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St. Petersburg anti-terror sting busts suspects recruited via Telegram, say detectives

The Investigative Committee in St. Petersburg has opened a criminal case against several 21-year-old suspects from a Central Asian country

ST. PETERSBURG, April 19. /TASS/. The Investigative Committee in St. Petersburg is opening criminal cases against several 21-year-old suspects from a Central Asian country for conspiring to join a terrorist organization. According to the investigators, the suspects used the messenger Telegram for keeping in touch with each other.

The suspects in December 2017 - April 2018 used social groups in the Internet to send a confirmation to an unidentified person to the effect they wished to join an international terrorist organization in a country in the Middle East and sent photographs of their passports, investigators say.

"This unidentified person informed them about a safe route that they could use to leave Russia to bypass law enforcement controls and also expressed the intention to provide assistance in taking them to a training camp of a terrorist organization," the IC stated, adding that the suspects used the instant messaging service, Telegram, for exchanging messages with the recruiter.

"On April 1, 2018 the suspects bought air tickets with the aim of leaving Russia and eventually reach the territory of the aforesaid country. Their plan failed, because they were detained by investigators and operatives of the regional offices of the Interior Ministry and the Federal Security Service, or the FSB," the IC said.

A decision is being made on the charges to be pressed and restrictive measures to be taken against the suspects.