Brooklyn federal prosecutors on Thursday unsealed drug and money laundering charges against two alleged Long Island mobsters in a case that includes what’s believed to be the first-ever secret audio and video recording of an induction ceremony for one of New York’s five families.
“The reason why we’re here is from this day forward, you’re gonna be an official member of the Bonanno family,” says accused acting captain Damiano Zummo, 44, of Roslyn Heights, according to a transcript. “It’s already . . . from this guy, this guy, this guy, everybody approved it, so from this day forward, you’re a member of the Bonanno family. Congratulations.”
The recording, the government said, was made in Canada by an informant, identified as “CW-1,” who was being inducted. It doesn’t include a “blood oath” of Mafia movie lore, but Zummo describes the inductee as a “friend of ours,” names higher-ups he’ll be under, and warns at the end that loyalty is expected
“You’re gonna be in our regime,” Zummo says. “You only answer to the Bonanno family.”
Zummo and alleged Bonanno associate Salvatore Russo, 45, of Bellmore, are charged with selling over a kilogram of cocaine for $38,000 inside a Manhattan gelato store, and Zummo is also accused of laundering $250,000.
The transcript of the induction ceremony was included in a memo seeking to detain Zummo without bail. Acting Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Bridget Rohde said the recording — which an official said was thought to be the first of its kind — reflects law enforcement’s deep penetration of mob operations.
“Today’s arrests send a powerful message,” she said in a statement. “The recording of a secret induction ceremony is an extraordinary achievement for law enforcement and deals a significant blow to La Cosa Nostra.”
In addition to Zummo and Russo, prosecutors also released indictments of two alleged Gambino mobsters on loan-sharking and firearms charges, and announced the roundup of nine other alleged organized crime members in Canada. The coordinated operation was the result of a two-year investigation.
Zummo was detained and Russo was released on a $500,000 bail package at their arraignments Thursday. Both pleaded not guilty.
They each face mandatory 10-year minimum sentences if convicted. Their attorneys could not be reached for comment.