Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese, and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

El Chapo retains John Gotti Jr's lawyer to fight massive charges

Giving up his taxpayer-funded public defenders, Joaquín Guzmán Loera, the Mexican drug lord best known as El Chapo, has hired a private lawyer: Jeffrey Lichtman, a combative legal defense specialist who is himself best known for keeping the Mafia scion, John Gotti Jr., out of prison at a trial 12 years ago.

While traveling in Israel on Tuesday, Mr. Lichtman confirmed in an email that he had been retained by Mr. Guzmán, whom he will now defend against a sprawling international conspiracy indictment that was filed against him in January by federal prosecutors in Brooklyn. In a brief phone interview, Mr. Lichtman said he had taken the case with three other lawyers: Marc Fernich, who helped him successfully defend Mr. Gotti against racketeering charges in 2005; A. Eduardo Balarezo, who represented one of Mr. Guzmán’s chief rivals, the Mexican trafficker Alfredo Beltrán Leyva; and William Purpura, a lawyer for the notorious Baltimore drug kingpin Richard Anthony Wilford.

The task of defending Mr. Guzmán, who stands accused by the government of killing thousands of people and smuggling tons of drugs into the United States in a rotating fleet of planes, yachts, fishing boats and submersibles, is likely to be the challenge of Mr. Lichtman’s legal career. After all, before he was extradited to Brooklyn this winter, Mr. Guzmán was convicted of drug trafficking charges in Mexico and twice served time in — and twice escaped from — high-security prisons in his homeland. While he was on the run last year, he also gave an interview to the actor Sean Penn for Rolling Stone magazine — “El Chapo Speaks” — in which he proudly stated: “I supply more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana than anybody else in the world.”

Jeffrey Lichtman, who defended John Gotti Jr. on racketeering charges in 2005, was hired by Joaquín Guzmán Loera.

Mr. Lichtman suggested that what seemed to be a confession by his client might not be entirely relevant to the charges Mr. Guzmán faces in Brooklyn.

“The man has been convicted in the court of public opinion times 100, but it doesn’t mean he’s guilty of the crimes that he’s been charged with,” Mr. Lichtman said. “Whatever he said to Sean Penn, I don’t know that it suggests he did anything wrong in the Eastern District of New York.”

Though Mr. Lichtman said he had already met with Mr. Guzmán on numerous occasions, he has not yet filed an official notice of appearance in Federal District Court in Brooklyn. That is because, as part of its case, the government is seeking to seize from Mr. Guzmán $14 billion in alleged drug profits. Given that the forfeiture claim could easily impoverish his client, Mr. Lichtman is naturally concerned about getting paid. But he said that he is also concerned about Mr. Guzmán who, since arriving in New York, has been held in severe confinement in the ultra-secure solitary wing of Manhattan’s federal jail.

“The conditions he’s been suffering under since January are the most horrific I’ve ever seen — terrorists at Guantánamo Bay have it easier than this guy does,” Mr. Lichtman said. “It’s easy to just bury him, but he’s still a human being and still deserves his rights.”


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Son of Colombo boss rallies community support after prison sentence

https://nyppagesix.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/170801-michael-persico-feature-copy.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=1033Michael Persico (L) a mob boss sentenced to fiver years and 3 years of probation leave  Brooklyn Federal Court in Brooklyn, New York
The arts community in Saugerties, NY, has rallied in support of Carmine “the Snake” Persico’s son Michael Persico, who was just sentenced to five years in prison.
Michael, 60, is beloved in the Catskills town — where his Brooklyn-based family has owned property for 40 years — for donating a building as a visitors center, providing space for art shows and hosting Chamber of Commerce mixers on his 54-acre estate.
“Michael Persico is kind of a hero up here,” Jennifer Dragon, of the Cross Contemporary Art gallery, told me. “He was instrumental in turning this town around. He bought buildings, fixed them up and created housing.”
Jen Hicks, who owns two commercial buildings, said, “He’s an enormous patron of the arts, and he’s done a lot for the village.”
Carmine, 83, the onetime head of the Colombo crime family, is serving a 100-year sentence on racketeering charges. Michael’s brother Alphonse “Allie Boy” Persico, 63, is serving a life sentence.
Michael copped a plea to a single count of “extortionate extension of credit” in 2012, expecting a sentence of three to four years.
Instead, despite 200 letters in support of leniency, Chief Judge Dora Irizarry gave him five years in Brooklyn federal court.
“To us it doesn’t seem fair, they’re making him pay for the sins of his father and his brother,” Dragon said.
Several people shed tears when the stiff sentence was handed down. Dragon said, “All of us are like, ‘No! You can’t do that to Mike.’ ”


Bonanno mobster is granted $1M bail before sentencing to go see dentist

A reputed wiseguy who’s been behind bars since 2015 will get bail before his sentencing — so he can get dental work, a judge decided Tuesday.
Pasquale Maiorino was already serving a 30-month sentence on a federal gun count when the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office charged him last Aug. 4 in a massive racketeering scheme. He pleaded guilty in May to an extortion count.
Maiorino — who also has a second-degree murder conviction on his rap sheet — asked Manhattan Federal Judge Richard Sullivan last week for release before his scheduled Sept. 29 sentencing.
Maiorino “requires substantial dental work and is in danger of losing his teeth if he does not receive treatment,” his lawyer Charles Carnesi wrote in a letter last week.
Sullivan asked prosecutors whether they were worried Maiorino, 57, would act violently if released.
“You have concern(s) that he’s going to get out and whack somebody?” he asked, bristling when those in the courtroom chuckled at his comment.
“It is no joke,” Sullivan said.
“He did whack someone before,” Sullivan added.
Sullivan grudgingly agreed to Maiorino's pitch, granting him home detention for $1 million bond, backed by $900,000 in property.
He is expected to be released sometime next week.


Monday, July 31, 2017

Former Lucchese gangster involved in car crash

A Broward County woman was arrested Friday after she caused a crash in suburban West Palm Beach that left her husband with a shattered leg, then punched a Palm Beach County sheriff’s deputy in the stomach, according to an arrest report.
Elena Accetturo, 29, is facing charges of DUI with property damage, possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, battery on an officer and driving with a suspended license. She was released Tuesday from the Palm Beach County Jail after posting a $12,000 bond.
The crash took place at North Jog Road and 62nd Drive North and involved a second car. When a deputy asked a paramedic at the scene if it appeared Accetturo was intoxicated, he answered, “Definitely.”
The deputy found Accetturo “muttering incoherently” and unable to answer questions, the report said. She declined to submit to a breath test. Accetturo also didn’t submit to a breath test after she was arrested for DUI in December, causing her license to be suspended, the report said.
After she was told at Wellington Regional Medical Center that she was being arrested, Accetturo allegedly attempted to punch a deputy in the stomach. Accetturo’s right hand hit the deputy’s body armor hard plate, causing her “a great deal of pain,” the report said.
Deputies recovered a small plastic bag containing cocaine that was confiscated by a nurse after Accetturo allegedly brought it into the hospital with her.
Accetturo’s husband, Anthony, had his leg shattered in several places and was likely to result in a permanent disfiguring injury, the report said.


Monday, July 24, 2017

Giant mural of Big Ang in jeopardy

Angela “Big Ang” Raiola was memorialized with a giant mural in Staten Island, but the painting may be gone soon.

The “Mob Wives” star’s face was painted on the side of her sister Janine Detore’s baby clothing boutique, Country Mouse, on Forest Avenue, with script letters reading, “I’m not here for a long time, just for a good time.”

Now, a dismayed Detore is pleading with both her landlord and Big Ang’s fans to let her keep the mural on the property.

“My landlord came to me and said there’s people in our community that want to take the mural down because it’s offensive,” Detore told TMZ on Monday. “How could it be offensive? My sister practically put Staten Island on the map.”

“It’s like losing her again. I walk up to this every morning and every night … It means so much to so many people in my family. If my landlord’s watching this, please don’t take Angela away from us again,” she begged. “She means everything to us … Have a little bit of a heart.”

Detore filed a Change.org petition to keep the mural, writing,

When my sister, Big Ang from Mobwives passed, I decided to have a hand drawn mural of her drawn on the side of my children’s boutique, which is called The Country Mouse and is located on 570 Forest Avenue S.I, NY. Since I don’t own the building, I had to get approval from my landlord and he said it wasn’t a problem so I had it painted. A year and a half as gone by since my sisters passing and since I’ve had the mural there and the amount of support I gave gotten from it has been overwhelming. I have people coming from England, Texas, Brazil, and Florida just so they can meet me and see the mural on the side of my store. A few weeks ago, my landlord decided to tell me that the mural is upsetting people and that he’s been getting calls from judges about it and he told me he wanted to paint over it. My sister, Big Ang, has done so much for the Staten Island community between Hurricane Sandy and the charity work she’s done for special needs children. People have no problem coming into my store and asking for donations, which I’m glad to give, but my landlord wants to tell me it’s ‘upsetting people,’ which I think [is] a lie. I hope I am able to gain moral support and have a bunch of petitioners sign this campaign so that my sisters mural DOES NOT GET PAINTED OVER!

As of press time, the petition had 4,785 signatures.

Big Ang passed away in February 2016 after a long battle with brain and lung cancers. She was 55 years old.


Saturday, July 22, 2017

Son of Colombo family boss is slammed with five year sentence for loansharking and links to murder during mafia war

Michael Persico was slapped with a five-year prison sentence. 
The son of a mob boss will be getting an extended prison stay after a Brooklyn federal judge went beyond the sentence length that even prosecutors were seeking.

Federal guidelines said Michael Persico, the son of Colombo boss Carmine "The Snake" Persico, deserved about three years for his 2012 loansharking plea, but Judge Dora Irizarry slammed the scion Friday with a five-year sentence.

Irizarry also factored in uncharged acts, like Persico’s link to the 1993 murder of Joseph Scopo during a power struggle inside the Colombo family.

An acting Colombo capo-turned-informant said Persico helped with weapons for the hit and told him someone knew where to find Scopo.

Scopo’s murder was “part of protecting your family and your family’s role with the Colombo crime family,” Irizarry told Persico, sitting stoically in the courtroom.

Irizarry said prosecutors proved Persico’s role in the rubout by “more than a preponderance of the evidence” as well as other criminal acts, like buying and selling stolen handheld video games.

Persico had a chance to address the court before sentencing, but he chose not to.

It’ll be a family affair behind bars.

Carmine Persico, 83, is serving 139-year sentence.

Carmine Persico, 83, was convicted in the famous mid-’80s Manhattan federal “commission” trial, which convicted three of the five crime family bosses in one fell swoop. Papa Persico’s serving a 139-year-old sentence.

Persico, 60, will also join his 63-year-old brother, Alphonse "Allie Boy" Persico, the onetime acting boss who’s serving a life sentence.

Persico’s friends and family submitted almost 200 letters in support. One of those missives came from Persico’s 80-year-old mother, Joyce, who wrote, “I am getting older and need my son around.”

The letters “speak volumes” about Persico’s family life, help to the community and ability to stay on the straight and narrow, said lawyer Maurice Sercarz.

Irizarry said said she didn’t doubt the sincerity of Persico’s family and friends who spoke up for him. Some wiped away tears when they heard the stiff sentence.

Still, Irizarry said she’d seen people come through the courthouse living two lives — “like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” There was the upstanding side and then there was “criminal conduct the family can’t even fathom.”

Sercarz declined to comment outside the courtroom.


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Philly mob boss brags to Genovese captain its easy to kill someone in secret recording

082316mob8shReputed mob boss bragged it’s ‘easy to kill somebody’ in secret recording: feds
Killing someone is pretty easy, according to reputed Mafia boss Joey “Skinny Joey” Merlino — who offered his own personal play-by-play approach to a mob cohort in a secretly recorded conversation, the feds say.

In the 2014 recording, authorities captured the alleged Philadelphia mob boss gabbing with reputed Genovese Acting Captain Eugene “Rooster” Onofrio about how to best off someone, according to court documents filed Tuesday.

“It’s easy to kill somebody,” Merlino boasted, with Onofrio agreeing, “It’s simple,” according to the feds.

Merlino went on to explain his method: “You’re my friend, you trust me, I tell you, ‘Listen, drive me home right now,’ get you in the car, I shoot you in the f—king’ head, and it’s over with,” according to the feds.

Manhattan federal prosecutors introduced the statements in written documents to argue that Merlino and Onofrio should go to trial together come January.

Onofrio, who the feds say runs crews on Mulberry Street in Manhattan, had asked the judge to be tried separately, saying he was worried that Merlino’s reputation could “prejudice” a jury against him.

A lawyer for Merlino didn’t immediately return a request for comment. Onofrio’s lawyer declined comment.

The two men were among 46 people charged in a racketeering scheme last year that boasted arrests in four out of five major crime families.

They are two of just six defendants who continue to fight the charges.

Reputed Genovese capo Pasquale “Patsy” Parrello — of Pasquale’s Rigoletto restaurant in the Bronx — pleaded guilty to extortion charges in May.


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Massive Montreal mafia drug case thrown out

A lengthy investigation into drug-trafficking networks alleged to be related to the Montreal Mafia came to a screeching halt on Monday as the last 11 men charged in Project Clemenza saw a stay of proceedings placed on the drug-smuggling charges filed against them only last year.
Included among the men who essentially saw their cases tossed out at the Montreal courthouse was Marco Pizzi, 47, a Montreal resident alleged to be an influential figure in the Montreal Mafia who was the target of an attempted murder last year. Another man who walked away free and clear of drug-smuggling and conspiracy charges was Antonio Ciavaglia 58, a Kirkland businessman who used to own a cargo company based in LaSalle. Franco Albanese, 50, another resident of Kirkland, saw a stay of proceedings placed on the four charges he faced.
Quebec Court Judge Flavia Longo agreed with the Crown’s request during a very brief hearing at the Montreal courthouse. All 11 of the men had been released on bail shortly after they were charged in May last year.
Besides having been charged with drug smuggling in Project Clemenza, police have alleged in the past that Pizzi was involved in drug trafficking in eastern Montreal. A conflict between members of a street gang and drug dealers with alleged ties to Pizzi is believed to have been what was behind an attempt on his life last summer. On Aug. 1, a car Pizzi was driving was rammed from behind by another vehicle. Two armed men got out of the vehicle, but Pizzi managed to run to safety before any shots were fired. Kevin Rochebrun, 27, an alleged street gang member, was arrested a week after the incident and was charged with assaulting Pizzi. On May 17, Rochebrun pleaded guilty to possessing firearms seized when he was arrested, but a stay of proceedings was placed on the assault charge. He was sentenced to an overall prison term of five years on the same day he entered the guilty plea.
Prosecutor Marie-Michelle Meloche told the Montreal Gazette that the decision to request the stay of proceedings in Project Clemenza on Monday was based on complicated demands from the defence involving the disclosure of all evidence gathered by the RCMP during the investigation. She said the Crown would not have been able to satisfy the requests made by the defence within a delay allowable by the courts. The drug-trafficking probe began more than six years ago, but arrests in the third and final stage of Project Clemenza were delayed until last year. The RCMP had to set aside the investigation temporarily because, while it was underway, investigators realized they had evidence of who was behind the murder of Salvatore Montagna, a Mafia leader who was killed in November 2011.
The main indictment filed in Project Clemenza last year illustrates how the investigation into cocaine smuggling intersected with the investigation into Montagna’s murder.
A conspiracy charge filed in the indictment alleges at least 26 people were involved in a conspiracy to import cocaine into Canada from Feb. 18 to Dec. 21, 2011. Included among the non-indicted alleged co-conspirators were Vittorio Mirarchi, Steven Fracas and Pietro Magistrale. All three men pleaded guilty last year to being part of the conspiracy to murder Montagna and are scheduled to be sentenced in September. Messages intercepted during Clemenza revealed that Mirarchi was working in full partnership with Raynald Desjardins while they plotted to kill Montagna. Desjardins is serving a 14-year sentence for his leading role in the murder plot.
Evidence that was placed under a publication ban up until Monday also revealed that Antonio Guido, 41, of Ottawa (one of the 11 men who saw their drug-smuggling case come to an end at the Montreal courthouse on Monday) was spotted on Nov. 26, 2011, two days after Montagna was murdered, in the company of Jack Simpson, the man who is believed to have pulled the trigger in the slaying. Guido was observed accompanying Simpson to a house on Queensbury Drive in Ottawa, where Simpson hid until his arrest a short while later. Simpson is also awaiting his sentence for conspiring to murder Montagna.
Other people listed as non-indicted co-conspirators in the cocaine-smuggling plot were Giuseppe "Closure" Colapelle, who was murdered in St-Léonard on March 1, 2012, and Tonino Callocchia, who was killed on Dec. 1, 2014, in Rivière-des-Prairies. The alleged conspiracy to import cocaine stretched from Montreal to Vancouver in Canada and cities in four other countries including Colombia.
The investigators discovered information they had related to Montagna’s murder after sorting through the hundreds of pin-to-pin messages they were intercepting on a daily basis from Blackberrys used by alleged drug traffickers. The RCMP has refused to divulge the methods they used to intercept the encrypted messages. Meloche said on Monday the same issue was a factor involved in the decision to request the stay of proceedings on Monday.
Charges filed against 35 other people arrested in Project Clemenza were dropped in March as well. But those cases involved people who were arrested a few years ago and the Crown was facing the possibility the charges would have been dropped anyway because it had taken the Crown too long to bring the cases to a trial.


FBI finds secret room after searching for runaway mobster involved in cop killing for decades

The FBI spent decades searching for a mobster wanted in a cop killing. Then they found his secret room.

When investigators picked through the tan split level house on Maplecrest Drive, a textbook suburban street in Dartmouth, Mass., 60 miles south of Boston, they found something that wasn’t supposed to be there. Inside a closet, there was a secret door. Through the door, stood a small room. In the room, they found a walking cane.

The search last year shot momentum back into the long-stalled hunt for Donald Eugene Webb. A dog-loving jewel thief with roots in New England’s mafia circles, Webb was wanted in connection with the 1980 murder of a small town Pennsylvania police chief, the longest cold case involving a slain officer in U.S. history.

Late last week, local and federal authorities were back at the Maplecrest address, a home owned by Webb’s ex-wife. This time police dug through the backyard, eventually uncovering human remains, according to the Boston Globe.

On Friday, the FBI announced the body was Webb’s. The identification puts investigators closer to understanding how Webb was able to stay hidden for nearly four decades, even while on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted” list for a record-setting 25 years.

“For almost 37 years, the family of Chief Adams, and the citizens of Saxonburg have been awaiting news of Donald Eugene Webb’s whereabouts,” Harold H. Shaw, the head of the FBI’s Boston office, said in a statement on Friday. “Although it’s unfortunate Mr. Webb will never be brought to justice to pay for his crimes, we’re hopeful the family can find some closure in knowing that this alleged murderer has been located.”

Webb was, according his FBI wanted poster, a “career criminal and master of assumed identities.” A former butcher, car salesman, and vending machine repairman, Webb had also spent time in the Navy before being booted out with a dishonorable discharge, MassLive reported. He operated mainly as a jewel thief up and down the East Coast, part of a group of thieves known as the Fall River Gang, according to the Herald News. The outfit allegedly knocked over jewelry stores, then fenced the goods through the Patriarca crime family, the Providence, R.I.-based mafia running criminal business in the Northeast at the time.

Webb was a flashy personality, according to the FBI, known as a “lover of dogs” and as “a big tipper.” He also evidently had a sense of humor: his own name — “Don” — was tattooed onto the web of his right hand. DonWebb — get it?

Investigators have long-speculated Webb was casing potential heist targets when he was piloting a white Mercury Cougar through Saxonburg, Pa. on December 4, 1980. Around 3 p.m., Webb was pulled over in the small town northeast of Pittsburgh by Gregory Adams, the town’s police chief.

Although he was only 31 at the time, with a wife and two sons at home both under two-years old, Adams was actually in Saxonburg to avoid the kind of threat Webb represented. Raised in western Pennsylvania, Adams had worked a police officer in Washington D.C. until the murder of his partner during a traffic stop pushed him to swap urban crime fighting for small town police work in 1973, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

When Adams encountered Webb in Saxonburg, the hustler had an open arrest warrant in New York for attempted burglary. Whatever prompted the encounter, at some point the men struggled in the parking lot of a store. Adams was badly pistol-whipped over the face. He was then shot with his own revolver twice in the chest. A nearby resident reported hearing gunfire from two weapons. Two blood types were found at the scene. Adams died while an ambulance rushed him to a hospital. Investigators later determined the police chief and suspect had fired at one another. The shooter left behind a .25 handgun and had also ripped the radio out of Adams’ patrol car before fleeing.

It didn’t take long for police suspicion to lasso around Webb. At the scene of the shooting, investigators discovered a fake driver’s license bearing the name Stanley Portas — a dead man, specifically the deceased first husband of Webb’s then-wife. Blood at the scene matched Webb’s type. A white Mercury Cougar was discovered in the parking lot of a Rhode Island motel two weeks after Adams’ murder. Blood matching Webb’s was in the car and “indicated he had been shot in the leg,” the Post-Gazette reported.

Within weeks, an arrest warrant for Webb was issued in connection with Adams’s murder, and the alleged killer was placed on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted” list. Eventually, the reward money for information on Webb rose to $100,000.

But the case remained static until earlier this year. In April, Adams’ widow, Mary Ann Jones, received a phone call from the FBI. “It was the first time I had heard from the FBI in a long while,” she told the Post-Gazette. In the call, an FBI agent informed Jones investigators had searched Lillian Webb’s home in 2016 in Dartmouth and they had found something interesting: a secret room that locked from the inside, and a cane.

“He told me they found a secret room and there was a cane in that secret room,” Jones told the paper. “Since Greg had shot in the leg, it all made sense. They must have built that room for Donald Webb to hide him there. It all adds up.”

In a statement, the FBI said they learned that Webb died in 1999.

The FBI, however, wouldn’t go into specifics with Jones about why they had searched the house or the next move. The agent did mention he felt the secret room was not part of the original construction, and in late June the Post-Gazette confirmed with the local planning department that there were “no indications in municipal records that anyone secured a building permit to add on legally to the house.”

Jones didn’t wait for the answers to come to her: instead, she filed a lawsuit in June against Donald Webb, his wife Lillian, and the couple’s son charging wrongful death and conspiracy.

Lillian Webb declined to talk to reporters when news of the lawsuit broke last month, and she also has not publicly commented on the body’s discovery. It remains unclear how Webb’s remains impact that legal situation, but it does seem like criminal charges are not in the offing for the dead cop alleged killer’s family.

On Friday, after Webb was identified, the Boston Globe reported Webb’s wife received immunity in exchange for her cooperation. The Massachusetts’ Attorney General’s office also told the paper the search of the property was also part of an ongoing illegal gambling investigation.

Chief Adams’ widow, however, remained adamant the people who hid Webb for all those years should bear responsibility. “She aided and abetted a man that was wanted for murder,” a man that was wanted for murder,” Jones told the Globe. “Seriously, bury a body in your backyard? It’s still so incredible.”

There was some muted satisfaction in the small town that lost its chief. “The biggest question in the history of Saxonburg has been answered,” said the current chief Joseph Beachem. “While the hurt will continue, at least doubt about what happened that day has been eliminated.”