Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Former Adams henchman tells of UK crime family


U.K.'s Sunday Mirror contained an interesting report on North London's Adams Crime Family, based upon the recollections of a man who served as an Adams associate for a decade. Reputed boss Terry Adams was recently jailed. The article documents some of the 23 murders charged against his gang, also known as the "A-team."
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JUST RELEASED:

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

by Thomas Hunt and Martha Macheca Sheldon
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Triads suspected in seven Germany murders

Police investigating the shooting deaths of six people in a Chinese restaurant in northern Germany lost their only witness last week, when a seventh victim succumbed to his injuries, according to a story published by Spiegel Online International.

The male victim had been taken to a local hospital in critical condition after the Feb. 4 shootings. He died the next day.

The six other victims - three men and three women - were killed in a apparent gang execution in the "Lin Yue" restaurant in Sittensen, near Hamburg. Some of the victims had their hands tied. All of them were shot in the head. Among the victims were the husband-and-wife owners of the establishment.

A two-year-old girl was found alive in the restaurant as the bodies were discovered shortly after midnight.

Authorities are considering whether the murders might be the work of a Triad Society, an ethnic Chinese organized crime entity. Triads are active in Hong Kong and mainland China but have also worked their way into Chinese communities around the globe.

According to the online report: "Rumor has it that the presence and size of a fish tank in a Chinese restaurant is an indication of whether it pays protection money, and how much. The more fish in the tank, the more money the restaurant has to pay. In the US, Triads are believed to have extorted restaurant owners by charging $500 per fish for fish food. A dead fish found floating in the tank is a warning to the owners."

The "Lin Yue" restaurant has an indoor pond with fish in it.

Harlem underworld featured in new book

A retired professor of library sciences has penned "Gangsters of Harlem: The Gritty Underworld of New York's Most Famous Neighborhood."

Ron Chepesiuk's latest work earned the notice of Karen Blair of the Rock Hill (SC) Herald this week. According to Blair's story, "Gangsters of Harlem" deals with early Mafia influences, the Prohibition Era and the later black gangsters.

For the book, Chepesiuk interviewed two of the more famous 1970s-era Harlem gang lords, Leslie "Sgt. Smack" Atkinson and Frank "Superfly" Lucas.

Chepesiuk previously wrote, "Drug Lords: The Rise and Fall of the Cali Cartel." He said he is now working on a book on black gangsters in Chicago.

Informant Mercurio dies at 70


The death of Angelo "Sonny" Mercurio (right), a New England mobster who turned into an informant and helped the FBI listen in on a Patriarca Family induction ceremony, was revealed by a family member this week. A story by David Abel and April Simpson of the Boston Globe said Mercurio died on Dec. 11 of a pulmonary embolism. He was 70.

Mercurio's cooperation with the FBI led to the first-ever bugging of a Mafia induction ceremony. In October 1989, electronic devices were placed in a Medford, MA, home, and agents listened in as the New England Crime Family initiated four new members. The family reportedly was led at that time by Raymond Patriarca Jr. (left), who attended the ceremony. Sixteen other mobsters attended. Patriarca was jailed in the early 1990s, winning his release in December of 1998.

Working with both the Boston branch of the Mafia and the non-Italian Winter Hill Gang in the underworld, Mercurio also ran Vanessa's Italian Food Shop in the Prudential Center. In the late 1980s, the FBI bugged the shop, acquiring enough evidence against Mercurio to convince him to work for the now-notorious FBI handler John J. Connolly (also handler for James "Whitey" Bulger and Stephen "the Rifleman" Flemmi).

In addition to providing evidence against his fellow Mafiosi, Mercurio eventually helped convict Connolly of racketeering. Connolly is now serving a 10-year sentence on a 2002 convicion. Mercurio's work on that case caused a judge to reduce a 110-month prison sentence against him.
Mercurio went into the federal witness-protection program. He spent his last years in Little Rock, Arkansas. His mother-in-law, Judith Gopoian, brought news of his death to the press, according to a story in the Providence Journal.

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Editor/publisher of crime history journal, Informer. Publisher of American Mafia history website mafiahistory.us. Moderator of Mafia-related Google+ community and Yahoo discussion group. Author of Wrongly Executed? Coauthor of Deep Water: Joseph P. Macheca and the Birth of the American Mafia and DiCarlo: Buffalo's First Family of Crime. Contributor of American Mafia history to Australian-published Mafia: The Necessary Reference to Organized Crime. Writer/co-writer of crime history articles for Informer, On the Spot Journal, Cigar City Magazine, Tampa Mafia Magazine.