Moscow police said they have uncovered an underground town occupied by illegal immigrants from Central Asia bomb shelter in the west of the city.
The shelter housed about 110 men and women (most of whom were believed to be Uzbeks) living in an area of only 200 square meters.
Officials from FSB security agency and Federal Migration Service also participated in the investigation.
According to the Russian Ministry of the Interior, the underground residence was protected by a 13-foot concrete wall and barbed wire.
The living areas were fitted with bathrooms, bedrooms and even prayer rooms, said a ministry official.
We couldn't have imagined that so many people could live in such a small area, police told Lifenews.ru. It stank so awful there you could faint.
According to official reports, the migrants living in the underground town were manufacturing blades and needles for sewing machines. The migrants found will likely be deported, although some may be investigated and prosecuted for criminal activity.
The factory’s owner may also face criminal action, including organizing illegal migration, which carries a maximum two-year prison term.
Two months ago, police had uncovered a similar underground living quarters used by illegal immigrants beneath the Kievsky railway station in Moscow. They reportedly had been illegally hired to clean the station.
Then in March, the Federal Migration Service unearthed an underground sausage factory in Moscow, where more than 30 immigrants from Tajikistan and Moldova were discovered. These people lived and worked in the factory.
Illegal immigrants are becoming an increasing problem in Russia. People who come to Russia from the former Soviet Republic are often considered “illegal” if they lack proper travel documents and visas.
In 2010, the country deported 10,000 illegal immigrants.
Late last year, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin revealed that about 250,000 migrant workers were registered in the city, but that the actual number was nearer to several million.
Sobyanin has urged to employers in Moscow to give preferential treatment to native Muscovites for job openings, followed by Russians from outside the city.
Moscow's Central Department of Internal Affairs has reported that “foreign” migrants commit about 70 percent of crimes in the city. But this figure is disputed by the Moscow Federal Migration Service which said that according to official statistics foreigners in Russia are only to blame for around 3.5 percent of crimes committed.