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Theft of 10000 pounds of chocolate helps bring down 33 Russian mobsters

09 June, 2017, 09:34 | Author: Melody Ballard
  • The FBI has arrested 33 members of a Russian crime syndicate who are being accused of mob-related offenses including hiring hit men to kill rivals and illegally selling tens of thousands of pounds of stolen chocolate

"We have charged 33 members and associates of a Russian organized crime syndicate allegedly engaging in a panoply of crimes around the country", acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon Kim said in a statement on Wednesday.

'The indictments include charges against the alleged head of this national criminal enterprise, one of the first federal racketeering charges ever brought against a Russian "vor"'.

That vor is identified as Razhden Shulaya, 40, living in Edgewater, N.J., who investigators said also goes by "Brother" and "Roma".

The suspects were involved in a wide net of crimes and were allegedly run by "a man who promised to protect them".

The U.S. attorney's office in southern NY said the suspects operated internationally and across the United States trafficking in drugs and stolen goods, including cigarettes and shiploads of chocolate, while engaging in extortion, murder for hire and credit card fraud.

The Shulaya Enterprise operated in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Nevada, the court papers say.

Shulaya was referred to in the indictment as a "vor v zakonei" or "vor", which were Russian phrases that roughly translate to "thief-in-law" and refer to "an order of elite criminals from the former Soviet Union".

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Suspects could also be charged for their attempts to operate an illegal poker business in Brighton Beach, defraud casinos with a hacking device that predicted the behavior of slot machines, and stealing shipments from cargo ships.

More than 30 alleged gang members-at least one of whom may be guilty of having an extraordinary sweet tooth-have been arrested on charges including the theft of 10,000 pounds of chocolate confections.

And some of the syndicate's crimes were more elaborate, according to the unsealed racketeering indictment.

When people hear about Russian organized crime, they picture a stereotypical Russian thug, said Galeotti, the Russian crime expert.

Shulaya and Zurab Dzhanashvili, 37, of Brooklyn, were the leaders of the enterprise, according to court documents.

Marat-Uulu, Jikia and the informant then "discussed the means and logistics of disposing of the corpse of the Victim following the murder of the Victim", according to the complaint, which cites recordings of conversations conducted largely in Russian.

If convicted as charged, each defendant could face decades in prison for some of the charges.

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