FBI Does Number On New York's 5 Infamous Crime FamiliesBy Irene Cornell

NEW YORK (CBS New York/AP) — Thursday was a good day for federal agents and bad day for the mob.

In the morning the FBI made arrests from New England to Florida. In all, 127 mafia members and associates were charged with a wide range of crimes — some going back 30 years, CBS 2’s John Slattery reports.

It was the largest mafia bust in FBI history. The massive operation targeted the country’s most notorious crime families, all part of the network known as La Cosa Nostra. Many of the arrests were in Brooklyn, but they occurred throughout New York City, in New Jersey and New England. One person was arrested in Italy.

1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa with Assisstant Director of the FBI Janice Fedarcyk

WCBS 880 Reporter Irene Cornell says leadership of Colombo, Gambino families hit hard

Among those arrested in New Jersey were reputed associates of the Genovese crime family, some of whom also served as officials of longshoremen’s unions.

The charges are listed in 16 indictments charging hundreds of made men with murder, racketeering, gambling, narcotics, trafficking and extortion. The charges cover decades worth of offenses, Holder said, including “classic mob hits to eliminate perceived rivals,” a killing during a botched robbery and a double shooting in a barroom dispute over a spilled drink. Bobby Vernace, of the Gambino leadership, is charged in a 1981 murder in Woodhaven, Queens.

“The reality is that our battle against organized crime enterprises is far from over,” U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said at a news conference in Brooklyn. “This is an ongoing effort and it must and will remain a top priority for all of us in law enforcement.”

The takedown was another blow to New York’s five Mafia crime families. Federal probes aided by mob turncoats have decimated the families’ ranks and resulted in lengthy prison terms for several leaders.

On Friday, a federal judge in Brooklyn sentenced John “Sonny” Franzese, 93, to eight years in prison for extorting Manhattan strip clubs and a pizzeria on Long Island.

Federal prosecutors had sought at least 12 years behind bars for the underboss of the Colombo crime family — in effect, a life term. To bolster their argument, they had an FBI agent testify that Franzese bragged about killing 60 people over the years and once contemplated putting out a hit on his own son for becoming a government cooperator.

In October, Mafia turncoat Salvatore Vitale was sentenced to time served after federal prosecutors praised his total betrayal of his own crime syndicate — and after he apologized to the families of his victims. Authorities said he had a hand in at least 11 murders, including that of a fellow gangster in the fallout from the infamous Donnie Brasco case.

The evidence provided after his arrest in 2003 helped decimate the once-fearsome Bonanno organized crime family, Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Andres said.

“The Mafia today is weaker because of his cooperation,” Andres said. “Mr. Vitale provided lead after lead. … The results speak for themselves.”

Some of the accused mobsters have colorful nicknames like “Vinny Carwash,” “Tony Bagels,” “Johnny Pizza,” “Lumpy,” “The Bull” and “Meatball.”

But agents also nabbed top members, including the reputed head of New England’s crime family, Luigi Manocchio. He’s accused of collecting protection payments from strip club owners.

High-ranking Gambino and Colombo associates were charged with carrying out hits on members of their own family. Some of the alleged killings were almost casual.

“Two other murder victims allegedly were shot in a public bar because of a dispute over a spilled drink,” Holder said.

Since the death of Gambino crime boss John Gotti, top members of La Cosa Nostra have kept a low profile but stayed active.

Said Janice K. Fedarcyk, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s New York Division: “Just as the retirement or resignation of a corporate CEO does not spell the end of the company; neither does the incarceration of a mob boss or key executive mean the dissolution of their family.”

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (194)
  1. RAYRAY says:


  2. A. Levy says:

    Maybe now they’ll finally have time to take a very close look at Charlie Rangel and Al $harpton? They go after the mob so the brain-dead public won’t see where the true organized crime is. DC and Albany.

    1. Harry the Hunchback says:

      Try to stay on the topic.

    2. Steven says:

      Totally agree, A. Levy.

  3. dave_ct says:

    The Obama Administration is just trying to eliminate the competition. Wouldn’t be surprised if management of these organizations is now headed by some kind of “czar” from Chicago.

  4. David says:

    I have to agree with the comments posted here. The Fed is celebrating itself for busting up a bunch of folks who pretty much don’t effect most people and pose very little risk to our National security. They’re guilty of murdering usually their own people, running prostitution and stuff. Ok…

    Meanwhile…back in realty…Barrack Obama and the DemoRat party has stole TRILLIONS. Their at least a 500 BILLION times worse than “Joey Pizza” and “Tony Ravioli.”

    1. Frank Stagg says:

      The Mob must be running out of suitable nicknames!
      Lumpy? Joey Pizza?
      what’s the world coming too.

    2. Prince Leo says:

      you people criticize President Obama so much, why do you not speak about the Bushes and the Chaney’s as to how they lead the U.S. into so much turmoil and you all look for someone else to blame speak of the trillions they manipulated”stole”

  5. Luigi says:

    Why the FBI do not go after Nancy “The Witch”Pelosi, John “The Monster”Kerry and Harry “Scarecrow” Reid..they are the real mafiosos… La Cosa Nostra in La Casa Blanca.

  6. John says:

    Illegal Aliens? Black Panthers? Crips? Bloods? MS13? Crooked Congressmen and Women? Eric Holder?

    All of them are taking more from us than a bunch of ‘old guys’ from the ‘neighborhood’.

    How serious can you be if this is what you are going after.

  7. vegasdomar says:

    They going to investigate the tie in between GE, NBC and the White House? O I forgot that’s a Democrat liberal job loss company with a tie in with a sender to China President. Talk about a mafia.

  8. John Fiorella says:

    My question is this. Why don’t the FED’s go after the Mexican and South American “gang bangers” or does the government go only after old men and women at the airport?

  9. irish_mobster says:

    They forgot the Last-Responders who just swindled the Federal taxpayer again. $100 bn in post-911 health subsidies, $100 bn mental (psycho?) health, $100 bn home mortgage forgiveness, $1m guaranteed federal life insurance, $3m post-911 indemnity, 2 1/2-overtime crossing-guard duty (Why are they all so fat?), retirement after 1-yr on highest salary including 2 1/2-overtime crossin-guard duty. Did the the search dogs get this? What happened to assumed risk in the job description? When do we ever stop luxuriating them?

    1. ken says:

      your 100% correct, there are at least a dozen “first responders” mostly retired in my neighborhood who weren’t anywhere near ground zero the first few days and either went a week or two later for a few hours and then a few months later they all ended up with an extremely large settlement and some bought new houses. Its a disgrace to the real first responders and survivors many of whom got very little.

  10. Smackinyoudown says:

    I guess the Gubmint got tired of the competition. I bet the Mafia does it right and made the gubmint jerk offs look bad

    1. mandy says:

      Why doesn’t the FBI go after the russians who run illegal money laundering activities on numerous storefronts and businesses in brooklyn? Brighton beach full of nothing but russian shell corporations and bensonhurst has illegal russian businesses that are directly across the street from the police station!! Oh thats right, because they won’t be able to show legit assets that the govt can seize for its own coffers.

  11. Jimmy62 says:

    Why got to New York.
    Just got to DC you could get about 50 Senetors and 200+ plus Reps that are a bigger danger to this country than any of the Mob.

    1. CitizenX says:

      +1 Agree wholeheartedly.

    2. Andrew S. says:

      Agreed, except I think you can double those numbers

  12. Jay says:

    Prison for old mafia members serves two purposes. Retirement, because chances are they won’t serve in general population. (And yes as in the movies they’ll probably eat better than most). Second, prison is a hell of a place to recruit. Why bring in unqualified help off the street when all you have to do is tighten up the loose ends on someone serving for GTA or trafficking.

  13. Benny The Eskimo says:

    Tom Holder: When I meet with Tattaglia’s men, should I insist all their drug middlemen have clean records?
    Don Hussein: Mention it, don’t insist. But Barzini will know that without being told.
    Tom Holder: You mean Tattaglia…
    Don Hussein: Tattaglia is a pimp. He never could have outfought Santino. But I didn’t know until this day that it was Barzini all along.



    1. don says:

      coup d’etat! coup d’etat! coup d’etat!!!

    2. searcher says:

      do you watch glen Beck? LOL just wondering because you fit my mental image LMAO

  15. laverda2057@hotmail.com says:

    Forever Bothering Italians

    1. don says:

      yeah, dey usta go afta da commies, but da commies are in charge now.

  16. don says:

    “che gazza d’americana!”

  17. texasgoat says:

    These men were arresred by obama’s men only because they were selling deep your health plans.

  18. Nancy Cooke Pascarelli says:

    This is a great Federal exercise in showing their terror toys and for self congratulations of government agencies. Bad guys associating with bad guys kill one another..is this really a problem?

    If so, why do the Feds allow the Mara Salvatrucha, M13 gang which is terrorizing communities throughout the country( because it’s fun) to run wild…oh, I forgot, they target the Feds and the police so it’s more dangerous. Round up the gangs across this country and gas them like the rats they are.

    Tax payers have bee violated by these miscreant and now we have to pay to keep them away from us by funding their incarceration fees…which is worse the criminals extortion or their government keepers extorting our taxes?

    The wall street bankers are so much more sophisticated in their thieving and in ruining vast numbers of lives but they steal legally…remember, the LAW (which apparently has no overseers until after the fact, if you;re lucky) protects these rats and they get to go to Federal prisons to accept the slap on the hand for devastating thousands of lives.

    How did this country get so out of control?

  19. johnb says:

    Did they get Frankie Pantangelli, Clemenza or Moe Green

  20. don says:

    they busted al capone for tax evasion, so what about the tax evading head of the u.s. treasury dept?

    1. Joey_da_mook says:

      The Big Fella was framed. Tax evasion, what a hoot. He never had a social security card so what taxes are we talking about. He never agreed to comply with the Feds to be a slave worker bee. That’s for all of the rest of us who agreed to become part of the conspiracy. There is no law mandating payment of an income tax by citizens living in the US, only if you live abroad or are an alien living and working the states. Now if you don’t believe me, try to find the law. Case law on persecution is because the IRS need only prove you are obligated to pay based on you filing w-2’s, w-9’s, etc.Simply put, you agree to pay and if you don’t you’re in breach. see Peck & Co. v. Lowe, 247U.S. 165, at 172 (1918)

  21. 'BOUT COVERS IT. says:


    OBAMA SHOULD BE “LEX LUTHER” (The greatest criminal mind on earth)

    1. sober says:

      stop getting high on their drugs

  22. ALL THE WAY TO THE TOP says:

    Hmmm it appears to me that Obama has sent out his minnions to get the compotition out of the way.
    Now Obama has complete raign over the drug cartels as well as the rest of America.
    So why arrent the FEDS arresting Obana for impersinating a presadent?

  23. Hank Warren says:

    So MS-13 runs wild all over NY and they bust these old guys. Useless gov’t, they cannot even figure out who did 9/11. Who did 9/11, here:

  24. Nick the Stick says:

    Italian Proverb: The big criminals hang the small ones.

    1. don says:

      other italian proverb: sunamabetch, no good thurdy peesashet!

  25. james r. says:

    Yes these Italian-American gentlemen are probably guilty of what?/?, Holder is accusing them. However, does this mean our ‘AG’ thinks???, a death blow has ben dealt to organized crime. If so, what about?, the Russian mob, & their arms traffic, Colombians cocaine,Mexicans human traffic,Israeli designer drugs.

  26. Now, let Holder go after the thugs who prevented people from voting in Philadelphia.

    Otherwise he’s a bigot and a hypocrite.

  27. joey p says:

    You know funny, all of you peopel are calling the informants “RATS” and very much so, but you are also telling the feds to go after all of the non I talian gangs, so tell me, what does that make you??

  28. oneinmd says:

    I guess the 400 MILLION dollar bribe to get a senator to change her vote on the health care bill was OK Mr Holder!

  29. Tony says:

    Why the Italians? Why not the black criminal street gangs like the Bloods and Crips? They busted a bunch of old Italians whom probably have done nothing wrong and probably have good lawyers and will be cleared, while the black crimninal street gangs like the Bloods and the Crips murder people in the streets. I hope the old Italian guys make them look foolish by all being cleared of all charges.

    1. Vince says:

      Exactly, Tony!

    2. typicalwhiteguy says:

      Just to add to your excellent post, Tony, why the hell couldn’t “Eric the Red” prosecute the New Black Panthers for voting rights violatons when he had the case in the bag?

  30. Blythe Barne says:

    My dad told me about “Wise Health Insurance” or something which helped him to find a lower priced health insurance (with ALMOST similar benefits) he is recommending this to me. Any suggestion? What do you think of them?

  31. Stephen Boone says:

    Man, growing up in Richmond Hill where I was about the only kid I knew that wasn’t Sicilia in 1956 did I blow it. Playing Doctor with Jeanette Rosalia — heck I took her on the grand tour of the boys bathroom — the big one with 20 stalls and 20 urinals in PS 55. Her Uncle Frank coulda set me up. With ME it was love. And Johhie Spats and Frankie Piano ( his mom gave lessons) Pigano invited me to a FIZZIE PARTY. All I had to do was bring ANYTHING stolen… I mean that’s as close to a made man as a non italian gonna get at 6 years old. I mean, when they shot the OTHER Uncle Frank down at the barber, PIANO went nuts. I was so close, man. I MISS YOU JEANETTE… too bad we moved to Texas.

  32. lilith says:

    Check out the NYC MAFIA WALKING TOUR: http://mafiatour.org

  33. Tony Hammett says:

    Yeah, those octogenarians are a real problem for those OTHER gangsters in Washington. Why not spend the time and money on MS-13 or on government corruption and theft?

  34. typicalwhiteguy says:

    What about Barry “The Liar” Soetoro; Nancy “The Hide” Pelosi; “Prune Face” Harry Reid; and the rest of the Marist D.C. mob? Hell, why didn’t you arrest your self, Eric?

  35. Kenny says:

    Michael Franzese, former Capitan for the Colombo crime family and the only member of the mob to walk away from “the business”, spoke about the mass arrests today of the very folks he walked away from years ago. Michael chose his friend, Dan Cofall, host of the DFW1190AM’s “The Wall Street Shuffle” radio show, to speak to first about the people he knew and the lives they lived.
    You can listen to the interview here:

  36. John says:

    It’s just the government clearing out the competition…

    1. don says:

      it’s funny you mentioned that because that is exactly what mussollini did. his first act of office was to send troops to sicily to arrest all the mafioso because he did not want any competition.

  37. Vinchenzo says:

    Long live the Mad Hatter 😉

  38. Marco Munganunzo says:

    Fugget about it! So the Feds go out and arrest a bunch of 70-90 year old Itallian guys who have had their noses clean for years? Good job Mr. Holder! I guess the Chicago (Fed) mob felt that the NY mob was moving in in their territory or something. Why don’t ya’ll go arrest some of the 100,000 Federal employees who are classified as “seriously past due” on their Federal income taxes….

  39. Aaron mccullars says:

    Now we need to raid the real mobsters…in Washington dc. How are the politicians any different.

  40. Rick the Stick says:

    My wife says, “Great! This will open things up for the Chicago gangs to move in. Great work AG Eric Holder.”

  41. Glenn Koons, LB, Ca. says:

    If there was any real justice for these punks and murderers for infecting our nation for decades with bribes, deaths, dope, numbers rackets, undermining public offices, extortion, beatings and rotten jokes about their criminality via movies, plays and books. Round them up and ……..shoot them all . Yep. For too long the Mafia has been dealing misery to America and other areas of the globe. Not one of them is worth a plug nickel . It would cleanse the public atmosphere ever since The Godfather glorified these thugs.

    1. Vito says:

      Parts I and II are my favorite!

    2. dave says:

      “bribes, deaths, dope, numbers rackets, undermining public offices, extortion, beatings”

      yeah Glen we don’t need them for any of that stuff anymore the government has all those things covered quite well….

  42. Cheif Sitting Bull says:

    Trust the gov’t…ask an Indian

    1. Edward Sonner says:

      Learn to spell your own name

  43. Marty says:

    This is great but how will it help the Pittsburgh Pirates get over .500?

    1. Big Vinnie Testosteronie says:

      Close your eyes. Click your heels and go back to 1962.

  44. lulu says:

    Saviano: “The Mafia boosted Eastern Europe’s economy.” “The economic crisis has created huge opportunities for the stronger mafias, the winners, whereas it has had a negative impact on those mafias which are weaker, the losers. But criminal organizations such as the Nigerians, the Russians, the Casalesi from Naples and the Corsicans represent cartels which have brought liquidity to the economy during the crisis, and thanks to that liquidity they have succeded in many areas such as in big construction and the banking system.” Roberto Saviano, Europe Book Prize winner.

  45. old pootface says:

    …all this, and..THE RENT IS STILL TOO DAMN HIGH!..

  46. ddd says:

    I’m just glad they didn’t get Jimmy TwoTimes, Jimmy TwoTimes

  47. THE WIG MAN says:


  48. Aunt Bee says:

    “If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough.”
    – Mario Andretti


  49. Tom says:

    What about the mob in the White House and on Capitol Hill?

  50. Chuck Harris says:

    Great Job… No problem…

    However, they need to also go after the Chinese and Russian MOB in the Cities as well. Why don’t they? Cause they are afraid….

    1. j says:

      Totally agree! They pick the weakest link to send a stronger message, but the MOB is no where near as bad as the gangs mentioned!

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