It looked like something straight out of “Goodfellas.”
More than 800 federal agents scattered across the region in predawn raids Thursday, pulling alleged mobsters out of their homes, their wrists cuffed and heads hanging low. Some were known by colorful nicknames: Vinny Carwash, Johnny Bandana, Meatball.
But the 110 suspects arrested were actually part of the FBI’s largest-ever round up of mobsters.
“Some allegations involve classic mob hits to eliminate perceived rivals. Others involve truly senseless murders,” U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said at a Brooklyn news conference, speaking of the sweeps in New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Italy.
The crackdown of the “Cosa Nostra” crime network includes charges such as illegal gambling, narcotics, arson, conspiracy and murder. Involved are five New York crime families: Colombo, Genovese, Luchese, Bonanno and Gambino.
In one double cross in 2002, a Gambino member was shot “execution-style in the back of the head” in Queens for supposedly trying to cut another member out of a lucrative drug deal, the U.S. Attorney General’s office said.
Among those charged was Joseph Corozzo, 69, a high-ranking member of the Gambino family who’s already in prison for racketeering. He’s facing life in prison for drug trafficking, extortion and running illegal gambling.
Overall, 127 people were indicted Thursday.
The investigations benefited from informants recording loose-lipped mobsters.
Jon Shane, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said the mob lives on because it has become an intergenerational operation.
“It goes to show you the tenacity and the stick-to-itiveness of the mob,” he said of the charges.
Some of the suspects face life in prison for murder, while other face five years for running illegal card games and gambling on the web.