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

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Jailed Gambino soldier who plotted to kill turncoat Sammy the Bull with a land mine wants sentenced slashed


Former Travis resident and reputed Gambino organized crime family solider Thomas "Huck" Carbonaro has a long and violent criminal history.

Nearly two decades ago, Carbonaro was convicted of participating in a conspiracy to assassinate notorious mob turncoat Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano in Arizona in late 1999 and early 2000.

Carbonaro was also found guilty for his role in two other murder plots: The April 1998 slaying of New Springville resident Frank Hydell and the August 1990 killing of construction official and reputed Gambino solider Edward Garofalo.

Hydell was gunned down outside Scarlet’s, a former South Beach strip club.

Carbonaro, now 73, doesn’t dispute the seriousness of his crimes, which also includes a construction industry shakedown, his lawyer said in a recent letter to the court.

But he is a changed man.

One who deserves a shot at having his 70-year sentence reduced and spending his remaining years with his family.

“Mr. Carbonaro is no longer the man who committed his offenses of conviction,” wrote attorney Harlan Protass. “Rather, today, he is a simple convict doing his time, trying to improve himself and attempting to maintain relationships with his large, loving and ever-growing family.”

“He has put decades of distance between himself and his criminal conduct and decades of distance between himself and any individual associated with the ‘Gambino Crime Family’ who might induce him to engage in criminal conduct should he be released from prison,” Protass said. “Mr. Carbonaro is, simply put, ready to start a new chapter in his life.”

Carbonaro has already served 18 years behind bars.

Protass seeks to reduce the sentence to 25 years, or a period less than 70 years which the court finds “just, fair (and) appropriate.”


Citing Carbonaro’s troubling criminal past, Manhattan federal prosecutors say he doesn’t deserve a break.

“The defendant and his associates were part of the notorious Gambino crime family and conspired to murder individuals they suspected were cooperating with the government and threatening their illegal enterprise,” wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney David J. Robles in opposition. “These offenses thus could not have been more harmful to the public and our justice system.”

“Given the multiple lives taken at the hands of the defendant and his co-conspirators, as well as the defendant’s involvement in loan-sharking and extortions on behalf of the Gambino crime family, the 70-year sentence imposed by the court was fair and should remain undisturbed,” Robles said.

No date has been set for Manhattan federal court Judge Colleen McMahon to rule on Carbonaro’s motion.

In December 2004, Carbonaro was convicted in Manhattan federal court of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, extortion and conspiracy to commit murder.

He was sentenced to three consecutive prison terms of 20 years each, plus a consecutive term of 10 years.

Carbonaro appealed his convictions and sentence and was denied.

His projected release date is in March of 2063. Which effectively makes his prison term a life sentence, said Protass.

While behind bars, Carbonaro has been a model prisoner, the attorney wrote the court.

That, coupled with Carbonaro’s age, “serious” health issues and scant likelihood of recidivism make him an ideal candidate for a sentence reduction, reasoned Protass.

“Despite having no realistic hope of release before the end of his life, Mr. Carbonaro has sought to rehabilitate himself to the fullest extent possible, as evidenced by his accomplishments behind bars and his meritorious prison record, which includes no disciplinary violations whatsoever,” Protass wrote.

Carbonaro has earned his GED and “several valued certificates,” said the lawyer.

More importantly, he is remorseful for his actions, Protass wrote.

“Mr. Carbonaro makes no excuses for his criminal conduct or former criminal associations. He does not seek to justify, diminish or detract from the seriousness of the offenses,” said the lawyer. “And he unequivocally accepts responsibility for his criminal conduct, including the conspiracies that resulted in the tragic deaths of Edward Garofalo and Frank Hydell.”


Another reason for a reduced sentence: Carbonaro’s 70-year prison term is disproportionate to the sentences received by his co-defendants, maintained Protass.

Peter Gotti, the acting Gambino crime boss, was sentenced to 25 years. Edward Garafola, a cousin of the victim, Edward Garofalo, got 30 years.

Both men died before finishing their terms.

“Unlike Mr. Carbonaro, both Mr. Gotti and Mr. Garafola each had at least a chance of surviving their prison sentences (even if they did not),” wrote Protass. “Realistically, Mr. Carbonaro will not survive his current 70-year sentence.”

Gotti, 81, died in prison earlier this year.

He was convicted in 2004 for putting a $70,000 bounty on Gravano’s head.

A onetime Graniteville resident, Gravano’s testimony had helped send Gotti’s brother, mob chief John Gotti Sr., to prison.

Prosecutors at the time said the men plotted to kill Gravano in Arizona with a homemade land mine or a hunting rifle as payback for turning against the family.

Gravano, however, was busted on drug charges before the hit could be carried out.

Prosecutors contend Carbonaro has failed to demonstrate “extraordinary and compelling reasons” warranting compassionate release.

Regarding his health issues, prosecutors maintain he has received and will continue to receive appropriate treatment in prison.

And the scope of his crimes nullifies his positive prison behavior, contend prosecutors.

“While the government commends the efforts the defendant has taken to rehabilitate himself and recognizes that he has the love and support of his family, that does not negate his lengthy criminal history prior to conspiring to commit multiple murders or the seriousness of offenses that he committed on behalf of one of the most vicious and notorious crime organizations in New York,” wrote prosecutors.

“Under these circumstances, the court should require the defendant to serve the remainder of his sentence,” prosecutors said.



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