The Chicago Syndicate: Bartolomeo Vernace
Showing posts with label Bartolomeo Vernace. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bartolomeo Vernace. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Largest Coordinated Mafia Arrest Takedown in FBI History

Early on morning of January 20th, FBI agents and partner law enforcement officers began arresting nearly 130 members of the Mafia in New York City and other East Coast cities charged in the largest nationally coordinated organized crime takedown in the Bureau’s history.

Members of New York’s infamous Five Families—the Bonanno, Colombo, Gambino, Genovese, and Luchese crime organizations—were rounded up along with members of the New Jersery-based DeCavalcante family and New England Mafia to face charges including murder, drug trafficking, arson, loan sharking, illegal gambling, witness tampering, labor racketeering, and extortion. In one case involving the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) at the Ports of New York and New Jersey, the alleged extortion has been going on for years.

More than 30 of the subjects indicted were “made” members of the Mafia, including several high-ranking family members. The arrests, predominantly in New York, are expected to seriously disrupt some of the crime families’ operations.

"The notion that today's mob families are more genteel and less violent than in the past is put to lie by the charges contained in the indictments unsealed today,” said Janice Fedarcyk, assistant director in charge of the FBI's New York Field Office. “Even more of a myth is the notion that the mob is a thing of the past; that La Cosa Nostra is a shadow of its former self.”

The Mafia—also known as La Cosa Nostra (LCN)—may have taken on a diminished criminal role in some areas of the country, but in New York, the Five Families are still “extremely strong and viable,” said Dave Shafer, an assistant special agent in charge who supervises FBI organized crime investigations in New York.

The operation began before dawn. Some 500 FBI personnel—along with about 200 local, state, and other federal law enforcement officers—took part, including key agencies such as the New York Police Department and the Department of Labor Office of Inspector General. By 11 a.m., more than 110 of the 127 subjects charged had been taken into custody.

The idea for a nationally coordinated LCN takedown originated at the Department of Justice last summer, said Shafer, a veteran organized crime investigator. “We have done big LCN takedowns before, but never one this big.”

Among those charged:


  • Luigi Manocchio, 83, the former boss of the New England LCN;
  • Andrew Russo, 76, street boss of the Colombo family;
  • Benjamin Castellazzo, 73, acting underboss of the Colombo family;
  • Richard Fusco, 74, consigliere of the Colombo family;
  • Joseph Corozzo, 69, consigliere of the Gambino family; and
  • Bartolomeo Vernace, 61, a member of the Gambino family administration.


The LCN operates in many U.S. cities and routinely engages in threats and violence to extort victims, eliminate rivals, and obstruct justice. In the union case involving the ILA, court documents allege that the Genovese family has engaged in a multi-decade conspiracy to influence and control the unions and businesses on the New York-area piers.

“If there’s money to be made,” said Diego Rodriguez, special agent in charge of the FBI’s New York criminal division, “LCN will do it.” He noted that today’s Mafia has adapted to the times. “They are still involved in gambling and loan sharking, for example, but in the old days the local shoemaker took the betting slips. Now it’s offshore online gambling and money laundering. If you investigate LCN in New York,” Rodriguez added, “it’s a target-rich environment.”

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Historic Mafia Crackdown Today

Federal authorities orchestrated one of the biggest Mafia takedowns in FBI history Thursday, charging 127 suspected mobsters and associates in the Northeast with murders, extortion and other crimes spanning decades.
Past investigations have resulted in strategic strikes aimed at crippling individual crime families. This time, authorities used a shotgun approach, with some 800 federal agents and police officers making scores of simultaneous arrests stemming from different mob investigations in New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island.
They also used fanfare: Attorney General Eric Holder made a trip to New York to announce the operation at a news conference with the city's top law enforcement officials.
Holder called the arrests "an important and encouraging step forward in disrupting La Cosa Nostra's operations." But he and others also cautioned that the mob, while having lost some of the swagger of the John Gotti era, is known for adapting to adversity and finding new ways of making money and spreading violence.
"Members and associates of La Cosa Nostra are among the most dangerous criminals in our country," Holder said. "The very oath of allegiance sworn by these Mafia members during their initiation ceremony binds them to a life of crime."
In the past, the FBI has aggressively pursued and imprisoned the leadership of the city's five Italian mob families, only to see ambitious underlings fill the vacancies, said Janice Fedarcyk, head of the FBI's New York office. "We deal in reality, and the reality is that the mob, like nature, abhors a vacuum," she said.
However, the FBI has gained a recent advantage by cultivating a crop of mob figures willing to wear wires and testify against gangsters in exchange for leniency in their own cases. "The vow of silence that is part of the oath of omerta is more myth than reality today," she said.
In the latest cases, authorities say turncoats recorded thousands of conversations of suspected mobsters. Investigators also tapped their phones.
In sheer numbers, the takedown eclipsed those from a highly publicized assault on the Gambino Crime Family in 2008, when authorities rounded up 62 suspects. All but one of the arrests resulted in guilty pleas.
Among those arrested Thursday were union officials, two former police officers and a suspect in Italy. High-ranking members of the Gambino and Colombo crime families and the reputed former boss of organized crime in New England also were named in 16 federal indictments unsealed Thursday.
The indictments listed colorful nicknames — Bobby Glasses, Vinny Carwash, Jack the Whack, Johnny Cash, Junior Lollipops — and catalogued murders, extortion, arson and other crimes dating back 30 years.
One of the indictments charges a reputed Gambino boss, Bartolomeo Vernace, in a double murder in the Shamrock Bar in Queens in a dispute over a spilled drink. Another charges an alleged Colombo captain, Anthony Russo, in the 1993 hit on an underboss during the family's bloody civil war.
Luigi Manocchio, 83, the reputed former head of New England's Patriarca crime family, was arrested in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He has long denied having mob ties. An indictment accuses him of collecting protection payments from strip-club owners. lso arrested was Thomas Iafrate, who worked as a bookkeeper for strip clubs and set aside money for Manocchio, prosecutors said. Iafrate pleaded not guilty Thursday in federal court in Providence, R.I.
Other charges include corruption among dockworkers in New York and New Jersey who were forced to kick back a portion of their holiday bonuses to the crime families. Members of the Colombo family also were charged with extortion and fraud in connection with their control of a cement and concrete workers union.
Most of the defendant were awaiting arraignment on Thursday in federal court in Brooklyn. If convicted, they face a wide range of maximum sentences, including life in prison.
Thanks to Tom Hays

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