The FBI arrested 29 reputed members and associates of New York's mob -- including a former New York State trooper from Peekskill -- in predawn raids Wednesday across New York City and Westchester County, officials confirmed to Newsday.
The defendants were indicted on racketeering charges -- including extortion and loan sharking -- through their control of unnamed private trash hauling companies that did business in New York City, Long Island, New Jersey, and Westchester and Rockland counties, according to documents unsealed Wednesday in federal court in Manhattan.
"Organized crime still wraps its tentacles around industries it has fed off for decades, but law enforcement continues to pry loose its grip," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said. "Here, as described in the indictments, organized crime insinuated itself into the waste disposal industry throughout a vast swath of counties in New York and New Jersey, and the tactics they used to exert and maintain their control come right out of the Mafia playbook."
The 29 alleged mobsters tried to hide their involvement in several waste disposal companies because they were banned from the industry in connection with previous crimes, the indictment said. In all, 32 people were charged in three indictments.
Of the 29 suspects arrested Wednesday morning, seven are from Westchester County, two are from Rockland County and one is from Putnam County.
Domenick Pietranico, 82, of Mahopac, has been charged with racketeering and other crimes. He faces a prison sentence of 20 years if convicted. Joseph Sarcinella, 78, of Scarsdale, also has been charged with racketeering. Pasquale Carbone Sr., 70, of White Plains, has been charged with mail and wire fraud -- charges that carry penalties of up to 30 years in prison.
Dominick Rao, 76, of Suffern, has been charged with mail and wire fraud conspiracy. Stephen Moscatello, 52, of Piermont, faces charges of interstate transport of stolen property, which carries a five-year prison sentence if he is convicted. Robert Franco, 50, of Hartsdale, also was charged with interstate transport of stolen goods.
Mario Velez, 44, of Peeskill, the former state trooper, faces charges of conspiracy to commit extortion and faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
Velez conspired with other mobsters to force a waste-hauling executive to pay them protection money "by the wrongful use of actual and threatened force, violence and fear," prosecutors said.
A father and son from Cortlandt Manor -- Pasquale Cartalemi, 50, and Pasquale L. Cartalemi, 27 -- were charged with extortion, a crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Andrew McGuire, 29, of Hartsdale, was charged with extortion conspiracy.
"The indictments show the ongoing threat posed by mob families and their criminal associates. In addition to the violence that often accompanies their schemes, the economic impact amounts to a mob tax on goods and services," said George C. Venizelos, the FBI's assistant director in charge.
Westchester County police assisted in the monthslong investigation.
The reputed mobsters were members of the Genovese, Gambino and Lucchese crime families in addition to a mob group known as the Lodi Crew, which officials said is closely connected to the Genoveses.
They conducted sitdowns to split up the waste companies they controlled and to resolve any disputes over money extorted from the scheme, the indictment said.
One of those meetings took place in West Nyack, according to the indictment. During that March 16, 2010, meeting, Carmine Franco and a cooperating witness met to discuss another reputed mobster, Robert Franco, who allegedly had stolen 7 tons of cardboard from the cooperating witness' business, the indictment said.
Carmine Franco, the lead defendant in the case, is a reputed Genovese family associate.
"For over 30 years, Franco has owned and/or controlled several waste disposal businesses," the indictment said. Because of his prior convictions in the 1980s and '90s, Franco has been banned from the waste-carting industry in New Jersey and could not get a license as a waste hauler in New York City or Westchester.
"Nevertheless ... Franco has continued to control and operate waste-hauling businesses."
The indictment accuses the reputed mobsters of stealing recyclable cardboard from rival waste-hauling companies, then selling it for thousands of dollars in profit.
One waste-hauling executive, identified only as a cooperating witness in the indictment, had to give the mobsters monthly "protection payments" and a 90 percent share of his business, the indictment said.
The reputed mobsters were taken to the FBI's headquarters in Manhattan after their arrests and were awaiting arraignment in federal court.