YEREVAN — Armenian National Security Service (NSS) reports that it has uncovered a criminal gang in Yerevan that was planning to carry out a series of serious crimes in Armenia.

In a statement published on its official website, the NSS said that the service’s task force combating terrorism (Alfa) and the Armenian Police department combating organized crime have carried a joint raid on Wednesday “neutralizeding” a group of armed people in Yerevan that allegedly planned to carry out terrorist acts in the Armenian capital.

According to the press statement, Armenia’s National Security Service received information that Armenian citizen Arthur Valeri Vardanyan, 34, who resided in Spain after 1997 and temporarily lived in Yerevan since April 2015, set up and led a criminal group with the aim of committing grave and particularly grave crimes in the territory of Armenia. He recruited 19 Armenian citizens – most of them unemployed – five residents of Yerevan, seven people from Shirak province, three from Armavir province, two from Lori province, and three residents of Kotayk, Gegharkunik and Syunik provinces, including 4 women and 3 veterans of Karabakh war.

In order to carry out their criminal intents, the organized group purchased arms and ammunition and kept them in house No 78 in Nork district of Yerevan. The house was rented beforehand for that purpose and was used by the group for over a month for gatherings, during which they planned their criminal actions. During searches conducted jointly with Armenian police on November 25 submachine guns, pistols, grenade launchers, grenades, explosive substance, explosive devices, means of communication, cartridges, binoculasr, military garbs, and other arms and ammunitions were found. The police and NNS employees also found maps of Armenia, Yerevan, Gyumri, as well as literature confirming the fact of preparations for grave crimes.

The Investigative Department of NSS opened a criminal case under the Criminal Code’s Article 223 parts 1 and 2 (creation and leadership of a criminal society) and Article 235 part 3 (illegal purchase, sale, possession, carrying of arms and ammunition by an organized group). An investigation is underway.The leader and members of the criminal group have been detained.

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