More than 30 members and associates of a New York City-based Russian organized crime group are named in federal court papers charging them with racketeering, murder for hire and other crimes, including trafficking tens of thousands of pounds of stolen chocolate, law enforcement sources familiar with the case tell NBC 4 New York.
The FBI’s Joint Eurasian Organized Crime Task Force arrested more than two dozen members of the group, called the Shulaya Enterprise, in the NYC area and elsewhere early Wednesday, law enforcement sources said. The seven other suspects remain at large.
The group is accused of trafficking stolen goods -- including large quantities of cigarettes and 10,000 pounds of chocolate confections, court papers say.
The suspects also face charges of extortion, gambling, narcotics trafficking, wire fraud, credit card fraud, and identity theft, according to law enforcement sources. Some of the charges carry a maximum penalty of decades in prison.
Many of the suspects are from Brooklyn, and range in age from 22 to 59.
The group conspired to carry out a “dizzying array of criminal schemes,” including a murder-for-hire conspiracy, a plot to rob victims by seducing them and drugging them with chloroform, and a fraud involving the hacking of casino slot machines, a federal complaint says.
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. Most of the organization’s members were born in the former Soviet Union and maintain ties to Ukraine, Georgia, and the Russian Federation.
Shulaya was the “vor,” or “thief-in-law” of the group, and offered assistance and protection to members of the criminal enterprise, the complaint says.
The Shulaya Enterprise operated in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Nevada, the court papers say.
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.
The suspects arrested Wednesday were expected to appear in federal court.