In New York, sentenced to gangster Pelmen: how a Ukrainian led the mafia in the United States
The Brooklyn federal judge Brian Kogan, who sentenced drug lord El Chapo to a life sentence of plus 30 years last year, sentenced Ukrainian Alexei Tsvetkov, nicknamed Pelmen. Kogan sentenced 40-year-old Tsvetkov to 198 months in prison (16,5 years). Of these, according to the calculations of the prosecutor, a native of the family of Soviet emigrants Andrei Spector, he will serve 12,5 years, reports Air Force
The undersized sturdy Tsvetkov was one of the three leaders of the Brooklyn brigade, which did not acquire a self-name and is referred to in court documents as a "syndicate."
Other members of this triumvirate are prosecutors calling former Odessa citizen Leonid Gershman, whom Kogan had previously sentenced to 16,5 years, and Viktor Zeligman - DEA, the federal drug control agency, describes him in closed documents as the second person in the Ukrainian mafia in the United States.
In August 2016, Zeligman flew from New York Airport to them. Kennedy is in Turkey and has since been wanted.
9 other members of the brigade pleaded guilty, but Tsvetkov and Gershman chose to give themselves to the mercy of the jury. Their three-week trial ended in August 2018 with a guilty verdict.
The Bari Brigade
Pelmen’s street authority was based not only on his arrogance and self-made thief’s stars, but also on his old criminal record in the case of the so-called Brighton Beach Brigade, or “Bari Brigade”, named after its leader Zinovy Bari.
In 2005, Tsvetkov received 78 months in prison in that case and, having no American citizenship, was subject to deportation to Ukraine after his release, but he deftly avoided it.
While awaiting deportation to an immigration prison, he declared himself a Jew and asked for a postponement, explaining his request by saying that he was allegedly tortured as a Jew in Ukraine. He told an immigration judge in March 2010: “Now I am celebrating Jewish holidays. I do not profess Christianity. "
The judge eventually ordered Tsvetkov to leave for the United States, referring to the convention against torture.
“It turned out that the convicted person is not a practicing Jew,” prosecutors wrote to judge Kogan now, noting that after his arrest Tsvetkov was found to have a large cross tattoo on his arm. He also wore a cross with diamonds worth several tens of thousands of dollars.
Tsvetkov’s mobile phone contained a photo of his son’s baptism, which was held in his hands by his accomplice Gershman.
On the same telephone, they found a video depicting how Tsvetkov was beating up a debtor on a pavement in front of his car repair shop, in which they not only repaired cars, but also turned insurance scams. According to prosecutors, Tsvetkov liked to boast of this video, which they did not fail to show to the jury at his trial.
The most serious crime, of which, according to court documents, Tsvetkov is suspected of, was the murder of Yevgeny Polyakov, who was shot dead 20 years ago on Brooklyn Street. As prosecutors wrote to Judge Kogan, Tsvetkov, who was not charged with this murder, allegedly provided him with a gun and was driving a car in which the killer had fled the scene of the crime.
A few years later, Stanislav Lantsberg, who came from Ukraine, admitted to this murder, who was involved in the huge drug trade case at the beginning of the XNUMXs.
Last June, prosecutors sent Judge Kogan a lengthy motion requesting that Tsvetkov be sentenced to almost a quarter century prison. “Tsvetkov is dangerous and stubbornly continues to harm people,” they wrote.
According to them, Tsvetkov’s criminal career began a few years after his arrival in the United States. When he was 17, he took a golden chain from a man, threatening him with a blade. Then they found the chain and the blade from him during the search and punished Tsvetkov with five days of community service.
After that, he took the car from another victim and wrecked it. He was conditionally punished for a year. According to prosecutors, Tsvetkov was arrested three times for other minor crimes, but he invariably managed with a slight fright.
Overcoming the milestone of his 20th birthday, he joined the Bari Brigade, which was engaged in fraud, roofing and usury, stole checks from mailboxes and, like almost all such groups in New York, kept underground gambling establishments, or quatrains.
Subsequently, Tsvetkov told his wife that the “Bari Brigade” was more violent than the “syndicate”.
In particular, he somehow suspected a friend of tapping and hit him on the head with a board with nails.
In April 2002, Tsvetkov burst into a nightclub with a machete in search of his master, who owed him money.
The evidence of the Bari Brigade case included a video taken in a store on Brighton Beach to which the brigade imposed a "roof." On the video, Tsvetkov was brutally beaten by a store employee, who was then taken away by ambulance and broke goods.
In the light of these and other episodes, the term of 78 months was, according to prosecutors, relatively moderate. In prison, Tsvetkov was twice caught storing weapons in the form of a small barn lock hanging on his belt, and a nail hidden in a glass of soup.
He was released in November 2010, having made a solemn promise not to indulge in crime, but two years later he again joined the ranks of organized crime even before his term of public oversight expired.
The most serious crime for which Tsvetkov was convicted was the arson in May 2016 of a three-story wooden house on Voorhees Avenue, on the ground floor of which there was a rival katran, and above were residential apartments. A 19-year-old student, Shahzod Bobokalonov, and his 12-year-old brother were rescued from a burning apartment by firefighters.
Sitting in the Brooklyn federal bullpen MDC, Tsvetkov wasted no time and sued his prison and federal bailiffs for $ 2 million. It turns out that on November 14, 2016, when the prison bus in which he was being taken out of the MDC, its gates closed prematurely and hit the back of the aforementioned avtozak.
As stated in Tsvetkov’s lawsuit filed in April 2018, Tsvetkov, as a result of this incident, received “serious injuries,” “which demanded and will require future medical intervention.”
What happens in court
The lawsuit is still being heard in the same court, in which Tsvetkov was finally sentenced, previously postponed many times.
The next hearing on this lawsuit is scheduled for June, when the plaintiff will be required to either be in Otisville Prison in New York State or in Fort Dicks in New Jersey.
The verdict ceremony lasted a little less than an hour and a half. At the beginning, the prosecutor Spector cited a long list of Tsvetkov’s crimes over the past 23 years and noted that “you rarely see a person who would get two sentences for participating in organized crime.” According to him, having served his first term, “Tsvetkov left the prison the same as he was,” and quickly took up the old.
The prosecutor expressed doubt that the convict is generally correctable. According to him, in conclusion he was not reforged. On the contrary, the prison was for Tsvetkov “a graduate school in which he stabbed thief stars”.
When Kogan invited Tsvetkov to say the last word, he behaved unusually. Typically, the convicts either refuse, or apologize in favor of a concession for repentance, or make the last attempt to convince the judge of their innocence, as Vyacheslav Ivankov, nicknamed Yaponchik, who spoke for almost an hour and a half, did in the same court a quarter century ago.
Tsvetkov began by attacking the prosecutor, saying in decent English: “I can’t hear this lie! Stop lying! You fooled the jury! "You swore a jury in the federal courtroom!"
"Your Honor! He turned to Kogan. “There are so many lies that I can no longer endure this lie!”
“Are you trying to bury me ?! He turned back to the Spector. - You are crazy! I’ll tell you in person that you have something personal against me! I have children! ” (Tsvetkov has two of them, aged 3 and 5 years).
On the subject: An elderly gangster from New York is accused of tax evasion
Towards the end, Tsvetkov nevertheless paid tribute to secular conventions and declared: “I want to apologize for what I have done to my family.”
His relatives and sympathizers occupied half of the benches for the public.
Experience shows that the presence of relatives of a prisoner can make a favorable impression. And now Kogan noted that in the hall are Tsvetkov’s relatives, who clearly love him. However, he immediately added that he had listened to the recordings of Tsvetkov’s conversations in which he threatened his wife and girlfriend from prison.
“Who is talking to women like that ?! - exclaimed indignantly Kogan. “He says he wants to be a father to his children, but I'm not sure that he can do that.” All your life you have been clearly prone to violence and embittered. I do not see any remorse. You consider yourself a victim! You are a terribly dangerous person, you are always cocking! ”
When Kogan announced the verdict, Tsvetkov's wife ran out of the hall sobbing. “It's worse here than in Russia!” - mother indignantly told me the mother of one of the accomplices of the sentenced. His third in a row - this time already free - lawyer Murray Singer told the judge that he would appeal.
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