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

Friday, March 13, 2015

Latest arrests deal severe blow to DeCavalcante crime family

The criminal complaint reads more like a script rejected by the writers of "The Sopranos."

A 71-year-old capo in a New Jersey crime family nurses a simmering grudge with a rival and plots to kill him by enlisting the help of outlaw bikers, the complaint says.

When not plotting murder, the aging capo counsels his 33-year-old son on the ins and outs of running a prostitution business, including some wisdom about the evils of greed, it adds.

"The bulls and the bears, Anthony, they survive," the father tells the son according to the complaint filed today in U.S. District Court. "The pigs they get slaughtered. Ok? Always go for a bologna sandwich. Ok? You know?....If you got five bologna sandwiches, you're eating pretty good."

New Jersey federal prosecutors say it's no "Sopranos" script but the real-life inner workings of the DeCavalcante crime family, captured by an undercover law enforcement agent who recorded his conversations.

Ten members and associates of the DeCavalcante family were arrested today on federal charges that include plots to kill a New Jersey man, distribute drugs and run a prostitution business.

Several of the defendants appeared in U.S. District Court this afternoon and were ordered held until at least Tuesday when U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Falk will hold bail hearings for each.

Federal prosecutors say the arrests are a signal that organized crime lives on in New Jersey.

"Though its ranks have been thinned by countless convictions and its own internal bloodletting, traditional organized crime remains a real problem," New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said.

"The FBI is confident this is a severe blow to the La Cosa Nostra family," added Richard Frankel, the head of the FBI's Newark office.

The DeCavalcante crime family has been said to be the real-life inspiration for characters in "The Sopranos."

The case against the ten men was made by an unidentified undercover law enforcement agent who prosecutors say managed to infiltrate the organized crime family in September 2012 by gaining the confidence of Charles Stango, the alleged 71-year-old capo or captain, in the crime family, who lives in Nevada.

It's a tactic the FBI has used successfully in the past, most notably through Special Agent Joseph Pistone's infiltration of the Bonanno crime family, which inspired the movie "Donnie Brasco."

Over the course of several months, the agent recorded conversations with several members of the DeCavalcante family - men with nicknames like "Beeps," "Knuckles" and "Johnny Balls," the complaint says.

In an October 2014 conversation, Stango revealed that the DeCavalcantes - who organized crime family boss John Gotti is said to have referred to as "our farm team" - was now under control of the late Gambino crime family, according to the complaint.

"And now we run under the (expletive) Gambinos," Stango told the agent, according to the complaint.

"I didn't know that," the agent says.

Later, the agent uses a reference that seems to escape Stango when discussing how upper-level members of the crime family settle disputes, the complaint notes.

"If there's a problem they act like Switzerland? Right?," the agent says.

"Switzerland?," Stango responds.

"You know like neutral, like a neutral party," the agent replies.

And, over the course of several months, Stango lays out his desire to kill an unnamed rival in conversations, according to the complaint.

The dispute with the rival centered on a decision by another DeCavalcante capo to make the man a made member of the family, the complaint says.

On Dec. 15, 2014, Stango expresses his desire to have the man killed, the complaint says.

"During that meeting, which was recorded, Stango against insisted that (the victim) be killed or maimed by the (agent) or by someone on his behalf," the complaints says.

Stango suggested the agent use a crew from outside the Elizabeth area to avoid detection, the complaint says.

The FBI also intercepted cell phone calls Stango allegedly had with other members of the crime family, the complaint adds.

During a Feb. 1, 2015, meeting between the agent and Stango in Las Vegas they discuss a plan to hire two bikers to kill the rival, the complaint adds.

"Stango agreed and suggested that they pay each of the two men $25,000 to allow them to stay in the Elizabeth, N.J. area for a period of time to be able to scout the area where the killing would occur," according to the complaint filed by prosecutors.

On Monday, the agent and Stango discussed the shooting plot again, the complaint says.

"The (agent) then told Stango that he was looking for one more thing with the 'wheel' (referring to a revolver-type handgun) because they wanted two. One each," the complaint says.

The agent told Stango that once he had the additional weapons "they'll be ready," the complaint says.

"Alright," Stango said, according to the complaint.

Prosecutors say Stango also conspired with his son, Anthony, 33, to set up a high-end escort service that would target white-collar businessmen and professionals in the Toms River area.

On Feb. 14, 2015, father and son discussed the business venture, with Stango offering his advice, according to the complaint. The conversation was recorded by law enforcement.

"You need to protect yourself with what you're doing now," Charles Stango told his son, according to the court records. "You have to be smart, very smart, you can't just do something that everyone else is doing. Ok?."

Also arrested today were the family's alleged counsel Frank Nigro, 72, and Paul Colella, 68, both of Toms River. They are charged along with Charles Stango in the alleged plot to kill a rival.

Anthony Stango is accused of plotting to distribute cocaine and run a prostitution business.



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