By BRUCE GOLDING
Last Updated: 12:33 PM, February 7, 2013
Posted: 7:03 PM, January 30, 2013
Speak directly into the trash can, please.
The garbage carter who helped the feds bust a dozen mobsters -- including an alleged ringleader nicknamed "Papa Smurf" -- made 530 days worth of secret recordings, a prosecutor revealed in court today.
The "consensual recordings" range in length from phone calls that lasted just a few minutes to a marathon, 10-hour gab-fest, Manhattan federal prosecutor Arianna Berg said.
Berg didn't divulge who got caught blabbing during the undercover operation, nor did she reveal the identity of the "cooperating witness" who turned the tables on the mob after getting shaken down for a share of his profits.
Sources have told The Post that the informant ran M&C Waste Services in Westchester.
All of the defendants -- who the feds say include both "soldiers" and "associates" of the Genovese, Lucchese and Gambino crime families -- pleaded not guilty yesterday.
They include reputed Genovese associate Carmine Franco, who's been banned from the carting industry in New Jersey due to his prior convictions.
The feds say Franco, 77, is known in gangland circles as "Papa Smurf" -- apparently due to his wizened appearance and round eyes.
Judge Kevin Castel set Sept. 23 trial date for the case, which involves a total of 29 defendants, including a recently retired state trooper, Mario Velez, who's accused of using strong-arm tactics to extort the owner of a trash company and take over the business.