A manhunt is underway in Sweden for a convicted 17-year-old killer with links to organized crime after the vehicle he was traveling in with Prison Service guards to a routine dentist appointment was ambushed by masked gunmen.
Frunze Saghatelyan was convicted last month of the murder of security guard Fredrik Andersson at the Delta gym in Stockholm. It is believed his intended victim during the attack was another gang-affiliated criminal.
On Thursday morning, Saghatelyan, who had been residing in a young offender’s institute on account of his age, was being escorted to a dentist appointment in the city of Södertälje, south-west of Stockholm. Guarded by three Probation Service personnel, the car was ambushed upon arrival by several masked individuals with firearms. Saghatelyan was bundled into a black Mercedes, presumed stolen according to the police, and driven off at speed.
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The convict youth was handcuffed throughout his transit as he was considered a flight risk, according to Prison Service press secretary, Ulf Mossberg.
A large police task force has been established to track down Saghatelyan and his accomplices, including police helicopters. Police in neighboring countries have also been briefed over fears he could seek to flee the country.
Saghatelyan has a history of absconding. Following the gang-related shooting last year, the minor, who it is understood holds dual Swedish-Armenian citizenship, fled to Armenia where he laid low for three months.
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“It is not enough for many immigrants to come to Sweden from a less developed country and enjoy the benefits. They want excitement and want to get rich quickly,” said a leading Swedish criminologist
“He was abroad from some time after the murder until the beginning of July. Then he was arrested in connection with his return home to Sweden. We knew where he was somewhere, in Armenia,” prosecutor Daniel Suneson previously told Aftonbladet.
Prior to the murder, Saghatelyan had already been convicted of assault, aggravated weapons offenses, and public dangerous destruction, having been found guilty of throwing a hand grenade in to a restaurant in Södermalm, a district island in Stockholm, last year.
It is the incident of its kind in Sweden this year, with another gang-affiliated convict being freed in the eastern Swedish city of Norrköping in February, according to SVT. His transit vehicle was also ambushed on its way from the detention center to the local hospital.
Sweden is plagued by gang violence, mostly from migrant clans, with approximately 40 of them operating in the country. The deteriorating security situation has led to a record number of shootings and murders in the country, and fueled the rise of conservative parties seeking to restrict immigration.