The Chicago Syndicate

Friday, June 19, 2020

Chris Meloni, @Chris_Meloni, Confirmed for Law & Order: Organized Crime

Chris Meloni of Law & Order: Organized Crime
NBC made it official on Tuesday: Det. Elliot Stabler is coming back to TVs everywhere sometime this fall. The character, once again played by Christopher Meloni, will head up a new Law & Order spinoff, titled Law & Order: Organized Crime.

Rumors of Meloni's return to the procedural mega-franchise has been talked about since February, nearly a decade after he departed from Law & Order: SVU after Season 12. Although fans never stopped hoping he'd return to the show, and for good reason. When SVU premiered in 1999, Meloni's portrayal of Stabler was one of the things that drew viewers in those early episodes, along with his rapport with co-star Mariska Hargitay, who played Captain Olivia Benson.

While SVU managed to succeed in the wake of Meloni's absence, Season 22 will be premiering sometime this fall, the show's dedicated viewers never let go of the possibility of his character's eventual return. Even though the actor previously insisted he had "no plans" to return to the Law & Order fold, that appears to have changed. Other than the fact that Organized Crime will follow SVU on Thursday nights, there aren't a lot of details at the moment, including a premiere date for the show. However, here's a rundown of what we do know about Law & Order: Organized Crime.

Law & Order: SVU premiered in September of 1999, and was itself a spinoff of Dick Wolf's drama Law & Order. Meloni's Elliot Stabler was a dedicated family man who often took his department's grim cases to heart, oftentimes complicating the investigations along the way. This was regularly at odds with Hargitay's Captain Benson, who often took the opposite perspective, and created a dynamic that drove the show for more than a decade.

After helping anchor SVU for 12 seasons, Stabler's absence was casually explained away in an off-screen retirement. Given that he never received a proper send-off, which is why so many fans have been yearning to see him come back. It turns out, the actor left the show simply because he was unable to reach terms with NBC on a contract extension.

In an interview with PEOPLE back in February, Hargitay mentioned there had been "conversations" about Stabler being brought out of retirement, though she was also scarce on the details. "I can't tell you that; I'm taking the Fifth!" Hargitay said. "There have been conversations, many a conversation." Back in August of last year, showrunner Warren Leight told TVLine that he was hopeful that Stabler would return, though he pointed out that the decision was "above my pay grade."

After rumors started gaining steam in March, Meloni himself confirmed the news on Twitter, albeit indirectly. He did have a "small quibble" about the announcement, which was just that he's "not on Facebook." While the actor does have a verified page on the platform, he later clarified that someone else runs it. Regardless, fans were beside themselves over the news.

Law & Order: Organized Crime will see Stabler return to the NYPD to battle organized crime, which comes with some extra motivation due to a personal loss. His triumphant comeback also comes during dramatic changes in the city's police department, not to mention the city at large. The series will follow Stabler as he attempts to rebuild his life as he leads a new elite task force tasked with taking apart the city's most powerful crime syndicates. In addition to the new series, Stabler will also appear in SVU's Season 22 premiere.

Along with Tuesday's announcement, NBC Entertainment Chairman Paul Telegdy addressed how Organized Crime, as well as the rest of its cop dramas and comedies, will fit into a world being reframed by Civil Rights protests. Telegdy stated that "the events of this year have allowed us the time to take pause, examine our business with a new lens and take some immediate action."

He added that they're using the temporary shutdown as an "opportunity to offer all of this season's showrunners the chance to enrich their team with an additional diverse writer at any level." While he admits that it's "not the solution by any means, but it is something we can do right now to take a positive step."

Thanks to Christian Long.


DEA Domestic Cartel Initiative Arrests 12 in Operation Mad Hatter

Twelve defendants are in custody after a DEA operation led to several arrests this morning as part of a federal drug investigation. Operation Mad Hatter has resulted in the identification of multiple drug traffickers and the seizure of large quantities of cocaine, ecstasy, methamphetamine, and heroin.

Operation Mad Hatter, run by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, is an ongoing DEA Domestic Cartel Initiative investigation. Today’s arrests follow the unsealing of indictments of 13 individuals who were charged by a federal grand jury on March 3, 2020. Of those, eight were taken into custody this morning, four were already in police custody, and one has made arrangements to turn herself in.

The investigation was initiated in June 2018 to target violent drug trafficking organizations operating in central Arkansas and, in particular, Pine Bluff. The investigation revealed that the Stuttgart Police Department was responding to drug and violence caused by a local gang organization called Porter Block Mafia, or PBM. Detectives reported this particular organization was responsible for several shootings and other violent crimes in Stuttgart. The organization was also known for selling crack cocaine, marijuana and illegally-obtained pills. Stuttgart police reported there have been several drug robberies in their city suspected to be carried out by the PBM organization.

The Pine Bluff Police Department and Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office advised investigators that the main violent gang organization in their community is known as Murder Gang and Murder MOB, or MOB. Local investigators advised that these violent organizations were responsible for three to four shootings a night in their community as well as several murders. Both agencies advised that the killings were related to narcotics and gang rivalries. Additionally, over 120 firearms had been stolen from a pawn shop in Pine Bluff, and police advised that they suspected MOB has been using these stolen weapons to commit crimes in their community.

In response to the drug and gun violence in Pine Bluff and Stuttgart, DEA launched Operation Mad Hatter in 2019. In February 2019, DEA made the first arrests related to the operation, and in August 2019, additional arrests resulted from activity uncovered during the ongoing investigation. Today’s arrests mark the third phase of the operation, which has resulted in a total of 43 arrests to date.

On March 3, 2020, the grand jury for the Eastern District of Arkansas returned an indictment charging Kendrick Thorn and 11 codefendants in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, as well as firearms offenses. Thorn and three codefendants are charged with enhanced penalties based on prior convictions for drug trafficking and crimes of violence. Four additional defendants are indicted with drug trafficking and firearm offenses in separate indictments.

During the course of Operation Mad Hatter, investigators have seized 29 kilograms of methamphetamine, four kilograms of cocaine, one kilogram of MDMA (commonly known as ecstasy), 1.5 kilograms of heroin, 82 grams of fentanyl, over 200 diverted prescription pills, more than $107,000 in assets, and seven firearms. During today’s arrests, officers recovered an additional 600 grams of methamphetamine, approximately one pound of marijuana, three firearms, and approximately $6,000 in U.S. currency.

“Today’s arrests demonstrate that law enforcement is working hard to eradicate drugs and violence from our communities,” stated Cody Hiland, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas. “This third phase of Operation Mad Hatter is an example of the continued pressure we will apply to drug trafficking organizations. We appreciate the efforts of our many law enforcement partners who were instrumental in carrying out this investigation.”

Shirley Washington, Mayor of Pine Bluff, stated, “The City of Pine Bluff is committed to revitalizing our community and making this a place of destination for families, students, and businesses to thrive. We support all efforts to make this a safe environment for such progress to grow and flourish.”

“Nothing is more important than the safety and security of our communities. This Domestic Cartel Initiative operation is a powerful attack against a violent drug trafficking organization and will have an immediate impact in this region of Arkansas and beyond,” DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Justin King said. “The resulting arrests demonstrate the combined strength local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies bring to bear in the fight against these domestic cartels and strike a substantial blow to their drug trafficking operations. By working together, we are leveraging our respective resources to achieve results that we could not accomplish on our own.”

“These arrests represent a lengthy investigation and send a clear message to drug traffickers. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service will defend the nation’s mail system from illegal use, and stopping the flow of dangerous drugs to our cities is a high priority,” said D. Glen Henderson, Acting Inspector in Charge of the Fort Worth Division. “Removing drugs from the streets and taking guns from criminals is always a victory for the community. We thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and all county, state and local law enforcement officers who worked together with Postal Inspectors to make this investigation a success.”

Operation Mad Hatter is a joint investigation with participation from the DEA Little Rock District Office; FBI; United States Postal Inspection Service; United States Marshals Service; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, & Explosives; Arkansas State Police; Pine Bluff Police Department and the Narcotics Unit; Little Rock Police Department; North Little Rock Police Department; Benton Police Department; Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office; Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office; Saline County Sheriff’s Office; Central Arkansas Drug Task Force; and Arkansas Community Corrections.


Al Capone: Devoted Husband or Notorious Womanizer?

Call him Scarface or Snorky, Al Capone is one of the most-remembered gangsters and his reign as a crime boss during the Prohibition era has been fictionalized for several TV shows and films. His antics will forever be part of Chicago history and perhaps, even American history.

Born in New York City to Italian immigrant parents, he joined the Five Points Gang in his adolescent years and got deeply embroiled in organized crime, especially in brothels, as an ill-informed bouncer. Even though he was the “bad guy,” his popularity rose as “the modern-day Robin Hood.” He made huge donations and charities to the needy and spectators cheered for him at ball games.

One of the most striking things about him was his personal life. Capone is perhaps one of the few gangsters who had a happy marriage despite his gang life. The co-founder and boss of the Chicago Outfit got hitched to Mae Josephine Coughlin when he was 19. Though she belonged to a staunchly Catholic family bringing home an Italian street punk was frowned upon but their relationship was truly a love story. Since he was under 21, his parents had to give their consent in writing. It was a cold winter day, on December 30, 1918, when the two got married — a month after their son Albert Francis “Sonny” Capone was born with hearing impairment in his left ear. It is believed that Al had a long and committed relationship with Mae but how true is that?

National Book Award-winning biographer Deidre Bair penned down Capone’s humane side in her book, ‘Al Capone: His Life, Legacy, and Legend’.

In the book, she writes, “Al was a typical Italian boy who loved his family and needed to be in their midst and did not like being away from home.” She adds, “Al had the only steady job, but besides his Baltimore expenses, he had Mae and a sickly baby to support.” The book also mentions the constant friction between Mae and her mother-in-law, Teresa.

According to hearsay, even after the birth of his son, Capone was a notorious womanizer. The philandering gave Capone syphilis and his wife and son got it from him. He never sought treatment as opening up about the STD would mean having to accept his illicit affairs. In the book, Bair reflects upon the story about how he kept a 15-year-old female mistress in an apartment and how Mae dyed her hair same as her. While other writers have deemed it as true, she feels it could just have been a legend with no solid proof.

It is also believed Mae once told her son “not to do what your father did. He broke my heart.” Nevertheless, his marriage survived and Mae was a devoted wife. He was put behind the bars at the age of 33 and after an 11-year prison sentence, he went through mental trauma. From Al Capone’s rise from a low-ranking thug to a fearsome mob leader, Mae was by his side. When he left prison, he had the mind of a twelve-year-old and in the book, Bair writes about how his wife Mae and his brothers took care of him and saw him having imaginary conversations with long-dead colleagues. He was Mae’s full-time job as she tried to keep him out of the eyes of hounding reporters who were trying to catch a glimpse of him.

On January 25,  1947, Capone died of a stroke and Mae Capone died on April 16, 1986, in a nursing home in Hollywood, Florida.

Thanks to News Lagoon.


Monday, June 15, 2020

Broken by @DonWinslow - One of America’s Greatest Living Crime Writers

No matter how you come into this world, you come out broken . . .

In six intense short novels connected by the themes of crime, corruption, vengeance, justice, loss, betrayal, guilt and redemption, Broken is #1 international bestseller Don Winslow at his nerve-shattering, heart-stopping, heartbreaking best.

In Broken, he creates a world of high-level thieves and low-life crooks, obsessed cops struggling with life on and off the job, private detectives, dope dealers, bounty hunters and fugitives, the lost souls driving without headlights through the dark night on the American criminal highway.

With his trademark blend of insight, humanity, humor, action and the highest level of literary craftsmanship, Winslow delivers a collection of tales that will become classics of crime fiction.


Al Capone's Vault

Flash Mafia Book Sales!

New York Crime Families

Crime Family Index