Prosecutors charge 16 alleged Gambino mafia members in US and Italy
American prosecutors announced on Tuesday that sixteen alleged leaders and associates of the Gambino crime family have been apprehended in the United States and Italy.
The charges leveled against them encompass racketeering, extortion, witness retaliation, conspiracy, and fraud.
In the New York area, ten individuals were taken into custody, while Italian authorities in Palermo, Sicily, detained six. The US Department of Justice revealed that one suspect is still at large.
The apprehended US-based suspects were scheduled to appear in a New York court on Wednesday. The prosecutors outlined in the indictment a systematic pattern of intimidation and violent assaults aimed at embezzling funds, defrauding unions, and manipulating bids for lucrative demolition contracts.
The criminal syndicate primarily targeted demolition companies and the carting industry, synonymous with waste management or rubbish collection.
The indictment details how the group threatened businessmen, extorted protection payments, evaded union regulations, and rigged bids to secure profitable contracts.
In addition to the core charges, the defendants face accusations of threatening witnesses, engaging in money laundering, and committing firearms offenses.
Among those arrested was a leader or “captain” in the Gambino family, Joseph “Joe Brooklyn” Lanni, alleged Gambino soldier Angelo “Fifi” Gradilone, and Francesco Vicari, also known as “Uncle Ciccio”, an alleged Sicilian mafia associate and Gambino associate.
The Gambino family is one of the five prominent New York-area mafia syndicates collectively known as La Cosa Nostra.
The family was led by boss John Gotti until his death in prison in 2002 and later by Frank Cali, who was killed outside his Staten Island home in March 2019.
His death marked the first targeted killing of a Mafia boss in the city since the death of the then head of the Gambino family, Paul Castellano, in 1985.
A number of recent investigations and police operations have targeted the group in the US and Italy.
The defendants face maximum sentences of between 20 and 180 years in prison.