Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Italy arrests dozens of suspected mobsters

Forty six people were detained after anti-Mafia police raids in eastern Sicily today, according to reports from the Associated Press and ANSA. Italian police say reputed Catania crime boss Vincenzo Santapaola was among those arrested.

"We are dismantling the clans piece by piece," said Italian Interior Minister Giuliano Amato in a prepared statement. "The bosses can no longer fool themselves: We will get them one by one."

In the raids, police seized weapons and drugs and ledgers of extortion fees and salaries related to the Santapaola organization. The suspects face charges of Mafia association, drug trafficking and extortion.

Officials believe that Vincenzo Santapaola succeeded his father Benedetto Santapaola as chief of the Catania Mafia. Benedetto was arrested more than a decade ago.

Top Sicilian mobster killed during escape attempt

Daniele Emmanuello, 43, was shot to death yesterday as he attempted to flee from police in Sicily, according to press reports from CNN and the Agenzia Giornalistica Italia.

Early in the morning, police from Caltanissetta surrounded the cottage where Emmanuello, a fugitive for the past 11 years, was hiding out. Emmanuello reportedly pulled clothes on over his pajamas and left the home through a window.

Police officials say warning shots were fired. Emmanuello (left) tumbled into a ravine. When police got there they discovered that Emmanuello had been struck and killed by the police weapons fire.

Officials say Emmanuello was a rising Mafia boss. He was believed to be working to unite four regional crime families. He had been on the run since 1996, charged with Mafia association, drug trafficking and murder.

DEEP WATER: Joseph P. Macheca and the Birth of the American Mafia - A historical biography of the notorious 19th Century New Orleans gang boss and a probing look at the political and social forces that helped the Mafia take root in the New World.

Feds want Kerik's defense lawyer off the case

Former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik (right) soon could be looking for a new attorney, according to a story by Thomas Zambito of the New York Daily News.

Federal prosecutors last week asked U.S. Judge Stephen Robinson to prevent attorney Kenneth Breen from defending Kerik in an upcoming trial. The prosecutors argued that Breen could be called as a witness in the case. His testimony could "go to the heart of the charges in the indictment," the prosecutors wrote in a letter to the judge.

Kerik was indicted Nov. 8 on charges related to his concealment of favors he received while a New York City official. In June 2006, Kerik admitted that he did not disclose renovation work done on his Riverdale apartment by contractors seeking to work for the city. He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges and was sentenced to pay $221,000 in fines and fees.

Prosecutors estimate the value of the renovations at $165,000. The work was reportedly paid for by the DiTommaso brothers, owners of Interstate Industrial Corporation. If Kerik is found guilty of tax fraud, depriving the city of his honest services and other charges in his upcoming trial in White Plains, he could be sentenced to 142 years in prison.
In addition to serving in a top city law enforcement post, Kerik was at one time considered by the Bush Administration as a leading candidate to lead the Department of Homeland Security. Kerik withdrew his name from consideration for that job, citing possible tax problems relating to a family nanny.

Sicilian bigshot nabbed while watching Mafia TV show

Michele Catalano, reputed lieutenant of recently arrested Sicilian crime boss Salvatore LoPiccolo, was himself arrested last week while watching a Mafia-related television program, according to a Reuters report.

Catalano was watching the final episode in "The Boss of Bosses" - a TV mini-series based upon the 1993 arrest of Salvatore "Toto" Riina - when police burst into his home and placed him under arrest. He was charged with drug trafficking and extortion.

LoPiccolo, who officials say became Sicily's most powerful Mafioso after last year's capture of Bernardo Provenzano, was arrested last month, ending nearly a quarter century on the run.

$800K more for Vegas mob museum

Another $800,000 has been allocated for the planned mob museum in Las Vegas, according to a report broadcast by KLAS. Preserving and upgrading the historic downtown Vegas post office building and setting up the museum is expected to cost more than $30 million. The Las Vegas Centennial Commission has earmarked $300,000 for the purchase of organized crime-related artifacts. The money for the project is coming from the sale of license plates commemorating the city's 2005 centennial.

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 tphunt@gmail.com.)
I am editor/publisher of crime history journal, Informer; publisher of American Mafia history website Mafiahistory.us; 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.