Home Boston Press Releases 2009 Colombo Family “Street Boss” Indicted as Head of Massachusetts RICO Crew

Colombo Family “Street Boss” Indicted as Head of Massachusetts RICO Crew

U.S. Attorney’s Office December 17, 2009
  • District of Massachusetts (617) 748-3100

BOSTON—Three Massachusetts men and an Arkansas man were charged today in U.S. District Court in Boston with racketeering conspiracy.

Carmen M. Ortiz, U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts; Jane Duke, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas; Warren T. Bamford, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI - Boston Field Division; and Thomas J. Browne, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI - Little Rock Field Office, announced today that Ralph F. Deleo, age 66, of Somerville, Mass.; Franklin M. Goldman, age 66, of Randolph, Mass.; Edmond Kulesza, age 56, of Somerville, Mass.; and George Wylie Thompson, age 54, of Cabot, Ark., were charged in an indictment with criminal conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.

The Indictment alleges that Deleo, who was the “street boss” of the Colombo Family of La Cosa Nostra (LCN), directed and controlled the operations of the Deleo Crew, which included but was not limited to Deleo, Goldman, Kulesza and Thompson. According to the indictment, members and associates of the Deleo Crew engaged in the importation, trafficking and distribution of narcotics and controlled substances, including cocaine and marijuana; extortion; loan sharking; and interstate and foreign travel in aid of racketeering. It is alleged that the Deleo Crew operated principally in the areas of Massachusetts, Arkansas, Rhode Island, New York and Florida.

As detailed in the indictment, LCN, also known as the “Mafia,” is a criminal organization that operates in various parts of the United States and Canada through entities known as “families.” The five most powerful families of LCN are based in New York City. The Colombo Family is one of the five families of LCN in New York. Deleo’s alleged membership in, and leadership of, the Colombo Family facilitated the affairs of the Deleo Crew and enhanced the ability of its members to make money by illegal means. Conversely, Deleo allegedly used the criminal activities of the Deleo Crew to increase and maintain his status in the Colombo Family.

This case began in the Eastern District of Arkansas (EDAR) as an investigation into illegal activities involving Thompson and others. The investigation has resulted in two indictments charging Thompsonin the EDAR with drug trafficking; illegal possession and sale of firearms, ammunition and silencers; the operation of an illegal gambling business; marriage fraud; and wire fraud scheme involving a local elected official in Arkansas. During the course of the investigation into Thompson in the EDAR, search warrants executed by the FBI and ATF resulted in the seizure of approximately 147 firearms, over 80,000 rounds of ammunition and five illegal silencers. Since Thompson was previously convicted of a felony offense, the pending charges against him include charges of being a felon in possession of these items. (See EDAR Press Releases dated Nov. 16, 2009 and Dec. 2, 2009.)

Shortly after the execution of these warrants, Thompson fled the country. He was eventually apprehended in Bangkok, Thailand and deported to the United States, and is currently in custody awaiting trial in Arkansas. As is set forth in the indictments, while Thompson was out of the United States, he maintained contact with Deleo.

U.S. Attorney Ortiz said, “Each of these defendants and their alleged crimes posed a serious threat to the public. I want to commend the exemplary coordination among law enforcement officials in multiple jurisdictions and agencies for bringing this case to fruition. I would also like to thank and acknowledge the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Arkansas for their assistance in investigating this case.”

“The crimes that the defendants are charged with pose a threat to American society. The FBI has made enormous progress against La Cosa Nostra and is not letting up.We will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners and use all of the tools at our disposal to eliminate the mob’s influence,” said Special Agent Warren Bamford.

U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas Jane W. Duke commented, “The FBI office in Arkansas, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Little Rock, worked diligently to bring those charges that took place in Arkansas and to facilitate the pursuit of the broader racketeering charges now being brought in Boston. The fact that our investigation has worked into a much larger scenario involving a significant crime family operating in other parts of the United States is a great example ofwhat can be accomplished when U.S. Attorney’s Offices and law enforcement agencies work together to combat crime.We are pleased to be a part of this case.”

If convicted on the RICO charge, Deleo, Goldman, Kulesza and Thompson each face up to 20 years’ in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release and a $500,000 fine.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office would like to acknowledge the cooperation and assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Eastern District of Arkansas, the Eastern District of New York, the Southern District of Florida and Organized Crime and Racketeering Section of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice.

The District of Massachusetts case is being investigated by the FBI’s Organized Crime Task Force, which includes representatives of the Boston Police Department, Medford Police Department, Quincy Police Department, Massachusetts Department of Corrections and the Internal Revenue Service. The FBI Task Force was also assisted by the Massachusetts State Police, Somerville Police Department and the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office.

The Eastern District of Arkansas case is being investigated by the FBI - Little Rock Field Office, the Bureau of ATF - Little Rock Field Office and the Arkansas State Police.

The Massachusetts case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Timothy E. Moran and Peter K. Levitt of Ortiz’s Organized Crime Strike Force Unit.  The Eastern District of Arkansas case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura G. Hoey.

The details contained in the indictment are allegations.  The defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.