Police seized 10 kilograms of pure gold believed to have been stolen from a major Russian gold producer and hidden in a forest in the Irkutsk region, a police statement said Monday.
In a statement from the regional branch of the Interior Ministry, police said that the gold was confiscated from three residents in the Bodaibinsky district who had been keeping it stashed away in the forest for over six months.
"It appears the precious metal was stolen last year from the Vysochaishy mining and processing plant by a criminal gang headed by a former employee of the Interior Ministry, Sergei Pankov," the statement said.
Three other people were arrested in a related operation in late December, when 5.5 kilograms of gold concentrate was confiscated.
"As a result of these operations [police] seized precious metals worth more than 4 million rubles ($133,000)," the statement said.
The police statement did not specify what charges the suspects would face.