Several high-ranking police and prosecution officials arrested in resonant case against illegal amber diggers
In an unprecedented operation against illegal amber diggers in Ukraine's western Rivne region on June 4 police arrested several high-rank officials, suspected of controlling and covering the so-called mines.
More than 300 Special task officers conducted around 123 searches of homes of the persons, linked to the criminal case, and confiscated sacks of amber, jewelries, collections of expensive and elite watches and more.
"This is just the beginning of the war against the amber mafia with police badges", Ukraine's recently-appointed Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko said, according to local news agency Liga.net.
Photos of confiscated money, amber etc.
The first persons detained by the police were the deputy prosecutor of the Rivne region Andriy Borovyk, allegedly the leader of the criminal group, and a lieutenant-colonel of Ukraine's national security service SSU, whose name wasn't told.
Arrest of Andriy Borovyk
The chief prosecutor of the region, Anatoliy Kovalchuk, was going to be fired, Lutsenko announced, saying that the whole senior staff would be dismissed and replaced over the corruption charges.
Also Ukrainian law enforcers arrested several chiefs of the regional police and a local citizen, who cooperated with the allegedly corrupt officers. Their schemes, uncovered by the police and the SSU, entangled at least several regions of Ukraine, namely Rivne, Volyn and Zhytomyr.
Ukraine's Interior Minister Arsen Avakov reported, around 32 more persons were suspected of organizing and participating in the illegal activities, including SSU and police officers.
"They had been receiving "fabulous" amounts of money for permitting the amber digging", Avakov said.
The country's military prosecution announced, several criminal cases were initiated against the detained officials.
Ukraine's Rivne region is infamously known for the illegal amber mines. The "Klondike", as the locals call them, attract thousands of diggers every day. Working with the regional corrupt police officers, they sell the obtained goods abroad.