Ten alleged Gambino crime family members and associates have been charged with racketeering conspiracy, extortion, witness retaliation and union-related crimes in a bid for control of New York’s carting and demolition industries, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.
The 10 defendants were named in a 16-count indictment. All but one were arraigned before a US magistrate in Brooklyn federal court Wednesday.
Nine of the defendants pleaded not guilty, according to John Marzulli, spokesman for the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York. One defendant, who’s in jail in Pennsylvania, will be arraigned at a later date.
The charges are part of a coordinated international operation in which Italian authorities also arrested six organized crime members and associates on mafia association and other criminal charges, according to prosecutors.
“As alleged, for years, the defendants committed violent extortions, assaults, arson, witness retaliation and other crimes in an attempt to dominate the New York carting and demolition industries,” US Attorney Breon Peace said in a statement.
The indictment alleges the defendants – who go by aliases such as ”Vinny Slick,” “Joe Brooklyn,” “Fifi,” and “Uncle Ciccio,” among others – “knowingly and intentionally conspired” to violate racketeering laws and are accused of other crimes like extortion, embezzlement and wire fraud.
“The members and associates of the Gambino crime family engaged in conduct designed to prevent government detection of their identities, their illegal activities and the location of proceeds of those activities,” the indictment said.
Some defendants allegedly put in motion a plan to set fire to the home of a man “while his wife and children were inside,” in an effort to receive extortion payments, according to a court filing. One defendant, seeking exortion payments, allegedly displayed a metal baseball bat as a threat of harm.
Additionally, the indictment said, some defendants are alleged to have “knowingly and willfully embezzle, steal, and unlawfully abstract” money from “one or more employee pension and welfare benefit plans” in 2020.
Peace said the arrests demonstrated law enforcement’s commitment to the “complete dismantling of organized crime.”
In a letter to US Magistrate Judge Ramon E. Reyes Jr., Peace asked that eight defendants remain in custody pending trial as they “pose a danger to the community and a risk of flight and obstruction of justice and cannot be trusted to abide by the terms of release.”
The Gambino crime family is one of New York’s five Italian-American Mafia families.
CNN’s Rob Frehse contributed to this report.
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