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Organized Crime Arrests In Eastern Russia

BALAKOVO, Russia -- Russian police say they have arrested the leaders and a few dozen members of two organized criminal groups in the eastern Saratov region, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Police officials in the city of Balakovo told RFE/RL the criminal groups were suspected of involvement in numerous murders, robberies, and other crimes.

Russian Interior Ministry spokesman Valery Gribakin told journalists today that the operations to eliminate the two organized criminal groups had been ongoing since November.

A total of 36 suspects have been arrested, eight of whom police say are well-known crime figures and two are reportedly high-ranking regional officials.

No names of the arrested suspects were provided.

Balakovo is a Volga River city in Saratov Oblast. It has a population of some 200,000 people.

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