Police officers have been detained in Moscow on suspicion of using teenagers in sting operations to catch and extort money from pedophiles, the Interfax news agency reported Friday, citing an unidentified police source.
According to the source, seven men are suspected of operating a string of gay nightclubs in Moscow and employing underage teenagers to lure clients for illicit services via online adverts.
Once caught, police officers in the gang then extorted money from the clients, the source said.
“The officers arrested these clients, who had paid these teenagers for sexual services, before extorting large sums from them on the threat of lengthy prison sentences,” the source said.
The seven men have been formally accused of establishing and running an organized crime network and further charges could be opened during the course of the investigation, the source said.