12 Arrested, 2 Wanted in Bulgaria Police 'Octopus' Operation

Crime | February 10, 2010, Wednesday // 10:39|  views

The “Octopus” special operation of the Bulgarian Interior Ministry started overnight as an inspection of 13 night clubs and 5 striptease bars in Sofia. Photo by BGNES

A total of 12 suspects have been arrested and two more are wanted by the Bulgarian police which has launched overnight a special operation codenamed “Octopus’ busting a large-scale organized crime group.

The operation was announced early Wednesday morning by Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov, who said it was a follow-up of the “Impudent” special operation from December 2009 in which 30 kidnap gangsters were arrested, 10 of whom permanently.

Anton Petrov, aka “The Hamster” is one of the two wanted gangsters. He was arrested as one of the leaders of the Impudent kidnappers but was released on a BGN 20 000 bail at the end of January.

Former Bulgarian secret agent from the State National Security DANS Aleksei Petrov has also been arrested under the nickname “The Tractor” and his detention was formally confirmed later in the day.

(More information about Aleksei Petrov is available HERE)

Two of the other arrested men – Plamen Stoyanov and Yordan Stoyanov, aka “the Dambovtsi Brothers” are said to have been key figures within the group involved in the draining of the troubled steel-maker Kremikovtzi in their capacity as owners of the firm "Ecometalengineering."

The draining is said to have been controlled through the security firms guarding the plant. The Dambovtsi Brothers are reported to have been close with top car thief Gancho Vachkov, aka Ganetsa, who was shot dead in Sofia in 1999 during a police chase.

There is no evidence that former secret agent Aleksei Petrov, who is said to be the leader of the organized crime group busted in the Octopus operation, was also the mastermind of the “Impudent” kidnappers’ gang, according to the Interior Ministry and the Prosecutor's Office - contrary to speculations in the Bulgarian media.

The “Octopus” special operation of the Bulgarian Interior Ministry started overnight as an inspection of 13 night clubs and 5 striptease bars in Sofia. 130 women were detected by the police who are believed to be working at least part of the time as prostitutes; only 5 have been arrested for whom the police have clear evidence.

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Tags: The Hamster, Anton Petrov, drug dealers, money laundering, draining, VAT fraud, prostitution, Kremikovtzi, special operation, police, interior ministry, Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, Octopus, organized crime, arrest, Aleksei Petrov, DANS, secret agent

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