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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Thursday, 21.10.2021, 20:42

Police uncover human trafficking ring at a confectionary company in Latgale

BC, Riga , 20.11.2020.Print version
Last weekend. police in Latgale busted a criminal group running a human trafficking ring at a confectionary company owned by person well connected to Latgale's ''criminal and political environment'', LETA was told by State Police spokeswoman Gita Gzibovska.

The State Police had received information from a foreign embassy that several employees of a confectionery company based in Latgale had reported forced labor. In response to the information, criminal proceedings were initiated in April by the State Police's Organized Crime Department for trafficking in human beings, if committed by an organized group, money laundering, if committed by an organized group, and the intentional infliction of minor bodily harm.

During the investigation, it was established that several third-country nationals have been exploited for a longer period of time in this Latgale-based confectionery company, taking advantage of their vulnerability without paying them a salary for their work in full and driving them into disproportionately large debt. The workers have been deprived of their passports, subjected to physical violence and threatened with deportation if they do not comply with all the demands of the criminal group.

Last week, on November 10, State Police officials conducted searches and detentions in Jaunjelgava Region, Livani, Aizkraukle, Daugavpils and Kekava. A total of 22 objects were searched and cash was also seized - about 150,000 euros, as well as jewelry, ammunition and other items that could be of material evidence in criminal proceedings.

That same day, police also made three arrests - the owner of the company and the leader of the criminal group (born 1955), as well as two group members (born 1974 and 1986).

Gzibovska also revealed that the leader of the group is well connected with Latgale's criminal and political environment, and has had previous run-ins with the law for failure to pay taxes, environmental pollutions and other violations.

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