April 05, 2021

Why Operation Odessa’s Tarzan Fainberg
Owes Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson a Drink


For most people, an Instagram shout out from the #1 movie star on the planet to his nearly quarter-billion person following would be the highlight of their life; but to a former enforcer for the Gambino Crime Family constantly looking over his shoulder, it’s just the only highlight of his morning. Enter “Tarzan” Fainberg — the magnanimous NY mobster turned Miami strip club owner…turned Creator of successful children’s animation? Why not. Chutzpah? Tarzan lathers in it.   

If Tarzan’s life story was being shopped as a Hollywood movie, the pitch would be “Wolf of Wall Street” meets “Blow” (in that order). Star of the sensational Showtime documentary “Operation Odessa” (now on Netflix), it lays bare an origin story so outlandish & wild, others could only dream of having — and The Rock couldn’t help but share.  

Finally brought to justice, Tarzan was simultaneously arrested by the FBI, DEA, Secret Service, Homeland Security, and Bureau of Alcohol & Tobacco — all at once. Another mere mortal would have been staring down the barrel of multiple life sentences yet somehow…today Tarzan is free as a bird. Could it be because after 18 miserable months inside, this little bird started singing to reduce his time? Tune in as Tarzan unflinchingly answers the tough question head on: did this former mafia enforcer break the most sacred of oaths, and cooperate with law enforcement as a “rat”? Or could it be he cunningly hatched a plan to be a “stool pigeon”, ultimately springing them both free in the process?


Born in Odessa, Ukraine, Tarzan Fainberg’s wild life has taken him all over the world. After emigrating to Israel in 1971, Tarzan then moved to New York City in the 1980’s – where he quickly rose in the ranks for the Gambino Crime family, fast becoming a respected enforcer (and arsonist). After walking in to find his partner shot in the back of the head, in 1990 he decided a change of scenery might do him good, and moved down to Miami. In no time at all, Tarzan came to run one of the city’s most infamous strip clubs and fell in with the Colombian cartel — soon finding himself working a deal to buy them a Russian nuclear submarine…for a cool $35 million. After serving in prison for his many crimes, Tarzan was deported back to Israel. Since then he has reinvented himself as a highly successful producer of children’s animation programming — responsible for creating the popular cartoon Barbariki (over 230M+ views on YouTube alone).  

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