Yesterday, feds busted thirty-three members of an Eastern European crime syndicate for “a panoply of crimes” nationwide that include trafficking stolen chocolate and an illegal poker operation in Brighton Beach, said the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
FBI’s Joint Eurasian Organized Crime Task Force arrested 27 members of the New York City-based Shulaya Enterprise accused of racketeering, wire and credit card fraud, narcotics trafficking, firearms and stolen property offenses, according to the criminal complaint that was unsealed yesterday. The defendants also face charges of extortion, gambling, and identity theft.
Several of the men were accused of various cases of trafficking in tens of thousands of dollars worth of stolen cigarettes and 10,000 pounds of chocolate confections.
In addition, they’re accused of scheming to rob, seduce and drug victims with chloroform (a murder-for-hire conspiracy), and a fraud on casino slot machines using electronic hacking devices — equalling a “dizzying array of criminal schemes,” said Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim.
Officials say the group operated under the command of bosses Razhden Shulaya and Zurab Dzhanashvili. The indictments include charges against the alleged head of the national criminal enterprise, marking one of the first federal racketeering charges ever brought against a Russian ‘vor’, said Kim.
Police are still searching for the other accused men.
If convicted, some defendants could face up to 40 years in prison, according to the complaint.
This isn’t the first arrest in a southern Brooklyn crime syndicate. Last November, 9 members of the Thieves In Law were nabbed on 10 charges, including racketeering, extortion, loansharking, illegal gambling, and selling marijuana. During the trial, gangster Lenny Gershman was caught in a wire-tapped conversation allegedly referring to a hidden gun as a sex toy.