Investigative Programs: Organized Crime
Since 1957, when New York City opened commercial carting, or garbage hauling routes to private companies, New York City carters and their worker's unions have been controlled, for the most part, by the La Cosa Nostra (LCN). In recent years, the 250 carting companies in New York City have charged customers approximately $1.5 billion in annual fees. It has been estimated that $100 million of these fees are funneled to the LCN. A study by the Rand Corporation in the 1980s estimated that the LCN carting monopoly on Long Island was costing commercial customers an additional 50 percent, and residential customers an additional 15 percent for carting services.
In 1998, Colombo LCN family boss Andrew Russo and several members and associates of the Colombo LCN family pled guilty to racketeering charges that resulted from an FBI investigation of carting companies on Long Island. The investigation determined that these men, through several corporations they controlled, operated a carting partnership in one area of Long Island without any meaningful competition. When challenged, they used arson, extortion, and violence to enforce their monopoly.
In January 1999, based on an FBI investigation of the Luchese LCN family's involvement in the Long Island carting industry, Luchese soldier, Jody Calabrese pled guilty to two extortions and conspiracy to murder two individuals, one a business competitor. In May 2001, Luchese Capo and former acting boss, Salvatore Avellino also pled guilty to racketeering charges in connection with this investigation. FBI agents had determined that Avellino's crew had controlled portions of the Long Island carting industry since the 1970s. Avellino used whatever means necessary, including murder and arson to maintain his stronghold over the industry. Avellino's crew was responsible for 14 arsons. As a result of this investigation, 12 individuals pled guilty, $7.5 million was forfeited, and Avellino's crew was dismantled.