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'Top Belarus Mobster' Arrested Near Moscow

A reputed mobster believed to control the Belarussian criminal underworld has been arrested in an elite village outside Moscow, Interfax reported Tuesday.

Alexander Timoshenko, nicknamed Timokha Gomel, was detained in Maslovo, 22 kilometers southwest of the Moscow Ring Road, in possession of 32 grams of hashish on Friday, Interfax said, citing an unidentified police official.

A court authorized his arrest on charges of drug trafficking on Saturday, the official said.

Timoshenko, 59, is the top crime boss in Belarus, he added, without elaborating.

Timoshenko has spent a total of 25 years in prison. A decade ago, Germany arrested him in connection with extortion, the beating a Polish national, and the murder of crime boss Yefim Laskin, who was shot in Munich in the autumn of 1991. He was sentenced to life imprisonment but later freed on appeal.

If convicted of illegal drug trafficking, he faces a sentence of three to 10 years in prison.

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