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

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Connecticut mobster pleads guilty to drug and gun charges

Robert Gentile, the reputed Connecticut mobster the feds believe has information that can crack the decades-old Gardner Museum heist, was working with authorities for 10 months to help track down the purloined paintings before they pinched him on drug and gun charges, all to simply squeeze him for more details, his lawyer said today after Gentile pleaded guilty to all counts.

Hunched over a cane and sitting in a wheelchair, the 76-year-old Gentile admitted to a federal court judge he worked with a co-defendant to deal oxycodone to an FBI informant and that he couldn’t turn down a deal to sell other prescription pills, claiming he “got caught in a trap.”

“I was wrong,” a gruff Gentile said, adding he didn’t want to drag out the court process because of his age and failing health. “I don’t have many more years left to fight the case. I don’t want to cause any more problems.”

Neither Gentile nor prosecutors addressed allegations he knows something about the famous 1990 robbery at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, a claim Gentile has roundly denied even as authorities scoured his Manchester home in February and May. Authorities didn’t find any paintings but instead found a cache of guns, $22,000 and more pills.

But after the hearing, his lawyer, Ryan McGuigan, said Gentile plans to address the accusations fully when he is sentenced on Feb. 6. He added that Gentile worked with authorities for roughly 10 months in the investigation, including testifying before a grand jury, but stressed his client has never known where they were stashed. Thieves stole 13 works of art from the museum, valued at $500 million. Gentile was arrested earlier this year.

“He knew some of the individuals that the government believes may have had something to do with the heist,” McGuigan said, adding that likely, “ninety-nine percent of the people who were involved are dead.

“He is the last, best hope of finding the paintings,” he said of Gentile. “Now he’s paying the price.”

Under his plea, Gentile has agreed to sentencing guidelines of 46 to 57 months in jail, or a maximum just under five years, plus a lifetime of supervised release and up to a $100,000 fine, though the judge is free to set different terms.

Gentile had faced up to 150 years in prison on the nine counts against him.



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