Orange County

FBI again searching NY farms for bodies in connection with Gambino crime family probe

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For the second time in a five-month span, the FBI and other law enforcement were seen searching farms in New York, digging for possible buried bodies as part of an ongoing investigation into the Gambino crime family

The searches for a suspected "Gambino graveyard" took place at the same two Orange County locations involved in Nov. 2023: One on Hampton Road in Goshen and a nearby one at Campbell Hall Farm on Hamptonburgh Road.

New York State Police, the NYPD and K-9 search units joined the FBI as they searched the sprawling grounds on Tuesday, with several pickup trucks and off-road vehicles at the scene. The FBI confirmed that agents were at the locations, but declined to say what they were searching for.

The New York City medical examiner was also at the scene

It remains unclear if any bodies were recovered in the searches on Tuesday; sources previously told NBC New York no remains were found in the November searches. Heavy equipment, including a backhoe, were seen in the initial searches.

The FBI would not share who they believe might be buried there or what led agents to the sites and would only tell NBC New York that agents had been at the scene in connection with the organized crime investigation.

An FBI organized crime investigation into the Gambino crime family led to Orange County, NY where agents were digging for possible bodies, sources said.

Gambino crime family arrests

The search appears to be connected to law enforcement action when ten men linked to the Gambino crime family were arrested, sources said. The men were arrested for allegedly using baseball bats and other intimidation tactics to muscle into New York City garbage hauling and demolition businesses, authorities said.

The men associated with the infamous Brooklyn crime syndicate were arrested and charged on a 16-count indictment unsealed in federal court, which includes allegations of racketeering conspiracy, extortion, witness retaliation, and union-related crimes "committed in an attempt to dominate the New York carting and demolition industries," according to a statement by the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Despite the search for bodies at the farms, no murder charges have been filed against the men arrested in the fall.

Federal prosecutors said on Nov. 8 that Italian law enforcement arrested six members of the mob there in coordination with the actions of the FBI and federal prosecutors in Brooklyn.

According to prosecutors, the 10 arrested are:

  • Joseph Lanni, also known as "Joe Brooklyn" and "Mommino," an alleged captain in the Gambino organized crime family
  • Diego "Danny" Tantillo
  • Angelo Gradilone, also known as "Fifi," an alleged Gambino soldier
  • James LaForte, an alleged Gambino soldier
  • Vito Rappa, an alleged U.S.-based Sicilian Mafia member and Gambino associate
  • Francesco Vicari, also known as “Uncle Ciccio,” an alleged U.S.-based Sicilian Mafia associate and Gambino associate
  • Salvatore DiLorenzo, an alleged Gambino associate
  • Robert Brooke, an alleged Gambino associate
  • Kyle Johnson, also known as “Twin"
  • Vincent Minsquero, also known as “Vinny Slick”

Tantillo, Rappa, Vicari, and Johnson are alleged to have demanded money from an unnamed person who ran a carting business by threatening him with a bat, setting fire to the steps of his house, damaging one of his trucks, and assaulting an associate.

“As alleged, for years, the defendants committed violent extortions, assaults, arson, witness retaliation and other crimes in an attempt to dominate the New York carting and demolition industries,” U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said in a statement. "Today’s arrests reflect the commitment of this Office and our law enforcement partners, both here and abroad, to keep our communities safe by the complete dismantling of organized crime.”

Rappa is alleged to have said that Vicari “acted like the Last of the Samurai” in threatening to cut the unnamed carting business owner in half if he didn’t make extortionate payments commonly referred to as "tribute" on a FBI recorded call.

Prosecutors also allege “Tantillo arranged for Gradilone to receive a 'no-show' job at a construction company with which Tantillo was associated, which enabled Gradilone to receive paychecks and union health benefits to which he was not entitled."

They say, “DiLorenzo provided Rappa with a “no-show” job at DiLorenzo’s demolition company so that Rappa could receive paychecks and union health benefits, among other benefits.”

In a detention memo prosecutors say that Tantillo received $50,000 in direct payment from owners of a demolition company in 2019. And in 2020, they say Tantillo’s demands became more contentions with prosecutors alleging he attacked an employee with a hammer who was taken to the hospital.

After the assault occurred, another mob associate, Johnson, texted Tantillo the following:

Prosecutors say they were able to capture text messages and photos from October 17, 2019, when Tantillo and LaForte were “made” or inducted into the Gambino crime family.

Rappa allegedly texted Tantillo saying: “Good morning Dani have a great day so happy for your new job and when you sign the contract even if I’m not there is like I am very proud good luck !!”

Tantillio then responded: “Ty Vito I really wish you were there since you were one of the people help me get this contract. I hope we continue getting more work and everything gets even better than before. Ty as always.”

Attorney information for the men was not clear.

Nine of the defendants previously appeared in court and pleaded not guilty. The tenth, Laforte, had not been arraigned because he was jail in Pennsylvania and was set to be arraigned at a later day.

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