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

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Longmeadow bookmaker Louis Santos caught in immigration sweep

Longtime bookmaker Louis "Lou the Shoe" Santos had dodged a $10,000 mob contract hit and any significant prison time despite a number of criminal convictions.
But, the Longmeadow resident and native of the Dominican Republic couldn’t evade the reach of federal immigration officials as he was arrested recently in a widespread sweep of non-citizens with felony convictions in their pasts who are slated for deportation.
“Everyone knows what a great guy Louie is and feels just terribly about it. (Immigration) is doing this all over the country – just scooping up people from their homes and jobs because they have convictions that are 10 or 20 years old. It’s scary,” said Santos’ lawyer, Vincent A. Bongiorni.
The 47-year-old husband and father of three American-born children was born in the Dominican Republic but has lived in Greater Springfield virtually his whole life, according to a family member.
Santos' sister, Maria Diaz, 37, of Springfield, said her brother is the eldest of four siblings and came to the United States with his mother when he was just nine months old.
"He was the son of a single mother with four children, and he helped raise the rest of us. I don't even consider him my brother; he's like my father. He bought me my first pair of sneakers. He was there when my first child was born," Diaz said. "He really doesn't deserve to be thrown out of the country. He's not a murderer or a rapist. Immigration has other things to worry about."
Santos past criminal convictions include gaming offenses, malicious destruction of property and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon; most date back to the 1990s and earlier, records show. His most recent conviction in 2009 for gaming conspiracy yielded a four-month federal prison sentence – his only – despite decades as one of the region’s most prolific bookies.
Santos is being held at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center in Bristol County, along with about 200 other immigration detainees, officials there confirmed. His immediate fate is unclear, but Bongiorni said his client is fighting deportation.
Santos was among slain Genovese mob boss Adolfo “Big Al” Bruno’s entourage until Bruno was murdered in Springfield in 2003. That killing was carried out in a power play that has sent several local gangsters to prison and one Santos narrowly escaped, according to trial testimony last year in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
Mob capo-turned-informant Anthony J. Arillotta, 44, told jurors in the trial of Fotios and Ty Geas, his onetime enforcers from West Springfield, that they intended to ambush Santos outside a medical clinic he visited regularly on Main Street in Springfield in 2003.
Frankie A. Roche, Bruno’s convicted killer, said he agreed to shoot Santos, a suspected police informant, for $10,000 at the Arillotta faction’s request and staked out the clinic to prepare. Roche was distracted only by orders to turn his attention to other, more pressing threats, he told jurors.
According to a spokesman for federal immigration officials, Santos was caught up in a sweep along with dozens with old felony records in Connecticut and western Massachusetts. The crackdown was a four-day effort dubbed “Operation Threats Against the Community.”
Other targets included unregistered sex offenders, drunken drivers and those with past disorderly conduct convictions.
Immigration spokesman Ross Feinstein said the U.S. deports 400,000 illegal aliens each year and estimates there are 11.2 million living in the country illegally.
He added that it could take weeks to months before those arrested and slated for deportation are booted out of the country. Diaz said her family is going to fight the effort.



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