Early this morning the FBI made its appointed rounds throughout New York and New Jersey to pick up the trash.
The feds have variously charged 32 individuals including suspected mobsters from the Gambino, Lucchese and Genovese crime families for their alleged roles in the waste carting, loan sharking and other rackets pursuant to three indictments as reported by Larry Mcshane and Robert Gearty for the Daily News.
A press release from the Department of Justice states:
The main Indictment charges 12 defendants under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO") for conspiring to participate in a racketeering enterprise that asserted illegal and extortionate control over commercial waste-hauling companies, and 17 other defendants with individual acts of extortion, loansharking, and other crimes associated with those activities.
The lead defendant in the main indictment is reputed Genovese associate Carmine "Papa Smurf" Franco who allegedly used front companies to continue operating "in waste management despite two prior convictions that led to his ban from the business in New Jersey -- and the loss of his license in New York City."
Franco and other defendants allegedly employed a so-called "property rights" scheme by which carting routes were determined by extortion payments and enforced through violent threats resulting in quashed competition and higher rates.
Another defendant is reputed Gambino associate Scott Fappiano who last year was given no prison time by Judge Kiyo Matsumoto on an extortion conviction, and apparently quickly returned to the mob life as reported by Mitchel Maddux for the New York Post: "he will be charged in Manhattan federal court later today for allegedly extorting 'protection' payments from a trash hauler, an indictment says."
Of course, it wouldn't be an organized crime case without a police corruption allegation. Defendant Mario Velez, a recently-retired trooper from the New York State Police, is charged with extortion, and he "is believed to have committed the acts while he was still a state trooper" as reported by ABC News. A "source close to the investigation" alleges the 44-year-old Velez "retired in October, under pressure, as the investigation by FBI agents, Westchester County and New York City police was underway" as reported by Shawn Cohen and Jonathan Bandler for The Journal News.
The main indictment alleges four defendants -- Anthony Pucciarello, Peter LeConte, Dominick "Pepe" Pietranico and Joseph Sarcinella -- are made members of the Genovese family, and a fifth defendant -- Anthony Bazzini -- is a made member of the Gambino family.
The second indictment charges three defendants -- reputed Lucchese associate Charles Giustra, Vincent Dimino and Joseph Antico -- with trafficking contraband cigarettes, and further charges Giustra with trafficking cocaine, and the third indictment charges Kenneth Lopez on a weapons charge.
The mob long has had a role in the trash industry, and in 2006 the feds brought a similar "property rights" case against James Galante in Connecticut which included the use of Genovese muscle provided by one-time acting boss Matthew "Matty the Horse" Ianniello.