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.
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. Seven members of the group are still at large, according to NBC 4. The leaders of the organization, Razhden Shulaya, 40, of Edgewater, New Jersey, and Zurab Dzhanashvili, 37, of Brooklyn, New York, were among those arrested.
The suspects, said to be members of the Shulaya Enterprise, a Russian-organized crime group operating in and around New York City, were apprehended Wednesday by the FBI's Joint Eurasian Organized Crime Task Force.
"Vor" refers to the high-ranking criminals from the former Soviet Union that were respected in the criminal underworld. Numerous group members were born in the former Soviet Union, but authorities believe they regularly visited and communicated with associates in Georgia, the Ukraine and the Russian Federation.
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Shulaya, part of an "order of elite criminals from the former Soviet Union", orchestrated offenses ranging from trafficking stolen cigarettes and chocolate to illegal gambling, the feds allege. 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.
Acting Manhattan US Attorney Joon Kim called the spectrum of alleged racketeering charges a "dizzying array of criminal schemes". Five people are still at large, the Justice Department said. "But actually the kind of Russian gangster one sees in America is more likely to be a fraudster, a hacker or semi-criminal businessman".
Numerous crimes the suspects are being charged with are expected to be tried for maximum sentences, according to court documents.