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Police Detain Members of North Ossetian Mafia in Moscow

Police detained several members of a North Ossetian crime gang in the Moscow region on Tuesday night believed to be responsible for more than 25 murders under the leadership of Georgian mobster Aslan Gagiyev.

The gang, which began its activities in Georgia in 2007 with at least 30 members, was responsible for a slew of high-profile crimes and murders, including the killing of Vladikavkaz Mayor Vitaly Karayev in 2008 and Mark Metsayev, the head of a police anti-corruption unit in North Ossetia that same year, according to a statement from the Investigative Committee released Wednesday.

The deputy prime minister of North Ossetia, Kazbek Pagiyev, was also killed by the gang that year.

Members of the group residing in the Moscow region were detained during a joint operation involving police from North Ossetia, the Federal Security Service and the Investigative Committee's North Caucasus branch. The suspects were identified in the statement as Inal Zasseyev, Robert Bagayev, Ruslan Yurtov, Erik Tautiyev and Dmitry Kodoyev.

During a search of one of the members' homes, police confiscated 22 pistols and 27 assault rifles, both Russian and foreign-made, the statement said.

Police also seized 36 grenades, silencers, more than 7,000 ammunition supplies, homemade bombs and explosive materials, hand-held radios, and more than 50 sets of phony uniforms of various law enforcement agencies.

Investigators are currently working to compile evidence on the crimes committed and determine which charges to file against the suspects.

The latest detention of the group's members brings the tally of gang members in custody to 13, while 10 other members of the group are on an international wanted list and two are awaiting trial.

The gang had been run by Aslan Gagiyev, a relative of the famous North Ossetian mobster Oleg Gagiyev, since the latter's conviction and sentencing in 2012.

Oleg 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. He is currently serving life in prison.

Both Gagiyevs are known for arranging the murders of high-ranking security officials and bureaucrats in North Ossetia.

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