Federal agents arrested nine reputed members of a Brooklyn-based Russian organized crime syndicate Wednesday with close ties to an underworld group in Eastern Europe known as Thieves in Law, authorities said.
A 10-count indictment unsealed in Brooklyn Federal Court charges them with racketeering, extortion, loansharking, marijuana trafficking and illegal gambling.
“The defendants, all of whom are members of the transnational enterprise, report abroad to high-ranking organized crime members living in Eastern Europe,” Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew Jacobs and Andrey Spektor stated in court papers.
The Thieves in Law helped the Brooklyn mobsters collect extortion debts from victims living outside the U.S., the prosecutors stated.
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One victim who owed the Brooklyn mobsters $200,000 was tracked down in Israel and other family members were in Russia with the help of the Thieves.
The Brooklyn mobsters operated in Coney Island and Brighton Beach, sources said. High-stakes poker games were set up at a building on Coney Island Ave. which from the outside appeared to be an auto leasing and private security business.
One defendant, Aleksey Tsvetkov, was previously convicted of racketeering in 2005 and deported to the Ukraine. But Tsvetkov was allowed to return to the U.S. and granted asylum after claiming that he was tortured when he returned to his homeland.
Agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service, and the NYPD also busted Leonid Gershman, Renat Yusufov, Igor Krugly, Vyacheslav Malkeyev, Isok Aronov, Yusuf Pardilov, and Librado Rivera.
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The leader of the syndicate is indicted but remains a fugitive, officials said.
- brighton beach
- coney island
- soviet union
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