Thursday, September 18, 2008

Nicolo Rizzuto, 5 others, plead guilty in Canada

Six alleged leaders of the Montreal Mafia pleaded guilty today to racketeering-related offenses, according to stories by the Globe and Mail and the Montreal Gazette. One of the six defendants was Nicolo Rizzuto, 84-year-old father of reputed Montreal Mafia boss Vito Rizzuto.

The other defendants pleading guilty were Rocco Sollecito, Paolo Renda (a Rizzuto in-law), Francesco Arcadi, Francesco DelBalso and Lorenzo Giordano. Prosecutors say the six men supervised the activities of the Montreal Mafia since 2004, when Vito Rizzuto was imprisoned. The six will be sentenced next month.

Nicolo Rizzuto and Paolo Renda, 69, pleaded guilty to possession of the proceeds of crime and to possession of the proceeds of crime for the benefit of, the direction of, or in association with a criminal organization. Arcadi, 54, pleaded guilty to conspiracy, overseeing drug smuggling and trafficking, bookmaking and illegal gambling. DelBalso, 38, and Giordano, 45, pleaded to the same charge as Arcadi, plus extortion.

The men were arrested as part of Project Colisée, a four-year drug trafficking investigation which resulted in more than 70 arrests in November 2006.

NYers charged as part of Mexico cocaine ring

Brothers Vincenzo Schirripa, 41, and Giulio Schirripa, 37, have been arrested in connection with a cocaine smuggling operation in New York City, according to a story by Thomas Zambito and Tracy Connor of the New York Daily News. Authorities say the two men served as middle men between a Mexican drug cartel and the 'Ndrangheta criminal society of southern Italy.

A crackdown on the "Gulf Cartel" this week has resulted in the arrests of 175 people on both sides of the Mexican border, according to a story by Jason Trahan of the Dallas Morning News.

Mafia Cops convictions reinstated

A federal appeals court yesterday reinstated the murder convictions of the so-called "Mafia Cops," former New York Police Department detectives Stephen Caracappa and Louis Eppolito, according to stories in the New York Times and the New York Daily News.

Eppolito and CaracappaA jury two years ago found Caracappa (to the right of the photo) and Eppolito (to the left of the photo) guilty of racketeering conspiracy, involving mob-related murders and the leaking of information to underworld connections in the Lucchese Crime Family. Judge Jack B. Weinstein acknowledged overwhelming evidence against the two defendants and said he was prepared to sentence them to life in prison. However, the judge decided that the major racketeering-related offenses of the two men occurred outside of the five-year statute of limitations . Judge Weinstein overturned the convictions.

Prosecutors appealed the judge's decision. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled yesterday that Judge Weinstein took a too-narrow view of the racketeering conspiracy and reinstated the convictions. The panel included Judges Amalya L. Kearse, Robert D. Sack and Peter W. Hall.

Caracappa, 66, and Eppolito, 60, still jailed as they awaited a decision on the appeal, are likely to spend the rest of their lives behind bars. Eppolito's attorney Joseph Bondy already has promised to appeal the latest decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In the 1980s, the two former detectives teamed up with Lucchese Crime Family lieutenant Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso. They supplied Casso with information about ongoing investigations and aided him in eliminating a number of his rivals.

About Me

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Editor/publisher of crime history journal, Informer. Publisher of American Mafia history website mafiahistory.us. Moderator of Mafia-related 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.