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The Warsaw Voice » Politics » May 7, 2008
CRIME
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Powerful Gang Broken Up
May 7, 2008 By W.Ż.    
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Police from the Central Investigation Bureau (CB¦) say they broke up the largest organized crime group in Warsaw in a spectacular bust at the end of April.

Police detained 20 alleged members of a gang known as the Mokotów Group, which has been suspected of armed robberies, drug trafficking and heists targeting large trucks carrying valuable cargo such as consumer electronics. Among the detained men are four alleged leaders of the gang: identified only as Karol R., Norbert D., Krzysztof P., and Janusz M. "The Mokotów Group has been broken up completely. At the moment, there is no major crime ring left in Warsaw and its surroundings," said Mariusz Sokołowski, a spokesman for the national police headquarters.

In the early morning hours of April 27, three hundred CB¦ officers, aided by police from anti-terrorist squads, stormed 25 apartments in Warsaw and its suburbs. "The detained men were taken by surprise. Anti-terrorist officers took part in the operation because we knew that members of the gang were dangerous and had guns on them," Zbigniew Urbański of the press office at the National Police Headquarters said after the operation.

The detained men face charges of being members of an organized crime group, in addition to accusations of drug and arms trafficking, and armed robberies. According to Urbański, police were tipped off that members of the Mokotów Group were planning to kidnap police officers and prosecutors conducting investigations into the gang's activities-a first in the history of the Polish criminal underworld. Investigators in the case had been given enhanced police protection.

For several years, police had regarded the Mokotów Group as one of the most dangerous criminal gangs in Poland. The CB¦ first cracked down on the ring in late 2005 when 17 suspected members of the gang were arrested. Earlier, in 2004, Andrzej Horych, aka Korek, the boss of what the police now call the Old Mokotów Group, was arrested on charges of smuggling 325 kg of cocaine from South America to the Polish seaport of Gdynia in 2003. He is still behind bars.

Meanwhile, Korek's group continued to expand and take over from the Pruszków gang, the most dangerous criminal group in Poland that was broken up by law enforcers back in the mid-1990s.

Justice Minister Zbigniew Ćwi±kalski said the CB¦ operation against the Mokotów Group was one of the biggest successes of Polish law enforcers in recent months.

According to Ćwi±kalski, the gang has been broken up so thoroughly that it cannot get back together. But some experts warn that-much as was the case with the Mokotów Group-new gangs, made up of younger and ever more brutal criminals, may soon crop up in Warsaw, simply because the city is an attractive area for mobsters.

The operation against the Mokotów Group was not the only spectacular CB¦ crackdown in recent days. On April 24 in Warsaw, officers detained an alleged mobster officially identified only as Marek Cz., aka Rympałek, who was subsequently charged with drug trafficking and leading a crime group. Rympałek is suspected of having masterminded an armed assault on a convoy carrying money to a Warsaw bank-in a heist dubbed "the robbery of the century". The thieves made off with over zl.1 million in cash.
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