Russian organized crime, unfortunately, has thrived in the new economic system, and has moved beyond Russias borders. Not surprisingly, law enforcement experts in the United States have detected a Russian organized crime presence in several states, including California.
In February, 1992, the California Department of Justice/Bureau of Investigation recognized a discernible threat developing in the area of Russian organized crime. Preliminary intelligence indicators pointed to the fact that Russian organized crime and criminal gangs were becoming more sophisticated in their criminal enterprises, and establishing footholds in certain California communities.
The most common criminal enterprises undertaken by Russian organized crime groups in California (which includes groups whose members come from all of the former Soviet republics) at this time appear to be fraud schemes, particularly "fuel tax frauds" designed to divert fuel tax revenue to the pockets of criminals. However, more common organized crime opportunities--extortion, loan sharking, drug trafficking, auto theft, prostitution and other crimes--have attracted increasing interest among Russian organized crime groups.
Law enforcement is taking this threat seriously. In California, three law enforcement intelligence groups consisting of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies are dedicated to investigating Russian organized crime. In addition, the California Department of Justice/Bureau of Investigation has assigned several special agents and analysts to identify and assess the overall Russian organized crime problem in our state.
This publication is intended to briefly identify the scope of Russian organized crime in the former Soviet Union, the United States, and California. Russian organized crime is establishing itself in California and the threat is very real. It is my hope that this report helps draw attention to this growing threat to public safety before Russian organized crime becomes a permanent fixture in California.
DANIEL E. LUNGREN
GREGORY G. COWART, Director
DIVISION OF LAW ENFORCEMENT
ROBERT J. LUCA, Chief
BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
Charles C. Jones, Special Agent in Charge,
P.O. Box 163020
Sacramento, CA 95816-3029