What, you thought the Mafia had called it quits?
FBI agents arrested dozens of alleged mobsters this morning in a sweep running up and down the East Coast, from Florida to Massachusetts. The FBI announced the indictment of 46 purported members of the Genovese, Gambino, Luchese, Bonanno, and Philadelphia crime families today. Three suspects were already in state and federal prison, and four others are still at large. In the sweep, the feds say they found three handguns, a shotgun, gambling items, and $30,000 in cash (which between 39 people isn't a huge amount of dough, let's be honest).
"Today’s charges against 46 men, including powerful leaders, members and associates of five different La Cosa Nostra families, demonstrate that the mob remains a scourge on this city and around the country," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement. "From loansharking and illegal gambling, to credit card and health care fraud, and even firearms trafficking, today’s mafia is fully diversified in its boundless search for illegal profits. And as alleged, threatening to assault, maim and kill people who get in the way of their criminal schemes remains the go-to play in the mob’s playbook."
Purported wise guys were rounded up in the Bronx, Queens, Staten Island, Yonkers, Rockland County, Orange County, the Jersey Shore, Bergen County, Springfield, Massachusetts, various cities in the Miami area, and Costa Rica.
The alleged schemes include an illegal casino in Yonkers, and a crime ring allegedly run out of a restaurant in the Bronx's Little Italy. The Yonkers casino, allegedly run by Pasquale "Patsy" Parrello and four others, hosted poker tournaments and dice tournaments, took bets on horse races, and included poker machines.
Parrello runs Pasquale's Rigoletto on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, and the feds claim he is a Genovese capo who used his business as a headquarters. Suspects also frequently met at highway rest stops to avoid law enforcement scrutiny, according to the indictment. In June 2011, Parrello allegedly ordered guys with nicknames such as "The Beast" and "Buddy" to beat up a panhandler who had bothered some customers.
"Remember the old days in the neighborhood when we used to play baseball?...A ball game like that was done," the Beast allegedly told Pasquale underling Anthony "Anthony Boy" Zinzi in a wiretapped call.
An informant worked under Parrello and apparently recorded thousands of hours of conversations with these fellows, as well as people working under Joey Merlino, alleged boss of the Philadelphia family, whom the informant helped out with Parrello's permission. Meanwhile, an undercover agent infiltrated the Genovese sub-organization allegedly run by Eugene "Rooster" O'Nofrio on Mulberry Street and in Springfield.
In early 2011, while Parrello was under federal supervision for a prior conviction, the casino allegedly run by Zinzi in Yonkers was suffering as a rival club raked in profits, according to the feds. Zinzi allegedly ordered his guys to torch the car of the rival club's owner.
In seeking to shake down the rival club owner for a gambling debt, Parrello allegedly sent Zinzi, Buddy (Israel Torres), and Vincent "Big VInny" Terracciano to threaten him repeatedly over more than two years. On one occasion, Parrello allegedly said, "I want Buddy to choke him, choke him, actually choke the motherfucker…and tell him, ‘Listen to me…next time I’m not gonna stop choking… I’m gonna kill you.'"
In strategizing collection from another debtor, Parrello allegedly said:
Cut his fuckin’ tire. That way he has to change the tire. So then you know you can catch up with him. Give him a flat. Take the air out of the tire, whatever the fuck you got to do. Then you catch up with him because then he’s there, ya know, he’s got to get it fixed, he can’t go nowhere, and then you surround the motherfucker. That’s how yous do it.
Prosecutors say the sap paid up.
In Massachusetts, four men were charged with interfering with interstate commerce through threats and violence, racketeering, loan-sharking, and extortion.
Some of the suspects, including Parrello, are said to have been involved in credit card fraud, medical fraud, and selling more than $3 million in untaxed cigarettes.
In a separate but possibly related state bust out of Queens, John Gotti's 23-year-old grandson John Gotti was arrested with seven others early today on narcotics charges, NBC4 reports.
18 alleged Genovese operatives from New York City and Long Island were charged federally in May.