Sunday, July 24, 2016

Mafia Drugs & Gambling Busts Continue

The Waterfront Commission of New York and New Jersey began decades ago and is still making cases against the mafia in 2016.  This new case grew out of a broader investigation into mafia activities along the waterfront.  They write that they will announce more developments at a later time.

This week they took down a multi family crew that distributed marijuana and oxycodone as well as ran an online sportsbook.  

The operation worked like this. John Kelly and Richard Sinde were the ringleaders and coordinated the business.  They would buy marijuana from legal farms in California and have it shipped to New York, where it is still illegal and can command a higher price.  

California is the wild west of weed.  They have laws that say you can grow it for medical and personal use.  Yet you can also grow as a collective.  You can get a marijuana card for as little $25 for a doctor visit.  You can get a card from the state for $100.  It’s only for medical use, but that is a joke. There are so many stores and growers, why bother arresting anyone anymore. The whole business is in a grey area because it is not legal for recreational use, but that is what many people use it for on a daily basis.  So it is a highly unregulated business.  They could just make it legal and tax the actual business, or they could make it illegal.  

Destiny Saetern and Michael Giammarinaro worked on some of the grow operations in California.  They would purchase marijuana from different growers and pack 5-15lbs into boxes to mail or ship UPS or Fedex to New York.  Often they would pack 100-150lbs into boxes and it would be driven to New York in a van.

Stephen Gallo would pick up the packages in New York and then take them to various warehouse or homes to repackage for distribution.

Michael “Mickey Boy” Paradiso, a Gambino capo who did a long stretch for dealing heroin, was taken down in the investigation.  

Lawrence Dentico, the grandson of Genovese capo “Little Larry” Dentico, ran part of the operation from his home in California.

The marijuana part of the operation brought in $350k a month in sales.  Over a 21 month period they sold $15 million in marijuana.  

They also particiapated in an online gambling operation, which brought in millions.  This was run just like all the other mafia operated sportsbooks.  A better can bet online or call a wireroom.  He can bet his limit or what he has posted with a local connected bookie. He is paid on Tuesdays or Wednesdays by the local bookie.  

They also had another profitable side business selling oxycodone pills.  They made an $18k profit just on the pills they sold to an undercover agent at the end of the operation, but it is unknown how much they made on oxycodone deals that were not caught.

This was a pretty well set up business.  They took in the cash in New York and New Jersey. They collected it and it was laundered through Regional Food Brokers Inc.

They ended up taking down about two dozen members and associates of all five New York mafia families. After all the work law enforcement did on this case, have people stopped gambling, smoking weed or taking pills? No.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Genovese Mobster Gets Away with Murder (and a Mole)

This week the NYPD dedicated a 45 foot boat (known as a launch) to Anthony J Venditti.

January 21, 1986, Detective Anthony J. Venditti was gunned down in front of a Queens diner as was his partner Detective Katherine Burke.  Detective Burke survived, but Detective Venditti died at the scene.

It is out of the ordinary that they were shot at all. They were part of the Joint Organized Crime Task Force with the FBI and they were assigned to follow Genovese mobster Federico Giovanelli aka Fritzy.  They had him under surveillance day and night using a brown two-tone 1977 Lincoln Town Car.  They wanted to catch him running his large gambling and shylock operation.  Fritzy spotted them.

That night they followed him to his club at 343 St. Nicholas Avenue in Queens. They watched him from Palmetto just under the train and by 8pm they figured he had spotted them. They left and went to a nearby diner so Det. Venditti could use the restroom and grab a cup of coffee.

Once in the diner parking, lot they noticed Fritzy had followed them to the diner.  Fritzy was parked behind their car. Det Venditti wanted to go into the diner anyway, aware of the fact that the mafia has a rule against harming law enforcement.  Det. Burke drove around the block and when she returned she saw Det. Venditti surrounded by three men.  Det. Venditti was holding a paper bag and his pistol was in an ankle holster.  Det. Burke jumped out of the car and yelled, “Tony, watch out! Police!  Freeze!”  She began to draw her pistol from her coat pocket when she was hit in the chest.  She was going down, but still fired five shots in the air.  Det. Venditti was shot twice in the face and twice in the back.

Fritzy was picked up within minutes, running from the diner, but he had no weapon on him.
Det. Burke later identified two Genovese associates Steven Maltese and Carmine Gaultiere as the men at the scene.

Det. Burke testified that Fritzy was the one who shot her.  Fritzy testified that he was being held up by two men in front of the diner and that they shot Det. Venditti.

A jury acquitted Carmine Gaultiere and hung on Fritzy and Maltese.

The Feds hit the men with Racketeering charges in 1989 and they were given 20 years for racketeering including murder and attempted murder but it was overturned on appeal.

Chin Gigante, who ran the Genovese family, was big on mafia rules. So why did he let these men live after shooting a police officer?  Did they believe he was going to rob them?  

Fritzy is a Genovese Capo, but his life has been one arrest after another.  Fritzy has a mole deep in the FBI where he is able to get information.  In the 1980’s he gave information to John Gotti’s friend Angelo Ruggerio that his basement was bugged.  They were being investigated for a massive heroin ring.  He also tipped off some New Jersey DeCavalcante mobsters that they were about to be indicted in 1999 but the FBI has never been able to figure out how he got the information.  How many investigations did he compromise over the years?

This is one of those miscarriage of justice cases where the bad guy seems to win.

Rest in peace Detective Anthony J Venditti.