Russian Mafia

The threat from Russian organized crime in the United States has been a major concern for sometime. Most would agree that increased organized crime activity is widespread and rapidly growing. Its ability to change methods of operations creates a difficult challenge for law enforcement and society as a whole.

Russian organized crime (ROC) is increasingly complicated to investigate. The crimes are committed after careful planning and involve several Russian criminal groups and networks and include people forced to support the criminal activity. They have no limitations or boundaries and you will find Russian organized crime benefiting from the sales of fruit juice to supplying terrorist with weaponry.

Public unawareness and the limitation of financial and human resources have and do create a serious obstacle for law enforcement. Equally troublesome is in cutting thru the red tape involved in obtaining quality information relating ROC international activity. Treaties and dependence on other countries intelligence and enforcement organizations severely disrupt conducting a proper investigation.

In Russia and many Eastern European countries, graft is a way of life and is expected. Many positions in their respective governments are bought and require a hefty payment or an ability to reward. As an example: Vladimir Loginov who is currently the head of the State owned operation (Soyuzplodoimport) that handles the export of all Russian alcoholic beverages. He is by law is supposed to answer to the Ministry of Agriculture and the Kremlin. This in reality is not the case and his appointment was brought about by Russian criminal elements and in return he utilizes his office to further their exploits. The same holds true for steel manufacturing, medical supplies and just about every industry. What compounds the problem is that the very law enforcement officials that are supposed to protect the public are also controlled by ROC. While attending a meeting in Moscow with the Director of Rossspiritprom (son of a senior ROC boss) we were joined by another Senior ROC member whose personal protection team was made up of uniformed military security.
I have witnessed to some extent just how vast the ROC network is in this country and its ties to Moscow, Minsk, Kiev and other locations in Eastern Europe. Anyone that thinks that they do not deal with terrorist or are in no way connected to terror does not understand ROC.

As ROC activity in the USA expands so does the migration of its members and their criminal associates. No longer is it confined to NYC, Chicago, LA and Boston. Today the networks operate in each and every State and their illegal activity runs the gamut from stolen cars, phony charities, false ID’s, passports, visas, stealing state secret, child porn, illegal arms, money laundering, narcotics, fraudulent insurance claims, medical bills, cyber crime and on and on.

In my opinion the key to fighting the real red menace is through quality intelligence and fortunately ROC operations can be penetrated. It takes hard work and time but their very greed and looseness of structure (unlike the Cosa Nostra) opens them to infiltration. The next step is to pierce the ubiquitous corporate structures that are created to show legitimacy as well as confuse the investigator. With most ROC members a 3-5 year jail sentence is not enough to flip and the preference is to do the time. If however a ROC member or associate is facing a long hard sentence and believes that his cooperation will remain clandestine then substantial information relating to ROC networks and its criminal exploits here and abroad can be obtained.

Since the World Trades Center disaster, American law enforcement agencies have had to change there priorities and utilize limited resources to combat terrorism and its threat against our homeland and people. Most of us know that America is at war and it will take diligence and many years of hardship before it is won. This redirection is known by criminal groups such as ROC and they fully know how to exploit it. The ATF is now heavily focused on explosives and provides only a few agents to investigate criminal tobacco and liquor crimes. The vast abundance of sea containers coming here are a burdening problem for customs agents. The same holds true for the Bureau who has had to meet the substantial challenges posed by terrorists. We must not lose sight however that many Eastern European criminals are without conscience and are involved with numerous terrorist groups throughout the world including those directly and indirectly threatening our nation. Democracy’s and there basic freedoms afford a prime opportunity for ROC to branch out and exploit an unknowing public.