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Police in Tatarstan Investigate Body Parts Trade

KAZAN — A criminal case against two forensic surgeons suspected of involvement in illicit trade of human body parts has been opened in the republic of Tatarstan, the regional investigators said.

Media reports earlier speculated that surgeons from Tatarstan's Republican Forensics Bureau removed heels and knee cartilage from the bodies of diseased people, extracted bone tissue from these parts and sold it to private dentists and cosmetic surgery firms.

The probe was prompted after a truck was pulled over in June and was found to be carrying body parts rather than blood and its components as it was written in papers accompanying the cargo.

"An investigation in line with a criminal case against officials from the Republican Forensics Bureau is underway," the investigative committee said in a statement on Monday.

Two senior officials from the bureau were detained and questioned on Monday on suspicion of "abuse of authority," Gazeta.ru reported.

Protein-rich collagen, extracted from bone tissue, is widely used in cosmetic surgery and in a wide variety of dental, orthopedic and surgical procedures.

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