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 Some 30 searches underway in "amber mafia" case: off-the-book records, huge amounts of money, weapons, mining equipment seized, - SBU. PHOTOS

The Security Service of Ukraine, the prosecutor's offices, and the police continue searches of "amber mafia" members in the Rivne region.

Censor.NET reports referring to SBU press center.

"Off-the-book records, hundreds of thousands of dollars, large amounts in other currencies, a few dozens of kilograms of large-sized solar stones, and mining equipment have been seized from organizers, protectors, and amber-marketeers.

"Several heads of district state administrations as well as heads of Rivne region forestry agencies are among the case subjects. No searches of ordinary diggers have been conducted.

"Law enforcers are looking for bank accounts and foreign assets of other case participants. Nearly 30 searches are currently underway," the SBU stated.

Read more: Court to select restriction measure for five detainees on amber mafia case in upcoming days, - Prosecutor General Lutsenko

Five persons behind the illegal business are facing pre-trial restraints as proceedings are being carried out against other members of the criminal group.

According to the SBU, four tons of amber are legally produced per year in the Rivne region. By various estimates, the volume of illegal mining ranges between 150-300 tons. Annual shadow income of "amber mafia" makes $200-300 million.

See more: Detained Rivne region's Deputy Prosecutor Borovyk owns watches worth of $100,000, - SBU. PHOTO

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Ealier, the issue of illegal amber extraction in the territory of the Zhytomyr, Rivne, and Volyn regions spread last year. Thousands of locals and out-of-towners started mining amber illegally and indiscriminately, thus savagely destroying local ecosystems.

This year's scale of illegal extraction was so large that the authorities were forced to deploy the National Guard of Ukraine detachments in these regions.

The law enforcement agencies have been increasingly reporting about arrests of large-volume amber dealers.

According to experts, this problem can be resolved not only by raids against the illegal miners, but also by a legislative initiative. The Volyn Regional Council authorized a company to develop amber for the first time in May 2015.

Yesterday, July 4, law enforcers conducted a large-scale operation titled 'Burshtyn' (amber) in the Rivne region, with participation of more than 400 field investigators. Deputy head of Rivne regional prosecutor Andrii Borovyk has been detained. The National Police also informed that an amber mafia boss was detained in Kyiv. Prosecutor General Yurii Lutsenko announced of his intentions to dismiss Rivne regional prosecutor Anatolii Kovalchuk.
 
 
 
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