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. LOUIE says:

    What evidents tells the truth these days any ways – ” . Most secret routes are less than a mile long. For more information and history, ” THE DEATH OF JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER III …. It is interesting that there is no mention of the CARLYLE Group in the Obit at all. …
    You ever Play GTA?

  2. sassy82872 says:

    U know i dont understand they go after good guys yes the mafia kills themselfs they r the justice…cops and court room are not fair ..the mafia is for the people when i was 16 growing up in north jersey there was a child molster i was working at a mall diner and got off late i missed my bus and had to wait for the next one this guy started to bother me and scare me a older handsome guy asked if i wanted a ride home he promised i would be safe…i took the ride when we got to my house the guy asked my dad ” do u know who i am” my dad said yes and they went and talk after that my dad picked me up everynight he told me the guy was a skipper …so fbi needs to go after bloods crypts gang memeber who shoot women kids with stray bullets the mafia dont kill innocent people

  3. Mortimer123 says:

    Are they serious or just stupid?? Just because you are arrested for a crime doesn’t mean you’re guilty of the charges. Many of these so called “crimes” are an invention of the FBI simply to remove person(s) it deems unfit or a threat. If they really wanted to arrest members of an organized crime family start with members of the Federal Reserve. The biggest Ponzi scheme ever perpetrated against the American people and the world. Never mind, it appears the FBI works for them. They just don’t like the competition I suppose. Hey, I have a cat named “Fat Tony”. Sometimes I call him “T-Bone” simply because he knows who feeds him, and feeds him well I might add. Does this make him a mob boss?? Any and all comments are welcome.

    1. santo says:

      Nice Mortimer, I agree 100%, besides these guys are good for America. In my neighborhood, we have no problems and never did. FBI, Forever Bothering the Italians.

  4. lucidfutz says:

    Will this affect the price of pizza?

  5. Bippy Bellito says:

    Did you get a look at these “criminals”. There wasn’t one that wasn’t at least 100 lbs overweight. Talk about Profiling!!! All Italians. Not one Black Panther. Eric Holder, you are a Racist!

  6. Mark says:

    The Democrats like to keep their donors all in one place.

  7. Mark says:

    The Democrats like to keep there donors all in one place.

  8. Rick says:

    Maybe now they can go after the 30 muslim terrorist training camps that are spread throughout the U.S. Terrorists want to destroy the country, the mafia just wants to exploit it for profit. Heck, hire the mafia to find and take out the terrorists.

    1. santo says:

      Thank you Rcik…FBI, get busy doing important things in this country, leave the boys alone.

  9. Blake S. Davis says:

    Another fed publicity stunt – how about solving the real crimes done by high level politicians, and going after the new immigrant mobsters? Put a 93 year old man in prison? Waste of time and money – typical government boondoggle.

  10. nevada trust says:

    this happens periodically.

  11. ByteRider says:

    This is just plain profiling of innocent, harmless Italian-Americans. Sad.

    Byte “The Rider”

    1. K says:

      The Politicians and Bankers don’t like competition.
      Guess the mob guys didn’t pay them off enough?
      The Politicians, Bankers, Wall Streeters, are the real thugs.
      The Italians are small timers in comparison the the TRILLIONs
      stolen by politicians working for the bankers.
      Wake Up. Don’t be distracted.

  12. AeroJack7 says:

    What lame nick-names. How about Johnny Tampax, Guido Maxi-Pad. These guys are just plain thugs. Anyone that tries to elevate their status beyond that is a moron.

    1. G Man says:

      This is a distraction. WAKE UP.
      Politicians steal Trillions.
      Bankers stole more still.
      Wall Streeters destroyed the middle class and destroyed our US economy.
      And they make a big deal out of jailing a few mob guys.
      Mobsters are amateurs compared to politicians and Bankers.
      Go after the real criminals in Washington DC, and Wall Street.

      1. jim alley says:

        Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, Clinton, Franklin Rhaines to start

      2. william louis zambotti says:

        100% thruth!!!!!!!! everywhere you turn nowdays it seems everything & everyone is just trying to rip you off & steal from you..hell I just paid $3.20 for a gallon of gas? to me thats a form of ORGANIZED CRIME. Politicians, banks, big oil/gas companies..thats modern day ORGANIZED CRIME….

  13. William Baker says:

    But they didn’t get “Nickki cupcakes”

  14. The Stealth says:

    These guys are sooo far behind the times. The Italians have been out flanked and out done by the Russians, Armenians, Bukharians, Chinese and other crime syndicates. They busted these guys to make us believe they are doing something. Really, who cares about murders 20 or 30 years ago. What about now. Who is primary now!

    The Russian control almost all of Brooklyn and Queens. The Italians have very little territory left.

    Big Whoop – Erick Holder!

    1. US Law Enforcement = Irish Welfare says:

      Interesting that 9-11 responders health issues have come up here in this forum about orgnaized crime. Truth be told had the FEDS’s done their jobs 9-11 could have easily been prevented and those poor “Taxpayers”, rescue workers and the City of New York could have been spared from that tragedy and utter descrace not to mention the their health and well being spared. That’s irony!

  15. David says:

    Something else just occurred to me. Aren’t the Left and the Mob on the same team? Hello Unions? You know…sub-par products and service for an inflated price — that’s the Union/Left way. So, now I’m confused.

    Wait…maybe this was nothing more than just another Mafia power struggle — with Barry “Ears” Obama coming out on top.

    1. Steve says:

      Uh oh, here come the right-wing wackos from the Drudge Report. “So, now I’m confused.” Yes, yes you clearly are.

    2. JESSE says:


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