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Caucasus Crime Kingpin Gets Life

A crime boss who arranged the murders of high-ranking officials in the government of North Ossetia was sentenced by a military court Tuesday to life in prison.

Oleg Gagiyev had been convicted of leading a criminal group with at least a dozen members from 2007-08 and organizing the killings of several top North Ossetian security officials and bureaucrats.

His victims include former Vladikavkaz Mayor Vitaly Karayev and the then-deputy chairman of the republic's government, Kazbek Pagiyev.

Gagiyev, who went by the nickname "Bote," was found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder, premeditated destruction of property, illegal weapons possession and other crimes.

His lawyers said they were planning to appeal the sentence.

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