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Russian mobsters arrested for smuggling more than 10,000 pounds of chocolate

NEW YORK — More than two dozen alleged members of a New York City-based Russian organized crime gang have been charged with racketeering and other crimes.

Federal prosecutors say the suspects operated across the country and abroad and trafficked in stolen goods, including cigarettes and even a cargo shipment of more than 10,000 pounds of chocolate.

The gang members also were charged with plotting to rob victims by seducing and drugging them with chloroform and using electronic devices to hack casino slot machines.

The defendants were mostly born in the former Soviet Union and had strong ties to Ukraine, Georgia and Russia.

The charges against 31 people were unsealed in Manhattan federal court Wednesday.

Their alleged criminal activities included:

  • The operation of illicit poker businesses in Brighton Beach
  • The extortion of gamblers who became indebted to the Shulaya Enterprise
  • Attempts to extort local business owners
  • Efforts to defraud casinos in Atlantic City and Philadelphia by using electronic devices and computer servers to predict and exploit the behavior of electronic slot machines
  • The theft of cargo shipments, including a shipment containing approximately 10,000 pounds of chocolate confections
  • The use of a female member of the Shulaya Enterprise to seduce men, incapacitate them with gas, and then rob them
  • Attempts to create an after-hours nightclub that would host, among other things, the sale of narcotics
  • The transportation and sale of numerous cases of untaxed cigarettes
  • Plans to pay bribes to local law enforcement
  • Creation and use of forged identification documents, checks, and invoices