Friday, July 30, 2010

Convicted of racketeering, acquitted of fatal robbery

Genovese Crime Family capodecina Anthony "Big Nose" Antico, 75, was acquitted July 29 of setting up the 2008 fatal robbery of jeweler Louis Antonelli, according to stories in the New York Daily News and the Staten Island Advance. That charge could have meant a life prison sentence for Antico.
The Genovese big shot was convicted, however, on two racketeering counts related to gambling and robbery that are punishable by a maximum of 20 years in prison.
Antonelli was shot to death as he left El Sabor Tropical restaurant on April 29, 2008. Authorities say the killing was the result of a botched robbery attempt.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

'Mafia Cops' conviction upheld

The Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the murder conspiracy convictions of two former New York Police detectives widely known as the "Mafia Cops," according to a story by the Associated Press.
      The court on July 23 found no merit to an appeal by former detectives Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa. The two men were convicted of moonlighting for Lucchese Crime Family big shot Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso while they were on the payroll of the New York Police Department. Eppolito appealed, arguing that he was denied effective legal counsel. Caracappa argued that his conviction was based upon faulty evidence.

Read more:
Mafia Cop.
The Brotherhoods: The True Story of Two Cops Who Murdered for the Mafia.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Octogenarian Bulger still tops FBI list

A recently released FBI Most Wanted list has a familiar name in its top spot: James J. "Whitey" Bulger, according to a story by Patrick Cooper of A $2 million reward is offered for information leading to Bulger's capture.
      The 81-year-old, a fugitive Irish-American gang boss from Boston, reportedly has been in hiding since his early 1995 racketeering indictment. He also was charged on Sept. 28, 2000, with participating in 19 murders during the 1970s and 1980s. Bulger received some protection from the Boston area FBI as he served as an informant against the New England Mafia.
      Bulger's FBI handler, former FBI agent John Connolly was convicted of racketeering in 2002 and sentenced to 10 years in federal prison. Connolly was convicted of second-degree murder late in 2008. He was found guilty of providing Bulger and a Winter Hill Gang underling, Stephen Flemmi, with information that led to the death of potential government witness John B. Callahan in 1982. Connolly was sentenced in January 2009 to 40 years in prison that murder conviction. The sentencing judge noted at the time that the statute of limitations on the murder charge may have lapsed.

Read more about Bulger:
The Brothers Bulger: How They Terrorized and Corrupted Boston for a Quarter Century.
Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Authorities mum on U.S. role in 'Ndrangeta busts

While U.S. authorities are said to have participated in the transatlantic crackdown on the Italian 'Ndrangheta organized crime network, no details of U.S. arrests have been released, according to a story by Ravi Somaiya of Newsweek. More than 320 people with alleged links to 'Ndrangheta, the Calabrian criminal society, were arrested in dawn raids. Police seized weapons, drugs and financial assets in the largest anti-organized crime operation in 15 years.

Gioeli charged with killing cop

Thomas "Tommy Shots" Gioeli, a former leader of the Colombo Crime Family, has been charged with killing off-duty New York City Police Officer Ralph Dols in 1997, according to a story by John Marzulli of the New York Daily News.
The charge is contained in a new federal indictment against Gioeli (left), 57. He is currently charged with six racketeering-related murders, three of those would be punishable with the death penalty. The justice deparment plans to announce within the next 60 days if it will pursue the death penalty. The Daily News indicated that Gioeli's role in Dols' Brooklyn killing was confirmed by informant Dino "Big Dino" Calabro, a former capodecina. Gioeli reportedly conveyed the order to kill Dols from consigliere Joel "Joe Waverly" Cacace to underlings. Dols' offense against the crime family is alleged to have been marrying Cacace's ex-wife.

Read more about the Colombo Crime Family:
Mafia Son: The Scarpa Mob Family, the FBI, and a Story of Betrayal
The Mad Ones: Crazy Joe Gallo and the Revolution at the Edge of the Underworld

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Franzese, 93, convicted of racketeering

John "Sonny" Franzese, 93-year-old reputed underboss of the Colombo Crime Family, was convicted of racketeering July 6 in Brooklyn federal court, according to a story by John Marzulli of the New York Daily News. A jury found Franzese guilty of shaking down Hustler and Penthouse strip clubs in Manhattan. It did not convict him on a count related to extortion of a pizza restaurant. Much of the government's case against Franzese rested on testimony and evidence provided by his son, John Franzese Jr.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Seattle's Colacurcio dies at 93

Long suspected of mob involvement, Seattle area strip-club magnate Frank Colacurcio Sr. died July 2 at the age of 92, according to a story by Steve Miletich of the Seattle Times.

Colacurcio was known to be involved in vending machine rackets and strip clubs. Authorities found he engaged in tax evasion, gambling and bribery. He was jailed twice on tax convictions and once for bringing illegal bingo cards into Washington State. Police investigators suspected him of links to larger organized crime groups and of involvement in the killings of rivals. However, no credible evidence of violent crimes was ever produced, and, despite a well publicized visit with Joseph Bonanno's son Salvatore ("Bill"), the Seattle native denied any connection to the U.S. Mafia. The last elements of his strip club empire recently were seized by the government. At the time of his death, he was under indictment for racketeering and promoting prostitution.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Limone pleads no contest to gambling charge

Peter J. Limone, 76, of Medford MA, pleaded no contest today to 12 charges related to loansharking and gambling, according to stories in the Boston Herald and the Boston Globe. Limone, who served 33 years in prison after being wrongly convicted of a 1965 murder, will avoid jail time on the latest charges.

Mob-linked gambling ring busted in NY

Seventeen people, including alleged members of the Gambino and Genovese Crime Families, were indicted June 28 with participating in illegal sports gambling rings that generated an estimated $20 million a year, according to a story by R.M. Schneiderman of the Wall Street Journal.

Lucchese betting ring arraignment

Thirty-four people, including leading figures from Lucchese Crime Family operations in New Jersey, were arraigned July 28 for racketeeing, money laundering, gambling and other offenses, according to a story by Peggy Wright of the Daily Record. The defendants all pleaded not guilty. The charges stemmed from an investigation of an international sports gambling enterprise that hauled in $2.2 billion in wagers over a 15-month period.
    The indictments against the 34 were returned in May. The defendants included Martin Taccetta, 59, of East Hanover NJ. Tacceta, currently serving a life prison sentence on a 1993 racketeering conviction, is believed to have been the New Jersey commander of the Lucchese organization. Taccetta was released from prison in 2004 after a successful legal appeal and allegedly became involved in the gambling operation during his time out of prison. The New Jersey State Supreme Court returned him to prison to serve out his sentence. He was charged July 28 with conspiracy and promotion of gambling.
    Other defendants are Ralph V. Perna (right), 64, of East Hanover, reputed top Lucchese capodecina in the Garden State; James Furfaro, Jr., 30, of Parsippany; and Alfonso "Tic" Cataldo, 68, of Florham Park. Perna is accused of overseeing the day-to-day operations of the gambling enterprise allegedly managed by his three sons, Joseph M. Perna, 40, John G. Perna, 32, and Ralph M. Perna, 38.

    Related post: NJ charges 34 with gambling, racketeering

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Montreal Mafioso is victim of daylight hit

Agostino Cuntrera, 66, leading member of the Montreal Mafia, was murdered Tuesday in a daylight shooting at his east-end Montreal restaurant, according to a report by CTV of Canada. Also killed in the attack was Cuntrera's 48-year-old bodyguard.
    A black Chevrolet Impala was observed fleeing the scene. Police arrested two men in a similar automobile. One of the them was released.
    Authorities say Cuntrera took over command of the Sicilian criminal society in Montreal following the U.S. jailing of boss Vito Rizzuto for racketeering murders in Brooklyn. In December, Rizzuto's son Nick was shot to death in a daylight hit in Montreal's Notre Dame de Grace District. Paolo Renda, 70, a Rizzuto in-law who considered a top adviser to the Rizzuto organization, disappeared in May.
    A Calabrian underworld organization is widely believed responsible for the attacks on the Sicilian Rizzuto organization. The Rizzutos reportedly came to power in Montreal by eliminating a local Calabrian boss.
    Cuntrera was born in Sicily in 1944 and settled in Canada by 1965. He aided the Rizzuto clan as it established itself in Montreal. Cuntrera served five years in prison after being convicted of conspiring in the 1978 murder of Calabrian gang boss Paolo Violi.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Palumbo charged with 1992 murder conspiracy

Already charged with racketeering and extortion, Anthony "Tony D" Palumbo was indicted June 15 for conspiring in the 1992 mob murder of Angelo Sangiuolo, according to a story by Bruce Golding of the New York Post.
    Sangiuolo was reportedly targeted because he was found to be robbing Palumbo-run gambling establishments in the Bronx. Federal authorities say Vincent "the Chin" Gigante, then boss of the Genovese Crime Family, approved the hit. Genovese capodecina Angelo Prisco helped lure Sangiuolo, Prisco's cousin, to the scene of his murder. Prisco has been convicted and jailed for complicity in the murder. Triggerman John Leto pleaded guilty of involvement in the killing and testified against Prisco. Paul "Doc" Gaccione was arrested in April and charged with being a getaway driver in the hit.

    Reputed acting capodecina Palumbo has overseen Genovese operations in New Jersey since 2006, said federal prosecutors. The latest indictment also charges him with plotting to extort money from Russian mobsters engaged in a gasoline tax racket. That scheme, which never came about, would have involved a Palumbo killing of a hitman employed by the Russians, according to federal prosecutors.
    Palumbo, free on bond, pleaded not guilty to the new charges.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sammartino pleads guilty to loansharking

Reputed Bonanno Crime Family capodecina Joseph "Sammy" Sammartino, 55, pleaded guilty June 21 to loansharking, according to a story by John Marzulli of the New York Daily News. The plea was entered in Brooklyn federal court. Sammartino faces a sentence of up to two years in prison when sentenced in October. Federal authorities say Sammartino is a member of the ruling panel of the Bonanno organization.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Riccobene grandson killed in Philadelphia

Rocco Maniscalco, 38, grandson of Philadelphia underworld leader Harry "the Hunchback" Riccobene, was shot to death June 10 by an unknown gunman outside his South Philadelphia home, according to a story by Dana DiFilippo of the Philadelphia Daily News. Maniscalco was walking home from the Wolf Street Cafe in the early morning hours, when the gunman, a slim man in a white shirt, jumped out of the shadows and fired at least 10 shots. The gunman escaped in a dark SUV. Maniscalco died near the corner of Wolf and Colorado Streets at 1:20 a.m.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Franzese Jr. testifies against underboss dad

John Franzese Jr. stepped to the witness stand in Brooklyn Federal Court on June 9 to testify against his father, reputed Colombo Crime Family underboss John "Sonny" Franzese, according to reports by the New York Daily News and the New York Post. The elder Franzese, 93 years old, is accused of setting up New York area businesses for mob extortion. As Franzese Jr. took the stand, his father lapsed into a nap, prompting New York media to nickname him, "The Nodfather." The younger Franzese, 50, testified that his father led him into a life of crime by age 16. Later, as Franzese battled a growing drug addiction, he became an informant for the FBI.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Bruno's Philly home is on the market

The South Philadelphia home where local Mafia boss Angelo "Gentle Don" Bruno was shot to death 30 years ago is up for sale. The asking price is $250,000, according to an AP report. The home was put on the market by Bruno's daughter Jean, who is planning to move out of the area. Sitting in his car in front of the home, Angelo Bruno (left) was killed March 12, 1980, by a shotgun blast to the head.

Before Bruno & How He Became Boss: Book 3 - 1946-1959 (The History of the Philadelphia Mafia)

Friday, June 4, 2010

$9.9M settlement for man framed for murder

Barry Gibbs spent about 18 years of his life behind bars for a crime he did not commit. On June 3, the 62-year-old Gibbs received a $9.9 million settlement from the City of New York as compensation, according to stories in the New York Daily News and the New York Post. It is the largest civil rights settlement in city history. Gibbs was reportedly framed for a murder conviction by corrupt "Mafia Cop" Louis Eppolito. He was convicted of killing prostitute Virginia Robertson and sent to prison in 1988. He was released in September 2005, after Eppolito and his partner Stephen Caracappa were arrested and a key witness in the Robertson murder case admitted that Eppolito coerced him into accusing Gibbs.

Feds want Corozzo off Scarpaci case

Charging that attorney Joseph Corozzo is "house counsel" for the Gambino Crime Family, federal prosecutors have questioned Corozzo's suitability as defense attorney for accused Gambino associate Michael Scarpaci, according to a story by Alison Gendar of the New York Daily News.
    Prosecutors noted that Corozzo suddenly assumed the role of defense counsel following a two-day late-April release of Scarpaci to attend his daughter's baptism.They questioned whether Corozzo, son of reputed Gambino consigliere Joseph "JoJo" Corozzo and nepgew of reputed capodecina Nicholas "Nicky" Corozzo, was being forced upon Scarpaci by members of the crime family. The temporary release may have been interpreted as a sign that Scarpaci was poised to cooperate with authorities, the prosecutors explained, and a defense attorney may have been imposed upon him to keep him in line.
    Corozzo responded by stating that he is being paid for his defense work by Scarpaci alone. "The government will always try to disrupt the defense any way they can," he said.
    Scarpaci, 34, is charged with running gambling operations for the Gambino Crime Family and with extorting payments from loan customers and businesses.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Wiretaps capture Lucchese-Bloods alliance

A New Jersey case against 34 reputed underworld figures is based on hundreds of wiretapped conversations, some of which illustrate an alliance between the Lucchese Crime Family and the Nine Trey Gangster set of the Bloods street gang, according to a story by George Anastasia of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
    During the course of Operation Heat, investigators tracked and recorded at least a dozen conversations between imprisoned Nine Trey leader Edwin Spears and reputed mobsters Joseph Perna, 40, and Michael Cetta, 41. The groups are alleged to have cooperated on the smuggling of drugs and prepaid cellphones into East Jersey State Prison. Portions of the recorded conversations were presented in a 195-page investigative affidavit that is part of the pending criminal case.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Buffalo man charged in NJ gambling case

Brian R. Cohen, 61, of Buffalo NY, was charged May 27 with money laundering and gambling promotion in connection with a New Jersey-based Lucchese Crime Family online gaming racket, according to a story by Chris Megerian of  the Star-Ledger. The racket processed wagers amounting to $2.2 billion in a 15-month period, prosecutors said. Bets were routed through a wire room in Costa Rica, where Cohen (right) maintains a residence. Detectives arrested Cohen May 16 at Buffalo Niagara International Airport as he got off a plane from Central America. Two days earlier, prosecutors announced a 34-count indictment against alleged Lucchese Crime Family members and associates, including the alleged current and former leaders of the crime family's operations in New Jersey.

Canada agency orders Gallo deported

Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board ordered May 27 that reputed Montreal Mafioso Moreno Gallo be deported to Italy, according to a story by Paul Cherry of the Montreal Gazette. Born and raised in Italy, Gallo (left) has been a Canadian resident for almost 50 years. In the 1970s, Gallo was sentenced to a life prison sentence for the murder of a drug dealer. He was paroled in the early 1980s. During the Project Colisee investigation, authorities videotaped him bringing large quantities of cash to the Cosenza Social Club, a headquarters of the Rizzuto Mafia clan. Gallo was returned to prison for violating the conditions of his parole.

Bilek is Chicago Crime Commission exec VP

Criminologist Arthur Bilek has been named executive vice president of the Chicago Crime Commission. The commission announced the appointment May 23. Bilek is a highly regarded expert on organized crime. He founded the criminal justice department of the University of Illinois at Chicago, served as a special investigator for the Cook County State's Attorney's Office and held other law enforcement positions. He is author and coauthor of books about Chicago organized crime history. Following his appointment, Bilek said he intended to reintroduce the crime commission's "Most Wanted" program and to expose the link between Chicago area drug gangsters and street violence.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Genovese associate Masullo, two brothers sentenced

Three Masullo brothers of Brooklyn were sentenced May 25 to prison terms for criminal conduct related to the Genovese Crime Family, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. Felice Masullo, 38, was sentenced to 41 months. Anthony Masullo, 35, was sentenced to seven months. Angelo Masullo, 40, was sentenced to one year and a day.
    Felice Masullo, described by federal prosecutors as an up and coming associate in Anthony Palumbo's Genovese crew, pleaded guilty Nov. 6, 2009, to charges related to cocaine distribution conspiracy, extortion conspiracy and illegal gambling conspiracy. According to federal prosecutors, he admitted participating in the racketeering enterprise known as the Genovese Crime Family.
    Anthony and Angelo Masullo pleaded guilty to participating in an extortion conspiracy.
    The press release states that Felice Masullo functioned in part as Palumbo's driver, accompanied him to meetings and delivered Palumbo messages to other members and associates of the Genovese Crime Family. "In connection with his criminal businesses, Felice Masullo relied on the assistance of two of his brothers..., who, among other things, collected cash payments from loansharking victims and gamblers. Felice Masullo, Anthony Masullo and Angelo Masullo operated these illegal businesses out of a restaurant they operated together in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, New York," the release said.
    The brothers were indicted with a group of other defendants, including reputed former Genovese acting boss Daniel Leo, his nephew Joseph Leo, Vincent Cotona, Charles Salzano, Arthur Boland and Patsy Aversa. Daniel Leo pleaded guilty to racketeering offenses and was sentenced March 23 to 18 months in prison and the forfeit of $1.3 million. Joseph Leo, who pleaded guilty to related charges, received a year in prison and was ordered to forfeit $200,000.
    Cotona pleaded guilty March 3 to receiving proceeds of extortion and was sentenced March 25 to 10 months in prison. Salzano pleaded guilty March 5 to knowingly receiving the proceeds of extortion and to operating a gambling business. He will be sentenced June 9. Boland pleaded guilty Feb. 19 to loansharking and will be sentenced May 21. Aversa pleaded guilty April 9 to tax evasion and will be sentenced July 8.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Lake Ontario victim was not Renda

Montreal Mafioso Paolo Renda remains missing. A body pulled Sunday from Lake Ontario was identified today as Quang Li, 47, a Thornhill, Ontario, resident who has been missing since 2007, according to a story by Katherine Wilson of the Montreal Gazette. Renda, a top man in the Rizzuto Mafia and a brother-in-law of reputed boss Vito Rizzuto, was reported missing on Thursday. His car was found near his home, its windows down and its key still in the ignition. Rizzuto is imprisoned in the U.S. Rizzuto's son Nick was shot to death in December. Canadian officials believe the Rizzuto organization is under siege by another underworld organization. The body of Quang Li was found encased in concrete within a rusty steel oil drum.

No deals: Taccetta looks ahead to federal trial

Maria Noto, defense attorney for reputed Lucchese Crime Family big shot Martin Taccetta, said May 24 that her client is not seeking a plea deal and is looking forward to a jury trial, according to a story by Peter J. Sampson of the Record.

    Already serving a life prison sentence on a 1993 state racketeering and extortion conviction, Taccetta, 59, of East Hanover, NJ, was one of 23 reputed members and associates of the Gambino and Lucchese Crime Families indicted by a federal grand jury two years ago. The indictment contained 30 counts, but Taccetta was charged in only three of those. He is accused of conspiring to extort a loan payment and of involvement in a scheme to allow non-union labor at a Morristown NJ construction project in exchange for approximately $20,000.
    The cases against all other defendants have been resolved. Taccetta broke off plea deal negotiations in December. His federal trial is scheduled to begin July 6 in Newark.
    "He's not guilty of the charges, and we look forward to an acquittal by the jury," Noto said.
   Last week, Taccetta sought information about the government's witness list and its evidence against him. Prosecutors have noted that at least one informant currently in the witness protection program will be called to testify. Taccetta's request was rejected by U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Concrete-encased body may be Renda's

There is widespread speculation that a concrete-encased body drawn May 23 from Toronto's harbor on Lake Ontario was that of Montreal Mafioso Paolo Renda, missing since last week, according to a story published the Montreal Gazette.

    Police in Montreal have contacted Toronto authorities about the remains, which were found within concrete contained in a steel oil drum. However, neither police agency would publicly comment on any connection to Renda's disappearance. Toronto Detective Justin Vander Heyden told reporters that police have "a good idea" whose body it is. He said identification by the coroner's office would take at least two to three days.
    Renda has been a high-ranking member of the Rizzuto Mafia in Montreal. He is the brother-in-law of reputed Mafia boss Vito Rizzuto, now imprisoned in the U.S. Montreal authorities believe the Rizzuto underworld clan has been under siege since the shooting death of Vito Rizzuto's son Nick last December.
    Released from prison in mid-February, Renda was last seen at 3:15 p.m. on May 20. His wife reported him missing at 6 p.m. Police found his automobile, with the windows down and the keys in the ignition, not far from his home.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Canadian authorities search for Renda

While they wonder aloud if other members of the Rizzuto family of Montreal may be in danger, Canadian authorities are searching for Paolo Renda, missing since Thursday afternoon. Renda (left), 70, is described as 5-foot-8 and 170 pounds. He has gray hair and brown eyes. When last seen, he was wearing navy blue pants and a striped shirt. Renda's car was found parked on Gouin Boulevard West near Albert Prevost Avenue, a short distance from his home on Antoine Berthelet Avenue in Montreal's Cartierville District. Authorities suspect that Renda, an in-law of the Rizzuto family and reputed consigliere of the Rizzuto Mafia organization, was abducted by a rival underworld group. They ask that anyone with information about his disappearance contact Info-Crime: 514-393-1133.

Montreal Mafia leader Renda apparently kidnapped

Paolo Renda, 70, brother-in-law of imprisoned Montreal Mafia boss Vito Rizzuto and reputed consigliere of the underworld organization, disappeared on May 20, according to stories by Paul Cherry of the Montreal Gazette and Adrian Humphries of the National Post. Renda was last seen at 3:15 p.m. His wife Maria reported him missing at 6 p.m. Authorities suspect he has been abducted and fear he may have been killed.

    The Mafia of Montreal appears to be under siege by a rival underworld organization. Nick Rizzuto, son of boss Vito Rizzuto, was shot to death Dec. 28, 2009. Authorities suspect that a Calabrian gang may have been responsible. Two men were killed in a March 18 shooting that police suspected was a retaliatory move by the Sicilian Rizzuto clan. The Rizzuto family reportedly came to power in Montreal in the 1970s, after having local Calabrian underworld boss Paolo Violi killed.
    Renda (right), jailed in October 2008 for possessing the proceeds of crime, was released from prison in mid-February. Fearing that he would become involved in a gang war, authorities placed restrictions on his release. 
    Investigating the disappearance, police found Renda's Infinity automobile near Albert-Prevost Avenue not far from his Cartierville home. The windows were open, and the keys were in the ignition. 
    The Renda and Rizzuto families have been close for many years. They share a common background in Cattolica Eraclea, in southern Sicily between Sciacca and Agrigento. Renda's wife is the sister of Vito Rizzuto, now imprisoned in the U.S. He served as godfather to Rizzuto's son Nick, who was killed in December. Renda is considered Rizzuto's right-hand man and is believed to have handled the finances of the Montreal Mafia. He was among the dozens arrested in Operation Colisee in 2006. 
    Rizzuto's father, Nicolo, was scheduled to appear in court May 21 on a five-year-old impaired driving charge. That appearance was postponed after his attorney argued that it would be too dangerous for the 86-year-old to be seen in public. Nicolo was fined in February for evading taxes on millions of dollars held in Swiss bank accounts.

Click for more posts related to Paolo Renda.
Click for more posts related to the Rizzuto organization.

The Sixth Family: The Collapse of the New York Mafia and the Rise of Vito RizzutoRead more about the Mafia of Montreal:
The Sixth Family: The Collapse of the New York Mafia and the Rise of Vito Rizzuto 
by Adrian Humphreys and Lee Lamothe

Charged with facilitating Boston drug transactions

Mark Rossetti, 50, of East Boston, Massachusetts, was arrested May 20 at his Bennington Street home on charges that he has facilitated the regional drug trade, acording to stories by Richard Weir of the Boston Herald and Travis Andersen of the Boston Globe. Prosecutors say Rossetti is a capodecina in the New England Crime Family based in Boston. The Globe reported in 2003 that authorities identified Rossetti as one of a handful of leaders in the criminal organization.

    Rossetti (left) and several others were arrested in Revere and East Boston at the conclusion of a lengthy undercover operation. The investigation began when Juan Valdez allegedly sold heroin to undercover officers. The state police used surveillance and court-approved wiretaps to gain information on the ring. Prosecutors allege that Robert Ciampi, 39, of East Boston, purchased heroin from Rossetti, who arranged for its purchase through Valdez. Rossetti's home allegedly was used to make the transactions.
    Police arrested Ciampi, Valdez and another man at the same time as Rossetti. State troopers reportedly found large amounts of cash and drugs in homes and a Valdez-driven automobile they raided May 20. State Police spokesman David Procopio told the press that the drug ring distributed heroin in Lawrence, Lynn and surrounding communities.
    Essex Assistant District Attorney John T. Dawley said Rossetti used Mafia connections to broker and safeguard drug transactions. "He provided protection," Dawley said.
    The suspects pleaded not guilty to all charges at arraignment in Lynn on May 21. Defense attorneys said the case amounted to little more than suspicion. They said evidence does not link their clients with drugs. "If [Rossetti] is supposed to be such a big kingpin, where is all the money? Where are all the drugs?" said Rossetti's defense counsel Randi Potash. Of the 142 grams of heroin discovered in the car driven by Valdez at the time he was arrested, defense attorneys noted that the car was not registered to Valdez and that the drugs were found in a secret compartment unknown to Valdez.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Italian police release 'depressed' Mafioso

Magistrates in the northern Italian city of Pavia have released a jailed mobster because he was reportedly depressed and afflicted with diabetes and a heart condition, according to a story by Nick Squires of the UK Telegraph. Sicilian Mafioso Salvatore "Vito" Vitale (left), 64, was part of a gang that kidnapped and killed a boy in order to silence his informant father. Eleven-year-old Giuseppe DiMatteo was kidnapped in November 1993. He was held for two years as gangsters tried to force the father to alter his testimony. The boy was then strangled to death. Vitale provided his underworld associates with a tub of acid to dissolve the boy's remains and conceal the murder. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Vitale's attorneys convinced the Pavia court that Vitale was deserving of a compassionate release. He has returned to his home in Palermo, Sicily.

Staten Island loan shark to prison

Joseph Datello, 59, will serve up to three and a half years in prison for running a loansharking operation out of his brother's Staten Island bar, according to a story by Frank Donnelly of the Staten Island Advance

    Prosecutors charged Datello (right) and his brother with conducting illegal gambling and loansharking from the bar between October 2007 and July 2009. According to court documents, the operation paid tribute to the alleged Lucchese Crime Family capodecina Anthony Croce. Croce pleaded guilty to first-degree criminal usury. He will be sentenced June 22. Michael Peterson, charged with working as a collector for the Datellos, has not yet been tried. 
    Prosecutors say Joseph Datello is a Lucchese Family soldier. Datello was previously convicted of enterprise corruption and served two years in prison.
    The Datello brothers pleaded guilty last month to one felony count of first-degree usury. Joseph Datello was sentenced to serve between one and three-quarter years and three and a half years in prison. Frank Datello remains free on $125,000 bail. He is scheduled to be sentenced June 23.
    The Datellos were arrested in November 2009 during organized crime raids that netted 22 suspects.

Michael Persico released on $5M bail

Accused racketeer Michael Persico was released May 16 on $5 million bail, according to a story by John Marzulli of the New York Daily News. The 53-year-old son of imprisoned Colombo Crime Family boss Carmine "the Snake" Persico, Michael Persico was charged in Brooklyn federal court March 8 of extorting a construction company into hiring a mob-controlled trucking firm to help remove debris from the site of the 2001 World Trade Center bombing. He pleaded not guilty to the charge. Judge Carol Amon approved the release on several conditions. Persico must wear an electronic monitoring bracelet. He may not leave his Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, home aside from driving his daughters to school. His telephone conversations will be monitored by the FBI. And he is prohibited from contact with a list of underworld figures.

Kerik begins four-year prison sentence

Bernard B. Kerik, 54-year-old former commissioner of the New York Police Department, on May 17 began a four-year prison term at the Federal Correctional Institution in Cumberland, Maryland, according to a story by Sam Dolnick of the New York Times. Kerik (left) pleaded guilty in 2009 to eight felony charges. He was indicted back in November 2007 on charges that he concealed favors he received while employed as a New York City official. Apartment renovations valued at $165,000 were provided to him by a construction company government officials linked with the Gambino Crime Family. Kerik admitted tax fraud, making a false statement on a loan application, and lying to White House officials while being interviewed for the position of Homeland Security Department chief for the George W. Bush Administration.

Kerik's pre-scandal autobiography:
The Lost Son: A Life in Pursuit of Justice

Chicago hit man Aleman dies at 71

Convicted Chicago underworld hit man Harry Aleman died May 15 at the prison infirmary of Hill Correctional Center in Galesburg, Illinois, according to stories by Andrew L. Wang of the Chicago Tribune and Robert Herguth of the Chicago Sun Times. Aleman was 71.

Regarded as a chief enforcer for the mob in 1970s Chicago, Aleman (left) was suspected of involvement in 20 or more murders. However, he was convicted only of the Sept. 27, 1972, shotgun murder of Teamsters union steward William Logan. It took many years for prosecutors to win that conviction. Aleman was acquitted of the murder in 1977. An informant later revealed that trial Judge Frank Wilson had been bribed. Wilson apparently took his own life during the ensuing investigation in 1990. The bribery accusation cleared the way for a second trial though defense attorneys argued it exposed Aleman to double-jeopardy (a second prosecution on a charge for which he had already been tried and found not guilty). Prosecutors successfully argued that Aleman faced no actual jeopardy in the first trial because of the bribery of the judge. Aleman was convicted of the Logan murder in 1997. Judge Michael Toomin sentenced him to a prison sentence of 100 to 300 years.

During his underworld career, Aleman was feared throughout the Midwest. Retired reporter John Drummond, who covered Aleman's murder trials, told the Tribune, "You were in trouble if you looked in your rearview mirror and saw Harry Aleman."

Read about the Chicago Outfit:
Family Secrets: The Case That Crippled the Chicago Mob
Capone: The Life and World of Al Capone
The Outfit: The Role of Chicago's Underworld in the Shaping of Modern America
Mr. Capone: The Real - and complete - story of Al Capone

Monday, May 17, 2010

Genovese-linked DeLutro gets 20 years

John "Wizzie" DeLutro, 33, of New Dorp, NY, was sentenced May 14 to 20 years in prison for his role in the April 29, 2008, slaying of 43-year-old jeweler Louis Antonelli, according to a story by Frank Donnelly of the Staten Island Advance. DeLutro has been linked with the Genovese Crime Family.

There are five other defendants in the murder case. DeLutro was the first to be sentenced. Others include shooter Charles Santiago, 27, of Grant City; accomplice Joseph Gencarelli, 27, of Grant City; lookout and Genovese Family associate Anthony Pica, 31, of Bay Terrace; and 74-year-old Anthony "Tico" Antico. Except for Antico who has not yet been tried, the defendants have pleaded guilty or have been found guilty at trial.

A reputed capodecina in the Genovese organization, Antico is scheduled for trial in Brooklyn federal court this summer. His criminal history dates back to 1955 and includes convictions for attempted robbery and racketeering. Antico is serving time in federal prison for intimidating a witness. Prosecutors are seeking to impanel an anonymous jury for his trial.

Feds mull expense of executing Basciano

Brooklyn federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis has suggested that pursuing the death penalty against former Bonanno crime boss Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano could be prohibitively expensive, according to a story by John Marzulli of the New York Daily News. Basciano, 50, is already serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole. Federal prosecutors are preparing for a racketeering murder case that could cost Basciano his life. But the cost to the taxpayer was on Garaufis' mind: "To date, Basciano's defense has required the expenditure of over $3 million of public funds for legal fees and ancillary expenses. The possibility of a death sentence ensures that these costs will grow substantially." Basciano is awaiting trial for the 2004 murder of mob associate Randolph Pizzolo.

A Man of Honor: The Autobiography of Joseph Bonanno
The Last Godfather: The Rise and Fall of Joey Massino (Berkley True Crime)

No added jail time for former Gotti crew member

Michael Finnerty, ex-member of a Gambino Crime Family crew once led by John A. "Junior" Gotti, will serve no additional jail time for crimes he committed as a youth, according to a story by Alison Gendar and Corky Siemaszko of the New York Daily News.

Finnerty became a government informant and aided in the unsuccessful prosecutions of Gotti. Assistant U.S. Attorney Elie Honig said Finnerty, now a father of three, was sincerely "humiliated by the crimes he committed... I don't see any purpose sending him to jail." Manhattan federal Judge Denise Cote agreed and sentenced Finnerty to time already served, three years' probation and a $12,500 fine.

Finnerty pleaded guilty to numerous offenses in September 2009 and faced a possible sentence of six additional years in prison.

NJ charges 34 with gambling, racketeering

A New Jersey crackdown on the Lucchese Crime Family resulted in the mid-May indictment of 34 reputed members of associates of that criminal organization, according to reports by the Associated Press, the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Morris County Daily Record. The indictment charges the men with racketeering, illegal gambling, money laundering and other crimes.

The state investigation began almost four years ago with a probe into illegal gambling. New Jersey officials estimate that the gambling ring generated $2.2 billion in a 15-month period. Wagers were funneled through Internet websites to a wire room in Costa Rica.

Most of those named in the indictment were arrested in mid-December 2007.

Two of the accused are Joseph DiNapoli, 74, of Scarsdale, NY, and Matthew Madonna, 74, of Seldon, NY. Prosecutors say those men comprise two-thirds of the leadership panel ruling the Lucchese Crime Family. Also indicted were Ralph V. Perna (right), 64, of East Hanover, NJ, and Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., 44, of Ventnor, NJ. Authorities say Perna has been the leader of the Lucchese clan within New Jersey since 2007, when Scarfo was deposed. Scarfo, who was not arrested in the 2007 raids, was arrested on a warrant in Egg Harbor Township after the recent indictment.

As the indictments were announced, New Jersey Attorney General Paula Dow noted a growing alliance between the Lucchese organization and street gangs. She noted that Lucchese members had a working relationship with the Nine Trey Gangsters set of the Bloods to smuggle drugs and cellphones into East Jersey State Prison.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Ninety-three-year-old mobster indicted again

Ninety-three-year-old John "Sonny" Franzese, currently preparing for trial on racketeering charges, has been indicted again, according to a story by John Marzulli of the New York Daily News.

The latest indictment charges the reputed Colombo Crime Family underboss with attempting to extort money from the Hustler and Penthouse strip clubs. According to prosecutors, Franzese personally went to the clubs along with younger henchmen and offered the club owners protection against other criminal organizations.

Franzese has been imprisoned a number of times. His current parole continues until he is 102. While he awaits trial, he is free on $1 million bail.

After his May 6 arraignment on the extortion charges, Franzese was asked how he felt about the prospect of spending his last days behind bars. "Who cares?" he said. "I gotta die someplace."

Commission finds Merlino firm free of mob links

The New Jersey Casino Control Commission approved a license May 5 for the Bayshore Rebar Inc. firm to work on Atlantic City casino projects, according to a story by the Press of Atlantic City. The company had been banned from casino work for 21 years, due to the belief that the Merlino family, which runs the company, was involved with organized crime. In ending the ban, the commission announced that Bayshore Rebar was free of mob influence.

Joseph N. Merlino, who runs the company, is the cousin of jailed Philadelphia Mafia boss Joseph S. "Skinny Joey" Merlino and the son of the late Lawrence "Yogi" Merlino, a high-ranking mobster. However, Joseph N. Merlino successfully proved that he had severed all contact with relatives linked to organized crime.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

'Mafia Son' bookreading May 17

"Mafia Son" author Sandra Harmon will appear at the Ellington Room, Manhattan Plaza (400 W. 43rd St., 2nd floor, at 9th Ave.) in New York at 7:30 p.m., Monday, May 17, 2010, to read from her book and answer audience questions. "Mafia Son" is the story of Gregory Scarpa Jr., Colombo crime family capo and government informant.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Anastasio dies at 81, apparent suicide

Ten days before the scheduled start of a two and a half year prison sentence, 81-year-old Anthony "Todo" Anastasio died of apparently self-inflicted gunshot wounds, according to a story by John Marzulli and Jonathon Lemire of the New York Daily News.

The nephew of legendary crime boss Albert Anastasia, Gambino Crime Family soldier Anastasio was supposed to report to authorities on May 10 to start his sentence for racketeering, extortion and arson. At 7 a.m. on April 30, his wife found him dead in the kitchen of their Dyker Heights home. A .22-caliber handgun, two shell casings and a handwritten note were found nearby.

Police believe Anastasio decided to end his life rather than face prison. They say he fired two bullets into his heart.

He was convicted in October 2009 of extorting a trucking company and a bakery in Brooklyn, as well as of ordering an arson fire at a Dunkin' Donuts establishment. He faced a possible sentence of up to 20 years in prison. Anastasio was to be held at a facility just a few hours from his home. Investigators say the elderly racketeer was in generally good health.

After the disappearance of his predecessor in 1951, Albert Anastasia rose to the position of boss of the organization later known as the Gambino Family. Anastasia was murdered in a barber's chair in 1957.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Gambino prostitution ring busted

Prosecutors state that the Mafia hit "a new low" when members engaged in an interstate sex trafficking ring involving underage girls, according to a story by Alison Gendar and Rich Schapiro of the New York Daily News.

Fourteen alleged members of the Gambino Crime Family were named in an indictment charging a host of crimes, including loansharking, extortion and murder. The indictment also charges alleged Gambino soldier Thomas Orefice with devising a scheme to advertise teenage girls for prostitution on Internet site craigslist. Orefice's crew members allegedly drove the girls to appointments in New York and New Jersey and took half of their $200-per-session payments.

One of those charged in the indictment with racketeering offenses was reputed Gambino boss Daniel Marino. Marino is charged with conspiring with then boss John J. Gotti and Salvatore Gravano in the 1989 murder of suspected turncoat Thomas Spinelli. Marino is also charged with the 1989 murder of his own nephew Frank Hydell, also suspected of supplying information to federal investigators.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Jersey man linked to 1992 mob killing

A New Jersey man was charged April 19 with involvement in a 1992 Mafia killing, according to a story by Rocco Parascandola and John Lauinger of the New York Daily News. Paul "Doc" Gaccione is charged with participating in the June 1992 murder of Genovese Crime Family associate Angelo Sangiuolo. John "Johnny Balls" Leto was convicted last year of performing the killing. Authorities say the mob hit was arranged by Sangiuolo's cousin, Genovese capodecina Angelo Prisco, after Sangiuolo was found to be stealing money from Genovese gambling dens in the Bronx, NY. Vincent "the Chin" Gigante, then boss of the Genovese Family, is believed to have approved the hit.

Sangiuolo was lured to a Bronx social club. Prosecutors say Gaccione then drove Sangiuolo and Leto in a van to a McDonald's restaurant parking lot in Pelham Bay beneath elevated train tracks. Sangiuolo was in the front passenger seat with Leto behind him. As the train roared overhead, Leto shot Sangiuolo to death. Prisco reportedly picked Gaccione and Leto up at the McDonalds.

Prisco was sentenced to life in prison after a federal conviction last year.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Capozzi recaptured after two days

After eluding authorities for more than two days, escaped prisoner Derek Capozzi was found at 5:45 p.m., Saturday, April 17, in Versailles, Kentucky, according to a story by Jack Brammer and Ryan Alessi of the Lexington Kentucky Herald-Leader. Capozzi, exhausted and hungry, was found lying on railroad tracks behind a Versailles stair factory. Capozzi escaped April 15 from a prison van.

New Jersey's 'Eagle' Gatto dies at 65

Genovese Crime Family lieutenant Joseph "the Eagle" Gatto died April 9 in Hackensack, NJ, according to a story by Justo Bautista of the Bergen County Record. He was 65. The cause of Gatto's death was not made public.

A native of Paterson, NJ, Gatto was the son of the late Louis "Streaky" Gatto, a Genovese crew leader and manager of lucrative gambling rackets in northern New Jersey. The younger Gatto reportedly inherited those rackets when his father was convicted of racketeering and murder conspiracy and sentenced to 65 years in prison in June 1991. "Streaky" Gatto was reportedly friendly with late Genovese boss Vincent "the Chin" Gigante. Joseph Gatto's brother Louis Jr. died in federal prison in 2000. Their father "Streaky" died in prison in 2002 after suffering with prostate cancer.

Gatto was convicted of gambling and loansharking in 1999. He was sentenced to serve 61 months in prison. He was paroled from Ray Brook Federal Prison in upstate New York in October 2003, after serving 53 months of the sentence.In 2003, the New Jersey Commission of Investigation identified Joseph Gatto as a capodecina of one of the five larger crews of the Genovese Crime Family in New Jersey.

Gatto and 43 alleged accomplices were arrested in December 2004. They were charged with racketeering and gambling charges as a result of a state and local police investigation dubbed Operation Jersey Boyz. According to authorities, the group ran a massive offshore gambling operation that generated millions of dollars for the Genovese, Lucchese, Bonanno and Gambino crime families of the New York area. As they raided the operation, police seized 25 firearms and $1.3 million in cash. (One of those arrested in connection with the case was Frank Lagano, 67, of Tenafly, NJ. Lagano was shot to death in April 2007 outside a diner he owned in East Brunswick. Police believe the murder was a mob hit.)

As the Jersey Boyz arrests were made, Gatto was charged with violating the terms of his parole.
While prosecutors said Gatto controlled the Catalina Sports wire room in Costa Rica, a grand jury refused to indict him in the case last year. Problems in the Jersey Boyz case dated back to 2005, as prosecutors were criticized for their handling of informants.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Mafia-linked prisoner escapes in Kentucky

Kentucky law enforcement agencies are searching for escaped prisoner Derek Capozzi, 37, of Beverly, MA, who leaped from a prison van on April 16, according to stories in the Boston Globe and the Lexington Kentucky Herald-Leader. Capozzi was being taken to the Blue Grass Airport for transport to an out-of-state prison. He was reportedly handcuffed and shackled and held inside the van with nine other prisoners by a door locked on the outside. Somehow, he managed to free his legs from the shackles and to kick open the door as the van took the Kentucky Route 33 exit off the Blue Grass Parkway.

Capozzi was sentenced in 2005 to 23 years in prison for helping to cut up and dispose of the body of 19-year-old mob murder victim Aislin Silva of Medford, MA. The young woman was killed by the Decologero Crew of the New England Mafia when it feared she would expose its drug and theft operations. Several other members of the gang were convicted of involvement in the Silva murder and its coverup. Gang member Kevin Meuse, who allegedly stranged Silva to death on Nov. 13, 1996, hanged himself in prison in 1997. Capozzi also was sentenced to 30 years upon conviction on attempted extortion and illegal firearms charges in 2003.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Gallo allowed to remain in Canada

Canadian officials decided April 12 against deporting Moreno Gallo, 64, according to a story by Paul Cherry of the Montreal Gazette. Gallo was granted day-parole at a halfway house on March 30 after serving time for associating with known mobsters in violation of earlier parole conditions. Canada Border Services Agency immediately took him into custody as it considered his deportation. On April 12, the agency determined that conditions placed on Gallo's latest release were sufficient to manage any risk to society.

Gallo is regarded as an influential character in the Montreal Mafia. He is believed to have moderated underworld disputes, including one between the Mafia and the local Hells Angels. He was sentenced to life in prison in 1974 after pleading guilty to the murder of Montreal drug dealer Angelo Facchino. He was paroled from that sentence in September 1983 but rejailed in 2007 after evidence surfaced of regular visits to the headquarters of the Rizzuto Mafia within the now-defunct Cosenza Social Club.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Montreal hopes for YouTube help

Montreal police posted surveillance videos on the Internet's YouTube service in the hope of identifying the gunmen who murdered two men and injured two others on March 18, according to a story by Catherine Solyom of the Montreal Gazette. Authorities believe 41-year-old Ducarme Joseph, owner of the Flawnego clothing store and alleged leader of a strong street gang, was the target of the attack. Joseph escaped out a back door of the store as the shooting began. His bodyguard Peter Christopoulos, 27, and store manager Jean Gaston, 60, were killed in the attack. Police believe the shooting may have been in retaliation for the December killing of Nicolo Rizzuto, son of jailed local Mafia boss Vito Rizzuto.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Canada releases Gallo, may deport him

Canadian officials granted imprisoned Montreal racketeer Moreno Gallo (left), 64, release to a halfway house at the end of March, even while they warned him that he might soon be rearrested for deportation, according to a story by Paul Cherry of the Montreal Gazette.

Gallo, an Italian native, arrived in Canada with his family in 1954. He never became a citizen. He was convicted of the 1973 vendetta murder of 26-year-old drug dealer Angelo Facchino. He was paroled in 1983 on the condition that he have no association with underworld figures. Authorities learned that he made regular visits to the Cosenza Social Club on Jarry Street East, headquarters of the Rizzuto Mafia organization. Gallo was arrested in 2007 on evidence gathered in Operation Colisee. He was imprisoned for associating with mobsters.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Basciano prefers solitary to supermax

A former boss of the Bonanno Crime Family would rather remain in solitary confinement in a Brooklyn detention facility than be sent to the supermax prison in Colorado. Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano, already sentenced to life in prison for past convictions, will remain in custody as he awaits a spring 2011 death penalty trial. On March 25, he asked a Brooklyn federal judge to leave him in Brooklyn during the wait, according to a story by John Marzulli of the New York Daily News.

Basciano has been held under strict lockdown conditions in Brooklyn for the past 44 months. He was placed in solitary when evidence surfaced of an apparent Basciano plot against government witnesses, a prosecutor and a judge. In Brooklyn, he receives regular visits from his ex-wife.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Leo's sentence grows by 18 months

A conviction for loansharking and gambling has increased the prison sentence of a jailed former Genovese Crime Family boss by 18 months, according to a story by Bruce Golding of the New York Post. Daniel "the Lion" Leo, 69, is 34 months into a five-year prison sentence. Manhattan federal Judge Richard Holwell decided March 24 that the more recent loansharking and gambling charges should have been part of the original 2007 case against Leo. The judge sentenced Leo to 70 months for the additional charges but decided that Leo should be credited for the 34 months served and that half of the remaining time be served concurrently with the original five-year sentence.

Feds grab treasure at Calabrese home

Federal agents executed a search warrant March 23 at the home of convicted Chicago mobster Frank Calabrese Sr. (left) and came away with a sensational haul, according to a story by Craig Wall of Fox Chicago News.

Behind a family portrait in the basement of Calabrese's Oak Brook home, agents found a compartment in the wall paneling. Inside they reportedly discovered seven loaded handguns, 15 manila envelopes containing a total of $728,481 in cash, about 1,000 items of jewelry, recording devices and casette tapes. The items and cash were seized by the government. As part of his Family Secrets Case sentence, Calabrese owes the government $20 million and owes the families of his victims $4.4 million. Calabrese was convicted of racketeering and of participation in 13 gangland murders.

Records of the Chicago Crime Commission indicate that Calabrese was involved in criminal activities since he was a teenager. A former mob loan shark who demanded interest as high as 520% a year, he was convicted in 1954 in federal court for possession of stolen cars in interstate commerce. He has arrests for robbery, stolen autos and illegal use of firearms. His loan sharking ring operated from 1970 to 1990s. Calabrese headed the 26th Street Crew of the regional underworld Outfit. The crew oversaw gambling and loan sharking in the Chicago area.

Basciano will face capital charges

Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano's efforts to have capital charges against him thrown out have failed. An request filed with the Second Circuit Court of Appeals was denied on March 22, according to a story by Janon Fisher of the New York Post. Basciano had hoped to convince the appeals court that his earlier conviction as boss of the Bonanno Crime Family included the three racketeering offenses with which he is now charged. The court ruled that only one of the offenses could be thrown out. The other two, including a capital murder conspiracy charge for the Nov. 30, 2004, killing of Ralph "Randy" Pizzolo in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, were left in place. A death penalty case against Basciano is scheduled to begin in 2011.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Two shot dead in Old Montreal

Two men were shot dead in Old Montreal on March 18, causing police to scramble to find links to Canada's most prominent Mafia family, according to a story by Andy Blatchford and Sidhartha Banerjee of the Toronto Star. Police did not immediately identify the two victims, who were shot at a high-end St. Jacques Street clothing store. Two bystanders were struck and injured by flying lead. The gunmen escaped the area on foot. They were seen discarding clothing and Rastafarian-style wigs as they walked briskly away.

Detectives had been expecting reprisals for the Dec. 28 slaying of Nicolo Rizzuto, son of jailed Montreal crime boss Vito Rizzuto. Vito Rizzuto is serving a 10-year sentence in Colorado for his involvement in three Brooklyn, NY, racketeering murders in 1981.

The March 18 killings were later linked to Ducarme Joseph, owner of the clothing store, according to a story by the AFP news service. Police speculated that Joseph, reportedly tied to Montreal street gangs, was the target of the attack. A Joseph bodyguard was one of the victims. Canadian organized crime expert Antonio Nicaso said the Rizzuto Mafia was seeing increased competition from Calabrian criminal organizations as well as street gangs. The competition, he suggested, may be receiving encouragement from New York Mafia groups.

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.