Emerging Bulgarian Drug Boss Charged with ExtortionCrime | August 26, 2011, Friday // 17:12| views
Sofia's alleged new top drug boss Hristo (Itso) Baykov. Photo by the 24 Chasa daily
Rising Bulgarian drug lord, Hristo (Itso) Baykov, has been charged with extortion and racketeering after he was arrested in a special operation a day earlier.
Baykov, who was described by recent media reports as a ruthless mafia boss trying to take over Sofia's drug market, is said to have tried to extort BGN 25 000 from a Sofia construction entrepreneur.
He will be kept in the arrest for 72 hours, until Monday, when the Prosecutor's Office will request his permanent detention.
Of the three other men, Baykov's guards, who were arrested with him on Friday, two are kept behind bars on charges of illegal weapon possession and drug possession, and one has been released on bail.
In a Friday interview for the TV channel bTV, Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, said if there was any police cover-up for Baykov it had been on the level of a district precinct only, and vowed strong sanctions against any policeman involved in it, upon collection of sound evidence.
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 Stanimir Florov from Bulgaria's Unit for Combating Organized Crime (GDBOP) 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 were actually Baykov's.
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