Thursday, June 1, 2017

Lucchese leaders, members, associates charged

"It is clear that this 'family' business
is of no benefit to its community..."
A superseding indictment was filed in White Plains, New York, yesterday (May 31, 2017), charging nineteen alleged members and associates of the Lucchese Crime Family - including three who are more than eighty years old - with racketeering, murder, extortion, narcotics, firearms and other offenses, according to press releases by the United States Attorney's Office of the Southern District of New York and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Fifteen of the defendants were arrested during the day. The other four were already in state or federal custody.

The thirty-page superseding indictment builds on February charges of racketeering - including the Nov. 15, 2013, murder of Michael Meldish - against alleged Lucchese "soldier" Christopher Londonio, 43, and alleged Lucchese "associate" Terrence "T" Caldwell, 59.

"The Lucchese Family and its associates are alleged to be linked to guns, drugs, racketeering and murder," said Angel M. Melendez, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in New York. "They are also alleged to have used their criminal enterprise to launder money, tamper with witnesses and extortion. It is clear that this 'family' business is of no benefit to its community or to this great city."

Matthew Madonna
New York Post
Matthew Madonna, 81, alleged street boss of the Lucchese Family (said to manage the organization's affairs for the formal boss serving a life sentence in federal prison); Steven "Wonder Boy" Crea, Sr., 69, alleged underboss (second in command) of the family; and Steven Crea, Jr., 45, alleged capodecina (crew leader) of Londonio, were charged in the superseding indictment with ordering the murder of Meldish.

Meldish, 62, regarded as the leader of the Purple Gang in the Bronx and Harlem, was killed at Ellsworth Avenue near Baisley Avenue in the Bronx. According to a story published in the New York Daily News, Meldish oversaw an underworld crew engaged in heroin trafficking and murder. The crew reportedly was affiliated with the Lucchese, Genovese and Bonanno crime families of New York. Meldish was found dead in the driver's seat of a rusty Lincoln LS automobile. He had been killed by a single gunshot to the head.

The superseding indictment charges that Paul "Paulie Roast Beef" Cassano, 38, and Vincent Bruno, 33, acting under the direction of the Creas, attempted late in 2012 to murder a Mafia associate of the Bonanno Crime Family who had shown disrespect toward Steven Crea, Sr. It also charges that Terrence Caldwell on May 29, 2013, attempted to murder a Bonanno Crime Family soldier in Manhattan and that Steven Crea, Sr., and Joseph "Joey Glasses" Datello, 66, in October 2016 attempted to murder a witness who provided information to state and federal law enforcement.

The superseding indictment contains additional racketeering charges against Madonna, the Creas, and alleged family consiglieri (third in command) Joseph DiNapoli, 81.

Also named in the superseding indictment were: Robert Camilli, 60; John "Big John" Castelucci, 57; Tindaro "Tino" Corso, 56; "Spanish" Carmine Garcia, 65; John Incatasciato, 42; James "Jimmy the Jew" Maffucci, 69; Richard O'Connor, 63; Dominic Truscello, 83; Brian Vaughn, 51; Joseph Venice, 56. According to the indictment, the younger Crea, Truscello, Castelucci and Corso served the Lucchese Family in a capodecina or acting capodecina role. It labeled Venice, Maffucci, Datello, Cassano and Londonio as "soldiers" in the organization.

Steven Crea, Sr.
NY Daily News

The superseding indictment was announced by Angel Melendez of HSI, Jooh H. Kim, acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District; William F. Sweeney Jr., assistant director in charge of FBI's New York Field Office; James P. O’Neill, commissioner of the New York City Police Department; and Walter M. Arsenault, executive director of the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office press release, all the defendants except Camilli and Incatasciato face possible life sentences in prison if they are convicted. The charges against Camilli and Incatasciato are punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Londonio and Caldwell were arrested in 2015 in connection with the Meldish murder.  On February 8, 2017, an indictment was filed in White Plains charging them with racketeering conspiracy, murder conspiracy, murder and firearms offenses. Caldwell also was charged at that time with participating in the 2013 attempted murder of the Bonanno Crime Family soldier at First Avenue and 111th Street in Manhattan. According to the indictment, Caldwell assaulted the Bonanno soldier with a firearm causing bodily injury to the victim.

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.