CHON BURI – Alexander Matusov, aka Basmach, the alleged leader of the Shchyolkovo organized crime gang, has been arrested in Thailand at the request of Interpol’s National Central Bureau for Russia, the CIB deputy commander, Police General Wut Liptapanlop, said at a news conference in Bangkok.
Matusov was arrested in Thailand’s eastern seaside town of Sattahip in Chon Buri Province.
Wut said the 52-year-old Russian first entered Thailand in 2009 and left before returning on a forged Armenian passport. He said Matusov had been living in Thailand on a retirement visa.
“Matusov was arrested through the cooperation of Russian and Thai law enforcement agencies and will be deported to Russia soon,” Alexei Falunin, a vice-consul at the Russian Embassy in Thailand, told RIA Novosti.
The Shchyolkovo gang was active from 1995 to 2009 and was notorious for contract killings, extortion and kidnappings in the Moscow and St. Petersburg areas. The gang is suspected of having killed at least 60 people. In 2009, police found the bodies of 15 of the gang’s victims in forests near Moscow.
Matusov was put on the wanted list in 2009, when police brought three murder charges against members of his crime group.
Thai immigration police had revoked his visa and were pushing for his deportation to Russia for prosecution.