There were no flower cars outside the funeral of 103-year-old John ‘Sonny’ Franzese—but gospel music, funny stories, and eulogies from his loving grandkids made it much grander.
This is a photo released by the FBI showing reputed New England Mafia leader Francis P. “Cadillac Frank” Salemme, after his arrest Aug. 11, 1995, in West Palm Beach, Fla. Salemme has been charged with lying to investigators about his role in the 1993 killing of a nightclub owner in order to get a shorter sentence for his racketeering conviction. Salemme, 71, was charged in 1995 with participating in eight murders. He pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with federal investigators. He was astar witness for the government in the trial of corrupt FBI agent John Connolly Jr. (AP Photo/FBI)
By MATT STOUT
Former New England mafia godfather Frank “Cadillac” Salemme was ordered held without bail today on charges he murdered a federal witness after prosecutors say he went on the run from a witness protection program.
Salemme, appearing in federal court today wearing baggy brown pants, sneakers and a blue t-shirt, did not challenge a detention order and waived his right to a probable cause hearing before being led away in handcuffs.
The 82-year-old mobster was smiling at times and even joking during his brief court appearance: As he was led into the courtroom, he quipped to long-time federal prosecutor Fred Wyshak, “Fancy seeing you here.”
Salemme is charged with the murder of a witness on May 10, 1993, according to a criminal complaint. Wyshak confirmed outside the courtroom that the murdered witness, who was not named in court, was nightclub owner Stephen DiSarro.
According to an indictment of another aging former mobster made public earlier this summer, Salemme and his son, Frank Salemme Jr., murdered DiSarro on that date. DiSarro’s remains were found behind a mill in Providence in late March.
The initial Salemme revelation came in the indictment in June of ex-La Costa Nostra gang member Robert P. DeLuca, 70, on charges of lying to federal investigators about DiSarro’s disappearance and murder.
The Salemmes had a “hidden interest” in DiSarro’s Channel club, and that relationship came up during criminal investigations in the early 1990s, according to the DeLuca indictment.
The indictment on the murder charges against Salemme has been sealed from the public.
Salemme, who was the boss of the New England La Cosa Nostra in the 1990s until he was indicted on racketeering charges in 1995 and convicted in 1999, was arrested this morning in Connecticut.
Salemme was “fleeing from potential prosecution” and had left his home in Atlanta, Ga., Wyshak said.
Salemme’s lawyer, Steven Boozang, denied that his client was on the run.
“He was on his way back to answer any charges,” Boozang told reporters after the hearing. He said Salemme denies the charges and is determined to bring the case to trial.
More than 500 officers took part in raid on Laudini clan in Sicilian port of Catania after heir told police about ‘three queens of Caltagirone’
Italian police have arrested dozens of suspected Mafia members in an international operation to dismantle a powerful Sicilian crime group run by women.
Over 500 officers took part in the raid on the Laudani clan in the Sicilian port of Catania, nicknamed “Mussi di ficurinia” (“Prickly pear lips”), in a sting that also involved forces in Germany and the Netherlands, Italian police told AFP.
Three women, known as the three queens of Caltagirone, a town near Catania, had ruled the clan with an iron grip as well as governing all financial matters but were brought down by the heir to the clan who began helping police.
The suspects were all wanted for Mafia association, extortion, drug trafficking and possessing illegal arms.
Of 109 arrest warrants issued on Wednesday, 80 people were detained, 23 were already serving time in prison and six are still eluding capture, police said.
Italian authorities say Giuseppe Laudani was selected to run the clan when he was 17 after his Mafia boss father was killed but he turned to police and told how the three women, Maria Scuderi, 51, Concetta Scalisi, 60 and Paola Torrisi, 52, had raised him.
Known as “the prince”, he described a world of violence and vendettas, with the women building power after his aunt Concetta’s life was saved by his father during an attempted assassination at the end of the 1980s, Italian media reports said.
Torrisi, daughter of a mobster boss who used to manage the clan’s international drug trading, was still young when she began to organise couriers in the area around Mount Etna, the active volcano which dominates Catania.
Laudani also told police about his brother Pippo and half-brother Alberto Caruso, as well as his grandfather Sebastiano Laudini, 90, who had served time between 1986 and 2012 and is now back under house arrest.
According to prosecutor Michelangelo Patane, the clan, which had sought ties with the cocaine-running ’Nrangheta mafia in Calabria, had a huge arsenal of weapons, including two bazookas.
The rocket launchers were intended for use in hits on several Sicilian magistrates but the plan was foiled when another informer told police the weapons were hidden in a garage on the slopes of Mount Etna.
The Laudani are believed to be behind a string of violent attacks in the 1990s, including the murder of a prison warden and a lawyer who had refused to be bought.
Police said they had been hampered in their investigations by local business owners, who either lied about being the victims of attempts to extort money from them or admitted the extortion but refused to help identify those responsible.
The Sicilian Mafia, known as “Cosa Nostra” or “Our Thing”, was Italy’s most powerful organised crime syndicate in the 1980s and 1990s, but has seen its power diminish following years of probes and mass arrests.
It also faces fierce underworld competition from the increasingly powerful Naples-based Camorra and ’Ndrangheta.
- This article was amended on 10 February 2016. It originally stated that from the 109 arrest warrants issued, 86 people had been detained. In fact, 80 had been detained. This has been corrected.
Updated 9:31 AM ET, Sat January 30, 2016
(CNN) After eluding capture for years, two Mafia bosses have been arrested in an underground bunker in southern Italy.
Police seized mobsters Giuseppe Ferraro, 47, and Giuseppe Crea, 37, in Calabria region Friday, according to Italian news agency Ansa.
Ferraro was found guilty of murder and Mafia association decades ago, and had been a fugitive since 1998.
Crea was convicted of Mafia association and had been on the run for nine years, according to the news agency.
Their hideout had an array of weapons, including rifles, pistols and machine guns.
“Today is another great day for everyone and for the country because justice has won,” Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said after their arrest.
Beyond Italian borders
The two men are part of ‘Ndrangheta, a dangerous criminal organization that has tentacles worldwide. The group is based in Calabria, where the two men were arrested.
‘Ndrangheta’s power has grown beyond Italian borders.
Two years ago, Italian officials said the group is linked to drug trafficking in South and Central America, Canada and the United States.
The ‘Ndrangheta was formed in the 1860s, and is involved in kidnappings, corruption, drug trafficking, gambling and murders, according to the FBI.
It has between 100-200 members in the United States, mostly in New York and Florida.
Full Article – http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/30/europe/italy-mafia-arrests/