Tuesday, September 02, 2008

7 Reputed Bonanno Associates Face Federal Charges

Seven men, believed to have ties to the Bonanno crime family, face charges including racketeering and illegal gambling, federal prosecutors announced last Thursday.

Three of the men, John Contello, 55, Vincent Disario, 47, and Michael Carucci, 38, were arrested about 5:30 a.m. in New York City on Thursday on charges including racketeering and conspiracy, according to an indictment unsealed in Brooklyn federal court. They were arraigned on Thursday afternoon. If convicted, they face up to 20 years in prison, according to a statement from the United States attorney’s office.

Mr. Contello is a reputed acting captain, and Mr. Disario is said to be a soldier in the Bonanno crime family, the statement said. The police did not detail Mr. Carucci’s reputed ties to the crime family.

Gerald Chilli, 74, also a reputed captain in the family, has been charged with extortion. He had already been in federal custody in Florida on unrelated charges. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of the extortion charges.

George Miller, 68, who the authorities said is an associate of the family, was arrested near Canada and faces charges related to racketeering through the collection of unlawful debts, the statement said. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison.

Richard Cendali, 40, who was arrested in New York City and was also arraigned on Thursday, and Anthony Zeni, 46, who had not been arrested by the afternoon, both face charges related to illegal gambling operations, the prosecutors’ statement said. The authorities that said Mr. Zeni was in Florida and that they expected to have him in custody soon. Both men face a maximum of five years in prison.

Mr. Carucci, Mr. Cendali and Mr. Contello all pleaded not guilty and were released on $250,000 or $500,000 bail, said a spokesman for the United States attorney’s office said. Mr. Disario also pleaded not guilty but was remanded and held without bail. A hearing for Mr. Miller will be held on Friday, the spokesman said.

Thanks to Christine Hauser

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