News In Brief

Wide-ranging indictments against reputed mobster

The alleged successor of ''Godfather'' Carlo Gambino as head of one of New York's main crime families was indicted Friday in what officials described as one of the most important cases ever brought against an organized crime figure.

''Big'' Paul Castellano was freed on $2 million bail after being indicted on 51 racketeering charges linking him and 20 associates in his crime family to 25 murders, loan sharking operations, extortion, prostitution rings, and drug trafficking.

The indictment also alleges the group stole numerous cars, some of which they used to defraud insurance companies and others they shipped abroad, specifically to Kuwait.

It said that with 250 members and 550 associates, the family operated throughout the metropolitan area and in Atlantic City, N.J.; Las Vegas, Nev.; Florida, and Pennsylvania.

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