New York (CBSNewYork) — A reputed longtime captain of the Bonanno crime family was caught on tape grooming an underling and discussed the possibility of killing a foe, Manhattan prosecutors said Wednesday.
Nicholas Santora and eight co-defendants were arraigned Wednesday at Manhattan Supreme Court and are facing 299 racketeering charges, including trafficking Viagara and Cialis, extorting victims, loan-sharking and running an offshore Internet gambling operation that netted $1 million a month, WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reported.
Assistant District Attorney Gary Galperin read excerpts from wiretap recordings. In one, Santora allegedly tells his underboss: “When I leave, you’ll take over this neighborhood, so you’ve got to start conducting yourself in a certain way. Acting like a clown, those days are over.”
In another recording, Santora brags about his guns and his willingness to use them and says of someone who owes him money, “I want to put two bullets in his head,” prosecutors said.
Santora, 71, who was the basis for a character in the movie “Donnie Brasco,” has been arrested two dozen times and convicted several times. He is currently serving a 24-month prison sentence for extortion and is set to be released in October.
Santora’s attorney, Michael Alber, told the New York Daily News that he intends to argue that Santora has already been charged for the alleged crimes and that he was in prison when most of the alleged mob activity occurred.
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Melissa Jackson set bail at $1 million bond or $500,000 cash, which cannot be paid until Santora is released from federal custody.
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