SIXTEEN men allegedly working with the Gambino crime family have been arrested and accused of targeting New York City garbage and demolition businesses.
It’s the latest arrest in a century-old drama involving the “Five Families” who are believed to be behind crimes like racketeering, money laundering, prostitution, and fraud.
Last Wednesday, federal authorities announced in a Brooklyn court that 10 US defendants were indicted for allegedly extorting two New York City business owners.
According to the indictment, the alleged mobsters created a scheme to get “no-show” positions and perks in demolition and trash collection through haunting threats and physical assaults, the New York Post reported.
Six Italian citizens were also named as defendants after they were investigated for years by FBI detectives and the Italian police, the indictment reveals.
Since the arrests, authorities have been spotted swarming an Orange County, New York, horse farm that was owned by someone who shared the same last name as one of the accused men, authorities told News 12.
Detectives are also searching and digging for bodies thought to be related to the investigation, law enforcement officials told NBC News.
Officials believe the accused were a part of the Gambino crime family, which has been influential in the Italian-American Mafia since the early 1900s.
The Mafia started their operations by sneaking alcohol throughout New York City during the Prohibition era before moving on to dangerous street drugs and white-collar financial crimes.
The current day criminal crew got its name from Carlo Gambino, who was the family’s boss from 1957 to his death in 1976.
In the latest indictment, the alleged members, including captain Joseph “Joe Brooklyn” Lanni, 52, stand accused of targeting the Big Apple’s garbage hauling and demolition industries for union perks.
They allegedly intimidated leaders into giving them hundreds of thousands of dollars through violence and threats, according to the US Attorney’s Office.
Officials say the scheme began in late 2017 when the alleged mobsters approached the owners of two unidentified companies for extortion payments.
Diego “Danny” Tantillo, 48, allegedly targeted John Doe 1, the owner of a garbage company, by regularly visiting his home, damaging his trucks, and threatening to hurt him, the indictment states.
During one cash exchange, the victim was handing out $1,000 when Tantillo whipped out a metal baseball bat and said it was for him, according to the documents.
Throughout the years, the alleged gangsters would also send the victims photos of their businesses to show they had stopped by.
The attacks ramped up when the targeted business owners stopped paying in 2020, according to investigators.
The stairs of John Doe’s home were set ablaze one day while his wife and child were alone, and the tires of garbage trucks were deflated one night.
On October 29, an employee of the unidentified demolition company was beaten with a hammer to send a message to the owner, officials said in the court documents.
The beating got more money out of the owners, who often worked together, but the payments stopped flowing the next month, according to the indictment.
Tantillo allegedly wanted $40,000 and got one of his lackeys to beat up one of the owners in Midtown Manhattan when they wouldn’t pay out.
The attack left the owner with black eyes and a bloodied face.
He paid $50,000 and gave the Gambino family $3.9 million worth of discounts, federal officials allege.
The 10 US citizens named in the documents include Lanni, Tantillo, Robert Brooke, 55, Salvatore DiLorenzo, 66, Angelo “Fifi” Gradilone, 57, Kyle “Twin” Johnson, 46, James LaForte, 46, Vincent “Vinny Slick” Minsquero, 36, Vito “Vi” Rappa, 46, and Francesco “Uncle Ciccio” Vicari, 46.
All of the US defendants live in New York City and surrounding areas.
Officials said they are still looking for one more suspect.
The defendants have been hit with charges including racketeering conspiracy, extortion, witness retaliation, fraud and embezzlement.
Nine of the alleged mobsters pleaded not guilty to the crimes.
Lanni, Johnson, Tantillo, and Gradilone were all denied bond after prosecutors argued they could get violent against witnesses.
Only DiLorenzo was released on a $500,000 bond.
Last week, Breon Peace, the US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said: “Today’s arrests reflect the commitment of this office and our law enforcement partners, both here and abroad, to keep our communities safe by the complete dismantling of organized crime.”
The story of the Gambino family has been highlighted in a recent Netflix documentary titled How to Become a Mob Boss.