These Russian mobsters were cuckoo for cocoa and puffs.
Nearly three-dozen organized crime members were busted by federal authorities in Manhattan Wednesday for an odd mishmash of crimes trafficking 5 tons of stolen chocolate as well as hordes of illegal cigarettes.
The feds also accused the 32 men of a murder-for-hire conspiracy, an illegal poker operation in Brighton Beach, and of trying to convince a female associate to chloroform someone in Atlantic City so he could be robbed.
The men were accused of trafficking in tens of thousands of dollars worth of stolen cigarettes, in addition to an astounding 10,000 pounds of chocolate confections, court papers say.
Acting Manhattan US Attorney Joon Kim called the spectrum of alleged racketeering charges a “dizzying array of criminal schemes.”
The FBI’s Eurasian Organized Crime Task Force in New York arrested 25 of the men, the feds said, while seven remained at large.
Twenty-seven of the men charged are tied to the so-called Shulaya Enterprise, an organized crime group operating under the direction Razhden Shulaya and his alleged co-boss Zurab Dzhanashvili, the feds said.
Wednesday’s action marks “one of the first federal racketeering charges ever brought against a Russian ‘vor,’” or mob boss, Kim said.
In court papers, Dzhanashvili was accused of directing a plot to convince an unnamed female member of the enterprise “to drug or otherwise render unconscious” someone he was hoping to rob in Atlantic City earlier this year.
Dzhanashvili was also accused of directing the March 2017 sale of “10,000 pounds of stolen chocolate confections” to a confidential government source.
At the time, the confidential source had been “negotiating the purchase of stolen goods and firearms at the direction of law enforcement,” according to the complaint.
Lawyers for Dzhanashvili and Shulaya did not immediately return calls for comment.