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 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.

About Me

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Writer, editor, researcher, web publisher, specializing in organized crime history. (I am available to assist with your historical/genealogical research, as well as your writing and editing chores. Email me at
I am editor/publisher of crime history journal, Informer; publisher of American Mafia history website; moderator of Mafia-related online forums; 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.