Eight alleged Russian mobsters appeared in the Brooklyn Federal Court on Wednesday after being arrested in a series of overnight raids in Brighton Beach, while one alleged mobster is still on the run.
The federal sting saw the men facing felony charges for drug trafficking, extortion, racketeering, loansharking and illegal gambling.
Federal prosecutors said the nine men would regularly extort millions of dollars from people living abroad, threatening to harm their families if they did not pay.
Agents said nefarious activity was also happening behind the doors of a Russian Community Life Center in Brooklyn, and that the men were running high-stakes illegal poker games to make extra cash in an apartment over a Brooklyn bakery.
Despite many of the men being unemployed, they were making thousands of dollars from their illegal acts, and driving high-end luxury cars, prosecutors said.
A task force led by members of the DEA and IRS executed the overnight sting and arrests, with the help of the NYPD in Brighton Beach.
When arrested, some of the accused stated that they were "not criminals" and did not know what they had been charged with.