Arrests show organized crime is 'alive and well' in NYC, FBI says

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Tuesday, September 14, 2021
Eyewitness News Afternoon Update
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NEW YORK (WABC) -- What sound like throwback arrests Tuesday in New York and New Jersey show "the underbelly of the crime families in New York City is alive and well," the FBI said.

Colombo crime family boss Andrew "Mush" Russo, underboss Benji Castellazzo and consigliere Ralph DiMatteo were among 14 purported mobsters charged with labor racketeering, extortion and money laundering.

The charges describe what federal prosecutors in Brooklyn called "a long-standing, ruthless pattern" of exerting control over a labor union by threatening to harm its leaders unless they selected vendors for contracts who were on the take.

The defendants also tried to force the union and its affiliated health care fund to divert more than $10,000 per month to the Colombo family, prosecutors said.

The indictment quoted Colombo captain Vincent Ricciardo threatening to kill someone labeled John Doe #1 if he did not comply.

Ricciardo allegedly explained that John Doe #1 knows, "I'll put him in the ground right in front of his wife and kids, right in front of his f-----g house, you laugh all you want pal, I'm not afraid to go to jail, let me tell you something, to prove a point? I would f-----g shoot him right in front of his wife and kids, call the police, f--k it, let me go, how long you think I'm gonna last anyway?"

"Everything we allege in this investigation proves history does indeed repeat itself. The underbelly of the crime families in New York City is alive and well. These soldiers, consiglieres, under bosses, and bosses are obviously not students of history, and don't seem to comprehend that we're going to catch them," FBI Assistant Director Michael Driscoll said.

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