Crime & Justice

Kyrgyzstan arrests major transnational drug trafficker wanted by US

Caravanserai and AFP

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Kyrgyzstan October 22 announced the arrest of a man whom the  United States calls a major force in Eurasian drug trafficking. In the photo, National Guard members and traffic police are shown near Mayevka village, outside Bishkek, on March 25. [Vyacheslav Oseledko/AFP]

BISHKEK -- Drug trafficker Kamchibek Kolbayev has been detained as part of an investigation into organised criminal groups, the Kyrgyz State Committee for National Security (GKNB) said Thursday (October 22).

In a statement October 22, the US embassy said it welcomed Kolbayev's detention and added that it hoped Kyrgyz authorities would "prosecute and continue to detain this criminal leader in the interest of public safety".

The US State Department has offered a $1 million (80.7 million KGS) reward for information that can help disrupt Kolbayev's network.

Kolbayev's group is "part of the broader Brothers' Circle transnational criminal organisation composed of leaders and members of several Eurasian criminal groups," according to the State Department.

The investigation was "aimed at obtaining details of the criminal activities of [Kolbayev] and of individuals from the criminal environment with ties to him", said the GKNB.

The GKNB released a video of Kolbayev's arrest in a gym.

Kolbayev had a long-standing reputation for operating with impunity.

He was most recently released from jail in 2014 after spending less than two years there on an extortion conviction that was reduced from five-and-a-half years.

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If you can't ride two horses at once, you shouldn't be in the circus! People survive in Kyrgyzstan to the best of their abilities. There are no laws, and if there is a law, orphans would be more likely to land in jail for stealing a sausage because they were hungry.

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