Russian citizen sentenced to 2.5 years for people smuggling

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The district court in the northeastern Latvian town of Aluksne has sentenced a Russian citizen to two and a half years in prison for smuggling Vietnamese migrants across the state border and other offenses, reported LETA Wednesday.

The court found the Russian citizen guilty of intentionally trespassing the state border in a group and smuggling ten Vietnamese into Latvia, as well as providing foreign citizens with illegal residence opportunities in Latvia. The defendant was also found guilty of resisting a border guard.

That's what Kristine Sutugina, a spokeswoman for the Prosecutor General's Office, told LETA.

The Russian citizen was detained in September when border guards with trained dogs chased a group of Vietnamese migrants who had illegally entered Latvia from Russia. The Russian citizen, who acted as their trafficker, ignored the border guards' demands to stop and kept running towards the Russian border.

A border guard then fired four warning shots, but that did not stop the offender either. As the chase continued, a border guard caught up with the Russian man, but he pushed her to the ground. When another border guard with a dog rushed to his colleague's aid, the Russian citizen grabbed a tree branch and started hitting the dog, chasing the animal away.

Seeing that the offender would not give himself up and that the Russian border was just 300 meters away, the border guard fired another five warning shots, but when that did not help, he shot the fleeing Russian into a leg. It was the first time this year that the Border Guard used a firearm.

The Aluksne court sentenced the man to two and a half years in prison, plus deportation from Latvia with a five-year entry ban.

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