VLADIVOSTOK, June 5 (RIA Novosti) – Police in Russia’s Far East detained two residents on suspicion of trying to sell a hand-held machine gun and explosives, the Interior Ministry’s Far Eastern department said on Wednesday.
Police said the two men – Alexei Kalugin, previously convicted for numerous offenses and currently on the federal wanted list, and his suspected accomplice Viktor Kirichenko – have also tried to sell a hide of a rare Amur tiger.
“The sale of a Degtyaryov hand-held machine gun, plastic-bonded explosives (about 500 grams of TNT, 1.1 lbs) and a raw hide of an Amur tiger by the suspects has been documented. While being detained during the illegal deal, the suspects resisted arrest,” the department said in a statement.
The two men face up to eight years in prison if found guilty.
An investigation is underway to determine, among other things, the tiger’s age and whether it was poached or died of natural causes.
The Amur tiger, the largest living felid, has the “endangered” status on the IUCN Red List. Recent surveys indicate that the population of Amur tigers in the Khabarovsk Territory and the Primorye Territory has stabilized in recent years and is now estimated at about 450 animals.