Thief in law Razhden Pitersky wins fight with pretend thief Pelmen from Brighton Beach 

Thief in law Razhden Pitersky wins fight with pretend thief Pelmen from Brighton Beach
Razhden Shulaya and Alexei Tsvetkov

The United States is considering two lawsuits against the "Russian mafia" at the same time; one is the criminal syndicate of the thief in law Razhden Shulaya and the other one is a Brighton Beach gang with an exaggerated name Vory v zakone ("Thieves in law"), although there are no actual thieves in law among the members. Reports from the court hearings tell us something about the relationship between the immigrant gangsters.

There was a serious conflict between the leaders of the two major US criminal gangs of Russian-speaking emigrants - the thief in law Razhden Shulaya (Razhden Pitersky, Brat) and Alexei Tsvetkov (Pelmen) before both of them got behind bars.

Shulaya, who was convicted by five counts in Manhattan in July and is facing a prison term of up to 65 years, got into a fight with another Russian gangster, Alexei Tsvetkov nicknamed Pelmen, according to the case file. The incident took place at Shulaya’s birthday party that he was having in the Romanoff (formerly Rasputin) restaurant, Brooklyn. Razhden Pitersky defeated his rival, said the paper V Novom Svete.

The reason for the fight is unknown; however, Tsvetkov, whose men did not hesitate to call themselves "Thieves in law", has always referred to himself as part of the criminal elite. Meanwhile, there is no evidence that Pelmen, who came to the United States from Ukraine as a teenager 26 years ago and was arrested in November 2016, is a thief in law. There are vor’s stars tattooed on his shoulders, however, and they have been there for years.

1,5 years ago the stars put him in trouble; when the Brooklyn federal court saw the tattoos, it refused to release Pelmen on bail of 1 million dollars. The court would not listen to the arguments of his lawyer Joel Cohen, who claimed that Pelmen had tattooed the stars in an American prison during his previous six-year time that he served for racketeering and extortion.

Alexei Tsvetkov detention in November 2016

Tsvetkov-Pelmen was one of the eight Russian Mafiosi, whose New York detention in early November 2016 was widely covered by the media. The international criminal community was engaged in racketeering, gambling business and drug trafficking. Everyone except Lenny Gershman and Alexei Tsvetkov has long pleaded guilty; some agreed to cooperate with the investigators.

The gang of Razhden Shulaya, who was thief-crowned in 2013 in Cyprus is referred to as "criminal syndicate" in the case file. It operated in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Nevada.

ragd2.jpg According to the US prosecutor's office, Razhden Shulaya’s gang was involved in a number of crimes: they smuggled cigarettes, made fraudulent banking cards (skimming), false passports, checks and financial documents, bribed law enforcement officials and stole cargoes. They are also accused of racketeering, drug and arms trafficking and conspiracy to kill for hire.

The gang was liquidated in June 2017 in a joint operation of the FBI, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the police of New York and other cities. 27 people were arrested in several states. Currently, the thief in law, his ex-strongman, the former IBO’s world middleweight champion, Avtandil Khurtsidze, and other gang members are awaiting sentencing.

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