FBI's biggest-ever mob bust shows where Mafia still holds sway
FBI and local law enforcement arrests 127 people allegedly connected to the Mafia, mostly in New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. Officials say the mob is still 'entrenched' in certain industries and has a 'pervasive' influence at ports.
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The scope of the mob’s continuing crime activities, as detailed in a two-inch-thick stack of legal documents, included murder, loan-sharking, arson, narcotics trafficking, extortion, robbery, illegal gambling, and labor racketeering.Skip to next paragraph
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According to the indictments, the Colombo Family has long had control of the Cement and Concrete Workers Union Local 6A.
“The La Cosa Nostra is entrenched in certain industries, especially time-sensitive industries where they can control the timing and flow of goods and the labor force has an ability to impose extortionate demands,” says Randy Mastro, a former US Attorney who prosecuted organized crime figures in the 1980s.
The indictments also indicate the Mafia is continuing to operate on the piers. According to the indictments, the Genovese Family extorted members of the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) to force the men to give a portion of their annual Christmas royalty payments to the mob as a sort of tax.
' "On the Waterfront" stuff'
“The idea that people have to pay to work at the ports, and their union leaders are not representing them is not justifiable at all,” said Mr. Fishman.
“This is ‘On the Waterfront’ stuff,” says Mr. Mastro, referring to the classic 1954 movie with Marlon Brando as an ex-prize fighter who tries to stand up to his corrupt union bosses. “Unfortunately, there is still criminal influence on the piers 60 years later.”
Mastro, now with the law firm Gibson Dunn & Crutcher in New York, says the reason organized crime continues to operate is because they continue to recruit new members in what is almost a military type of organization. “It is not just about one figure or one head of a family, it is an organized structure with dons and capos and a quasi-military structure,” he says.
If the cases go to trial, jurors will probably be listening to hours of wire tapped conversations and testimony from informants.
“We used every tool in our toolbox,” said Ms. Fedarcyk of the FBI.
The charges brought against the individuals carry a variety of maximum penalties up to as much as life in prison.