Tag Archives: italian mafia

Mafia-linked funeral investigated amid coronavirus lockdown

Sicilian procession for brother of Cosa Nostra boss Luigi Sparacio claimed to have broken Covid-19 safety laws

Italian prosecutors are investigating the funeral of the brother of a former Sicilian mafia boss for allegedly breaching Italy’s coronavirus lockdown.

Photographs showed a funeral procession in Messina attended by dozens of people. Family and friends gathered on the streets to accompany the coffin carrying Rosario Sparacio, 70, the older brother of Luigi Sparacio, who was considered one of the most important heads of the Cosa Nostra in the 1990s and who eventually turned supergrass.

The news, first reported by the newspaper La Gazzetta del Sud, has sparked a row in Italy where since the beginning of March a government decree has banned all religious gatherings, including funerals and weddings, in order to contain the spread of Covid-19.

In the cities hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, coffins are awaiting burial, held in churches, and the corpses of those who have died at home are being kept in sealed rooms.

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Former mob rat Michael ‘Cookie’ D’Urso writes open letter to the Mafia

Wanna whack me? Fuhgeddaboudit!

Genovese turncoat Michael “Cookie” D’Urso, who is now using a different identity after testifying against the mob, wrote an open letter to his former colleagues, warning them against trying to take revenge.

D’Urso, 49, apparently heard that members of the Genovese family were discussing his new name and whereabouts at an Upper East Side steakhouse.

“I am ready, able and willing to defend my family and myself,” D’Urso threatens in the letter, first obtained by Gang Land News. “A bat and a knife won’t help you so you will have to use a gun.”

D’Urso was an up-and-coming gangster when, in 1994, he survived a bullet to the head over a gambling debt during a predawn card game in a Williamsburg social club. The hit also killed a beloved cousin, but the mob family wouldn’t allow D’Urso to seek retribution, an episode he alludes to in the letter.

He says the acting boss of the Genoveses, Frank “Farby” Serpico, threatened to assassinate him, which drove D’Urso to begin wearing a wire in 1998.

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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.

Italian police break mafia ring exporting fake olive oil to U.S.

By Umberto Bacchi

ROME (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Italian police said they have busted a crime ring exporting fake extra virgin olive oil to the United States, highlighting the mafia’s infiltration of Italy’s famed agriculture and food business.

Twelve people with links to the ‘Ndrangheta, the organized crime group based in the southern Calabria region, were arrested on Tuesday on a series of charges including mafia association and fraud, police said in a statement.

The gang shipped cheap olive pomace oil to the U.S. where it was re-labeled as the more expensive “extra virgin” variety, prized for its rich taste and health benefits, and distributed as such to retail stores in New Jersey, they said.

Italian crime syndicates earned an estimated 16 billion euros ($16.85 billion) in 2015 through illegal activities in the agriculture sector, up from 15 billions in 2014, according to Italy’s agricultural association, Coldiretti.

Besides counterfeiting products, gangs make money seizing control of farmland and firms, fixing prices, controlling distribution and through labor exploitation, studies say.

In 2015, crime groups forced more than 100,000 Italians and migrants to work long hours for little pay in fields across the country, according to a report by Italian General Confederation of Labor union (CGIL).

Read Full – http://www.reuters.com/article/us-italy-crime-food-idUSKBN1602BD