FBI Rounds Up 100 Mobsters in Biggest Mafia Bust in New York History

Charges range from gambling to racketeering to murder.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The FBI calls it the biggest mafia round-up in New York history. More than 100 suspected mobsters were arrested this morning in connection with numerous federal investigations into New York area mob groups, as first reported on NBC New York.

    FBI agents, along with NYPD, state police and U.S. Marshals conducted raids that began in the early morning hours.

    In total, 127 people were charged in 16 indictments unsealed today in four districts in New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced at a news briefing this morning.

    Federal charges range from illegal gambling and racketeering to extortion, narcotics trafficking and murder, said Holder, who flew to New York from Washington to discuss the historic bust.

    Click here for details on the indictments.

    "This is one of the largest single-day operations against the mafia in the FBI's history, both in terms of the number of defendants arrested and charged and the scope of the criminal activity that is alleged," Holder said. It "sends the message that our fight against traditional organized crime is strong, and our commitment is unwavering."  

    Law-enforcement officials said members and associates of all five New York mafia families -- as well as New Jersey's DeCavalcante family -- are among those arrested.

    Holder says the charges cover decades worth of offenses, including hits to eliminate perceived rivals, a killing during a botched robbery and a double shooting in a barroom dispute over a spilled drink.      

    Among those charged are Luigi Manocchio, 83, the former boss of the New England La Costra Network; Andrew Russo, 76, street boss of the Colombo family; Benjamin Castellazzo, 73, acting underboss of the Colombo family; Richard Fusco, 74, consigliere of the Colombo family; Joseph Corozzo, 69, consigliere of the Gambino family; and Bartolomeo Vernace, 61, a member of the Gambino family administration.

    In total, more than 30 "made men" were charged in the indictments unsealed today. The charges carry a variety of maximum penalties, including up to life in prison.

    "The violence outlined in these indictments, and perpetrated across decades, shows the lengths to which these individuals are willing to go to control their criminal enterprises and intimidate others," Holder said. "The Department of Justice and our partners are determined to eradicate these criminal enterprises once and for all, and to bring their members to justice."

    Authorities say the investigation was aided by informants who recorded thousands of conversations by suspected mobsters.

    U.S. Attorneys Loretta Lynch, Preet Bharara along with FBI New York Director Janice Fedarcyk and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly were also on hand for the announcement.

    With more than 120 arrests, officials said the charges this day surpass the large 2008 mafia raids where 80-plus suspected members of organized crime were charged. 

    At that time, John "Jackie the Nose" D'Amico and other reputed leaders of the Gambino crime family were targeted in the U.S. while Italian authorities conducted simultaneous raids on mafia groups there.

    FBI officials have said organized crime is still active in New York's construction industry. Labor union corruption, loansharking and gambling among the other schemes run by the mob.  

    Officials said significant leaders and associates of the Gambino, Genovese, Lucchese, Bonanno, Colombo and DeCavalcante families are among those arrested.

    Meanwhile, the reputed leader of New England's Patriarca crime family has been arrested in Florida, and at least one other alleged mob associate has been picked up in Rhode Island as part of the FBI crackdown on organized crime in the Northeast.      

    The U.S. Attorney's office in Providence says Luigi Manocchio was arrested Wednesday in Fort Lauderdale. A newly unsealed indictment accuses Manocchio, the alleged head of the Patriarca crime family, of collecting protection payments from owners of strip clubs.