegal migration, which carries a maximum term of two years in prison, the report said.

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