Russian mobsters arrested for peddling stolen chocolate

Posted June 09, 2017

The suspects were part of criminal activities such as illegal gambling businesses, credit card fraud and selling stolen goods.

On Wednesday, federal authorities charged 33 people with a wide variety of offenses, including, yes, the theft and trafficking of "a shipment containing approximately 10,000 pounds of chocolate confections", according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of NY.

Most of the organization's members were born in the former Soviet Union and still have ties to Ukraine, Georgia, and the Russian Federation, NBC 4 said.

Wednesday's action marks "one of the first federal racketeering charges ever brought against a Russian 'vor, '" or mob boss, Kim said.

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"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.

USA prosecutors on June 7 arrested and charged more than two dozen alleged members of a Russian organized crime gang working out of New York City with what they called a "dizzying array of criminal schemes". Branches of the Shulaya Enterprise have also been uncovered in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida and Nevada, according to court documents.

In the three indictments and one complaint that were unsealed, some of the crimes are the stuff of classic mobster movies: a poker house in Brighton Beach, buying and selling cases of purported illegal cigarettes and selling stolen jewelry.

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

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In court papers, Dzhanashvili was accused of directing a plot to convince an unnamed female member of the enterprise "to drug or otherwise render unconscious" someone he was hoping to rob in Atlantic City earlier this year.

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

Police are still searching for the other accused men.

Numerous crimes the suspects are being charged with are expected to be tried for maximum sentences, according to court documents.

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