Attorney General Eric Holder and other officials provided more details of the massive mob bust executed by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies today. Holder said 110 people have been arrested, and 127 charged, in New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. Of the arrested, 91 are allegedly members and associates of seven organized crime families of La Cosa Nostra.
“This is one of the largest single-day operations against the mafia in the FBI’s history, both in terms of the number of defendants arrested and charged, and the scope of the criminal activity alleged,” Holder said.
Defendants include people from all five New York-based families: the Bonanno, Colombo, Gambino, Genovese and Luchese. Among the alleged mob higher-ups charged: Luigi Manocchio, 83, the alleged former boss of the New England La Cosa Nostra; Andrew Russo, 76, alleged street boss of the Colombo family; Benjamin Castellazzo, 73, alleged acting underboss of the Colombo family; Richard Fusco, 74, alleged consigliere of the Colombo family; and Joseph Corozzo, 69, alleged consigliere of the Gambino family. All told, more than 30 “made men,” were charged. One of the people charged was arrested in Italy.
Holder said that the alleged crimes range from loan sharking and labor racketeering to arson and murder, some going back 30 years. While some of the murders involved “classic mob hits” on rivals, Holder described an incident where two people were allegedly shot dead in a bar because of a “dispute over a spilled drink.”
“Today’s arrests mark an important, and encouraging, step forward in disrupting La Cosa Nostra’s operations,” Holder said.
Janice K. Fedarcyk, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s New York Division, said that the arrests were the result of “years of investigative work” and involved over 800 law enforcement agents. Fedarcyk said that among the charges are “several distinct conspiracies.”
Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website’s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl(at)talkingpointsmemo.com