Tag Archives: Bonanno family

United States Indicts 10 Mafia Suspects

Acting Boss of Bonanno organized crime family and 9 other members of La Cosa Nostra indicted for racketeering and related charges


NEW YORK — Following an investigation led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) New York working jointly with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, the New York City Police Department (NYPD), and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (SDNY), 10 individuals are being charges with racketeering and other offenses in connection with the activities of the organized crime families of La Cosa Nostra.

The indictment charges eight members of the Bonanno Family: Acting Boss Joseph Cammarano, Jr., Consigliere John Zancocchio, Joseph Sabella, George Tropiano, Albert Armetta, Domenick Miniero, Joseph Santapaolo, and Simone Esposito, all with with racketeering conspiracy involving a wide range of crimes, including extortion, loansharking, wire and mail fraud, narcotics distribution, and conspiracy to commit murder. Genovese Family member Ernest Montevecchi is charged with participating in that conspiracy as well. Several of the defendants and Luchese Family member Eugene Castelle are charged with conspiracy to commit extortion. Armetta is additionally charged with assault resulting in serious bodily injury in aid of racketeering, and aiding and abetting the same.

“The members of this criminal organization have pending charges from drug dealing and fraud to loansharking and conspiracy to commit murder,” said Angel M. Melendez, special agent in charge of HSI New York. “HSI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate and dismantle criminal organization like La Cosa Nostra and the Bonanno family.”

Of the 10 defendants charged in the indictment, nine were taken into federal custody Friday. Santapaolo was presented this morning before a United States Magistrate Judge in the Middle District of Pennsylvania. The rest of the defendants will be presented before United States Magistrate Judge Barbara Moses later today. The case has been assigned to United States District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein.

As alleged in the indictment unsealed today in Manhattan federal court, La Cosa Nostra (“LCN”), also known as the “Mob” or the “Mafia,” operates through entities known as “Families.” In the New York City area, there are five LCN Families, namely, the Bonanno Family, the Genovese Family, the Luchese Family, the Colombo Family, and the Gambino Family. Members and associates of one La Cosa Nostra family at times work together with other La Cosa Nostra families in jointly undertaken criminal ventures.

The Bonanno Family, like other LCN Families, operates through a group of individuals known as “crews,” each of which are led by a “capo” or “captain.” The crews are composed of “made” members, called “soldiers,” and trusted non-members called “associates.” Above the Capos are the highest-ranking members – the Boss or Acting Boss, the Underboss, and the Consigliere, or counselor – who oversee the Family.

At times relevant to the indictment, the defendants held the following positions with their respective LCN Families: Cammarano was a captain and the Acting Boss of the Bonanno Family; Zancocchio was a captain and the Consigliere of the Bonanno Family; Sabella was a captain of the Bonanno Family; Tropiano was a soldier and an acting captain of the Bonanno Family; Esposito was the Consigliere of the Bonanno Family; Miniero, Santapaolo, and Armetta were soldiers in the Bonanno Family; Montevecchi was a soldier in the Genovese Family; and Castelle was a soldier in the Luchese Family.

Count One of the indictment charges Cammarano, Zancocchio, Sabella, Tropiano, Armetta, Miniero, Santapaolo, Esposito, and Montevecchi with participating in a racketeering conspiracy. Count Two charges Armetta with assault resulting in serious bodily injury in aid of racketeering, and aiding and abetting the same. Count Three charges Cammarano, Zancocchio, Sabella, Tropiano, Miniero, and Castelle with extortion conspiracy.

Below is a chart containing the names, ages, residences, charges, and maximum penalties for the defendants. The maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge. The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


From the big house to the ‘burbs: Scottsdale ‘Mafia’ family stars in reality show

Check out Monique Griego’s full story on the Cantarella family’s transition from a life of crime to life in the Sonoran Desert TONIGHT on 12 News at 10.

It’s a lifestyle most of us only know about from the movies: The Mafia life.

“It was a great life — there wasn’t anything we couldn’t have,” said Richard Cantarella.

As a former mobster with the Bonanno crime family, Cantarella and his son Paul grew up in the Mafia. But in 2002, their world came crashing down when the FBI came knocking.

“I got arrested in 2002 and I wound up cooperating with the government,” Cantarella told 12 News.

Cantarella faced life in prison for his alleged ties to a string of Mafia hits and Paul was looking at 20 years for racketeering.

Both decided to cooperate with Paul heading into witness protection as his father waited in prison.

“I chose to be loyal to my family rather than my boss,”

Back then, he never imagined he and his wife Lauretta would end up out west, far away from New York.

“My son picked the state. He flew here, found a home and loved it,” Cantarella said.

In 2004, Paul left witness protection for sunny Scottsdale.

“It was like paradise to me,” said Paul, “The palm trees and your pool was open all year.”

Cantarella later followed, leaving the big house for the Phoenix suburbs.

“You know what I notice out here? There’s a lot of money out here,” Cantarella said. “I’ve never seen so many Bentleys, Maseratis … This would actually be a haven for the Mafia.”

Once in Arizona, the Cantarellas traded a life of crime for a legit family business.

Their Valley car washes are also now serving as the backdrop for the family’s latest endeavor: Unprotected, a reality show on the Oxygen network.

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.