Man Arrested in Poisoning Deaths

Police have arrested a man suspected of murdering several people by poisoning them with tainted alcohol and leaving them to die at the same location, a city police spokesman said Tuesday.

The suspect was arrested with another man at around 4 a.m. Monday in his car, and both have been charged with robbery, city police said in a statement on its web site Tuesday evening.

But detectives believe that the suspect, identified only as Dantes, may be responsible for at least 20 poisoning attacks, 12 of which were fatal, Vremya Novostei reported Tuesday, citing detectives. Each of the victims were discovered at the same location in southwest Moscow, the report said.

The police spokesman declined to give any other information about the case, saying only that the investigation is ongoing.

But citing unidentified police detectives in the Yasenevo district in southwestern Moscow, Vremya Novostei reported Tuesday that the suspect is a native of Armenia who is believed to have selected victims at Kievsky Station.

Beginning last fall, dead bodies and unconscious men began turning up at the same location on Ulitsa Rokotova, near the Yasenevo metro station, showing no signs of physical harm, Vremya Novostei reported. Forensic scientists managed to establish that the victims -- all men -- had been poisoned with a powerful antipsychotic, the report said.

Detectives staked out the area for months until one day they saw a body being thrown out of a white Lada in the distance, Vremya Novostei said. Police gave chase but could not catch the Lada, and two weeks later another corpse was found on Ulitsa Rokotova, it said.

The Lada returned Monday morning, with the suspect at the wheel and an apparent poisoning victim in the car -- an Indian man identified by his last name, Singh, Vremya Novostei reported. The other suspect, identified only as Georg, was also in the vehicle, the police statement said.

Singh survived after being rushed to a nearby hospital, where doctors detected in his blood both alcohol and the antipsychotic drug Azaleptin, which can be lethal when mixed with even small amounts of alcohol, the report said.

The Indian Embassy said Tuesday that it was unaware of the incident.

The statement said the victim, age 24, had Azaleptin in his bloodstream.

Detectives believe that the suspect would invite male travelers at Kievsky Station to sit with him in his Lada and drink beer, Vremya Novostei said. The suspect would lace the beer with a toxic substance and drive the victims off to dump them, the report said.