FBI arrests more than 40 alleged East Coast mobsters

2016-08-05 05:19
(File, iStock.)

(File, iStock.)

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Washington - US prosecutors on Thursday unveiled charges against 46 alleged mobsters likened to the plot of a mafia novel following dozens of arrests in co-ordinated FBI raids up and down the East Coast.

At least 39 suspects were arrested on Thursday with three other defendants already in custody. One other defendant is expected to surrender "in the next few days", while three remain at large, officials said.

Prosecutors said their criminal enterprise extended from Massachusetts to Florida and engaged in extortion, arson, fraud, firearms trafficking and assault.

The group's members were allegedly drawn from the notorious Genovese, Gambino, Lucchese and Bonanno families - New York City gangs with Sicilian roots - as well as from Philadelphia organised crime families.

"The indictment reads like an old-school mafia novel, where extortion, illegal gambling, arson and threats to 'whack' someone are carried out along with some modern-day crimes of credit card skimming," said FBI official Diego Rodriguez.

"But the 40-plus arrests of mob associates, soldiers, capos and a boss this morning show this isn't fiction," he added.

The defendants are charged with racketeering conspiracy, arson, illegal firearms trafficking, and conspiracy to commit assault, prosecutors said.

During Thursday's raids, three handguns, a shotgun, gambling paraphernalia and more than $30 000 in cash were impounded, prosecutors said.

Six suspects were arrested in Florida and are due to appear before court in West Palm Beach later on Thursday. Two others were arrested in Massachusetts.

All the other defendants arrested on Thursday will be presented before magistrate judges later on Thursday in Manhattan federal court rooms.

"The mob remains a scourge on this city and around the country," said Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara.

"From loan-sharking and illegal gambling, to credit card and health care fraud, and even firearms trafficking, today's mafia is fully diversified," he said.

"As alleged, threatening to assault, maim and kill people who get in the way of their criminal schemes remains the go-to play in the mob's playbook."

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