Thursday, December 1, 2011
Mobsters busted for human smuggling
Immigration and law enforcement officials have arrested and charged 20 people, including five Queens residents and three Brooklyn residents, in connection with a human trafficking operation that allegedly brought women from Russia and Eastern Europe and forced them to dance in various strip clubs in the city.
The charges, which were unveiled today at Federal Plaza in Downtown Manhattan, allege that four members of the Gambino crime family and three members of the Bonnano crime family worked with Russian collaborators to bring the victimized women into the country on work and travel visas.
Once the women were brought into the country, they were forced to work as exotic dancers.
Visa rules forbid employment in adult entertainment.
Authorities conducted raids for evidence early this morning at clubs where the women were allegedly forced to strip, including Cheetah's Gentlemen's Club on 43rd Street in Midtown and Gallagher's in Long Island City, Queens.
Other women were forced to marry men in Binghamton, N.Y.
The 20 defendants are facing varying charges, including visa fraud, marriage fraud, racketeering, extortion and transporting, harboring and inducing the entry of illegal aliens.