Thursday, October 11, 2007

Five charged with extortion, robberies

The FBI yesterday arrested five alleged members of the Mafia in the New York area, according to a story by Peter J. Sampson of the Record. They, along with two men already in prison, were charged with participating in robberies and extortion targeting business owners in New York and New Jersey during 2004 and 2005.

The FBI arrested John "Rocky" Melicharek, 37, of Glen Rock, NJ; Mike Iuni, 50, of Jersey City, NJ; Angelo Nicosia, 45, of East Stroudsburg, PA; Louis Pipolo, 45, of Newburgh, NY; and Dardian "Danny" Celaj, 30, of Bloomfield, CT. Also charged were Dominick "Shakes" Memoli, 41, and Ened "Neddy" Gjelaj, 27.

An eight-count indictment unsealed in Manhattan federal court charges Melicharek, Iuni and Nicosia with associate status in the Genovese Crime Family. and accuses them of using their affiliation with the crime family to extort a Manhattan-based business owner. Melicharek, Memoli, Pipolo, Celaj and Gjelaj are charged with invading homes, including that of a Morris County, NJ, businessman, and of using firearms in connection with those crimes. Melicharek also faces a stolen property charge.

If convicted, Melicharek, Memoli, Pipolo, Celaj and Gjelaj could be sentenced to life in prison. Iuni and Nicosia face maximum sentences of 40 years in prison.

According to the Record story, several of the defendants are connected with the crew of reputed Genovese Family lieutenant Angelo "the Horn" Prisco. Prisco (right), 68, was arrested at his home on Outlook Avenue in the Bronx, NY, early last year along with two other men on an extortion charge, according to a press release from the Newark, NJ, office of the FBI. He later pleaded guilty to ordering an assault on an electrical contractor competing with a Prisco-allied contractor. In spring 2003, there was a furor over Prisco's early release from prison, according to a Mike Kelly column on NorthJersey.com. He had been sentenced in 1998 to serve 12 years in East Jersey State Prison. At the time of his parole, Prisco was 13 months from his scheduled parole hearing. He was placed on the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement exclusion list late in 2003.

According to a story in the New York Daily News, the indictment illustrates the Genovese Family's use of ethnic Albanian "muscle." Albanian Celaj was allegedly called in to terrorize a New Jersey family.

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US Mafia was born in New Orleans

book cover

 

Deep Water:
Joseph P. Macheca and the
Birth of the American Mafia

Written by Thomas Hunt and Martha Macheca Sheldon, Deep Water captures the life and times of Joseph P. Macheca. It finally sets the record straight on the man who was a warrior for the corrupt New Orleans Democratic machine, a pioneer of the Crescent City’s fruit trade, a Confederate privateer and the legendary “godfather” of the first Mafia organization to germinate in American soil.
While answering at last the questions surrounding the 1890 assassination of Police Chief David Hennessy and the subsequent Crescent City lynchings, Deep Water establishes the factual details of Macheca’s life and sets them against the vivid backdrop of Gilded Age New Orleans. Published by iUniverse.


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I am the editor and publisher of a quarterly true crime journal, Informer: The History of American Crime and Law Enforcement. On the web, I publish the American Mafia history website and I moderate a Yahoo discussion group on Mafia topics.With Martha Macheca Sheldon, I coauthored "Deep Water: Joseph P. Macheca and the Birth of the American Mafia." With Michael A. Tona, I coauthored "DiCarlo: Buffalo's First Family of Crime." I contributed a history of the American Mafia to the Australian-published "Mafia: The Necessary Reference to Organized Crime." I have written and co-written articles on organized crime for Informer and the On the Spot Journal.  I previously edited organized crime and crime books and authors categories for the Open Directory Project ( dmoz.org ).