350 kilos of cash: About half billion rubles seized at Moscow airport (VIDEO)

About half a billion rubles and several firearms have been seized at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport. SWAT teams busted twenty people during the raid on an international money laundering ring.

Thousands of people in the Vnukovo airport on Thursday were occupied with their travel affairs. But exactly at that moment a special operation was being carried out in the post and cargo terminal of the airport. As several undistinguished men were loading their truck, a SWAT team ambushed them shouting “all to the ground”. The driver of the van tried to escape, but the police shot the tires and broke his windows. Soon, the men were lined up against a wall, handcuffed.

The people arrested were members of a Caucasian cash laundering gang that tried to smuggle more than 400 million rubles (about $13 million) and several firearms into the country, according to the press-service of the Interior Ministry of Russia.

The inter-regional criminal gang carried out their operations in the Caucasus region of Russia, the ministry explained.

“More than 100 billion rubles (about $3.2 billion) were extracted by the gang during their money laundering operations from the shadow sector of the Russian  economy” said the Interior Ministry of Russia as quoted by RIA Novosti news agency.

Their scheme was planned out in several stages.

During the first stage the group collected money, storing it in specially equipped and secured caches, according to police.

The cash originated from markets and shopping centers in the republic of Dagestan as well as from bank accounts of shell companies, pretending to be selling goods to virtual customers.

In the second stage the cash stored in laminated bags was transferred to Moscow under the guise of “printed materials” guarded by the employees of private security company Karat.

The cash was then distributed to customers, which included large Moscow financial organizations as well as individuals and construction companies.

As a result of the searches of Moscow suspects the quantity of money seized has grown to 600 million rubles( about $ 19 million). The police also seized weapons and fake license plates and permits granting access to Uytash and Vnukovo airports.

The arrested men could face up to ten years in prison and a fine of one million rubles (about $300 thousand).