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

The arrests were made as part of a joint operation that included the FBI, Customs and Border Protection and the New York Police Department

Thirty-two suspected members of a Russian organized crime group, Shulaya Enterprise, were indicted today for charges including murder for hire, racketeering, and trafficking over 10,000 pounds of stolen chocolate.

The gang is also charged with attempting to get a woman to seduce a man in Atlantic City, then knock him out with chloroform to rob him. More than two dozen were arrested - most in the New York City area, though others were held in Nevada and Florida - with the remainder still at large.

The leaders of the organization, 40-year-old Razhden Shulaya, of Edgewater, New Jersey, and 37-year-old Zurab Dzhanashvili, of Brooklyn, are among those arrested.

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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. Numerous group members were based in New York City, but others were located in Florida, New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania and overseas, according to the indictment.

Shulaya was referred to in the indictment as a "vor v zakonei" or "vor", which were Russian phrases that roughly translate to "thief-in-law" and refer to "an order of elite criminals from the former Soviet Union".

The crims also ran underground poker games in NY seaside suburb Brighton Beach, with a side-order of extortion for those that ran up gambling debts.

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Now add chocolate trafficking to the list of criminal enterprises allegedly carried out by suspected mobsters. 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.

The theft of 10,000 pounds of chocolate confections is one of numerous charges in the arrests of members of a Russian crime syndicate, according to the Manhattan U.S. attorney's office. Five people are still at large, the Justice Department said.

"Yes there are tattooed thugs around, he said".

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


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