Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Lucchese Gambling Ring Broken Up

Dozens of alleged members of the Lucchese Crime Family were arrested Tuesday morning in raids in New Jersey and New York that authorities say broke up a major sports betting ring.

Police say the 32 suspects were taken into custody at their homes and are being processed at the West Orange Armory.

They will be arraigned, likely tomorrow, at the Morris County Courthouse in Morristown.

Taken into custody, according to authorities, were the crime family's New Jersey capo, 61-year-old Ralph Perna of East Hanover, as well as several leaders of the New York faction. Also arrested were Ralph's son, Joseph, and 41-year-old Michael Cetta, both of Wyckoff.

Investigators with the New Jersey Attorney General's Office reportedly swooped down on the suspects' homes in Bergen and Morris counties this morning to make the arrests.

Cetta's Wyckoff home was described as a $1.9 million mansion, which investigators were searching this morning. He is a reputed member of the Bonanno crime family, but linked by marriage to the Luccheses.

The suspects were believed to behind a sports betting operation that took in more than $2 billion over the past 15 months. Along with gambling, the suspects are allegedly linked to loan sharking and extortion. Their operation is said to be based in Northern New Jersey and in New York.

Officials say the arrests are the culmination of a year-long investigation by the New Jersey Attorney General's Office.

Earlier this year, authorities arrested a 56-year-old East Hanover man as part of a Lucchese crime family gambling operation. At that time, the quiet Morris County town was described as a hub for illegal gambling activity run by organized crime.

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