MOSCOW, December 23 (RIA Novosti) – Police in Russia’s Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad said Monday that they have discovered an illegally produced five-ton stash of raw amber worth around 1 billion rubles ($30 million).
The trove was found in the basement of an illicit production facility during an investigation into an amber-trafficking ring allegedly operated by local businessman Viktor Bogdan.
Amber is a translucent material made from fossilized resin, typically of orange or yellow hue, which is most commonly used as jewelry in pendants, necklaces and earrings.
The Interior Ministry said in a statement that the Kaliningrad stash contained 227 sacks filled with amber weighing a total of 5.1 metric tons.
Several specimens weighed more than 1.5 kilograms, police said.
According to preliminary estimates, some pieces of the amber in the trove could be worth up to $100,000 apiece.
A probe into the activities of Bogdan’s Amber Plus company and its subsidiaries was launched earlier this year.
Bogdan and his accomplices have fled Russia. They have been placed on an Interpol wanted list.