Bulgarian Police Nab Sofia's Newly Rising Drug BossCrime | August 25, 2011, Thursday // 17:20| views
Sofia's alleged new top drug boss Hristo (Itso) Baykov. Photo by the 24 Chasa daily
Bulgaria's Unit for Combating Organized Crime (GDBOP) has arrested in an operation Hristo (Itso) Baykov, a man who has recently been described as the new rising star on Sofia's drug market.
Baykov is said to have been captured about noon on Thursday with three of his guards near the home of a construction businessman in the vicinity of the Military Medical Academy in Sofia.
Before GDBOP's Senior Commissar Stanimir Florov announced in the late afternoon that the drug boss had been arrested, the Interior Ministry press service first said four men had been nabbed because of a representative of a construction firm had filed a complaint about extortion.
Two of Baykov's guards are said to have been carrying weapons "in a demonstrative manner"; the police found that one of them was carrying a large amount of munitions, while another one had a large number of mobile phones and SIM cards.
Earlier this week, the Bulgarian 24 Chasa daily published a report describing Baykov as the new top leader of the drug market in Sofia who was aggressively conquering more and more territories in the Bulgarian capital.
The report stressed the fact that he would seek to scare off his competition by claiming to be paying both the Interior Ministry and the Prosecutor's Office, thus becoming "untouchable."
The paper also published photos from one of Baykov's visits to a bar in the Belite Brezi quarter in Sofia where the alleged drug boss's guards would block the street, setting up checkpoints and directing away local residents.
The 36-year-old Itso Baykov is said to be in charge of the narcotics supply in a number of quarters in Sofia – Boyana, Dragalevtsi, Simeonovo, Vitosha, Knyazhevo, Ovcha Kupel, Lagera, Hipodruma, Borovo, and Krasno Selo as well as some parts of the city center.
Commissar Florov said Thursday after Baykov's arrest that the alleged drug lord had already been arrested by GDBOP several months ago.
However, the Prosecutor's Office had decided that it could not be proven that the drugs and illegal weapons found in the same home where actually Baykov's.
"We have not given up before this problem. We are working constantly but unfortunately it so happens that we work numerous times on the same persons, which is not good," Commissar Florov said, as cited by the 24 Chasa daily.
The police and the Prosecutor's Office are said to be continuing work on Baykov's arrest, and a decision is expected on whether he would be kept behind bars.
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