Monday, November 24, 2008

"Made" Mob Members Dwindle in Ranks

The ranks of the traditional "La Cosa Nostra" have been dwindling here in Rhode Island over the years. So much so, the face of the modern mob bust, like we saw last week, is a diverse cross-section of society.

The "Operation Mobbed Up" sweep netted two dozen people and crushed an alleged criminal syndicate run out of the Valley Street Flea Market. Among those arrested were several with ties to the Patriarca Crime Family.

In organized crime's heyday in Rhode Island, when Raymond L.S. Patriarca ran the show, investigators kept tabs on at least 22 "made" members of the New England crime family.

Rhode Island State Police Col. Brendan Doherty, a veteran mob investigator, tells Target 12 that right now, "There are about eight or nine people we allege are inducted members." Of those, some are what he calls "retired."

In fact, in the "Mobbed Up" bust from November 17, not a single defendant is a member of the Patriarca crime family. State Police say several -- including infamous mob muscleman, Gerald Tillinghast, and aging, wheelchair-bound Nicholas "Nicky" Pari -- are mob associates.

"The fact that a large group of associates was arrested and a made member was not arrested is not a reflection on the New England LCN," says Jeffrey Sallet, a supervisory special agent with the FBI's Organized Crime Unit in New England. He told Target 12 the LCN -- La Cosa Nostra, "our thing" -- has not "made" a lot of people, and many are mere associates.

The boss of a crime family approves letting in new members. Law enforcement sources tell Target 12 the head of the New England crime family is 80-year-old Luigi "Babyshanks" Manocchio. Sources say Manocchio keeps his inner circle small. Those men who've been identified by law enforcement sources as capo regime under Manocchio include:

* Robert "Bobby" Deluca, whom sources say is keeping a low profile after serving ten years on gambling charges. His parole is set to expire in 2009.
* Edward Lato, who recently escaped gambling charges after a State Police sting in 2006. Lato was released from federal prison earlier this year after a probation violation.
* Joseph Achille, who two years ago served a year at the ACI on a conspiracy charge.

Two longtime reputed mobsters are currently in prison: Capo regime Matthew "Matty" Gugliemetti -- serving time at Ft. Dix for drug violations -- and the infamous 67-year-old mobster, Anthony "The Saint" St. Laurent. He is serving five years for an attempted shakedown of two men over gambling debts.

So far the inner circle has come up clean in this latest round of organized crime-related busts. Col. Doherty says it may just be a new face to old crimes: "It's not quite as organized anymore. We have a lot of renegade factions out there."

Sallet tells Target 12 New England has the distinction of having the only crime family in the country with an active boss still on the street and not behind bars.

Thanks to Target 12

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