Statement by Assistant Director in Charge Janice K. Fedarcyk
|FBI New York January 20, 2011|
Early this morning, hundreds of FBI agents and other law enforcement officers in the New York metropolitan area, Newark, and Rhode Island carried out the arrests of well over 100 members and associates of La Cosa Nostra families.
In New York alone, 128 mobsters from all five New York families and the DeCavalcante family are charged—in several separate investigations—with crimes covering the traditional stock-in-trade of the LCN: murder, extortion, labor racketeering, narcotics trafficking.
Today’s operation marks the largest mob round-up in FBI history. Well over 700 law enforcement officers from the FBI, the U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Secret Service, New York State Police, New York City Police Department and the Suffolk County Police Department effected the arrests.
These cases are the cumulative result of years of investigative work, including the development of key cooperating witnesses, a trend that has definitely been tilting in law enforcement’s favor. The vow of silence that is part of the oath of Omerta is more myth than reality today.
The cases also relied on electronic surveillance. Dozens of court-authorized wiretaps allowed us to listen in on phone calls, and thousands of conversations were recorded by cooperators.
The FBI has waged a largely successful campaign against the mob over the last three decades. But the mob has shown itself to be resilient and persistent. Arresting and convicting the hierarchies of the five families several times over has not eradicated the problem. Even after serving lengthy prison terms, surviving mobsters are not rehabilitated mobsters.
We have often noted that the mob’s reason for being isn’t to do violence. But mobsters generally have little compunction about resorting to violence as a means to the end, which is making money.
The notion that today’s mob families are more genteel and less violent than in the past is put to lie by the charges contained in the indictments unsealed today.
Even more of a myth is the notion that the mob is a thing of the past; that La Cosa Nostra is a shadow of its former self.
We deal in reality, and the reality is that the mob, like nature, abhors a vacuum. We know that the most effective mob-fighting strategy is investigating and prosecuting the leadership of the five families and the people who do their bidding. But we also know that when a boss or underboss “goes away” for a time, that vacancy is filled with an acting boss or underboss.
The FBI and our partners have caused significant disruptions of the LCN in the course of bringing mobsters to justice and sending them to prison. But 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 other key “executive” mean the dissolution of the family.
Among those charged today are the leadership of the Colombo family: street boss Andrew Russo, acting underboss Benjamin Castellazzo, and consigliere Richard Fusco; two high-ranking members of the Gambino family hierarchy: consigliere Joseph Corozzo and ruling panel member Bartolomeo Vernace; and in Providence, the boss of the New England family, Luigi Manocchio.
Among the crimes charged in the 15 indictments outlined by the Attorney General are murders dating back 30 years, but also murders and other serious crimes of much more recent vintage.
- Vernace of the Gambino family is charged in connection with the 1981 murders of Richard Godkin and John D’Agnese.
- Colombo acting capo Anthony Russo is charged with the 1993 murder of underboss Joseph Scopo during the Colombo family war between the Arena and Persico factions.
- Gambino associate Todd LaBarca is charged with the 2002 murder of Marty Bosshart.
The charges also include several distinct conspiracies that exemplify the mob’s ongoing parasitic effect on the legitimate economy.
The precise dollar impact of the so-called “mob tax” is hard to pinpoint, but there is little doubt that the collective effect is in the many millions of dollars annually.
- Members and associates of the Colombo family are charged with extortion and fraud in connection with the family’s control of Local 6A of the Cement and Concrete Workers Union.
- Gambino members are charged with extorting construction companies on the family’s “Construction List”, as well as a New York cement manufacturer.
- And the Genovese family’s long-time pernicious influence on the International Longshoremen’s Association is the subject of two separate indictments. Among the swindles carried out by the family was an on-going extortion scheme that annually compelled ILA rank-and-file to pass along a chunk of their Christmas bonuses to the family.
Labor racketeering deprives rank-and-file union members of the honest leadership they pay dues to get. Corruption of unions can also deprive members of work, jeopardize safety, and increase the costs of goods, services, construction—the things we pay for directly or indirectly.
In an operation of this size there is a long list of people to acknowledge. I want to thank the Attorney General for his personal support of this operation and our mission in combating organized crime.
I also want to thank the four U.S. Attorneys, Loretta Lynch of the Eastern District of New York, Preet Bharara of the Southern District of New York, Paul Fishman of the District of New Jersey, and Peter F. Neronha of the District of Rhode Island.
My colleague Mike Ward, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Newark FBI Office, is here. Our offices worked seamlessly in the ILA investigation.
The New England piece of this multi-jurisdictional operation was the work of the Providence Resident Agency of the Boston FBI Office, led by Special Agent-in-Charge Rick Deslauriers.
Other key partners were the U.S. Department of Labor, the NYPD, and the Suffolk County Police Department.
The operation was also greatly assisted by the DEA, the U.S. Secret Service; the U.S. Marshals Service in the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York; the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor; the Manhattan DA’s Office; the Suffolk County DA’s Office; the Monmouth County, N.J., Prosecutor’s Office; the New York State Police; the New Jersey State Police; the New Jersey Department of Corrections; the Rhode Island State Police; the Providence Police Department; and the Italian National Police.
Lastly, for providing logistical support and a facility for this operation of unprecedented scope, our sincere gratitude to the United States Army at Fort Hamilton.