Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Mob Wives Connected to Bonanno Crime Family Bust

Federal agents busted several high-ranking Bonanno crime family members last week and charged them with racketeering and extortion, authorities said.

Among those arrested in the joint FBI-Drug Enforcement Administration probe were two senior members of the Bonanno ruling administration, Anthony "TG" Graziano and Vinny Badalamenti, law enforcement sources said.

Bonanno captain Nicky Santoro was also charged in the sweep as were soldiers Vito Balsamo and Anthony Calabrese, sources said.

A Gambino crime family associate, James LaForte, was also arrested in the early morning raids, sources said.

The suspects were scheduled to be arraigned in Brooklyn federal court.

Graziano was already facing previous extortion charges in a separate case.

The massive sweep against the Bonanno leadership stems in part from the assistance of former mob associate Hector Pagan, who is the ex-husband of "Mob Wives" star Renee Graziano. Pagan is now a DEA informant.

Renee Graziano is the daughter of Anthony Graziano.

Anthony Graziano, 71, was released recently from prison, but then quickly ensnared in an earlier Drug Enforcement Administration probe that pre-dated today's developments.

In that previous case, Pagan -- a Bonanno associate-turned DEA informant -- reportedly wore a wire and secretly recorded conversations for the feds with his ex-father-in-law while discussing the collection of a loanshark debt.

Anthony Graziano was indicted by Brooklyn federal prosecutors on those earlier charges just last week.

Thanks to Mitchel Maddux

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