A massive mob bust has landed some of New York’s biggest mafia families in jail following the discovery of a rare pact between some of the most notorious crime families in the United States. The arrests included members of the Genoveses, Gambinos, Lucheses, and Bonannos (four of the NYC mob’s “five families”) as well as a major Philadelphia mafia family. The arrest comes after police uncovered a rare pact between the mob families known as the “East Coast La Cosa Nostra Enterprise,” which created a massive crime syndicate on the East Coast.
Major mob bust in the U.S. https://t.co/E9353ecfXB
— Brian Whitmore (@PowerVertical) August 4, 2016
The Daily Mail reports that 46 members of East Coast mobs have been arrested for charges that include extortion, gun-running, and assault. The arrests took place in New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Florida, but the mobsters are expected for face trial in New York, where most of the crimes reportedly took place. It was noted that most of the arrests were from the Genovese and Luchese families, but members of the Gambinos, Bonannos, and a Philadelphia mob boss named Joseph “Skinny Joey” Merlino were also arrested.
NEW: FBI and NYPD arrest dozens of suspected organized crime family members in broad mob bust pic.twitter.com/XUbd6fo9qj
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) August 4, 2016
According to the New York Daily News, the arrests are the result of what police are calling a massive crime syndicate, which was created from a rare pact between mafia families. The pact involved the four New York-based families along with the Philadelphia mob run by 54-year-old “Skinny Joe” Merlino. Other high-profile arrests included Pasquale “Patsy” Parrello, 72, of the Genovese family, and 74-year-old Eugene “Rooster” Onofrio, also of the Genovese family.
— misscassie909 (@MissCassie909) August 4, 2016
Merlino was arrested in Florida, as he left Philadelphia after successfully beating a pair of murder and federal racketeering cases in 2001 and 2004. Parrello had already spent four years in prison for loansharking and embezzlement, but he was released in 2008 and returned to the Bronx where he owned a restaurant. Onofrio was located in Connecticut. The federal arrest reports indicate that the mob families were meeting secretly at restaurants and rest stops across the East Coast from 2010 to at least June of 2016. During the meetings, the mafia members would use “secret code words” to discuss matters of the East Coast La Cosa Nostra Enterprise.
— Sun Sentinel (@SunSentinel) August 4, 2016
Merlino, Onofrio, and Parrello were reportedly the leaders of the crime syndicate which the FBI says “supervised and controlled members of the enterprise engaged in illegal schemes.” The scheme ran deep through the notorious New York mafia families as it was revealed the pact was not exclusive to the Genoveses and Philadelphia mafia. Instead, other crime families were included and created a rare syndicate of some of the most notorious names on the FBI’s list.
The FBI indicates that the families ran operations that included illegal gambling, the sale of untaxed cigarettes, and the illegal sale of firearms, and they may have also committed healthcare fraud. In one incident that sounds like something straight out of an old mafia film, Parrello allegedly told three of his debt collectors to go collect a gambling debt.
In the exchange, he informed the men to “Choke him, actually choke the motherf***er… and tell him, ‘Listen to me. Next time I’m not gonna stop choking. I’m gonna kill you.'”
In yet another incident, Parrello also ordered his henchmen to beat up a homeless man for “bothering customers” outside of his restaurant.
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Diego Rodriguez says that though the case sounds like something out of an old mob novel, it is very real.
“The indictment reads like an old-school Mafia novel… but the 40-plus arrests of mob associates, soldiers, capos and a boss show this isn’t fiction.”
The FBI revealed that the investigation spanned multiple years and was only possible thanks to a mob turncoats working for the FBI. The informants for the FBI reportedly wore audio and video wires to capture the evidence needed to prosecute the group.
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