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

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Mob Busting Hero Betrayed By NYPD

Rick Cowan, the NYPD detective who "posed as a recycling company exec named Danny Benedetto in the early 1990s to expose mob influence in the carting industry," has been "stripped of the right to carry a firearm because of a line-of-duty injury" as reported by John Marzulli for the Daily News:
"The nature of the Mafia is these people are very vengeful," said Cowan, 52, who retired in December 2008 after 25 years on the force. After suffering serious injuries in an on-duty car accident, Cowan had a shunt put in his head - a device that carries a small risk of complications if he suffers a blow to the head. Department officials are concerned that if Cowan lost consciousness, he would be unable to safeguard his firearm and consigned him to its "no carry" list. Cowan's lawyer said the NYPD medical division appears more concerned with liability issues than the safety of the detective and his family.
Cowan chronicles his mob-busting undercover work in Takedown: The Fall of the Last Mafia Empire, and in 2002 Publishers Weekly wrote:
In 1992, New York City detective Cowan was investigating a truck bombing at a Brooklyn garbage transfer station when the "mobbed-up" thugs responsible for the crime showed up to further intimidate Sal Benedetto, the facility's owner. Thinking fast, Benedetto introduced Cowan as his "Cousin Danny," thereby averting disaster-and allowing Cowen entry into a landmark investigation in which he went undercover as Danny Benedetto to expose the Mafia's billion-dollar monopoly of the city waste removal business. By the time the grand jury indictments were handed down, Cowan had spent years on the case, helped put away dozens of mobsters and incurred lasting emotional trauma from the strain of leading a double life. Recalling it here in vivid, riveting detail, Cowan (aided by journalist Douglas Century) reconstructs a time when he was deeper undercover in the garbage "cartel" than any city cop had ever been, with the close calls to prove it. Whether he's boosting a wiseguy's car to plant a bug, navigating confrontations with goons wielding two-by-fours and baseball bats or suffering through a Mafia Christmas party with a malfunctioning radio transmitter burning into his leg, Cowan's exploits play on the page like scenes from a well-mounted mob movie. The Hollywood producer with the rights to his story won't have to spend a penny juicing it up: this is a well-told, gripping tale of a heroic investigation.


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