MOSCOW, February 14 (Itar-Tass) — Interpol issued 1,700 wanted notices for persons who escaped from the Russian law-enforcement bodies, Interpol Russia director Maj-Gen Alexander Prokopchuk said in an interview to Itar-Tass on Tuesday.
Last year, Interpol located 120 suspects wanted by Russia, Prokopchuk said, "and issued wanted notices for 321 suspects, on the basis of requests submitted by Russian law-enforcement bodies. In total, 1,700 suspects are wanted by Interpol Russia. In 2011, Interpol established the whereabouts of 120 suspects or convicted persons who fled from Russian law-enforcement bodies.
"Of those, 82 have been detained.
"Also, Interpol found 48 missing persons and 90 people who lost contact with their relatives.
"Interpol is most actively used against international crime by police in European states. We have close cooperation with Germany, Spain and Poland," Prokopchuk said.
The geography of extraditions and deportations has expanded last year. "Extraditions took place for the first time from Morocco, Norway, Sierra-Leone and Canada. Thailand extradited three persons. Two were accused of contraband, and one was accused of illegal production, sale and mail of narcotics and psychedelic substances.
According to the Interpol official, 310,000 cars are listed as stolen.
Last year, Interpol listed about 30,000 vehicles as stolen in Russia. "The total number of stolen vehicles exceeds 310,000. Russian police broadly use the database of stolen cars. It has helped them find more than 21,000 cars stolen abroad in the past 21 years.
In 2011, four Russian regions carried out the Avto-VIN operation to find Interpol-wanted cars and detain the persons involved in illegal car sales. Two hundred and fourteen cars were detained, including 31 wanted by Interpol, at the request of the law-enforcement bodies of Italy, Japan, Belgium, Germany, Romania, Slovakia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Turkey.
Meanwhile, Prokopchuk said it is incorrect to call gangs comprising citizens of the former USSR "a Russian mafia."
The term "Russian mafia" is mostly used by reporters for criminal groups comprising citizens of the former Soviet Union. This phrase is not used officially. Criminal groups operating in Europe are multi-ethnic, and might include representatives of any country. So it absolutely incorrect to characterize them as "mafia" in connection with a particular nationality.
"In the past decade, Russian police have succeeded in disuniting and eliminating a number of large criminal groups. Many of their leaders have been given long prison sentences," he said.