Pelmen from Brighton Beach not released on bail because of criminal tattoos 

Pelmen from Brighton Beach not released on bail because of criminal tattoos
Alexey Tsvetkov (Pelmen)

The lawyer of the notorious Russian kingpin in New York was ready to post a bail of one million dollars for him.

The Brooklyn Federal Court refused to release a member of the CIS organized crime group Alexey Tsvetkov on bail of 1 million dollars. Tsvetkov was one of eight Russian mobsters detained in early November in New York. At the time, the event was widely covered in the US media.

According to the New York Daily News, the prosecutors insisted that the court refused the bail posted by Tsvetkov’s lawyers because of his criminal tattoos, which bear the mark of the so-called thieves in law.

The court was told that prior to the last detention in Brighton Beach, Tsvetkov had star tattoos pinned on his shoulders after he had spent 78 months in prison for racketeering and extortion.

However, the Prosecutor's Office in New York noted that Tsvetkov’s reputation among thieves changed since the last case, judging by the tattoos. "He’s holding himself out as a ‘made man’ in this Russian Mafia," the Assistant US Attorney Andrey Spektor said.

He added that a tattoo in the form of the Russian eagle on Tsvetkov’s hand tells that he can potentially escape to Russia, and the cross on the right hand means that he fears possible persecution for being Jewish.

The attorney Joel Cohen acknowledged that his client had a rich criminal past, but argued that Tsvetkov had made these tattoos in prison to establish himself as a kingpin among other inmates.

Speaking in defense of his client, Cohen also insisted that Tsvetkov cannot be a thief in law, because such criminals do not work, they do not have families, and do not cooperate with the police for ideological reasons. At the same time, Tsvetkov has a wife and two children, and an auto body shop. In addition, according to the lawyer, Tsvetkov once even warned police about the intention of one of his customers to commit insurance fraud. The court, however, dismissed these arguments, and the bail for Alexey Tsvetkov was denied. Apart from the tattoos, the court was probably influenced by the fact that Tsvetkov was already familiar to the US law enforcement agencies as a prolific offender.

On November 9, eight members of the so-called Russian Mafia, criminals from a transnational organized group, were charged in New York for racketeering, illegal gambling, and drug trafficking. Along with Alexey Tsvetkov, law enforcers detained Renat Yusufov, Igor Krugly, Vyacheslav Malkeev, Leonid Gershman, Yusuf Pardilov, Librado Rivera, and Isok Aronov. If their crimes are proved, the detainees can face up to 20 years in prison. None of the accused has pleaded guilty so far.

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Mobsters detained in New York

The investigation was conducted by the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) with the assistance of other federal and local law enforcement agencies.

Alexey Tsvetkov immigrated to the US from Ukraine in 1992, has a nickname Pelmen and is considered a professional in debt collecting. In 2003, he was arrested by the FBI as part of another Russian gang, The Brighton Beach Crew, led by Zinovy Bari. The crime group was selling ecstasy and engaged in loansharking and extortion.

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Alexey Tsvetkov and other gang members after their arrest on Brighton Beach

At that time, Tsvetkov was indicted for beating an employee of NY Cyber Place Internet Cafe on Avenue Z in Brooklyn for the purpose of extortion. Law enforcers were aware of other episodes of debt collecting, including with the use of weapons. Tsvetkov once attended a meeting with a debtor armed with machete, waving it in front of witnesses, threatening to deal with the victim.

For these and a number of other crimes Alexey Tsvetkov was sentenced to 78 months in prison. After serving the sentence, he was to be deported to Ukraine, but he managed to stay in the United States. Tsvetkov last came to the attention of law enforcement agencies, when in early 2016, he was detained at the wheel of his Lexus RX350 in an intoxicated condition. Furthermore, he had several sachets of marijuana on him.

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