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.

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.