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

Friday, January 20, 2012

Mob families still feeling the feds sting from one year ago

Here’s the mob’s new motto: Trust no one.
A year after the federal government executed the largest-ever mob crackdown, the remaining members of La Cosa Nostra are still fearful of turncoats amid their ranks.
The anniversary of the FBI’s roundup of 120-plus “made” men and associates is tomorrow — dozens have already pleaded guilty.
And like rats fleeing a sinking ship, a number of family members — including two high-ranking “capos” — have since decided to abandon “the life” for the witness-protection program.
Some of the turncoats have been identified, including ex-captain Reynold Maragni.
His secret recordings for the feds helped lead to money-laundering charges this month against Thomas Farese, recently installed as the Colombos’ “consigliere,” or third in charge.
But not every informant has yet been unmasked, leading to stress and suspicion among those left in the ranks.
One law-enforcement official said last year’s raid — which nabbed the Colombos’ street boss, acting underboss, consigliere and four captains — left the family’s upper echelon “in complete disarray.”
A defense source agreed.
“People are under house arrest. This has to have a ripple effect,” the source said.
Of the 60 reputed mobsters arrested in the raid by the New York FBI's Colombo/Bonanno squad headed by Seamus McElearney, 41 already have pleaded guilty - including wiseguys from the Colombo, Genovese, Gambino, Bonanno, and DeCavalcante crime families.
Most of the jailed Colombos awaiting trial are housed in Brooklyn's Metropolitan Detention Center, where some have continued to talk about business and pass messages to mobsters on the outside, court documents show.
"They're still trying to run things from jail," a law enforcement source said.
Others among the some 120 mobsters arrested in the Jan. 2011 raid are gearing up to fight the charges at trial.
Reputed Gambino family consigliere Joseph Corozzo is among five gangsters -- including reputed capo Alphonse Trucchio, son of notorious mobster Ronnie "One-Arm" Trucchio -- scheduled for trial in Manhattan federal court in March.
Corozzo, however, claims the drug-trafficking, extortion, loansharking and gambling charges against him are barred by "double jeopardy" rules due to his 2008 guilty plea for racketeering in Brooklyn.
Trucchio, meanwhile, was busted again in November in a scheme to smuggle women from Eastern Europe to work at mob-controlled strip clubs.
Thirteen other defendants set for trial in Manhattan include Bartolomeo Vernace, who the feds say sat on the Gambino family's three-member "ruling panel," and reputed Gambino associate Todd LaBarca, who's charged with taking part in the 2002 murder of a mobbed-up drug dealer in Queens.
Vernace, a Gambino capo, is also facing a separate trial in Brooklyn federal court for a 1981 double-murder in a Queens bar.
Nine other reputed Gambino associates have already pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court, with two of them -- Frank Roccaforte and Michael "Mush" Russo -- getting sentences of 46 months and 21 months in the slammer, respectively. The other seven are awaiting sentencing.
Some observers view last year's raid with considerable skepticism, arguing that most arrests were for relatively minor crimes while only a few were charged with murder.
Ephraim Savitt, a prominent defense attorney, said he believes the raid was intended to telegraph that the feds are still fighting the Mafia - despite have shifted significant resources after 9-11 to combat terrorism.
"I think the principal aim here was to make a large media splash. Perhaps they felt there's a public perception that they're still not devoting sufficient resources to combat traditional organized crime," Savitt said.
But both law enforcement officials and defense attorney agree on one thing: The New York mob hasn't hoisted a white flag.
"You can be sure that organized crime will resurrect like a phoenix wherever an opportunity to make money presents itself. Organized crime will find a way to take advantage of it," said Walter Mack, the former chief anti-Mafia prosecutor of the Manhattan US Attorney's Office.


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