Criminal Gang Ringleader Given Life Sentence

The Krasnodar District Court court on Tuesday handed down a life sentence to Sergei Tsapok, the leader of a criminal gang found guilty of a series of murders and serious crimes.

Two of the gang's "main killers," Vladimir Alexeyev and Igor Chernykh, were sentenced to life imprisonment, the court said in a statement. Vyacheslav Tsepovyaz and Nikolai Tsapok, Sergei Tsapok's uncle, both got 20 years, while Vladimir Zaporozhets was given 19 years. All apart from Zaporozhets were fined.

Investigators found that between 1998 and 2010 the 10-man-strong Tsapok gang was involved in the murder of 19 people in total, Interfax reported.

Twelve victims, four of whom were children, were murdered at Server Ametov's house in the village of Kushchevskaya in November 2010 by Alexeyev, Chernykh and four other gang members, investigators said.

Prosecutors said that Sergei Tsapok was driven by a desire to avenge the murder of his brother Nikolai, and believed that Ametov, a local farmer, had been involved.

Two of the gang members found guilty of taking part in the Kushchevskaya massacre committed suicide while in custody, while the remaining two are currently serving 20-year prison terms for their involvement.

On Nov. 8 the jury found all members of the Tsapok gang "guilty and undeserving of leniency."

All of the gang members on trial have denied their guilt and the defense has vowed to appeal the sentences.

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