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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.

Dozens of alleged mobsters nabbed by feds in East Coast sweep

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NEW YORK — More than 40 alleged mobsters were charged Friday in a broad-based organized crime bust, according to the FBI.

The FBI says members of reputed mafia crime families, including the Genovese, Gambino, Luchese and Bonanno families, were arrested in New York and Florida. The suspects allegedly operated as a part of a massive East Coast syndicate known as the “East Coast Enterprise.”

The families allegedly formed an unusual alliance and joined forces or conducted overlapping business, CBS New York reported. Members reportedly used coded language to arrange meetings at highway rest areas and restaurants.

Federal prosecutors say members operated along the East Coast including in New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Florida and were involved with firearms trafficking, extortion, illegal gambling, health care fraud, credit card fraud, assault and other offenses.

An indictment in Manhattan federal court said the criminal activities were mostly based in New York.

The suspects included reputed old-school mobsters in New York and Philadelphia. Among those charged were Joseph “Skinny Joey” Merlino, the reputed boss of a Philadelphia crime family. Also named in the indictment was Pasquale “Patsy” Parrello, identified as a longtime member of the Genovese organized crime family in New York City.

Diego Rodriguez, head of the FBI’s New York office, said in a statement that the indictment “reads like an old school Mafia novel, where extortion, illegal gambling, arson and threats to ‘whack’ someone are carried out along with some modern-day crimes of credit card skimming.”

The indictment lays out a organizational structure made famous through generations of mafia movies and high-profile criminal trials: each “family” was organized into “crews” or “regimes” of suspected mob members, each with a leader known as a “caporegime,” “capo,” “captain” or “skipper.” Each crew member or “soldier” allegedly carried out criminal activities for the enterprise and received protection from their “capo.”

The highest-ranking members of the family were dubbed “the administration,” the indictment says — the head of the family, or “boss,” would be assisted by an “underboss” or “consigliere.”

A local focus of the investigation was an apparent gambling operation known as the Yonkers Club where poker and dice tournaments were held, reports CBS New York. One count accuses the 72-year-old Parrello of ordering a beatdown of a panhandler he believed was harassing customers outside his Bronx restaurant, telling a cohort to “break his … knees.” The panhandler was “located and assaulted with glass jars, sharp objects and steel-tipped boots, causing bodily harm,” the court papers say.

The enterprise allegedly sought to gain power, cash and territory through intimidation, violence, and threats of physical and financial harm. In some cases, the indictment alleges, suspected members assaulted or destroyed the property of people they thought jeopardized the enterprise’s activities.

The indictment charges 46 people. By 10 a.m., some 41 of those charged were in custody, according to CBS New York.

sourced from –¬†http://www.cbsnews.com/news/fbi-arrests-alleged-mobsters-in-east-coast-mafia-sweep/