In this day and age it is sometimes hard to conceive of Organized Crime, it was something from a bygone era, and usually starred Marlon Brando as the ‘mouthfull of gravel’ Godfather.

Alas crime families are alive and well, or in the case of the Colombo family, who are likely better known as La Cosa Nostra, are alive and behind bars tonight.

This morning, Benton J. Campbell, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Kathleen M. Rice, Nassau County District Attorney, and Mark J. Mershon, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Division, announced a seventeen count indictment against 12 members. The indictment charges:
racketeering conspiracy, robbery, extortion, narcotics trafficking, and loansharking. The charged racketeering predicate acts include, among others, four acts of murder, murder conspiracy, and felony murder.

Ouch, thats not unpaid traffic tickets!

Among the ‘boy scouts’ rounded up this morning are Thomas Gioeli, the acting boss of the Colombo “family”, and John “Sonny” Franzese, the Colombo second in charge, and for good measure they pulled in ten additional family members and associates.

This bust was based on a three year investigation.

The defendants arrested in New York today are scheduled to be arraigned later today before United States Magistrate Judge Cheryl L. Pollak at the U.S. Courthouse in Brooklyn. Of course some of the arrests were pretty easy, Colombo family underboss John “Sonny” Franzese is currently in the can for a violation of supervised release following his prior conviction in the Eastern District of New York. While Colombo family associate Nicholas Bova is currently cooling his heels for a New York State conviction, and Colombo family associate Christopher Curanovic is currently in jail pending trial on the underlying indictment in the Eastern District of New York.

The press release says:

The broad scope of the investigation includes historical acts of murder by the Colombo family as well as more recent criminal activity. The evidence relating to many of the charged crimes consists of hundreds of hours of recorded conversations secured by multiple cooperating witnesses who infiltrated the Colombo family.

As with any good ‘Godfather’ related story, the participants have great names. Those indicted today include Thomas Gioeli, 55; John “Sonny” Franzese, 89; Dino Calabro, 41; Michael Catapano, 42; Frank Campione, 65; Joseph “Joey Caves” Competiello; 36; Joseph Digorga, 67; Orlando Spado, 63; Angelo Giangrande, 55; John Capolino, 39; Nicholas Bova, 31; and Christopher Curanovic, 26.

The indictment sugests that the Colombo family has brazenly used of violence – including murder – to earn money, seek revenge, and obstruct justice, including:

The Felony Murder of Carlos Pagan. Colombo family captain Dino Calabro is charged with the January 9, 1992, armed robbery and felony murder of Carlos Pagan. Pagan, an armored truck guard, was shot and killed during a botched effort by Calabro and others to rob Pagan as he and a co-worker were delivering money to a check-cashing store in Brooklyn.

The Murders of John Minerva and Michael Imbergamo. Colombo family acting boss Thomas Gioeli and captain Dino Calabro are charged with the March 25, 1992, double murder of Colombo family soldier John Minerva and Minerva’s friend, Michael Imbergamo. Minerva was murdered as part of the bloody Colombo family war, which pitted two factions of the Colombo family against each other in a violent struggle for control of the family. Imbergamo was not a target of the murder, but was killed because he was with Minerva at the time of the attack. Colombo captains Joseph “JoJo” Russo and Anthony “Chucky” Russo and soldier Joseph Monteleone were previously convicted in the Eastern District of New York for their participation in this double murder.

The Murder of Frank Marasa. Acting Colombo family boss Thomas Gioeli, captain Dino Calabro, and soldier Joseph “Joey Caves” Competiello are charged with the 1991 murder of Frank Marasa. On June 12, 1991, Marasa was shot multiple times outside his home in Brooklyn in retaliation for his perceived involvement in the murder of a Colombo family associate.

Nice guys! It should be interesting to see how long they actually spend behind bars. I’ll just bet there is some high priced help greasing some palms as you read this.

Simon Barrett

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