Tortoises May Land Notorious Bulgarian Roma 'Tsar' in Jail
Kiril Rahkov, a Bulgarian Roma clan leader and suspected mafia boss, faces 3 years behind bars for illegally keeping endangered species of tortoises in the Southern Bulgarian village of Katunitsa.
Rashkov may also receive a BGN 2000 fine, the BGNES news agency reports. The animals kept by Rashkov are from the Herman's tortoise and Greek tortoise species. The tortoises are currently taken care of by Bulgarian environmentalists.
On November 9, Bulgarian police officers and archaeologist started inspecting Rashkov's properties in Katunitsa using metal detectors, as it was believed that his clan had buried vast amounts of gold there. However, the authorities discovered tortoises instead.
Kiril Rashkov aka "Tsar Kiro" triggered massive tensions across Bulgaria in September after murders of his clan murdered an ethnic Bulgarian teenager in Katunitsa.
The murder provoked the ire of villagers and citizens across Bulgaria. Throngs gathered in front of the Rashkov estates in Katunitsa and set them aflame in front of a largely inactive police who had beforehand evacuated the family.
The events sparkled nationwide protests against what many saw as the inaction of the state against bosses in the organized crime world. Far-right groups were quick to gather in the major cities, marring the protests with racist slogans.
Since the turmoil in September, residents of the southern Bulgarian village have insisted that the Roma family should be forced to move out. They have repeatedly stated that Rashkov and his family have been terrorizing Katunitsa for years now.
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