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

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Turncoat Colombo captain facing life is sentenced to 11 years for helping feds bring down the crime family

The last time the world heard from Dino Calabro was in 2012 when, swaggering and ruddy-faced, he appeared in court as a government informant and testified about the brutal murders he had once committed on behalf of his mob employers.
Shrunken and remorseful, Mr. Calabro was back in court on Friday, this time facing a possible sentence of life in prison for his crimes and begging a judge for mercy. His pleas in Federal District Court in Brooklyn were answered as the judge concluded that his assistance as a witness had helped to bring down scores of Mafiosi. He was sentenced to a term of 11 years.
The sentence capped an inglorious career in which Mr. Calabro, known as Big Dino, rose from a teenage mobster to a vicious captain in the Colombo crime family who, by his own account, had over the years killed at least eight people, including Ralph C. Dols, a New York City police officer whose mistake was marrying the former wife of the Colombo family leader Joel Cacace, Mr. Calabro’s onetime boss. After he was arrested in 2008, Mr. Calabro turned informant and eventually testified at Mr. Cacace’s trial and at the trial of Thomas Gioeli, the Colombo family’s “street boss.”
For the last five years, Mr. Calabro, now 59, has been in the witness protection program and has continued to help the government pursue the mob, federal prosecutors said. Though many of the cases that he worked on still remain secret, one of the prosecutors, James Gatta, told the court on Friday that Mr. Calabro had helped the government essentially “incapacitate” the Colombo clan.
At his sentencing hearing, Mr. Calabro renounced his past, saying that he had been “intoxicated by the greed, power and notoriety” that went with the gangster life and now was “mortified by the criminal culture” in which he had chosen to invest his “life and identity.” He apologized to the relatives of his victims, some of whom were sitting in the room, and to his own family, which he acknowledged he had left in “shambles.”
Ralph C. Dols, a New York City police officer, was killed in 1997. Mr. Calabro was part of a crew responsible for his murder. Credit New York Police Department 
Among his victims was Frank Marsala who was shot to death in 1991 on 19th Avenue in Brooklyn after Mr. Calabro and members of his crew suspected him of having helped to kill a Colombo family associate named Ennab Awjab. The next year, as the Colombo family erupted into violent civil war, Mr. Calabro took part in the murders of John Minerva and Michael Imbergamo, two Colombo members who were fatally shot in a car outside a diner on Long Island.
Even in a city inured to violent crime, the murder of Officer Dols in 1997 was a shock. Federal prosecutors accused Mr. Cacace of ordering the killing because it was embarrassing that his former wife, Kim T. Kennaugh, would leave him for a man who worked in law enforcement. At Mr. Cacace’s trial, Mr. Calabro testified that he was part of a crew that staked out Officer Dols’ house in Sheepshead Bay and executed him outside.
But Mr. Calabro reached what he described as “a tipping point” after prosecutors in the United States attorney’s office in Brooklyn issued an indictment against him and 11 other Colombo family members in June 2008, charging them with robbery, extortion, drug trafficking, loan-sharking and four murders. (Officer Dols’ killing was not at first among them.) “Every ounce of arrogance and bravado that had once been the bedrock of my personality,” he said on Friday, “instantly sapped out of me.”
He began to work with his former pursuers, testifying at separate trials against Mr. Gioeli and Mr. Cacace, who, while acquitted on some of the charges, were ultimately both imprisoned. The trials were remarkable for the “level of hostility” with which the defendants’ lawyers treated Mr. Calabro, his own lawyer, Richard Jasper, said on Friday. Judge Brian M. Cogan, who oversaw the trials and issued Mr. Calabro’s sentence, agreed. “I recall it vividly,” Judge Cogan said. “I have never seen anything like it before or since.”
Before Judge Cogan handed down the sentence, Rosa Gargano, the mother of a young man the Colombo family killed, addressed the court. In 1994, Ms. Gargano’s son, Carmine, then 21 and a college student in Brooklyn, disappeared from his parents’ home. Years later, Mr. Calabro admitted in court that he knew about the murder and helped to hide the body, which has never been found.
“I am angry,” Ms. Gargano said, erupting into tears. “I want justice.”
After Mr. Calabro’s sentence was rendered, Ms. Gargano said she did not get it.
“My son got no mercy — he got mercy,” she said. “I am not happy.”



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