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

Wade Massey
June 9, 2017

The suspects are alleged members of the Shulaya Enterprise, an association law enforcement describes as having links to criminal organizations in nations of the former Soviet Union, including Russia, Ukraine and Georgia.

When more than 30 members of a Russian organized crime syndicate get arrested for racketeering, credit card fraud, and contract killing, it takes something truly special for those charges to be considered afterthoughts.

Two of the defendants were overheard discussing a 10,000-pound shipment of stolen chocolate on a court-ordered wiretap in March, according to the indictment.

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.

The federal government is alleging that the Shulaya Enterprise was active not just in NY, but also in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Nevada. The seven other suspects remain at large.

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According to the US Department of Justice, Shulaya aka "Brother", aka "Roma", is known as a "vor v zakonei" - a Russian phrase translated roughly as "thief-by-law", and which refers to an order of elite criminals from the former Soviet Union who receive tribute from other criminals, offer protection, and use their recognised status to adjudicate disputes among lower-level criminals. "As a vor, Shulaya had substantial influence in the criminal underworld and offered assistance to and protection of the members and associates of the Shulaya Enterprise".

Acting Manhattan US Attorney Joon Kim called the spectrum of alleged racketeering charges a "dizzying array of criminal schemes".

Another scheme involved using a female member of the syndicate to "seduce men, incapacitate them with gas, and then rob them", according the Justice Department.

Read: What Is La Cosa Nostra, Infamous New York Mafia? "But actually the kind of Russian gangster one sees in America is more likely to be a fraudster, a hacker or semi-criminal businessman".

The suspects arrested Wednesday are expected to appear in federal court later in the day.

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