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More Than 100 in Custody for Alleged Organized Crime

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Attorney General Eric Holder attends a press conference at the US Attorney's Office in New York, January 20, 2011 Attorney General Eric Holder attends a press conference at the US Attorney's Office in New York, January 20, 2011 (EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty)

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that Andrew Russo was charged with the 1993 murder of Colombo underboss Joseph Scopo. This is incorrect. Anthony Russo was charged with the crime. WNYC regrets the error.

In what the FBI is calling the largest takedown of organized crime in history, federal authorities arrested more than 100 individuals suspected of being members of New York and New Jersey's organized crime families. The suspects were charged with crimes including murder, extortion and narcotics trafficking.

Attorney General Eric Holder said authorities arrested many of the suspects in all five boroughs, as well as New Jersey and New England. He said at least 110 people were arrested, 127 people have been charged in total, from seven organized crime families.

Holder said more than 800 state, federal and local enforcement officials were involved in the investigations.

"Today's successful arrests across multiple cities and involving multiple mafia families sends a clear message that in our fight against organized crime, the Justice Department is targeting federal resources and working with our state and local partners like never before," Holder said.

Authorities said the arrests are a blow to New York's five Mafia crime families including the Bonanno, Colombo, Gambino, Genovese and Luchese families. They say that past federal probes, aided by mob turncoats, have undermined the families' ranks and resulted in lengthy prison terms for several leaders.

Holder said some of the murders date back to the 1990s and many of the arrests involve existing corruption in the construction industry and longshoreman at ports.

Federal authorities say some murder allegations involve elimination of rivals, but others include killing two victims in a public bar because of a dispute over a spilled drink. One fraud scheme involved luring consumers into fake loans.

“Our battle against organized crime enterprises is far from over,” Holder said.

The defendants include 83-year-old Luigi Manocchio, alleged former boss of the New England LCN; Joseph Corozzo, 69, alleged consigliere of the Gambino family; and Andrew Russo, 76-year-old alleged street boss of the Colombo family. In a separate case, Anthony Russo is charged with the 1993 murder of Colombo underboss Joseph Scopo, who was shot in the passenger seat of a car in Ozone Park, Queens.

Another defendant, Bartolomeo Vernace of the Gambino family, has been charged with the 1981 double murder of Richard Godkin and John D’Agnese inside the Shamrock Bar, in Woodhaven, Queens.

Of all the crime families targeted, the largest number of defendants come from the Colombo and Gambino families, with 32 and 34, respectively. By comparison, the New England LCN and New Jersey’s Decavalcante family include two defendants each, and the Luchese family has just one.

Reporting by Arun Venugopal

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Comments [12]

Brandt from Clarksville, TN

This is a major crackdown which scrapes the surface of organized crime and gang culture in our country. Does the entertainment industry fuel this? Let me know what you think at http://tinyurl.com/6y8zs5uc

Jan. 21 2011 12:21 AM
KurtAnschlowar

Keeping:

I think people are simply saying that working for these gigantic financial firms is akin to working in the mob. So, maybe it is you that isn't very smart.

Jan. 20 2011 02:51 PM
graham

@keepin'

So you are calling people cowardly and you won't post with anything resembling a real name? Idiot.

Jan. 20 2011 01:38 PM
Keepin' It Real

It never ceases to amaze me the sheer number of cowardly dumbasses that exist on the internet. Grow up you dopes. Stop blaming Wall Street. It's your own fault for being so stupid. If you had any brains you'd actually make a decent living and take some responsibility for you own life. It's really not that hard. Blaming others for your problems will get you no where. It already has gotten you nowhere.

Jan. 20 2011 12:20 PM
Charlie Stella from New Jersey

Interesting ... the so-called organized crime highlighted in this FBI bust seems to pale by comparison to GS's hundreds of billions in takedowns (before they were gifted our "bailout" bucks). What a joke. Organized crime = the Gov't bought and paid for by Wall Street. The FBI might've rounded up some criminals (maybe even some genuine bad guys) but they've been ignoring the real organized crime forever ... oh, right, they're part of it.

Jan. 20 2011 12:11 PM
mozo from fl

The lesson here? You don't pay the government their vig (taxes) they'll lock you up. Organized crime is best left to Wall Street.

BTW, nice segue from Mafia to Goldman.

Jan. 20 2011 11:37 AM
Cesar from Manhattan

Why today? How about a possible tie between Chinese President Hu's visit and organized crime in China and these arrests?

Jan. 20 2011 11:30 AM
Peter

Oh PLEASE!!

The Mafia??? Really??

Small peanuts, if you ask me. The biggest scammers are across the street at Goldman and up in Greenwich at the hedge funds. They make off with billions tax-free.

But Washington isn't as powerful as Wall Street, and so we get treated to a parade of 'mobsters' to make us think that DOJ is protecting us.

Jan. 20 2011 11:26 AM
Rocco from Ozone Park

Just thought you should know, Brian, but the "s" in "cosa" (as in la cosa nostra) is not pronounced as "z." It's just an "s."

Oh, and keep the canoli.

Jan. 20 2011 11:26 AM
viena from New York, NY

good job. Thank you for the law enforcement officers risk their lives to save others.

Jan. 20 2011 11:24 AM

its kind of funny. the government goes after the mafia for illegal activities, yet the financial system of this country is full of crooks who gets bail outs. why waste the time on the mafia? because they do not pay taxes. meanwhile the entire country was brought to it's knees by unscrupulous and illegal activity of the financial industry. whats the difference between a bank and a loan shark? waste of public funds. go after the real crooks.

Jan. 20 2011 11:18 AM
Nick from Mafia Controlled State of NJ

It's amazing that this still goes on. I read somewhere that they arrested a 93 year old guy, Franzese. I thought they were still around for gambling and drugs, but I didn't know they were still killing each other. Didn't they learn anything from the Turk? "I'm a business man; blood is a big expense."

Jan. 20 2011 10:19 AM

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