CHICAGO (AP) — The coronavirus pandemic that has crippled big-box retailers and mom and pop shops worldwide may be making a dent in illicit business, too.
In Chicago, one of America’s most violent cities, drug arrests have plummeted 42% in the weeks since the city shut down, compared with the same period last year. Part of that decrease, some criminal lawyers say, is that drug dealers have no choice but to wait out the economic slump.
“The feedback I’m getting is that they aren’t able to move, to sell anything anywhere,” said Joseph Lopez, a criminal lawyer in Chicago who represents reputed drug dealers.
Organised crime groups offer support to quarantined families who have run out of cash
As Italy struggles to pull its economy through the coronavirus crisis, the Mafia is gaining local support by distributing free food to poor families in quarantine who have run out of cash, authorities have warned.
In recent weeks, videos have surfaced of known Mafia gangs delivering essential goods to Italians hit hard by the coronavirus emergency across the poorest southern regions of Campania, Calabria, Sicily and Puglia, as tensions rise across the country.
“For over a month, shops, cafés, restaurants and pubs have been closed,” Nicola Gratteri, antimafia investigator and head of the prosecutor’s office in Catanzaro, told the Guardian. “Millions of people work in the grey economy, which means that they haven’t received any income in more than a month and have no idea when they might return to work. The government is issuing so-called shopping vouchers to support people. If the state doesn’t step in
Traditional organized-crime rackets like betting and construction are bleeding the New York mafia dry. But in Italy, the mobs are stronger than ever.
ROME—The New York mafia is taking a hit from the novel coronavirus pandemic after many of its money-making outlets have been shuttered.
Gambling halls, sporting events, and construction projects have long fed the Empire State gangs, but now that they are taking an “historic” blow, a law-enforcement source told the New York Post. “There’s never been a time when they weren’t making money through gambling,” the source said.
The American mafia families are also losing out on the extortion racket after restaurants and other entities close their doors under New York City’s “shelter in place” order. A halt to non-essential construction jobs, which includes transportation and port entry, has also put a dent in the U.S. mob’s profits.
While most everyone in America is sheltering in place in fear of coronavirus, some celebrities behind bars, such Bill Cosby and R. Kelly, are pressing to be released from lockups where they fear the killer virus is raging or soon will be.
On Wednesday, the 23-year-old Brooklyn rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine (real name Daniel Hernandez), who suffers from asthma and once was hospitalized for bronchitis, was released from a federal prison to serve the remaining four months of his two-year racketeering sentence in home confinement, according to Nicholas Biase, spokesman for the U.S Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
“The government did not oppose counsel’s motion for compassionate release because the defendant’s medical condition placed him at high risk during the coronavirus outbreak,” Biase said in a statement emailed to USA TODAY.
Dawn Florio, one of his lawyers, confirmed his release to USA TODAY and said the rapper and his legal team were “super excited – ecstatic” about the news.