U.S prosecutors have unveiled charges against 46 members of an organised crime network that included four of New York’s five Mafia families.
And the group – including members of the Genovese, Gambino, Lucchese and Bonanno crime families – has apparently been working together in a conspiracy running the length of the East coast, reports the New York Times.
It sounds like they’ve been pretty busy as they’ve allegedly been involved in – deep breath – extortion, arson, health care and credit card fraud, illegal gambling and the sale of illegal firearms and cigarettes.
Aside from the gravity and scope of the crimes – the main thing people seem to be focusing on following the charges is the brilliance of the classic gangster names on show in the indictment.
The list of suspects includes such colourful offerings as ‘Muscles’, ‘Tony the Cripple’, ‘Mustache Pat’ and ‘Tugboat’.
FBI official Diego Rodriguez said:
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 investigation by the FBI and New York’s organised crime task force has collected thousands of hours of testimony from a cooperating witness and an undercover FBI agent, reports The Telegraph.
Their work has yielded a 32-page grand jury indictment which details threats, arson and the assault of one victim with glass jars, sharp objects and steel-tipped boots.
Illegal gambling was a major source of funds for the mobsters with gambling businesses operating in New York, Florida, New Jersey and Costa Rica.
New York police chief Bill Bratton, said:
[These charges] deal a significant blow to La Cosa Nostra (Italian American Mafia) which the NYPD is committed to putting out of business.
But there are no convictions just yet and unfortunately mafia members can be notoriously difficult to convict.
Just last November, Vincent Asaro, allegedly a member of the Bonanno family, was tried over the spectacular 1978 New York airport heist featured in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas – only to be acquitted by a jury.