ACCESSION NUMBER:355782 FILE ID:EUR408 DATE:08/04/94 TITLE:TOP RUSSIAN COP WARNS OF GLOBAL CRIME SPREE (08/04/94) TEXT:*94080401.PFE *EUR408 08/04/94 TOP RUSSIAN COP WARNS OF GLOBAL CRIME SPREE (Moscow SWAT team on first-ever U.S. visit) (610) By Jim Shevis USIA Staff Writer Washington -- The head of an elite Moscow police team, nearing the end of a three-week visit with U.S. law enforcement agencies, says international cooperation is needed to halt the global spread of organized crime. "Organized crime knows no borders," Colonel Vladimir M. Ponomarenko told an August 4 news conference at the Russian embassy. "Criminals plan and commit crimes in foreign countries, including the United States, and therefore cooperation with law-enforcement groups in other countries is valuable," Ponomarenko said through an interpreter. Ponomarenko, the deputy chief of the Moscow Regional Organized Crime-Fighting Department, a unit within the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD), added: "It would be irresponsible to underestimate the proliferation of organized criminal activity by Russians on the territories of both the former Soviet Union and the United States." 1 Ponomarenko led the four-man delegation -- members of a special-forces SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) team -- on its visit with police forces in San Francisco and Las Vegas, Nevada, and with federal law enforcement agencies in Washington, D.C. During their U.S. visit, the Russians shared organized crime information with their American counterparts and took part in a series of specialized-weapons team training exercises and demonstrations. "We have shared case-specific information about organized crime activities involving Russians and Americans in Russia and the United States as well as in a variety of other countries," Ponomarenko said. The Moscow SWAT team represents Russia's top specialists in hostage rescue, dignitary protective services, organized crime-fighting, government and police force corruption, drug interdiction, and witness protection. Its members exchanged intelligence about murder for hire, illegal arms trading, counterfeiting, credit card and other financial fraud in meetings with their counterparts at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Secret Service, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, U.S. Marshal's Service, Drug Enforcement Agency, and the Department of Justice. The first of its kind, the exchange flowed from last month's meeting in Moscow between FBI Director Louis Freeh and Russian Interior Minister Viktor F. Yerin. Following the meeting, Freeh and Yerin issued a joint statement stressing the need to share information about criminal activities and the "desire to develop technical cooperation between the MVD and U.S. law-enforcement agencies." At the time, Freeh and Yerin expressed deep concern that international organized crime constitutes a major threat to both their countries. "Two or three years ago, it would have been impossible to imagine such close cooperation," Ponomarenko said. "Times are changing." "The trip was mutually beneficial for our delegation and for our American colleagues. We think along the same lines -- we both want to do a good job in fighting crime, and providing peace and stability in our streets so people can have a normal life and do business. "I think our cooperation in the future will be more effective because we were able to meet each other, and look in each other's eyes," Ponomarenko said. In a question period after the briefing, Ponomarenko was asked about Russia's rising crime rate -- an issue that is a major topic of political and social concern in the federation today. "It's true that the crime rate is growing compared to the previous period," he said, "but the crime is primarily directed toward businessmen who are conducting illicit business." Other members of the Moscow delegation were Lieutenant Colonel Gennady I. Zhuritsky, SWAT team leader; Captain Eduard V. Bodantsev, and Lieutenant Alexander N. Zhastavny. NNNN .