Anti-mafia police are probing a Calabrian couple who had their local town centre closed off for their wedding.

•           Italian mafia fugitive found on family holiday in Benidorm (23 Aug 16)
•           Italy sacks council in Sicilian 'Godfather' town (11 Aug 16)
•           Italy arrests senator over 'mafia links' (05 Aug 16)
•           Church weddings 'likely to be extinct in Italy in 17 years' (07 Jul 16)
•           Naples mobsters bring home dough from bread sales (28 Jun 16)
The couple's entrance by helicopter - landing in the local churchyard - was the highlight of the celebrations in Nicotera, a town in the Vibo Valentia area of Calabria.
The couple, named as Antonio and Aurora Gallone, and their 400 wedding guests had the entire historic area to themselves, with the central square closed to the public for three hours.
However, police are concerned that the local branch of the mafia may have been involved; mayor Franco Pagano told local press that the helicopter's landing had had no official authorization, but the area was cordoned off with official barriers, suggesting the complicity of someone working for the municipal authorities.
Prosecutor Michele Sirgiovanni said it was a "very serious matter". In the past decade alone, the council of Nicotera has been dissolved due to mafia infiltration, in 2005 and 2010, and in February of this year the city created a committee to investigate reports of infiltration in public authorities by the Mancusa clan, part of the 'ndrangheta mafia group.
According to Il Corriere, the groom is a grandson of clan members. Antonio Gallone has never been charged with any offences linked to organized crime, but has a previous conviction of growing cannabis in 2011.
Prosecutors will examine the wedding guest list and photos shared on social media to determine if any members of the local administration were behind the stunt.
Pagano said his office had received a request for a helicopter landing on the local sports field, which had been passed to the relevant department. The wedding helicopter set off from that field, but on the return from its trip to the Aeolian islands for wedding pictures, it landed at the town centre at sunset to continue the ceremony.

Legendary cop 'Shotgun Ménard' helped take down Mafia don

The Globe and Mail

For six years in the 1970s, Robert Ménard led a double life, pretending to be an electrician living in a flat that he rented from the acting boss of the Montreal Mafia.
Mr. Ménard was actually an undercover police officer. Despite the suspicions of his landlord, the Mafia don Paolo Violi, who challenged him to do some repairs, Mr. Ménard was never unmasked and helped record a trove of wiretap evidence that contributed to the mob boss’s demise.
Mr. Ménard, a one-time young delinquent who went on to become one of the hardiest among the hard-boiled detectives of his time, died on Aug. 16 after a heart attack. He was 82.
He died just as a French-language documentary television series about his life was broadcast on the Historia network.
Mr. Ménard had not one but two tough-guy nicknames: Crazy Bob, for the risks he took while undercover, and Shotgun Ménard, for the 12-gauge pump-action firearm he favoured when facing robbers.
He boasted that he had nine workers’ compensation files – meaning he had been injured nine times while on duty. He needed a cane after he was shot in the leg. He got a bullet in the chest. He suffered hearing loss after blasting his shotgun at a getaway car while still inside his own vehicle.
“He was like a terrier going after a rabbit. When he saw that someone had been wronged, he was relentless,” his former partner in the homicide and robbery squad, André Kourie, said in an interview.
Mr. Kourie remembered arriving at the scene of unfolding heists and Mr. Ménard jumping out before their car had stopped because he was so eager to catch robbers.
Mr. Ménard was also a resourceful man, improvising on the job. Once, the two detectives were casing out a bus station locker where a suspect had stashed guns. Mr. Kourie said his partner suddenly went to see the maintenance crew, then came back dressed in coveralls and mopping the floor near the locker.
Mr. Kourie also remembered Mr. Ménard showing him costumes and fake ID cards he had kept from his undercover operations, including a firefighter helmet, a Bell hard hat and even a cassock.
Mr. Ménard’s crime fighting stopped abruptly in 1985 when he was shot by a pair of bank robbers. It was an unlikely fate for a man who had started as a wannabe bank robber.
The oldest of the two sons of Hector Ménard and Cécile Robidas, he was born on June 10, 1934, in Sherbrooke, 150 kilometres east of Montreal. The family lived nearby, in the small town of Cookshire.
As he recalled in the Historia documentary series, titled Shotgun Ménard, he grew up poor and making trouble.
His father, a Royal Canadian Navy sailor, died in the Second World War. While his mother juggled several jobs in Montreal to make ends meet, young Robert became a rebellious child.
He recalled firing a pellet gun at passing cars and breaking into the local church to drink the communion wine, pee in the holy water and ring the bells at night.
At age 12, he and a friend plotted to rob a branch of the Bank of Montreal. His grandmother overheard them and alerted the police. He was taken away in handcuffs and sentenced to four years at a reform school run by priests.
There, he said, the Catholic brothers’ tough love and occasional use of the strap instilled in him an appreciation for discipline and structure. “You had the choice of either remaining a little punk or shaping up. I chose to shape up,” he recalled in his TV series.
Afterwards, he did a stint in the Canadian Forces then worked as a locomotive driver for CN. By his mid-20s, he decided to join the Montreal police, drawn as much by the prestige of the uniform as the prospect of a steady salary, health plan and pension.
His application was rejected because of his earlier brush with the law. He turned to his reform-school teacher, one Brother Julien.
In a sign of the influence of the church in Quebec at the time, Brother Julien got a meeting with Hilaire Beauregard, the head of the provincial police, who agreed to expunge Mr. Ménard’s record and to put in a word with Albert Langlois, the Montreal police chief.
With that help, Mr. Ménard was able to join the Montreal police and graduated from training in the spring of 1959.
He was first assigned to Station 14, then covering the west end neighbourhood of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.
As a rookie, he was expected not to make waves but on his first shift, assigned to keep watch outside a concert at Loyola College, he spotted two car thieves in action, chased them and knocked them out with his stick.
His eagerness, resourcefulness and street savvy led him within a year to the intelligence section, working undercover missions.
For his first assignment, he was sent to infiltrate an illegal gambling den. On other occasions, he was a taxi driver or a sailor. For eight months he pretended to be an underfed wannabe poet with a downtown flat as he infiltrated leftist activist circles, looking for information on the Front de libération du Québec.
Then in 1970, he saw a For Rent sign on a window above an ice cream store in the Saint-Léonard district of Montreal. The police knew that the store, Gelateria Violi, was owned by the mob boss Mr. Violi, who usually held court next door at the Reggio Bar.
In their book Mafia Inc., André Cédilot and André Noël noted that Mr. Violi, whose crime family made money from many rackets, wasn’t above trying to make an additional $125 a month by renting the flat above his ice-cream shop. It would be his undoing.
Mr. Ménard signed the lease, posing as Bob Wilson, an electrician from Ontario. He picked that trade because his brother, Patrice, was an electrical contractor who could help him with his cover.
To distract Mr. Violi when he signed the lease, Mr. Ménard arrived accompanied by an attractive woman – actually the girlfriend of another officer.
After establishing that Mr. Violi and his henchmen weren’t around at night, the police installed a series of hidden microphones. “Violi couldn’t go anywhere in the building without us hearing what he said,” Mr. Ménard said in a 2006 issue of the police brotherhood magazine.
Mr. Ménard was needed at the scene because the wiretap system required bulky batteries that needed to be maintained regularly. Part of the hardware was concealed in a wooden dresser in the apartment.
One day, Mr. Violi tested Mr. Ménard by asking him to check the wiring and fix a malfunctioning light in the bar.
Mr. Ménard stalled, saying he was busy, then called his brother for a crash course on electrical installation.
The next day, Mr. Ménard had to inspect the light as Mr. Violi stood by the ladder.
“They’re all standing there. And I can see Paolo with his brown eyes staring at me – nobody is saying a word and I am sweating bullets,” Mr. Ménard recalled in a 2005 Montreal Gazette interview.
Nothing he did seemed to make it function until he remembered his brother telling him to try a new lightbulb as a last resort. It worked.
After six years as a tenant, Mr. Ménard was suddenly pulled away in 1976, when his superiors said the operation was ended because Mr. Violi had been subpoenaed to testify at the Commission d’enquête sur le crime organisé (CECO), a public inquiry into organized crime.
Mr. Violi refused to answer questions before the inquiry and received a one-year sentence for contempt. Relying on the wiretaps from Mr. Ménard, the inquiry disclosed the extent of the Montreal Mafia’s rackets, from extorting merchants to selling tainted meat.
The mob boss wouldn’t recover from that exposure. “The Mafia would never forgive him for being so stupidly careless as to let a cop bug his place of business,” the Mafia Inc. book said.
His authority weakened as the rival Rizzuto family vied for his throne, Mr. Violi was murdered in 1978.
The book also noted that the recordings were also useful to Italian magistrates in the 1980s, helping them corroborate their cases against Sicilian mobsters and their connections to North America.
Mr. Ménard meanwhile had transferred to the night patrol, a squad whose rough tactics suited his personality.
At the time, he explained in the documentary, police had no qualms about meting out violence when dealing with career criminals. He recalled clearing outlaw bikers from a bar by approaching the leader and smashing his flashlight on the man’s face.
On another occasion, he and another detective made headlines after a 4 a.m. punching brawl in an alley with two men, one of them Normand Dubois, one of a clan of nine mobster brothers.
Mr. Ménard was later accepted into the homicide and armed robbery squad.
Mr. Kourie recalled that when Mr. Ménard started with the squad, the unit commander took him to a scene of an ongoing bank heist, where the new man was supposed to stay on the sidelines and observe how his colleagues operated.
They saw the robber leave the bank and run across a parking lot. Mr. Kourie knew that officers posted on the other side would catch the suspect. Mr. Ménard, however, didn’t wait and took off in pursuit, firing at the suspect until he caught him.
“He couldn’t help himself. Each time he saw a bad guy he had to run after him. It was tiring for us,” Mr. Kourie said.
The last six months of Mr. Ménard’s career were punctuated by three serious shootouts.
In September of 1984, he and Mr. Kourie stopped two gunmen leaving a downtown bank heist. Mr. Ménard fired his shotgun through his windshield, injuring one suspect.
On Jan. 31, 1985, Mr. Ménard shot dead a man who had robbed an east-end Steinberg supermarket. A coroner’s inquest cleared Mr. Ménard, because the suspect had aimed a sawed-off rifle at the officer.
Three months later, Mr. Ménard was part of an operation against two robbers who had struck a bank in the southwest neighbourhood of LaSalle. Mr. Ménard and one suspect fired at each other.
The robber had a bulletproof vest. Mr. Ménard didn’t. He was hit in the chest and legs.
“It felt like I was hit by a baseball bat. I saw the blood come out like a fountain,” he recalled in the TV documentary.
Hampered by his injuries and suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, he had to retire.
Around the same time, his son, Marc, died.
Marc wanted to become a police officer too. He had joined the RCMP and was about to report for training when he was diagnosed with brain cancer.
In the documentary, Mr. Ménard said that after he was shot, he had to be resuscitated twice. Hinting that he had a near-death experience, he said he had not shared with anyone what he saw, except with his ailing son, to give him solace as Marc neared death.
“I regret nothing. I am not afraid of dying,” Mr. Ménard said.

Mr. Ménard is survived by his daughter, Joelle; his grandchildren, Hanna and Marcus; and his ex-wife, Carolyn Galloway. He was predeceased by his son and his brother.

Japan police capture 976 yakuza to prevent 'state of all-out war'

25 people were killed and 70 injured when the Yamaguchi-gumi split in 1984
The arrests are intended to deplete manpower and funds from the Yamaguchi-gumi, the nation's largest crime syndicate, and the Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi, which broke away in August last year.
A worrying precedent for such a breakaway was set in 1984, when 25 people were killed and 70 others injured in bloody clashes between rival gangs.
Japanese police set up a dedicated unit to "intensify" their response to the group's split and began conducting a series of raids and arrests.
Since the country's National Police Agency announced the gangs were in a "state of all-out war" on 7 March, they have arrested 976 gangsters, often over minor infractions, The Asahi Shimbun reports.
“After the split, the police have been relentlessly arresting members even for spontaneous scuffles or damage to property,” a gangster allegedly affiliated with the Yamaguchi-gumi told the paper.
“Every time someone gets arrested, we have to pay for a lawyer. It is a horribly exhausting battle.”
Of those arrested, 623 were members of the Yamaguchi-gumi and 353 were from Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi.
The gangs allegedly engage in a range of activities, including gambling, drugs, prostitution, loan-shark operations and protection rackets.
The split occurred when five subsidiaries of the Yamaguchi-gumi were expelled from the group and eight others suspended.
The subsidiaries were exiled for voicing concern with gang-boss Shinobu Tsukasa's management after they criticised him for failing to focus the organisation's operation on the more lucrative Tokyo market. The gang operates predominantly in western Japan.
Following failed negotiations between the two gangs, Tadashi Takagi, a senior member of the Koba Yamaguchi-gumi, was shot and killed on 31 May and Tatsuo Saiki, another member of the gang, was shot dead on 15 July.

There have also been reports of trucks being crashed into offices belonging to the rival groups. 

Alleged Mob Kingpin Joey Merlino Banned from All Pennsylvania Casinos


Joey Merlino, the man who the FBI believes to be the head of the Philadelphia Mob, has been banned from entering the state’s 12 casinos.  The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) voted unanimously this week to designate “Skinny Joey” persona non grata, after an altercation at the Sugarhouse Casino in March.
That, and the fact that he was arrested in early August along with 46 alleged mob associates, soldiers and capos, and accused of being one of the ringleaders of a criminal empire known as the East Coast La Cosa Nostra Enterprise.
Skinny Joey and his associates have been charged, variously, with illegal gambling, extortion, gun-running, fraud, good old-fashioned racketeering, and other crimes. He is currently out on $5 million bail as he awaits trial.
Blackjack Fracas
The PGCB said that it began its investigation following an incident at the Sugarhouse blackjack tables when Merlino and his entourage fell into a disagreement with several other players.
According to documents seen by Fox News, things got heated and several punches were thrown before security broke up the fight. Merlino reportedly then shook hands with one of the opposing group and left.
When he returned to the same casino the following month, he was met by PGCB agents who attempted to serve him with an exclusion order, but he brushed them off and walked out.
Agents again attempted to serve him the order when he appeared at Harrahs Casino in Chester, and were again waved away by the reputed gangster.
“We tried to serve him at his restaurant, his home, at Harrah’s, at SugarHouse,” said board spokesman Doug Harbach. “It’s a permanent ban unless he petitions the board to be removed and provides the board with ample reason why he should be removed from the list.”
Wiseguy Sting
The arrests last month came as the result of a joint investigation between the FBI and New York’s organized crime task force and is believed to have spanned several years and involved infiltration by an undercover FBI agent into the ranks of the organization.
Investigators say they have collected thousands of hours of testimonies gathered through wiretaps and the cooperation of a witness. The 32-page indictment unsealed last month details incidents of assaults, threats and arson.
Merlino has beaten murder charges in the past, but has served prison time for racketeering. He has already been barred from all Atlantic Citycasinos.
Judge flips the script at sentencing in $14M organized crime scheme
by Barbara Boyer, Staff Writer
The prosecutor asked for a five-year term. The defendant, in a plea deal, agreed to that. Millions were stolen, a reputed member of the mob already had received a 30-year term, and the judge was known to be tough.
So what happened in federal court in Camden on Thursday was unexpected.
U.S. District Judge Robert Kugler turned to Cory Leshner; called him a "good person" with no criminal history; noted that the 33-year-old defendant with a law degree had a wife who was expecting their second child, a supportive family, and a job waiting for him; and sentenced him to a two-year term.
And Leshner, of Berks County, Pa., will not have to report to prison until Feb. 2, after his wife gives birth to their son. The couple already have a 4-year-old daughter.
Kugler earlier prompted an emotional testimonial to Leshner's character - and his help as a cooperating witness - from retired FBI agent Joe Gilson.
Leshner had done well in life but made bad decisions working for reputed mobster Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., son of former Philadelphia mob boss Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo, the judge said, turning aside the sentence prosecutor Adam Small requested.
"Mr. Leshner, good luck to you," the judge said before leaving the bench.
In his early 20s, Leshner was among a group who orchestrated the takeover of a Texas-based mortgage firm, FirstPlus Financial Group Inc. They stole more than $14 million, using the money to buy fancy cars, a yacht, and expensive gifts for mistresses in 2007 and 2008.
In 2011, Leshner and Scarfo were among 13 defendants indicted. Before trial, Leshner made a decision that again changed the direction of his life. In 2014, he testified against the others, for days describing the greed and manipulation that fueled the conspiracy.
Prosecutors convinced the jury that Scarfo and Salvatore Pelullo, 48, of Philadelphia, took control of First Plus, dismantled the board of directors, and put in their own people to run the scam. By May 2008, millions had been siphoned from the institution through bogus consulting contracts. The firm was driven into bankruptcy.
It was Leshner's testimony, in part, that led to Scarfo's conviction and a 30-year prison term Kugler imposed in July 2015.
Leshner was the last to be sentenced.
"I'm sorry," Leshner told Kugler. He offered no excuses and told the judge he wanted to do good.
Kugler, known to come down hard on criminal defendants, flipped the script. First, he asked Gilson about a call the former agent had received from Leshner early this summer.
Gilson, his voice at times cracking with emotion, described the call as "the most profound" he had ever received from a defendant.
"I just wanted to call you and thank you for saving my life," Gilson recalled Leshner saying. The agent had grown fond of Leshner, who he said provided "unparalleled cooperation," more so than any other he had seen throughout his career.
He told Kugler, "I came to admire him as an individual for his courage." He said he wanted to attend Thursday's hearing to support Leshner.
Leshner's current boss, Maher Ahmed, said he, too, respected Leshner for his courage. At first, Ahmed said, he hired Leshner as an attorney for his Harrisburg cab business.
When Leshner surrendered his law license after the conviction, he became a dispatcher and manager, volunteering to work weekends so Ahmed could spend more time with his family. He was kind to workers, and they respected him, Ahmed said.
Leshner's attorney, Rocco Cipparone, told the judge that his client was a "game changer" for the government who told the truth "to be true to himself."
The judge acknowledged that Leshner was sincere, in stark contrast with the wiseguys who fought the charges. The judge also noted that it was an unusual plea arrangement, with prosecutors agreeing to a five-year sentence if Leshner agreed not to ask for less time.
Why, the judge asked, did Leshner agree to cooperate? Leshner said Cipparone convinced him, saying that if not for his lawyer, "I would have made all the wrong decisions."
Kugler said he was not bound to impose the five-year term. As a result, he said, he was going to lower the sentence, something he has rarely done. The judge also ordered three years of supervised release, and more than $14 million in restitution.
"You must have been very proud of what you accomplished," Kugler said of Leshner's life beyond the conspiracy. He noted that Leshner was young compared with the other defendants, and that Leshner's wife in the courtroom. "It's just a terrible tragedy for your family," he said.

The gang wars that left New York littered with bodies BEFORE the Mafia's Five Families ruled: How the tit-for-tat Tong wars brought bloody but well-dressed terror to Chinatown

•           The four Tong Wars started in 1900 and raged on for 25 years in New York
•           There were men armed with hatchets executing their rivals and open warfare on the streets of Chinatown
•           In Tong Wars: The Untold Story of Vice, Money and Murder in New York's Chinatown Scott D Seligman gives a history of the gang-torn area
•           The On Leong Tong and the Hip Sing Tong, its bitter rival, kicked off the first war as they accused one another of criminality in the press
•           The Tongs flourished in the late 1800s as New York became more popular for Chinese immigrants, who had previously migrated to California

It was the bloody conflict that was omitted from the Martin Scorsese movie 'Gangs of New York'.
But the Tong Wars were as brutal as any that were dramatized in the Oscar-winning film, according to a new book.
The four Tong Wars raged on and off more than 25 years and left dozens of people dead as bodies piled up in Chinatown in Manhattan.
During the tit-for-tat killings, one of the Tongs - the Chinese word for gang - was tortured to death with meat cleavers by murderers who cut his nose off.
In another incident, gang members were shot dead and two civilians were killed during a mass execution at a theater.
And in another event, a 22-year-old white missionary was caught up in the mayhem when she was strangled by her lover in Chinatown.
The Tong Wars saw men armed with hatchets executing their rivals and open warfare on the streets of New York that corrupt police were powerless to prevent.
According to Tong Wars: The Untold Story of Vice, Money and Murder in New York's Chinatown, by Scott D Seligman, the gangsters wore pinstripe suits, fedora hats and had their collars pulled up.
Their weapons of choice included a six-shot derringer and the meat cleaver.
Seligman tells for the first time how the gangs of Chinatown were as brutal as their more famous Italian or Irish counterparts.
The Tongs flourished in the late 1800s as New York became more popular for Chinese immigrants, who had previously migrated to California.
In 1870, however, California enacted laws preventing them from working on public projects and authorizing cities to relocate them outside of their boundaries.
But not even the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which banned further immigration from Chinese laborers for ten years and banned those in the United States from obtaining citizenship discouraged more from coming.
Chinatown developed in an area south of Canal Street in Manhattan in a neighborhood that until then had been occupied by Irish immigrants.
The Chinese lived in cramped apartments where landlords had built extra floors into high ceilinged rooms to cram in an extra set of beds.
In 1875 the New York state census recorded only 157 Chinese people in the the city. In reality, however, there were were much more, and by 1880 the New York Times estimated the real number to be at 4,500.
By that time there were an estimated 300 Chinese laundries in the city with many other Chinese working in restaurants, cigar makers and other skilled trades.
But there was also a criminal element who ran the illicit gambling parlors and opium dens, writes Seligman, a former congressional legislative assistant who is fluent in Mandarin.
The most powerful Chinese immigrant at the time was Tom Lee, who Seligman calls a 'a crafty man with no small levels of ambition' who came to America when he was 14 having been born in Guangzhou.
He was sent to New York by the Six Companies, San Francisco Chinatown's supreme governing body, a fraternal organization in the United States was an umbrella group of different agencies.
Such agencies were referred to by the name 'Tong', meaning chamber. Another word for them was 'triad', which is more commonly used today.
With the authority of the Six Companies, Tom Lee was effectively put in charge of the Chinese community in New York in the 1870s.
He was a social climber and realized the value of connections outside his community, especially at City Hall and the police department.
Tom Lee courted them with gifts, and in September 1881, he arranged a picnic on Staten Island for 50 Chinese residents and a handful of invited - and influential - guests.
He became known as the 'Mayor of Mott Street' and was the most important figure in the Chinese community.
in 1880 Tom Lee founded his new organization, the Loon Yee Tong, whose name translates as 'Chamber United in Friendship', a mixture of trade union, fraternity and advocacy group, that served as a sort of Chinese Masonic lodge.
The initiation ritual involved suspending a sword over a recruit's head as he recited 36 oaths of allegiance. His finger was pricked and a drop of blood was put into some wine which was drunk by all in the room to symbolize brotherhood.
'Loyalty and obedience were valued above all else,' Seligman writes.
By 1884 Tom Lee was thought to be running 16 gambling establishments in Little China, the precursor to Chinatown; Gamblers paid $8 per table per week with a third going to him and the rest given to the police.
Lee also made money from using his police contacts to keep cops away from opium dens or giving the owners a warning they were about to be raided.
He was also not afraid to have rivals killed if it suited him.
As Seligman writes, it was Tom Lee's other gang, the On Leong Tong, and the Hip Sing Tong, its bitter rival, that would cause the first of the Tong Wars.
The Hip Sing Tong started in San Francisco and translates as 'Chamber United in Victory'.
The organization made a fortune from smuggling people into the US for $200 a time and were also known as the 'Highbinders'.
One report from the time said they were a 'famous secret society of thugs and murderers...who haunt the dirty basements'.
While Tom Lee had always paid some of his earnings from gambling to the police and politicians, the Hip Sing Tong kept it all for themselves and were far more mercenary.
As Seligman puts it: 'The On Leongs were selling protection from the police. The Hip Sings were selling protection from themselves.'
The Hip Sings were led by Young Mock Duck, who claimed to have been born in San Francisco in 1879 but there were no records to back this up.
Seligman writes that he looked 'slim and delicate, almost girlish in demeanor' but his appearance belied how he had the 'spirit of a tiger'.
In the years to come Mock Duck achieved almost mythical status and children in Chinatown came to believe that he had supernatural powers like being able to see around corners, deflect bullets from his skin and read people's minds.
During the 1980s the On Leongs and the Hip Sings fought a PR war with both sides accusing the other of criminality through newspaper reports planted with friendly journalists.
The violence properly began on August 12, 1900, in the hallway of a tenement at 9 Pell Street when four On Leong gunmen ambushed a Hip Sing laundryman who was in Chinatown for his usual Sunday visit.
The killer, Sin Cue, and three others were arrested and soon after police learned that the plan had been to kill four Hip Sings, but the others had escaped.
The Hip Sings responded by putting a $3,000 bounty on Tom Lee's head.
Tom Lee told a friend: 'They are after me now', adding: 'Some day I go like that', with a snap of his fingers.
The Hip Sings finally got their revenge when Sin Cue visited Pell Street that September with his friend Ah Fee.
They were ambushed by six armed Hip Sings who threw pepper in their faces and beat them with an iron bar.
During the carnage the Hip Sings, including Mock Duck and henchman Sue Sing, fired a gun and a stray bullet hit a female passer by and slightly injured her two children.
Ah Fee was shot twice and died of his injuries.
Mock Duck and the four other Hip Sings were put on trial but before the case began Sin Cue, the man who would have been the prosecution's key witness, died after his home was set on fire, causing him to leap off the balcony to his death.
The blaze was started when a pan of cooking oil was left on a burner in a restaurant below - and looked extremely suspicious.
Mock Duck's first trial resulted in a hung jury but a white witness revealed they had been given a note saying that if they gave evidence they would 'die to-day'.
It read: 'Pepper in your eyes and bullet in your heart. You no go thing you die so you make no more witness for Chinese.'
The note was signed, 'One, Two, Three', which appears to have been a Tong-related code.
Mock Duck would appear before judges dozens of times after this but on each occasion the police could never make the charges stick
In November 1904 he survived an assassination attempt when he was shot twice as he came up some steps from the basement of 18 Pell Street.
Mock Duck's assailant, an On Leong called Lee Sing, calmly walked toward him from over the road and opened fire at close range.
The second bullet grazed him and the first lodged in his stomach having bounced off his belt, a deflection which saved his life.
Police later learned that there had been a secret meeting of the On Leong Tong in which lots were drawn to see who would kill Mock Duck.
By this stage the press began to call the fight a 'Tong War' for the first time.
The New York World newspaper said it was 'quite as deadly as the Italian Mafia or the Black Hand'.
Later that month, after Mock Duck was released from hospital, the two Tongs exchanged gunfire in what the New York Sun called a 'regular highbinder six-shooter war dance on the Bowery' .
Police recovered battle gear from the Hip Sings which included four coats of armor including one vest made of steel rings woven together which was resistant to bullets - which caused deep alarm among law enforcement.
Innocent bystander John Baldwin, a white man who was drinking at a saloon on the Bowery was shot and died of his injuries.
This sparked an unprecedented level of attention from the city and police, so both Tongs turned to means other than violence to disrupt the other.
Over Christmas two On Leongs posed as out of town laundrymen and lured 15 Hip Sings to a gambling den - then reported them to the police.
When the officers arrived the On Leongs pulled an iron ring which opened a trap door in the floor, sending all the Hip Sings plunging into two feet of water below.
The cops eventually got in and arrested them all.
In January 1905 the next body fell - this time another Hip Sing.
Huie Fong was ambushed on Mott Street by a man who blasted three shots at him from close range.
According to a newspaper report, a police detective who was two doors away rushed to the scene and found Huie Fong 'flapping like a landed trout' which blood gushing from the two holes in his chest.
Soon after the On Leongs declared that for every time one of their properties was raided based on a tip from the Hip Sings 'there would be another dead Hip Sing'.
The Hip Sings responded by putting up red signs reminding people of the $3,000 bounty on Tom Lee's head.
The On Leongs retaliated by crushing the skull of Ching Gon, a Hip Sing who had moved out of Chinatown. He died of his injuries.
The Hip Sings' response was to shoot dead Lee Yu, a senior On Leong and one of Tom Lee's cousins.
Seligman writes that this left the Hip Sings 'jubilant' as they thought they finally had the better of their rivals.
What proved to be a 'watershed' moment in the war was the massacre at the Chinese Theater on Doyers Street.
The slaughter was shocking because it happened on what was considered neutral ground where On Leongs and Hip Sings could go and enjoy a play without the fear of violence.
On August 6, 1905, several Hip Sing men entered the theater during a performance of a Cantonese drama called 'The King's Daughter' and threw firecrackers on stage, causing the actors to flee.
During the chaos they opened fire and executed four On Leongs in a hail of more than 100 bullets that shattered windows and split benches.
Two civilians also died, showing that Chinatown was not safe for outsiders, including whites.
There were two who did it get away, though. The first was Sing Dock, who was known as the 'Scientific Killer' due to his forensic approach to murder. The other was Yee Toy, known as 'Girl Face' for his effeminate features.
The On Leongs did not even wait a week before seeking revenge and set upon Hop Lee, a laundryman who was a Hip Sing and friend of Mock Duck, with a meat cleaver.
Seligman writes: 'Hop had been asleep, police said later said, when five On Leongs forced his door, dragged him from his bed and stretched him out.
'They might have killed him with one blow but instead chose torture. The man wielding the cleaver delivered repeated blows to his body and his head. And in an act of pitiless savagery, he severed Hop Lee's nose from his face'.
Hop Lee lived long enough to identify two of his attackers.
As Seligman points out, New Yorkers had lived through gang wars before and knew one when they saw it.
The national press also took note and that theater massacre sparked endless features about how New York was in the midst of a crime wave.
Also among those becoming anxious was Shah Kai-Fu, the Chinese consul general in the US, who paid a call to the New York District Attorney to ask him to stop the warfare.
During the coroner's inquest into the Chinese Theater massacre, Mock Duck gave evidence and claimed that he was nowhere near the property on the night.
Witnesses said they saw him there - he was arrested but posted bail and no charges were eventually brought.
A ceasefire signed in 1906 by both Tongs lasted three years until the most high-profile murder of all happened.
In 1909 the killing of Elsie Sigel, a 22-year-old white missionary, stopped most whites from going to Chinatown and once again changed how the city saw the Tong Wars.
Sigel was the granddaughter of a Civil War hero and was strangled with a curtain cord and dumped in a trunk above a chop suey restaurant.
Her decaying remains were found a week later.
The murder was said to be a crime of passion reportedly committed by a Chinese waiter called Leon Ling, with whom she had been having an affair against her parents' wishes - he was never apprehended.
That year, as Chinatown business struggled with 70 per cent less visitors than before, the conflict among the Tongs escalated over the murder of Bow Kum, a 21-year-old Chinese woman.
She was found in her bed having been slashed across her torso and gored twice in her heart with a 7-inch hunting knife.
She had fled enslavement in San Francisco to Lau Tong, a known murderer who was in the Four Brothers, another gang.
When Lau Tong heard she was in New York he confronted Chin Lem, an On Leong laundryman and her new lover, but he refused to pay $3,000 for her and would not hand her back. The details of the crime remain unsolved.
Seligman says that the killing led to an 'out-and-out war' between the Four Brothers and the On Leongs that broke out in September 1909 when a Four Brothers laundryman was shot outside the On Leong head office.
During the carnage two Four Brothers men in their 70s were shot dead in a room on Pell Street.
Next to die was Ah Hoon, a comic and an On Leong supporter who had in the past mocked the Hip Sings.
He was gunned down despite having a police escort as he feared for his life.
The killers waited until he was home and shot him as he left his front door to wash himself at the washstand across the hall.
The violence lasted until 1911 and saw The Hip Sing aligned with the Four Brothers to take down the On Leongs, their old adversary.
A raid of an opium den on Seventh Avenue led officers to find letters that revealed a massive opium ring throughout major cities, which led the FBI to investigate.
The Third Tong War erupted in 1912, and by 1913 many of the gambling and opium dens were shut down, but that was not the end of the Tong Wars.
A fourth in 1925 when Chin Jack Lem, a senior On Leong, defected to the Hip Sings.
Shortly after a Hip Sing laundryman was shot dead in Brooklyn and in the days after there were similar reports of violence in Chinese communities in Pittsburgh, Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit and Milwaukee.
In New York, a 30-year-old On Leong and a 64-year-old On Leong were butchered; the latter had nearly been decapitated and his body was covered with 14 slash marks.
Fearing a return to the bloodshed of the early 20th Century Joab Banton, the New York County District Attorney, called in the federal government to start an unprecedented crackdown on Chinese immigrants.
During raids carried out over the next week or so, they arrested anyone who looked Chinese with little regard for their rights.
The crackdown worked and finally brought an end to the Tong Wars.
As Seligman writes: 'No other immigrant group had ever been targeted the way the authorities were going after the Chinese.
'Italian and Irish émigrés had fought their share of brutal gang wars, but nobody had ever rounded them up for wholesale expulsion.
'Yet this time, the government was acting as if the only way to bring peace to Chinatown were to get rid of its Chinese, through whatever means necessary.'

Member And Associates Of The Lucchese Crime Family Plead Guilty To Extortion Conspiracy


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Member Carmine Avellino and Associates Daniel and Michael Capra Admit to Threatening Two Victims in Efforts to Collect a $100,000 Loan
On Friday, August 12, 2016, at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, New York, Carmine Avellino, a member of the Lucchese organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra, pleaded guilty to an extortionate collection of credit conspiracy.  The proceeding took place before United States Magistrate Judge Marilyn D. Go.  United States District Judge Ann M. Donnelly accepted the guilty plea earlier today.  Avellino’s co-defendants, Lucchese crime family associates Michael Capra and Daniel Capra pleaded guilty to the extortion conspiracy in July and August of this year.  When sentenced, the defendants each face up to 20 years in prison.    
The guilty pleas were announced by Robert L. Capers, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Diego Rodriguez, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office; and Timothy D. Sini, Commissioner, Suffolk County Police Department.  Mr. Capers extended his grateful appreciation to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office and the City of New York Business Integrity Commission for their assistance with the case.
“Avellino, relying on his reputation as a member of the Lucchese crime family, and Lucchese associates Michael Capra and Daniel Capra, used intimidation and threats of violence to obtain payment from victims on an outstanding debt,” stated United States Attorney Capers.  “These convictions make clear that we hold accountable members of La Cosa Nostra and their associates who use extortion as a tool of their trade.”
“As this case illustrates, members of La Cosa Nostra are still doing business as usual and continue to threaten victims with violence when a loan is not repaid.  The FBI, working with our law enforcement partners, stand committed to rooting out organized crime enterprises in our communities,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Rodriguez.
“We will not tolerate organized crime operating in our communities.  It has no place in a civilized society.  This case makes clear that law enforcement is committed more than ever to bringing criminals such as Carmine Avellino to justice,” stated Suffolk County Police Commissioner Sini.
According to prior court filings and facts presented during the guilty plea proceedings, between January and July 2010, the defendants conspired and attempted to collect a loan through the use of threats.   Avellino had previously loaned one of the victims $100,000.  After making the majority of the payments on the loan, the victim had difficulty repaying the remainder.  The defendants then used force and coercive means, including threats of physical violence, in an attempt to collect the outstanding loan amount.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Organized Crime and Gangs Section.  Assistant United States Attorneys Maria Cruz Melendez and Nadia Moore are in charge of the prosecution.

The Defendants:
Age: 72
Stony Brook, New York
Age: 58
Hauppauge, New York
Age: 52
Smithtown, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 13-CR-632 (AMD)
Königsberg/Preußen, Preußen

Drug arrest of John Gotti's grandson triggers cops to raid late mobster's Howard Beach home for the first time

Updated: Thursday, August 4, 2016, 10:27 PM

It’s the Fall of the House of Gotti.
The late mob boss John Gotti must be spinning in his grave after NYPD cops raided his iconic home in Howard Beach early Thursday to arrest his namesake grandson on drug charges.
The raid marked the first time ever that members of law enforcement crossed the Gotti threshold armed with a search warrant.
“They destroyed the house,” claimed Gerard Marrone, the lawyer representing John Gotti, the grandson. His father is mob scion Peter Gotti.
Detectives seized $40,000 and 500 Oxycodone pills inside a safe in Gotti’s bedroom where he was shacked up with girlfriend Eleonor Gabrielli, who was also busted, officials said.
Retired FBI supervisor Phil Scala said the 23-year-old grandson’s reckless behavior in the House of Gotti violated a sacred rule. The Dapper Don never conducted mob business in his home because he wanted to protect his family from exposure to his criminal activities, according to Scala, who headed the Bureau’s Gambino squad for years.
“If John was still alive he would be spewing every pejorative he could, knowing that somebody did something so stupid to besmirch his home and his family,” Scala told the Daily News.
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said Gotti and a crew of dope dealers were peddling Oxycodone pills on the streets of Howard Beach and Ozone Park for $23 to $24 per painkiller pill.
Just like his grandfather was brought down by a bug planted in an elderly woman’s apartment above the mob boss’s Ravenite Social Club in lower Manhattan, investigators secretly installed a listening device in Gotti’s Infiniti sedan as part of their drug probe dubbed “Operation Beach Party.”
Gotti was recorded on a wiretap stating that he sold more than 4,200 pills a month and the illicit business pulled in $100,000 a month.
Undercover cops allegedly made 11 buys from Gotti, purchasing $46,000 worth of Oxycodone from him. He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
Investigators also executed a search warrant at the Rebel Ink Tattoo Parlor where Gotti is a part-owner.
“He’s lucky his grandfather is not alive,” said Lewis Kasman, the deceased Gotti’s so-called adopted son. “John Sr. would have killed the kid himself.”
He also said the elder Gotti never brought business home.
“No wiseguy was allowed in that house and the only non-blood family member permitted inside was me,” Kasman said. “That was his (Gotti’s) palace, so to speak. This is a desecration of everything that John stood for in terms of the family house being sacred.”
The bedroom of Gotti’s son Frankie, who was killed in a tragic car accident, was maintained as a shrine in the house, Kasman said.
Also charged are Shaine Hack, 37, Edward Holohan, 50, Steve Kruger, 57, Justin Testa, 41, Michael Farduchi, 24, Melissa Erul, 23, and Dawn Biers, 46.
Investigators seized $200,000 from Hack’s home in Howard Beach — allegedly drug proceeds he was holding for Gotti.
The feds never sought a search warrant for the home in the past although there were unproven suspicions the “Gotti legacy,” — a massive stash of cash reaped from Gambino family rackets — was possibly hidden somewhere inside, Scala said.