In one of its largest operations against organized crime, the Estonian criminal police on Monday arrested several members of the Estonian mafia, including its head Assar Paulus, writes Postimees.
In the operation that was prepared for around six months, the criminal police arrested about twenty Estonians who are suspected being mobsters.
The court has authorized the public prosecutor to detain Paulus for a longer period under suspicion of organizing a criminal organization and violence.
Assar Paulus is considered the second most powerful criminal in Estonia, next to Nikolai Tarankov. He established himself in the criminal underworld after Kalev Kurg, head of the so-called Linnuvabrik mafia, was gunned down in 2005.
It is said that unlike Kurg, Paulus has always been open to cooperating with criminal gangs of other nationalities, including Chechens headed by Harun Dikajev. In 2006, Paulus was suspected of ordering an attack against Hans H. Luik, a media owner, but was not charged.