Crackdown: FBI Nails 100+ Suspected Mobsters

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In what the FBI is calling the biggest crackdown on organized crime to date, federal agents have arrested over 100 members of five infamous mob families. Authorities completed the arrests by 8:00 a.m. Thursday morning, covering a swath territory including New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island. Giving added weight to the arrests, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder held a news conference in New York at 11:00 a.m.

"We are committed and we are determined to eradicate these criminal enterprises once and for all," Holder said. "The indictments charge leaders of these criminal enterprises, as well as mid-level managers... and others alleged to be corrupt union officials."

  • This Was Big, notes Fox News: "Holder said the raids marked 'one of the largest single-day' mob roundups in U.S. history. He said that the defendants include high-ranking members of the Gambino and Colombo crime families and the reputed former boss of organized crime in New England."
  • A Long History of Crime  "The charges cover decades worth of offenses... including 'classic mob hits to eliminate perceived rivals,' a killing during a botched robbery and a double shooting in a barroom dispute over a spilled drink," reports The Associated Press. "Other charges include alleged corruption among dockworkers who were forced to kick back a portion of their holiday bonuses to the crime families."
  • Everybody Got Served, writes Radell Smith at The Examiner: "Unlike the late '70s bust of mafia men, this year saw every mafia family impacted, not just the Gambino and Genovese mafia families. This year, in addition to these two, other mafia families who saw members arrested included Bonanno, Colombo, DeCavalcante and the Lucchese families."
  • Mob Crackdowns Are Back, writes Nitasha Tiku at New York Magazine: "Today's raid marks a renewed interest in organized crime, which tends to move in cycles depending on the strength of the family. Focus declined after a string of victories in the nineties and after 9/11. Although influence has waned, officials say the mob is still entrenched in a number of major construction unions as well as on the waterfront."
  • A City Plagued by Mobs "Cosa Nostra families once infiltrated and controlled swathes of the US economy, with a longtime stronghold in and around New York," reports Sebastian Smith at AFP. "The phenomenon took root nearly a century ago and remains an important factor in organized crime, but New York's historic Five Families of Italian-American mobsters have seen a sharp decline in fortunes over the last decade as a result of court testimony from turncoats breaking the once impenetrable code of silence."
  • Two Defectors Have Played Key Roles  "An impressive string of victories over the mob began in 1991 with the defection of the Luchese family’s acting boss, Alphonse D’Arco, who proved to be a devastating witness," writes William Rashbaum at The New York Times. "Later that year, Salvatore Gravano, the Gambino family underboss, defected, and his testimony secured the conviction of John J. Gotti. With the cooperation of those two men, a trickle of significant defections grew into a torrent, weakening the culture of omertà, the Mafia’s code of silence, and to some degree, the foundation of organized crime itself."
  • The Battle Isn't Over Yet, adds Rashbaum: "One official noted that senior prosecutors and F.B.I. officials have declared victory or sought to write the mob’s epitaph many times in the past. Yet many tenacious and formidable organized crime families have endured, albeit weaker and with less influence, using violence and the threat of violence to amass wealth and influence."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.