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Finders-weepers: treasure hunters face stiff penalties

October 14, 12:19 UTC+3 BLAGOVESHCHENSK
A man is facing up to five years in prison for illegal possession of 880 grams of uncleaned gold worth roughly $38,000 in Russia's Far East
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© Donat Sorokin/TASS

BLAGOVESHCHENSK, October 14. /TASS/. A resident of the Amur region in the Russian Far East is facing up to five years in prison for illegal possession of 880 grams of uncleaned gold worth more than 2.4 mln rubles (roughly $38,000), a source in the regional prosecutor’s office told TASS on Friday.

"According to the investigators, in July 2016, the man found a can filled with more than 880 grams of gold near the Bolshaya Erakigra river. He hid the gold in his car and set off to the town of Zeya to sell the trove. The next day police uncovered the gold and confiscated it," the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

The criminal case has been referred to the Zeya District court, the accused is facing either up to five years of forced labor or up to five years imprisonment with a fine of up to 500,000 rubles (roughly $7,900).

This is not the first incident of this kind in the Priamurye region. In March 2015, another Zeya resident got a two-year suspended sentence for the illegal possession of 18 gold bars he had found on the street. The total weight of the gold bars exceeded eight kilograms, being worth 10.5 mln rubles (roughly $166,600).

In March and April 2016, two Zeya residents were given one-and-a-half-year suspended sentences. The first for the illegal possession of six kilograms of gold worth more than 12 mln rubles (roughly $19,400). In this case, the defendant had dug up someone’s stash in the woods containing 17 gold bars that he illegally made off with. The second Zeya resident was convicted of illegally transporting 2.4 kilograms of gold worth over 5.1 mln rubles (roughly $80,900). Likewise, he too had found a bag filled with gold in the forest near the Gilyuy river crossing.

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