According to the FBI, the arrests of more than a dozen alleged mobsters in New York and New Jersey on Tuesday indicate that “the underbelly of the criminal organizations in New York City is alive and well.”
14 alleged mobsters were charged Tuesday with labour racketeering, extortion, and money laundering, including Colombo crime family head Andrew “Mush” Russo, underboss Benji Castellazzo, and consigliere Ralph DiMatteo. According to the US Department of Justice, ten members of the Colombo crime family and one member of the Bonanno crime family were detained.
On Tuesday, the majority of the accused mobsters were apprehended in New York and New Jersey, with Colombo captain Vincent Ricciardo apprehended in North Carolina. DiMatteo, 66, is still on the loose.
Russo and Castellazzo, both 87 and 83 years old, are said to be long-time members of the family.
The accusations include what federal prosecutors in Brooklyn described as a “long-standing, vicious practise” of exercising control over a labour union by threatening to damage its officials unless they choose pay-for-play suppliers for contracts.
Ricciardo allegedly threatened to murder someone identified as John Doe #1 if he did not cooperate, according to the indictment.
In a June 21 tape, Ricciardo allegedly stated that John Doe #1 is aware of the situation “I’ll bury him right in front of his wife and kids, right in front of his f——— house, you can laugh all you want friend, but I’m not scared to go to jail to show a point. I’d f——— shoot him in the face in front of his wife and children, call the cops, fit, let me go, how long do you think I’ll live anyway?”
According to the DOJ, Ricciardo and his cousin had been reportedly taking a portion of John Doe’s income since 2001 before expanding their extortion attempts in 2019.
According to The New York Times, Ricciardo, also known as Vinny Unions, is already a convicted felon who was wounded in the back in November 1992 when masked assailants assaulted a car he was travelling in on his way to awake. One of the other passengers in the automobile was murdered, while another was shot eight times and survived.
“Everything we’ve discovered in our study indicates that history repeats itself. The underbelly of New York City’s criminal families remains alive and thriving. These troops, consiglieres, underbosses, and bosses are obviously not history buffs, and they don’t seem to realise they’ll be caught “In a statement, FBI Assistant Director Michael Driscoll stated.
Teddy Persico Jr., one of those detained, was on federal supervised release following a previous racketeering conviction, according to officials.
John Ragano, a suspected member of the Bonanno organised crime family, was also detained for allegedly falsifying documentation at safety training schools to claim that workers had finished Occupational Safety and Health Administration seminars when they hadn’t. According to the indictment, Ragano’s schools were essentially fronts for meetings of the La Cosa Nostra criminal family and were used to store illegal narcotics and pyrotechnics.
Ragano, 59, was said to go by the moniker “Maniac.”
According to the Department of Justice, the defendants may face up to 20 years in prison.