Category Archives: Organized Crime

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Alleged Montreal Mafia leader denied bail in cocaine trafficking case

PAUL CHERRY, MONTREAL GAZETTE
More from Paul Cherry, Montreal Gazette

The alleged leader of a clan within the Montreal Mafia was denied bail in a cocaine trafficking case on Tuesday along with one of his co-accused.

Andrea (Andrew) Scoppa, 53, a resident of Île Bizard, registered little reaction as Quebec Court Judge Serge Boisvert listed off the reasons Scoppa was being denied a release in Project Estacade, an investigation into drug trafficking in Montreal and Laval conducted by the Regional Integrated Squad. On Feb. 1, eight people, including Scoppa, were charged in Project Estacade at the Montreal courthouse, and another small group of men were charged in Laval.

Fazio Malatesta, 48, was also denied bail as part of the same hearing where Boisvert heard evidence over the course of three days in April. A publication ban has been placed on the evidence. Because of the seriousness of the charges the men face, they were required to prove they merited a release, as opposed to the normal standard where the Crown is required to prove they should be detained. One reason Boisvert cited in his decision was that a well informed member of the public, aware of the evidence gathered in the case, would lose faith in the justice system if the men were released at this point in their case.

Scoppa and Malatesta are both charged with conspiring to traffic in drugs, drug trafficking and possession of cocaine with the intent to traffic in cocaine.

The case returns to court next week to set a future date for a preliminary inquiry.

Sourced From – http://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/alleged-montreal-mafia-leader-denied-bail-in-cocaine-trafficking-case

Mafia enforcer back behind bars after road rage attack

A gangster for the New Jersey crime family that inspired The Sopranos has pleaded guilty to violating his parole after he was filmed engaging in a road rage attack.

Ex-con Jerry Balzano, a reputed enforcer for the DeCavalcante crime family, was on supervised release after pleading guilty to a racketeering conspiracy in 2011 when he lost his cool at another driver.

Vision from the victim’s dashboard camera shows Balzano brake-check him before he gets out of his car and hurls abuse.

“You want to play f—ing games, you little c—?” Balzano can be heard yelling at the driver.

“You want to cut me off like a tough guy?”

The victim’s wife can be heard phoning police as the 54-year-old alleged gangster pummels her husband.

“Someone is hitting my husband,” she screams. “Oh my gosh.”

Balzano continues to beat the man until another motorist pulls over, manages to calm him down and leads him back to his car.

He then speeds away, despite not having a driver’s licence.

The alleged Mafioso is due to front court again on May 16 and faces up to two years in jail for the road rage attack, according to the New York Post.
Read more at http://www.9news.com.au/world/2017/04/11/14/39/mafia-enforcer-back-behind-bars-after-road-rage-attack#1FAHlspQLiv4Te2h.99

New York mafia family hit by wave of arrests

Ten members of a New York mafia family were arrested Tuesday on charges including attempted murder and extortion, prosecutors said, the latest blow against the area’s organized crime syndicates.

All of the suspects are believed to belong to the Bonanno family, one of five major Italian-American mob organizations in the northeastern United States – along with the Colombo, Gambino, Genovese and Lucchese families.

The charges stem from alleged crimes committed over a nearly 20-year span, beginning in 1998. They centered in New York’s bayside Howard Beach neighborhood, close to the John F. Kennedy International Airport, and were the result of a long-term investigation that included wiretaps, cooperating witnesses and surveillance.

Ronald “Ronnie G.” Giallanzo, an acting captain in the Bonanno family, was the ringleader of a loansharking operation that, at one point, reached $3 million in “extortionate loans,” according to Bridget Rohde, acting federal prosecutor for the Eastern District of New York.

“Even while incarcerated, Giallanzo kept watch over his illicit loansharking book, directing his associates to commit acts of violence to ensure that the customers paid the exorbitant weekly interest rate,” a statement read.

Prosecutors gave an example of one customer who owed Giallanzo $250,000 and had been missing the required weekly interest payments. Giallanzo and an unnamed associated allegedly beat the man until he soiled himself, while screaming and demanding the money.

Another defendant, Evan “The Jew” Greenberg, had boasted about grabbing a delinquent customer by the ankles, and knocking the victim to the ground with his head hitting the concrete, prosecutors said.

The indictment unsealed Tuesday also accused Giallanzo of a plot to murder a person who had robbed his associates.

The dispute lasted months, and saw Giallanzo’s crew and their target trading gunfire on several occasions in the streets of Howard Beach.

The defendants were estimated to have earned more than $26 million from crimes including illegal gambling, robbery and extortion, prosecutors said.

Howard Beach is home to a large Italian-American community and is sometimes considered a stronghold of the New York mafia.

Last week, the 23-year-old namesake grandson of New York mobster John Gotti was arrested and charged with violent crimes, including a bank holdup. Six others were also indicted and arrested in the mafia crackdown.

And in August, authorities arrested 46 alleged mobsters up and down the US East Coast, accusing them of orchestrating a vast criminal enterprise that stretched from Massachusetts to Florida.

Russian mafia boss still at large after FBI wiretap at Trump Tower

There, indeed, was an FBI wiretap involving Russians at Trump Tower.

But it was not placed at the behest of Barack Obama and the target was not the Trump campaign of 2016. For two years ending in 2013, the FBI had a court-approved warrant to eavesdrop on a sophisticated Russian organized crime money laundering network that operated out of unit 63A in Trump Tower.

The FBI investigation led to a federal grand jury indictment of more than 30 people, including one of the world’s most notorious Russian mafia bosses, Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov. Known as the “Little Taiwanese,” Tokhtakhounov was the only target to slip away, and he remains a fugitive from American justice.

Five months after the April 2013 indictment and after Interpol issued a “red notice” for Tokhtakhounov, the fugitive appeared near Donald Trump in the VIP section of the Moscow Miss Universe pageant. Trump had sold the Russian rights for Miss Universe to a billionaire Russian shopping mall developer.

“He is a major player,” said Mike Gaeta, the FBI agent who led the 2013 FBI investigation of Tokhtakhounov and his alleged mafia money laundering and gambling ring, in a 2014 interview with ABC News. “He is prominent, he has extremely good connections in the business world as well as the criminal world, overseas, in Russia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, other countries.”

Gaeta, who ran the FBI’s Eurasian Organized Crime unit of the FBI’s New York office told ABC News at the time that federal agents were closely tracking Tokhtakhounov, whose Russian ring was suspected of moving more than $50 million in illegal money into the United States.

“Because of his status, we have kept tabs on is activities, and particularly as his activities truly enter New York city,” Gaeta said. “Their money was ultimately laundered from Russia, Ukraine and other locations through Cyprus banks and shell companies based in Cyprus, and then ultimately here to the United States.”

The FBI investigation did not implicate Trump. But Trump Tower was under close watch. Some of the Russian mafia figures worked out of the 63rd floor unit in the iconic skyscraper –- just three floors below Trump’s penthouse residence — running what prosecutors called an “international money laundering, sports gambling and extortion ring.”

The Trump building was home to one of the top men in the alleged ring, Vadim Trincher who pleaded guilty to racketeering and received a five-year prison term. He is due to be released in July.

“Everything was moving in and out of there,” said former FBI official Rich Frankel, now an ABC News consultant.

Read Full – http://abcnews.go.com/US/story-fbi-wiretap-russians-trump-tower/story?id=46266198

Drug dealers as murderers? Proposed Florida law targets sellers fueling overdose crisis

Cindy Dodds 24-year-old son, Kyle, was found dead of a lethal drug overdose on the streets of Overtown in Sept. 2016. Kyle had a mix of fentanyl, carfentanil, cocaine and heroin in his system. Cindy is hoping to raise awareness about opioid abuse, and that lawmakers strengthen the Florida law punishing dealers who give out fatal doses of the drugs. Emily Michot Miami Herald

After years of battling addiction, Kyle Dodds collapsed on an Overtown street corner on an early morning, victim of an illegal drug usually used for tranquilizing elephants.

For Miami homicide detectives, holding a drug dealer accountable for Dodds’ death has proven a familiarly futile task.

His cell phone disappeared from the scene, so investigators found no text messages or calls that might lead to the possible drug source. No witnesses surfaced to say they saw Dodds buying at a particular dope hole. Detectives didn’t even find a baggie of drugs on Dodds, which might offer a clue to a distinct seller.