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

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Seven Union County Residents Charged in 'Largest Mob Takedown in U.S. History'

Indictments were unsealed Thursday against 18 New Jersey residents on charges that include racketeering, extortion and illegal gambling, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark announced. The case centers on mob control of the International Longshoremen’s Association, and several of the defendants are either current or former members of ILA leadership.
Of the 17 people arrested in New Jersey on Thursday (one was already in custody), only one is identified as a “made” member of an organized crime family. Federal authorities said Stephen Depiro of Kenilworth, a reputed Genovese soldier, is part of the crew formerly headed by Genovese capo Tino Fiumara and has run the crime family’s waterfront rackets since at least 2005. Depiro and reputed Genovese associates are charged with forcing port workers to hand over “tribute payments” each year around Christmas, when the workers receive an end-of-year bonus. Federal authorities said the extortion of the dockworkers has been going on for three decades.
Among those charged in the 53-count indictment were reputed Genovese associate Albert Cernades, 75, of Union, the former president of ILA 1235; and Nunzio LaGrasso, 60, of Florham Park, the vice president of ILA 1478.
Seven others were charged with extorting ILA members, including Thomas Leonardis, 53, of Glen Gardner, the current ILA 1235 president; Robert Ruiz, 52, of Watchung, the local’s delegate; and Vincent Aulisi, 78, of West Orange, a past local president.
Also charged were Richard Dehmer, 75, of Springfield; Edward Aulisi, 51, of Flemington; Michael Trueba, 75, of Kearny; Ramiro Quintans, 52, of Basking Ridge; Salvatore LaGrasso, 60, of Edison; Anthony Alfano, 76, of Union; Tonino Colantonio, 32, of Kenilworth; John Hartmann, 41, of Kenilworth; and Guiseppe Pugliese, 32, Kenilworth.
“According to the charges unsealed today, organized crime still has a grip on the New Jersey waterfront,” NJ U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said. “Workers should be free to pursue an honest living without being worried that their own union representatives will shake them down. … Paying tribute to the mob is not an acceptable cost of doing business in New Jersey.”
The men were among more than 120 charged Thursday in what Attorney General Eric Holder announced as the largest mob takedown in U.S. history. The charges include murder and racketeering.
Among those outside of New Jersey charged were Joseph Corozzo, 69, a reputed high-ranking member of the Gambino family; Andrew Russo, 79, who is reportedly the “street boss” of the Colombo family; Benjamin Castellazzo, 73, a reputed Colombo “underboss”; and Luigi Manocchio, 83, who authorities term as a former boss of the New England mob.
In all, 91 members and associates of seven organized crime families, including the New Jersey-based DeCavalcante family, have been charged in 16 indictments. Another 36 have been charged for their roles in alleged associated criminal activity, federal authorities said.
“It’s become almost cliché to link organized crime to New Jersey, with oft-repeated comments about the ‘Soprano State’ and bodies allegedly being buried in the Meadowlands,” said Michael B. Ward, Special Agent in charge of the Newark division of the FBI. “Today’s arrests will serve as a stark reminder that organized crime continues to operate in New Jersey through corruption, extortion, racketeering and violence.”



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