Sixteen individuals purportedly affiliated with the Gambino crime family found themselves in custody, with apprehensions occurring in both the United States and Italy, as revealed by US prosecutors. These alleged wrongdoers have been slapped with a litany of charges, ranging from racketeering and extortion to retaliation against witnesses, conspiracy, and fraud.
The operation led to the apprehension of ten suspects in the vicinity of New York, while six others were detained by Italian authorities in Palermo, Sicily. One suspect remains at large, according to the US Department of Justice.
Those residing in the United States were promptly brought before a New York court, where prosecutors detailed a pattern of intimidation and violent acts seemingly aimed at embezzling funds and defrauding unions and employee benefit plans.
Their illicit activities targeted various sectors, including demolition companies and waste management entities. According to the indictment, the group systematically intimidated business owners and coerced them into paying for protection services.
They stand accused of sidestepping union regulations and manipulating bid processes for highly profitable demolition contracts, as reported by the BBC.
Gambino is one of the most important mafia families in New York
The laundry list of charges doesn't end there; these alleged mobsters are also facing accusations of witness tampering, money laundering, and firearms-related offenses.
Among the individuals detained are Joseph "Joe Brooklyn" Lani, who held the position of family captain, Angelo "Fifi" Gradilone, a family soldier, and Francesco Vicari, an associate of the Sicilian mafia, who is also known as "Uncle Chico." The Gambino family ranks among the notorious La Cosa Nostra, which comprises five influential mafia families in the New York area.
Previously led by the infamous John Gotti until his demise in prison in 2002, and subsequently by Frank Cali, who was tragically gunned down outside his Staten Island residence in March 2019. This incident marked the first targeted assassination of a mob boss in the city since the demise of Paul Castellano, the then-Gambino family boss, back in 1985.
Recent law enforcement efforts and investigations in both the United States and Italy have underscored the persistent focus on this criminal organization. Those found guilty could potentially face prison sentences ranging from 20 to 180 years, a stark reminder of the consequences of organized crime activities.
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