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

09 June 2017

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. Something like 10,000 pounds of chocolate, which these particular gangsters were also charged with stealing.

The FBI's Eurasian Organized Crime Task Force in NY arrested 25 of the men, the feds said, while seven remained at large. The other seven members are reportedly still at large.

Authorities say the group operated under the direction and protection of two men, named Razhden Shulaya and Zurab Dzhanashvili.

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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.

Read: What Is La Cosa Nostra, Infamous New York Mafia? The statement said most of the crews were based in NY, but that the "Shulaya Enterprise" also had operations in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida and Nevada.

While the Shulaya Enterprise operates throughout the US, many of its members were born in the former Soviet Union and have strong ties to the country of Georgia, the Ukraine and the Russian Federation, according to the release.

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The suspects were part of criminal activities such as illegal gambling businesses, credit card fraud and selling stolen goods. It's also noteworthy that one of the group's biggest charges involved computer hacking-"Using computers is second nature to many of these groups", Mark Galeotti, a Russian crime specialist at the Institute of International Relations Prague in the Czech Republic, told the Times.

'Today, we have charged 33 members and associates of a Russian organized crime syndicate allegedly engaging a panoply of crimes around the country, ' according to acting Manhattan US Attorney Joon Kim.

The Justice Department said it had taken most of those charged into federal custody, but five were still at large.

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