Russians Charged With Racketeering (And Selling 10000 Pounds Of Stolen Chocolate)

Chloe Pantazi  INSIDER

The suspects, said to be members of the Shulaya Enterprise, a Russian-organized crime group operating in and around New York City, were apprehended Wednesday by the FBI's Joint Eurasian Organized Crime Task Force.

The group allegedly trafficked stolen goods, including chocolate, cigarettes, and various narcotics.

The individuals who have been arrested are allegedly members of a nationwide scheme led by Razhden Shulaya and Zurab Dzhanashvili, the leaders of the so-called 'Shulaya Enterprise'. "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'".

According to U.S. Attorney's statement, many members of the Shulaya Enterprise regularly traveled to the former Soviet Union countries, communicated with associates there and also transferred criminal proceeds to associates in those countries.

Over 30 members of a New York City-based Russian crime group have been charged with racketeering, murder for hire and crimes including trafficking thousands of pounds of stolen chocolate, sources told WNBC on Wednesday.

Almost three dozen purported Russian mobsters were hit with federal charges Wednesday alleging a wide variety of gangland crimes, new court documents reveal.

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"The suspects in this case cast a wide net of criminal activity, aiming to make as much money as possible, all allegedly organized and run by a man who promised to protect them", FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. said in the statement.

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.

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

Police are still searching for the other accused men.

According to the New York Times, the court documents show that investigators collaborated with paid informers. If convicted, they could face decades in federal prison.

Shulaya was taken into custody in Las Vegas where he was expected to appear in court.

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