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

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Authorities bust Nicky Mouth Santora's crew

Members of the Bonanno organised crime family being brought into Manhattan Supreme Court in Downtown Manhattan on July 9, 2013 in New York City.

Manhattan prosecutors today announced a big blow against the Bonanno crime family: the indictment on enterprise corruption charges of seven crew members, including jailed Donnie Brasco-era gangster and alleged underboss Nicholas "Nicky Mouth" Santora.

Two leaders of Teamsters Local 917, which handles liquor store and parking lot employees, were additionally indicted for allegedly helping the Bonannos gain loansharking and book-making footholds among members.

They are the local's president, Nicholas Bernhard, and shop steward Scott O'Neill, of Howard Beach.

Investigators had pulled an illegal, loaded gun from under the pillow of Bernhard's Congers, NY, bed when search warrants were executed on the suspects in February, a source told The Post.

Additional illegal firearms had been seized at that time from Bernhard's home and from that of alleged soldier Anthony "Skinny" Santoro, including a Tech-9 pulled from a stash of guns in Santoro's Staten Island house.

"Many mistakenly believe that the mob has disappeared entirely except when you watch HBO," Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance, Jr., told reporters.

"Whatever name it's called, the Mafia, La Cosa Nostra, the Mob, this indictment demonstrates that organized crime is still operating in New York City and still has its hooks in the labor movement," Vance said in announcing the fruits of a two-year joint investigation by his office and the NYPD Organized Crime Control Bureau and Organized Crime Investigation Unit.

Members of a crew of the Bonanno Organized Crime Family (left-right) Anthony Santoro (aka "Skinny"), Anthony Urban, Vito Badamo and Nicholas Bernhard after their arrests, wait in Manhattan Supreme Court on Tuesday, July 9, 2013.

The top enterprise corruption charge against the nine men includes pattern acts involving the traditional mob mainstays: loansharking, offshore gambling, extortion, union corruption and weapons possession.

But in a nod to more modern tastes, the gangsters allegedly also dabbled in the distribution of Viagra, Cialis and the suburban party drug Oxycodone.

The indictment's top name mobster is the already-imprisoned Santora, 71, a major player in the Bonannos since the late 70s, when FBI agent Joseph Pistone, under the name Donnie Brasco, infiltrated the crew in which Santora was a rising leader.

(left-right) Ernest Aiello, Dominick Siano and Scott O'Neill after their arrests.

Santora has been in custody January of 2012, when he was arrested at his Deer Park, NY home on federal racketeering charges out of Brooklyn.

The Santora crew -- one of about 10 officials believe are operating -- handled approximately $9 million in gambling wagers, one law enforcement source told The Post.

Officials said the crew was infiltrated by an undercover who posed as a gambler who had lost thousands of dollars. Surveillance and wire taps -- which tied the suspects together -- were also used, officials said.

The alleged mobsters were cautious of wiretaps, and often communicated only to set up meetings among themselves, one source told The Post.

The Sunset Diner in Greenpoint and the Jackson Hole Diner in Queens were favorite meeting spots, a source said.

Blocks from LaGuardia Airport, the Jackson Hole was featured in an early scene of the Goodfella's where "Paulie" and "Jimmy" steal a customer's truck out of the parking lot.

Arraignments are set for this afternoon.



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