JULY 2003

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Criminal Gang
From Novoye Russkoye Slovo
June 12, 2003

By Alexandr Grant

The U.S. District Court in Brooklyn indicted eight members of a criminal gang comprised of Russian immigrants on charges of racketeering, illegal gambling, loan-sharking and selling the drug Ecstasy. The court released the 28-count indictment on June 10. Four gang members were arrested in New York City on the morning of June 10. The other member was apprehended in Miami.

Peggy Long of the District Attorney’s Office of Brooklyn, Joseph Valiquette of the FBI New York field office and Michael O’Looney, the deputy commissioner of public information of the New York Police Department, issued a press release on June 11. The press release describes how the Russian-speaking community of Brooklyn helped law enforcement arrest and charge the members of the gang.

Zinovy Bari, 39, of Ocean Avenue is believed to be the gang leader. Other gang members included Alexei Tsetkov, known by the nickname “Dumpling,” Alexandr Wayntraub, known by the nickname “Mosquito,” Sergei Korniyenko, Alexandr Korsunsky, Dimitry Kremennoy, Robert Podlog and Gennady Tenenbaum.

U.S. Magistrate Steven Gold read the court’s charges against the gang and announced that Brooklyn Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis would preside over the case. Bari faces a possible sentence of 80 years and a fine of $250,000.

Gang members undertook their most vicious attack on March 20, 2003. Tsetkov and Tenenbaum entered the NY Cyber Place Internet Café on Avenue Z in Brooklyn and demanded protection money from the store’s employees. The gang members assaulted the employees and destroyed the store’s computers. The café’s security cameras recorded the incident.

Gang members often resorted to threats and violence to collect protection money.

In the case of John Doe No. 4, during the summer of 2001, Bari and Kremennoy forced the victim into the backseat of a car and wrapped a wire around his neck. In the case of John Doe No. 6, Bari and Kremennoy forced the victim, who owed the gang $16,000, into a van. Tsetkov and Korsunsky administered a “therapy,” i.e. a beating, to the victim.

In April 2002, Tsetkov entered a Brighton Beach restaurant to look for one of the gang’s debtors, John Doe No. 3. Tsetkov carried a machete in his hand which he waved in a threatening manner.
The gang also threatened those who they suspected of cooperating with the police. On February 24, Wayntraub, Podlog and Tsetkov beat John Doe No. 9 whom they suspected had talked to police officials. On March 16, Korsunsky and Tsetkov told John Doe No. 10 they would kill him if he went to the police.

Roslyn Mauskopf, the newly appointed U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of the New York, said the FBI, New York police officials and the district attorneys have “established an extraordinary working relationship, which has enabled them to successfully contain organized crime activities.” Mauskopf added that the arrests of the members of the Bari gang represented another successful collaboration of law enforcement agencies.

Kevin Donovan, the head of the New York field office of the FBI, told journalists that “Zinovy Bari and his gang have been put out of action for the foreseeable future.” Donovan commended the joint efforts of the eastern European division of the FBI and the police. The assistance of Brighton Beach residents was also noted.

“In order to apprehend dangerous criminals, such as the Bari gang, we need the cooperation of the victims and other witnesses,” said Kevin Donovan. “Law-abiding citizens can protect their neighborhoods, not only by keeping watch of what is happening, but by telling us what’s going on.”

At the press conference, New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly called the gang “a violent group of criminals, who extorted money from innocent people, threatened their lives and destroyed their property." As a result of the efforts of the joint operation, Kelly continued, “we have turned the gang members over to the authorities and have returned to the residents of Brighton Beach a sense of safety. I want to thank all who helped bring these criminals to justice.”

Translated from Russian by Elizabeth LeBras.

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