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

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Son of underboss of Lucchese family hopes FBI polygraph leads to acquittal

There’s one FBI agent convinced by Steven D. Crea’s denials of any role in a brutal Bronx mob hit and a second Mafia murder plot.
The son of reputed Luchese family underboss Steven L. Crea passed a polygraph exam administered last month by retired FBI veteran Jeremiah Hanafin, best known recently for conducting an August test on Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser, court documents show.
It was the latest bit of good news for Crea, 46, who was released on $1 million bond in August after a White Plains federal judge rebuked prosecutors in a mob trial due to start this coming March.
Reputed Luchese underboss Steven L Crea.
Reputed Luchese underboss Steven L Crea.
Crea “has always maintained his innocence, and the polygraph was administered at the client’s urging,” said defense attorneys Joseph DiBenedetto and Seth Ginsberg in a statement to the Daily News.
The lawyers additionally hope to leverage the test findings into severing his trial from that of his four co-defendants — including his namesake dad, a mob veteran known on the street as “Wonder Boy.” The defense hopes to keep the sins of the father (and his associates) from tainting the son.
“In a multidefendant trial, the government can throw dirt in the air and hope that some of it sticks to everyone,” said the defense lawyers. “We want to ensure that any case against Mr. Crea is based solely on evidence that pertains directly to him.”
Both Creas were charged in the November 2013 execution of Michael Meldish, 62, one-time co-leader of a homicidal crew dubbed the Purple Gang. Meldish was discovered with a bullet to the head inside a parked Lincoln, its driver’s door left open on a Bronx street.
A federal indictment also accused the pair in a plot to whack Bonanno family associate Carl Ulzheimer, allegedly targeted in 2012 for dissing the elder Crea during a Bronx social club encounter.
“I’ll remember your face,” the father allegedly warned Ulzheimer.
But according to court papers filed last week, the younger Crea’s polygraph responses were “not indicative of deception” to questions about his involvement in either case. Hanafin, during his 24-year FBI career, performed more than 2,500 polygraph exams for the feds.
Steven L. Crea passed a polygraph exam administered last month by retired FBI veteran Jeremiah Hanafin (pictured), best known recently for conducting an August test on Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford
Steven L. Crea passed a polygraph exam administered last month by retired FBI veteran Jeremiah Hanafin (pictured), best known recently for conducting an August test on Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford
A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney had no comment on the polygraph test.
The Lucheses are best known as the crime family featured in the Martin Scorsese mob classic “Goodfellas,” with infamous informant Henry Hill played by Ray Liotta. But a May 2017 federal indictment accused 19 members of the family’s current incarnation with racketeering, murder, assault, witness intimidation, robbery and extortion.
The younger Crea awaits his court date while out on bail, an unlikely circumstance for an alleged mob racketeer accused in a high-profile hit and a second murder plot.
After 14 months behind bars, the married father of three — who had no prior criminal charges — was released on Aug. 10 and placed under house arrest in his suburban home after the defense argued the evidence against him was lacking.
His 71-year-old father remains locked up in Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center pending his court date.
Court documents portray “Stevie Junior” as a man caught up to some degree in his father’s world, much like late Gambino family boss John J. Gotti and his son John A. "Junior" Gotti. Even Crea’s promotion to capo was described as done for “political reasons,” with the son immediately busted back to the rank of soldier.
“There are complex dynamics in these cases, these racketeering cases, involving fathers and sons,” said previous Crea lawyer Mark Fernich. “There’s a different set of expectations in these families. . . . And look, there’s a stigma that comes with that name. It happened with "Junior" Gotti.”
White Plains Federal Judge Cathy Siebel approved the August release agreement after pointedly telling prosecutors their evidence against the mob scion was not as solid as promised.
“It would be an understatement to say that I am disappointed on how this has played out on the government’s part,” she said. “Their case for detention is certainly weaker than I was led to believe.”
Siebel disparaged cooperating government witness Frank Pasqua as “tarnished” and truth-challenged, noting that he had previously blamed the Meldish murder on his own father. And she had previously suggested that prosecutors needed to link Crea to the crimes rather than just to the crime family.
The defendant didn’t rise to the rank of Mafia capo “without understanding what mobsters do,” Siebel said at a January 2018 hearing. “But your status as a mobster is not enough to detain you on grounds of dangerousness.”
Her words were reason for optimism in the younger Crea’s camp.
“In our view, the court’s comments reflect the inescapable conclusion that the government’s case against Mr. Crea is weak,” the two lawyers said.


Thursday, December 6, 2018

Lucchese soldier is sentenced to 12 years in prison

Earlier today, at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, Anthony Grado, a member of the Luchese organized crime family, and Lawrence Tranese, an associate of the Colombo organized crime family, were sentenced by United States District Judge Carol B. Amon to 12 years’ and 40 months’ imprisonment respectively for conspiring to distribute oxycodone that they obtained through fraudulent prescriptions. The Court also ordered Grado to pay $70,000 in forfeiture and Tranese $12,000 in forfeiture.
Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and James P. O’Neill, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the sentence.
“Today’s sentence punishes the defendants for ruthlessly endangering our community through their organized crime-backed distribution of highly-addictive opioid drugs,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue.  “This Office, working together with our law enforcement partners, will continue our relentless efforts against those responsible for the opioid epidemic.” Mr. Donoghue thanked the Richmond County District Attorney’s Office for its assistance during this investigation.
“Opioid and prescription drug abuse affects communities and families in New York and across the country. Grado and Tranese’s conspiracy to distribute oxycodone contributed to this nationwide crisis, and even worse, they threatened a doctor with violence in order to coerce him into providing fraudulent prescriptions,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney.  “Today’s sentence should stand as a warning to organized crime families, their associates, and anyone else who would commit similar acts in order to further the scourge of opioid addiction for their own benefit: you will be found out and brought to justice.”
 “Dismantling criminal enterprises, in all their forms, will always be a priority for the NYPD and our law-enforcement partners at the Eastern District and the FBI,” stated NYPD Commissioner O’Neill. “Collectively, we have a very long reach and we will not tire in our mission of fighting crime and keeping people safe – which includes removing from our streets anyone who adds to our nation’s opioid crisis by dealing illegal narcotics.”
Grado and Tranese, together with their coconspirators, gave a Brooklyn-based doctor the names of people for whom the doctor should write prescriptions, and the doctor complied, usually without conducting any physical examinations.  The defendants then filled the prescriptions and sold the pills.  Alternatively, the defendants and their coconspirators used violence and threats of violence to force the doctor to write the prescriptions, or seized the doctor’s prescription pad and Grado completed the prescription.  In one recorded conversation, Grado told the doctor that he would make the doctor write “a thousand scripts a day and [expletive] feed you to the [expletive] lions” if the doctor wrote prescriptions without Grado’s approval.  In the same conversation, Grado told the doctor that if newly ordered prescription pads “go in anybody’s hands” besides Grado’s, “I’ll put a bullet right in your head.”  During the course of the conspiracy, one of Grado’s associates stabbed the doctor in a dispute over the doctor’s prescription pads.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Organized Crime and Gangs Section.  Assistant United States Attorneys Mathew S. Miller and Matthew J. Jacobs are in charge of the prosecution.
The Defendants:
Age:  54
Monroe Township, New Jersey
LAWRENCE TRANESE (also known as “Fat Larry”)
Age:  55
Brooklyn, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 17-559 (CBA)


Canadian mobster was also the underboss of the Buffalo crime family

Domenico Violi asked the judge for a moment with his family before being sent to prison for serious drug trafficking; he exchanged hugs and kisses with his wife and his 20-year-old daughter and high-fives with his 17-year-old son as supporters who overflowed from the courtroom variously cried and clapped.
The end of Monday’s hearing was about Violi’s family. It started, however, with family of a different sort.
Violi, 52, was caught in an ambitious police probe that, as officials said at the time of his arrest, penetrated organized crime at its highest level and featured a co-operating turncoat mobster becoming a “made member” of a New York Mafia family.
The probe gathered a treasure trove of revelations and allegations in recorded conversations, capturing professed secrets, gossip and internal affairs.
The wiretaps, although untested in court, suggest a re-evaluation of some of what is publicly known about the current state of legendary Mafia families in the U.S., often referred to as La Cosa Nostra.
Violi, for instance, allegedly claimed on wiretap recordings that he had been made the Underboss of the Buffalo Mafia, the second-highest position in American Mafia families. If the claim is true, he would be the only person in Canada to ever be named to one of the top leadership positions in any U.S.-based Mafia clan.
It is shocking for several reasons, not the least of which is that the Buffalo Mafia, although once a powerful cross-border criminal enterprise, has been moribund for years.
The conversations suggest a resurrection as well as open lines of communications between the major American mob families remaining intact despite fierce law enforcement crackdowns that caused disarray.
And, according to the documents, the Mafia’s legendary Commission, the ruling body over all of the main American mob families, may no longer be a completely mothballed, inactive institution.
“Domenic, you know you made history,” Violi said the alleged boss of the Buffalo Mafia family told him in 2017 after Violi was promoted to the position of Underboss, according to a wiretap summary tendered in court.
Violi asked what he meant.
Nobody in Canada has ever held such a high position, Violi said he was told, according to his own recounting caught on an RCMP recording.
It was such a unique situation that the Buffalo boss had consulted “the Commission” about it, the conversation continued. The opinion, he said, was that as long as someone is a member of the Mafia he is entitled to hold leadership positions within that family.
When police arrested Domenico Violi and searched his home, they found an autographed photo of the cast of The Sopranos, the popular Mafia television series. 
Monday’s hearing focused on Violi accepting responsibility for trafficking about 260,000 pills that included PCP, MDMA and methamphetamine; criminal organization charges against him were dropped as part of the deal.
He was arrested a month later, after his alleged promotion.
Violi acknowledged through an agreed statement of facts that he met numerous times with the informant, who was a trusted associate and then official “made” member of the Bonanno Family. He did not, however, adopt the Crown’s allegations of far-reaching Mafia involvement.
The conversations were recorded between 2015 and 2017 and the information could not be independently corroborated. The informant was not named in court.
Outside court, Violi’s lawyer, Dean Paquette, said his client did not accept the Crown’s Mafia allegations.
“We never had an issue about pleading guilty of the drugs. There were other charges on the information that we would have fought,” Paquette said, referring to criminal organization charges.
Police seized an array of phones and encrypted BlackBerry devices from Domenico Violi’s home after he was arrested. 
It was in October 2017, at a meeting in Florida, that Joseph Todaro Jr., the alleged Buffalo boss, told Violi he had hand-picked him, according to wiretap transcripts and summaries entered as exhibits in pre-trial proceedings.
After Violi recounted story to his friend, the New York mobster leaned in and kissed Violi in a traditional show of respect, the Crown’s evidence claimed.
He told Violi it was “in his blood.”
Violi was indeed born in the shadow the Mafia.
He is the eldest son of Paolo Violi, who was the powerful head of the Montreal mob until his shotgun murder in 1978 by the family of rival Vito Rizzuto, who then seized the city’s underworld throne. All of Violi’s uncles on that side of his family were similarly massacred.
Paulo Violi, father of Domenico Violi. He was 46 on Jan. 22, 1978 when he was murdered at a card game that turned out to be a set up.
Violi is also the grandson of the late Giacomo Luppino, who, from his humble home in Hamilton, was a senior mob authority in Canada in the 1960s and 70s. Luppino was said to have hacked off the ear of a rival and carried the leathery flap around with him for years.
It was Luppino who helped forge an alliance between Hamilton’s mobsters and the Mafia of Buffalo, which at the time was a powerful entity.
The Buffalo mob has since fallen on hard times. Old-timers who had run the group for years were dying of old age or retiring with little sign of new blood coming in, including Joe Todaro Sr., who was known by the nickname Lead Pipe Joe and was Joseph Todaro’s father.
The police evidence gathered during the three-year probe claim the organization was being resuscitated as the last reputed boss, Leonard "The Calzone" Falzone, was ailing. He died in 2016.
The reorganization seemed to begin in 2014.
Violi himself said he was inducted into the Buffalo Family as a “made” member in January 2015, according to the documents, and around the same time, Rocco Luppino, Giacomo Luppino’s son, was allegedly named “captain” of the group’s outpost in Canada; a younger Luppino relative was asked if he wished to also be “made.”
Violi said he beat out 30 other guys to become Underboss, the documents claim. All would have to be “made members” of the Buffalo Family to be considered for the post.
The mobsters, the documents allege, were clear that Todaro held the reigns of power within the re-emergent Buffalo organization; the men said that nobody became a member without going through Todaro first. They said a mobster in the area was either under Todaro or they needed to pack their bags and leave.
In keeping with mob tradition, in an attempt to protect the boss, Violi and the informant sometimes made a hand gesture instead of speaking Todaro’s name: they would put their fingers to their mouth as if puffing a cigar or cigarette, the documents allege.
There was debate, according to the informant’s alleged conversations with Violi’s younger brother, Giuseppe "Joe or Joey" Violi, on whether he should be “made” by the Bonanno Family, to which their father belonged, or by Buffalo.
Giuseppe Violi was arrested in the same police operation. In June he pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to import cocaine, trafficking cocaine, and trafficking fentanyl and was sentenced to 16 years in prison.
Todaro, 71, was not charged in the case and does not appear personally in any of the recordings. He could not be reached for comment Monday.
Todaro runs a highly successful pizzeria in Buffalo and, last year, in an article on the demise of the Buffalo Mafia in the Buffalo News, Todaro is quoted saying he works seven days a week at his restaurant, just as his father did.
“I’m not going to comment” on organized crime questions, he said, according to the newspaper, “but if you want a great recipe for cheese and pepperoni, I’ll tell you.”
Maureen Dempsey, a spokeswoman with the FBI’s Buffalo office, said she could not confirm or deny any of the allegations.
The evidence from the RCMP probe suggests the lines of communication between mob families remains robust.
Soon after Violi was allegedly made Underboss, according to the documents, at least three of the families had already been told. Michael "Mikey Nose" Mancuso, the boss of the Bonanno Family knew, the documents say, and the Genovese Family and the Colombo Family also had been told.
The news apparently flowed both ways between New York and Buffalo. After the informant was “made,” a mobster named John “Porky” Zancocchio had allegedly told mobsters in Buffalo, the informant told Violi.
Paquette outlined the contributions Violi made to the community through charity and community service.
“He’s going to pay a price for what he’s done, but that’s not all of who he is and it would be a mistake to make that judgment,” he said outside court.
“There is another side of him that people genuinely find that he’s done good things,” he said noting the large crowd of supporters.
The courtroom could have been filled twice over by his supporters — young and old, men and women, entire families with babies — who waited in the hallway after being refused entry because there were no more seats.
“It says a lot about Domenic’s larger character.”


Monday, December 3, 2018

Judge says Tommy Shots is equally liable for prison ping pong injury

A portly Colombo mobster who sued the U.S. government after he broke his own kneecap playing prison ping-pong is equally liable in his own accident, a judge has ruled.
Thomas “Tommy Shots” Gioeli is 50 percent at fault for his August 2013 slip at the Metropolitan Detention Center, Brooklyn federal court judge Kiyo Matsumoto found Thursday following a bench trial.
The imprisoned mob boss slid in a puddle of water near the prison showers as he chased an errant ping pong ball during an evening game, he testified earlier this year.
But the aged wiseguy’s off-brand Crock slippers couldn’t handle the pooled liquid and he went down on one knee, cracking his own knee cap.
Matsumoto wrote that she found Gioeli equally at fault for his injury — because he played ping-pong at the table twice a week for exercise, and testified the pooled water was always there.
Yet the judge also noted the federal prison had been equally negligent in cleaning up the water and allowing it to repeatedly accumulate, which led to the accident. The area was also poorly lit, she concluded.
Gioeli was sentenced to 18 years in prison in 2012 after a jury found him guilty of helping plot mob-related murders. Yet Gioeli still owes the feds $365,000 in restitution as part of his sentence — meaning any money he’s awarded would go toward that debt first.
He’s due back in court in January for the damages portion of his civil case.


Wednesday, November 28, 2018

John Gotti's grandson dodges jail time

This “Growing Up Gotti” alum appears to have a touch of Teflon.
Carmine Gotti Agnello Jr., grandson of the late Dapper Don, John Gotti, dodged prison time Wednesday by copping a plea deal for operating an illegal scrapyard.
Queens criminal court Judge Gia Morris agreed to reduce charges against the 32-year-old scion of the late Gambino boss, to a misdemeanor in exchange for a $1,000 fine and a forfeiture of $4,605 in ill-gotten gains.
“Do you acknowledge that you…operated a salvage pool that was not registered with the appropriate authorities?” Morris asked.
“Yes,” said Agnello, his hair tied back in a bun.
Outside court, the son of Victoria Gotti said, “No words. I just want to get back to work.”
His lawyer Stephen Mahler says his client is a legitimate businessman who was caught in between licenses.
“His license had expired and he’d already been approved for a new one,” Mahler said, claiming that Agnello simply didn’t want to take the case to trial to prove that.
Agnello’s license lapsed in December 2016 and he was arrested in July 2018.
Agnello applied for a new license in June — but later withdrew the application, according to a DMV investigator.
The mob scion’s dad, who is also named Carmine Agnello, was arrested in 2015 for running a stolen-car scrap-metal scam in Ohio.


Saturday, November 24, 2018

Whitey Bulger's bunkmate is implicated in his murder

Felix Wilson was riding a bike the wrong way on East Ferry Street when he was arrested five years ago.
Today, the Buffalo man is the subject of stories in New York Times and Boston Globe.
Wilson, it turns out, was bunkmates with longtime New England crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger when Bulger was killed inside a West Virginia prison last month.
No one will comment on Wilson's involvement, if any, in the murder, except to confirm that he has been segregated from other inmates at Hazelton penitentiary.
"I would be surprised if he had any role in Whitey Bulger's murder," Buffalo defense lawyer Herbert L. Greenman said Tuesday.
Prison authorities are not commenting on Wilson's role, but confirmed three other inmates are also in solitary confinement — Fotios Geas, a former mafia hit man from Massachusetts, Paul J. DeCologero, a New England organized crime figure, and Sean McKinnon, an inmate with no known connection to organized crime.
All four men, including Wilson, were separated from the rest of the prison population shortly after Bulger's murder.
Known for his time as a crime boss in Boston and later as an FBI informant, Bulger was serving two life sentences when he was transferred to Hazelton, a federal prison with a reputation for violence.
Prison officials say he was transferred because of a threat he made against a staff member at his previous prison, Coleman II in Florida.
Bulger's conviction followed 16 years on the run, 12 of them on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list, and a criminal career that included 11 murders.
In contrast, Wilson was serving time for gun possession and was in the midst of a 30-month prison sentence at Hazelton when he was moved to a new cell with Bulger.
Arrested in August of 2013, Wilson was found in possession of a gun when police stopped him while he was riding his bike on East Ferry Street. He had a previous conviction for attempted robbery and, as part of a plea deal with the U.S. Attorney's office, pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a weapon.
When Wilson was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara, he was facing a recommended sentence of 30 to 36 months in prison. Arcara gave him 30 months.
Greenman, a prominent criminal defense attorney, said he came to know Wilson and his mother during Wilson's criminal case and finds it hard to believe he would ever be involved in a murder.
"He's also about to be released from prison," he said of Wilson's scheduled release next year.
Bulger, who died within hours of his arrival at Hazelton, is believed to be at least the third inmate killed this year at Hazelton, a maximum security facility. He was beaten to death with a sock containing a padlock.
Nearly 90 at the time of his death, Bulger was in a wheelchair and suffering from heart problems. Prison authorities said his body was found wrapped in blankets on his bunk during rounds the morning after he arrived in late October.
His murder has raised questions about the wisdom of placing him at a prison with known organized crime figures and a reputation for punishing government informants.
News reports about Wilson's possible involvement in Bulger's killing indicated he was a native of New Hampshire but later made it clear he was resident of Buffalo.


Sunday, November 18, 2018

Feds say Gambinos set Mercedes on fire while trying to collect a debt

Talk about your childish Gambinos.
Three men tied to the notorious “organized” crime family torched a car to intimidate a businessman, but botched the job when one member of the thick-headed trio caught fire and was captured on tape scurrying away, federal prosecutors said Friday.
Peter Tuccio, Jonathan Gurino and Gino Gabrielli chased down the businessman in Dec. 2015 after seeing him leave a Howard Beach smoke shop, eventually confronting him outside a pizza parlor, a newly unsealed indictment revealed.
Tuccio then allegedly asked the man about a Gambino capo he owed money to and made mention of his Mercedes.
Later that night, the man watched his car burn. But his home security camera also captured the blaze.
The footage revealed Gabrielli dousing the Mercedes with liquid, the car bursting into flames and Gabrielli sprinting from the scene with his leg aflame.
The pants-on-fire perp and Tuccio were later captured on surveillance video walking into Jamaica Hospital, according to prosecutors.
Gabrielli pleaded guilty to arson in August 2016. Tuccio and Gurino were indicted Friday.
“Organized crime families have long relied on extortion and threats of violence in exchange for so-called ‘protection,’” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney. “As alleged, the defendants set a man's car on fire to send a message, but now they are the ones feeling the heat.”
Friday’s indictment charges Tuccio and Gurino, both 25, with arson, arson conspiracy, extortion, extortion conspiracy and using fire to commit a felony.
The far-from-dynamic duo were both released on $700,000 bond and placed under house arrest with their parents agreeing to put their houses on the line for their release.
(L to R) Joseph Merlino, Peter Tuccio walk together.
(L to R) Joseph Merlino, Peter Tuccio walk together.
Tuccio, who dutifully attended every day of Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino’s racketeering trial earlier this year, wore all black to the arraignment .
Gurino, his head hung low, wore a grey tracksuit with blue stripes.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Nadia Moore said at the hearing that a witness to the fire reported finding a dead rat on her car.
She requested Judge Steven Tiscione remand the two men, contending they’re a flight risk and pose a danger to the community.
Tiscione acknowledged that while it was “certainly a crime of violence,” nobody was physically injured in the fire.
Both Tuccio and Gurino deny the charges. Each faces a 15-year mandatory sentence if convicted.


Another Bloods gang member busted in murder of Bonanno associate

A gangster known as “Taliban” was busted for his role in the October execution of a veteran Mafia associate at a McDonald’s drive-thru — and a botched hit three months earlier on his son, authorities said Friday.
Herman "Taliban" Blanco, 33, of the Bronx, was arraigned Friday afternoon in Brooklyn Federal Court over his role in the Oct. 4 killing of Sylvester "Sally Daz" Zottola and the attempted slaying of Salvatore Zottola — a hit ordered in an effort to “lure out” the father, according to a federal criminal complaint.
The 71-year-old old victim, a longtime organized crime figure in the Bronx, was waiting for a cup of coffee at the fast-food restaurant when he was shot repeatedly by a gunman who fled on foot. Zottola was died at the scene.
Brooklyn gangbanger Bushawn "Shelz" Shelton, 34, was arrested last month for his alleged role in the two Zottola shootings. The complaint against Blanco was filed by an FBI agent assigned to a squad investigating Balkan and Middle Eastern organized crime.
A cooperating federal witness told authorities that Blanco approached him in the spring of this year offering cash for the killing of “John Doe #1,” the six-page complaint recounted.
“Shelton later informed the (witness) … that the purpose of killing John Doe #1 was to lure out Zottola,” the complaint alleged.
Son Salvatore Zottola, 41, though not identified by name in court papers, survived a July 11 murder attempt outside his waterfront home in the Bronx.
Court papers identified the elder Zottola as a Lucchese family associate with ties to now-imprisoned ex-Bonanno family boss Vincent "Vinnie Gorgeous" Basciano.
Authorities said telephone records indicated Blanco and Shelton shared frequent cell phone chats between March and October 2018.
And the cooperating witness in the case actually went with the two suspects to pick up a gun before driving to Salvatore Zottola’s home to lie in wait for the target. The would-be victim never appeared that day, the complaint said.
His father similarly escaped death in multiple threatening incidents over the last year, including a December 2017 attack inside his Bronx apartment where three masked invaders stabbed Sylvester Zottola repeatedly in the neck and chest.
Shelton’s wife Takeisha, in court papers filed Tuesday, sought to quash a subpoena seeking her to testify against her husband.
“As the law … makes clear, Ms. Shelton cannot be compelled to offer evidence against her husband in a criminal proceeding,” wrote her attorney Florian Miedel.
Prosecutors suggested, without identifying another suspect, that they might ask Ms. Shelton to testify against another target of the probe.
Blanco, described by prosecutors as a known Bloods member, is being held without bail.
He is also on parole for an assault and burglary conviction. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lindsay Gerdes said Blanco was released from prison last year after serving 12 years.


Thursday, November 1, 2018

Genovese associate prime suspect in murder of Whitey Bulger

An ex-Mafia hitman who’s being eyed as the prime suspect in the fatal beatdown of James “Whitey” Bulger can guarantee his status as a boss behind bars — if he really was behind the infamous Boston gangster’s death.
Fotios “Freddy” Geas is suspected of rubbing out Bulger, 89, on Tuesday morning — hours after the aging mobster was transferred to Hazelton federal penitentiary in West Virginia.
“He’s a rich man now. He’ll run any prison he’s in,” a law enforcement source told MassLive.com.
Geas, 51, is serving a life sentence at Hazelton for the 2003 murders of one-time mob boss Adolfo “Big Al” Bruno and associate Gary Westerman.
The former West Springfield, Massachusetts, resident has not disputed his role in the death of Bulger, according to the Boston Globe.
A law enforcement source said the wheelchair-bound Bulger was “badly beaten” by a group of inmates, including one who used a padlock wrapped in a sock. He was found unresponsive in his cell just after 8 a.m.
As the boss of the lucrative and violent Winter Hill Gang, Bulger cemented his crew’s position as the most powerful in Boston by secretly serving as an informant for the FBI from the mid-1970s through the ‘90s. The deal protected him from prosecution while he gleaned key information about sting operations and rival gangsters.
Geas has an open hatred for “rats” — making Bulger a prime target.
“He has great disdain for informants,” Daniel D. Kelly, a lawyer who represented both Geas and his younger brother Ty Geas in several criminal cases, told MassLive.com. “I’m not saying Freddy did this just because the media says so, I’m just telling you what I know about him.”
“Freddy is a dying breed,” added Kelly, who’s pals with Geas and frequently exchanges emails with him.
Geas has led a life of crime, with a rap sheet dating back to his teens. He and his brother Ty were convicted of killing Bruno, a Genovese capo, “cowboy style” in 2003.
Geas hired the hitman in Bruno’s murder — but shot Westerman twice in the head himself after luring him to a home in Agawam for a purported home invasion.
The Geas brothers served as hitmen for Anthony Arillotta, who became a made man in the Mafia in 2003 but then flipped by becoming an FBI informant after he and the two men were charged in Bruno’s murder.
Arillotta wound up serving 99 months in exchange for his testimony against the brothers and others and has since entered witness protection.
Geas wasn’t swayed one bit by Arillotta’s cooperation, despite knowing he was facing a life sentence, according to Kelly.
“Freddy is a man’s man,” the attorney said. “After Anthony Arillotta flipped, there was a back channel for Freddy to try to persuade him to cooperate too. He didn’t even blink an eye. He didn’t flinch. He just said no.”
The lawyer said he chatted with Geas just a few days before Bulger’s death — but only discussed typical Boston topics.
“The Patriots,” said Kelly. “We talk about sports and weather, like everyone else.”