A federal indictment in Brooklyn, New York, on Thursday named 62 defendants in one of the largest anti-mafia takedowns in recent years, with most of the suspects in custody. Dozens of alleged Gambino crime family members have been charged with various gangland crimes dating back across three decades. Among the crimes included are the brutal murder of a court officer.
The three highest-ranking members of the Gambino family have been indicted as well as both the brother and nephew of the late John Gotti, the "Teflon Don" . Alongside the federal indictments a separate state investigation resulted in 26 others being charged.
In what appears to be a co-ordinated move there have been a number of raids in Italy which targeted alleged members of Mafia families there who are allegedly involved in cross Atlantic drug trafficking.
U.S. Attorney Benton Campbell,at a news conference of federal and state officials in Brooklyn, said the U.S. indictments would bring "closure to crimes from the past."
New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said "We like to think that it's a vestige of the past. It's not," the mob, "still exists in the city and the state of New York," .
Following raids on Thursday those caught up in the Gambino arrests include the suspected acting boss of the Gambino family, John "Jackie the Nose" D'Amico. He is accused of having had a major part in a racketeering conspiracy.
The federal indictment set out charges covering gangland killings from the time the Gambino crime family was run by Paul Castellano who was assassinated in 1985 on orders from Gotti. The Gambino indictments include allegations of operating a Queens gambling ring.
Three of the seven murders alleged in the indictment involved victims who weren't criminals. Charles Carneglia, an alleged Gambino soldier is accused in relation to five killings over three decades, including the murder of Albert Gelb, the state court officer gunned down in 1976. There had been previous unsuccessful attempts to prosecute Gambino members including Carneglia's brother for this killing.
The indictment also relates to extortion in the construction industry, embezzlement from labor unions and illegal loansharking and bookmaking. The most recent crimes date back just a few years, including charges of theft of union benefits, drug dealing, credit fraud and conspiracies.
Alleged Gambino consigliere Joseph Corozzo was represented by his son Defense attorney Joseph Corozzo Jr., at arraignment. Corozzo pleaded not guilty to various racketeering counts including cocaine trafficking.
"Dapper Don" Gotti was sentenced to life in prison in 1992 and died in 2002 and the Gambino family have been the target of government attention, indictments and prosecutions since.
In Italy 29 people were sought who had alleged associations with the Sicilian Mafia boss Salvatore Lo Piccolo, who was arrested in November. Italian investigators had warned that Lo Piccolo was trying to become Cosa Nostra's next "boss of bosses, and was trying to improve links with U.S.-Mafia mobs clans like the Gambino crime family.
The Gambino crime family is based in New York City and is one of the "Five Families" of the Mafia (or Cosa Nostra which spreads tentacles of organized crime activities across the US.
The Gambino mob operations are not confined to New York but extend across the eastern seaboard and as far as California. The Gambino's illicit criminal activities have included gambling, loansharking, racketeering,fraud and wire fraud, extortion, murder, murder for hire, toxic waste violations, construction, building and cement violations,hijacking,and fencing.
The Gambino crime family have their roots in a criminal Neapolitan gang. Such gangs spread with emigration to the US and inter-mob feuds and warfare there ended with the rise of Charlie "Lucky" Luciano, who took control of New York's organized crime and laid the foundation of the "Five Families" - the Commission of the Cosa Nostra.
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