According to the statement issued by the Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Razhden Shulaya was dubbed a "vor v zakonei" or "vor", which means in Russian "thief-in-law" and refers to "an order of elite criminals from the former Soviet Union" who receive tribute from other criminals.
The Russian gang allegedly ran its operations in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Nevada, so if you were about to land a sweet chocolate haul in one of those states, you might need to find a new candy dealer.
Thirty-three alleged Russian mobsters were indicted in Manhattan federal court on Wednesday for schemes ranging from the theft of a 10,000 pound shipment of chocolate confections and rigging casino slot machines to using a woman to seduce, chloroform and rob male targets.
"As a vor, Shulaya had substantial influence in the criminal underworld and offered assistance to and protection of the members and associates", the indictment said.
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Among a long list of crimes, the complaint says the enterprise tried to operate an illegal poker business in Brighton Beach, defraud casinos in Atlantic City, and steal shipments from cargo ships.
While the Shulaya Enterprise operates throughout the USA, 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.
And some of the syndicate's crimes were more elaborate, according to the unsealed racketeering indictment. In April, two of the defendants allegedly executed the scheme, making over $1,000 by manipulating the machines.
When people hear about Russian organized crime, they picture a stereotypical Russian thug, said Galeotti, the Russian crime expert.
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The darkest crime alleged is a murder-for-hire plot, with enough lurid details to make the complaint read like a juicy novel.
According to the New York Times, the court documents show that investigators collaborated with paid informers.
Police are still searching for the other accused men. If convicted, they could face decades in federal prison.
The suspects arrested Wednesday are expected to appear in federal court later in the day.
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