Sanitation worker informant recorded 530 days worth of secret meetings used in massive mob bust




 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.

 

 

 

Bonanno associate and Canadian drug kingpin set up $2M 'hit' fund: feds


 

When mobsters draw on this account – people get whacked.

A Bonanno associate and a Canadian drug kingpin used a $2 million “hit” fund – so they could quickly hire henchmen to murder snitches, Brooklyn feds said today.

John "Big Man" Venizelos sent encrypted BlackBerry messages to a colleague explaining that French Canadian drug kingpin Jimmy “Cosmo” Cournoyer had bankrolled the special murder fund to underwrite hits against informants in the high-profile international narcotics case against the pair, Brooklyn federal prosecutors revealed.

Venizelos, a Bonanno connected guy charged with teaming up with the Canadian drug lord was arrested again today after ominously warning a witness about the hit fund, officials said.

"Venizelos sent an encrypted message" to a co-conspirator, warning that person "that he/she had better hope that Cournoyer or members of his organization never found out that [the co-conspirator] had spoken with law enforcement agents because Cournoyer has $2 million set aside to pay for the murder of cooperating witnesses," Brooklyn Assistant US Attorney Steven Tiscione wrote to a judge.

The feds included encrypted messages that Venizelos sent out the murder fund that government experts just recently deciphered.

"Seriously bro. I know he has like 2 mil...just to pay guys to handle that once he sentenced," Venizelos wrote in the message, referring to Cournoyer, according to a court transcript.

Cournoyer, 33, who is awaiting trial in Brooklyn federal court, allegedly lies at the center of $1 billion narcotics ring and operated through alliances he created between the Canadian Mafia, the Hells Angels, a Mexican drug cartel, and the Bonanno crime family, The Post first reported last month.

Prosecutors says that Cournoyer was one of the biggest suppliers of marijuana to New York City until his arrest last year.

The feds also seized letters that they believe were written by an unnamed organized crime colleague of Venizelos, which they say clearly establish the nightclub manager's Mafia activities and involvement in bloody crimes.

"In addition to discussing Venizelos’ ties to organized crime - including references to 'sit-downs' with 'captains' in various New York organized crime families of La Cosa Nostra - the letters also specifically mention a myriad of violent crimes committed by the author with, or on behalf of Venizelos...including the 'torture' of an individual Venizelos suspected of stealing his drugs," prosecutors wrote.

In one of the seized letters, the unnamed colleague recounts that chilling assault.

"Who cared enough to pull a broad daylight kidnapping, then torture the name out of that guy?" the colleague wrote to Venizelos, the feds say.

Venizelos - who sports horn-rimmed glasses and wears Ralph Lauren Polo ensembles - holds a "straight job" managing "Jaguars 3", a Brooklyn nightspot run by Vincent "Vinny Green" Faraci, a Bonanno crime family soldier who formerly managed the "Crazy Horse Too" strip club in Las Vegas.

After the DEA arrested Venizelos two months ago and charged him with being one of Cournoyer's biggest customers, his attorney insisted that the $100,000-plus seized by feds at Venizelos' residence wan't drug money - it was just cash for tipping strippers at the "Jaguars 3" club.

Defense attorney John Meringolo argued that the money belongs to the nightclub and insists that Venizelos - the club's manager - was going to bring the cash to the bank to exchange it for tens of thousands of single dollar bills.

"Every other week he procures up to $50,000 in singles for the business of exotic dancers," Meringolo told The Post.

Greenback singles are an essential element of strip club operations and are coveted by customers who want to give get a rush from up-close and very personal cash tips to gyrating strippers.

"By no means does this money have anything to do with drug proceeds," Meringolo said.

 

 

 

 

Ex-mafia associate cops to lying about Colombo double-hit


 

A former mob associate pleaded guilty today to lying about his role as a trigger-man in a double-hit during the Colombo crime family's bloody factional war two decades ago.

Anthony Colandra, 43, who has since left the Mafia, admitted in Brooklyn federal court that he lied to investigators about being present at a 1992 double-murder that allegedly was sanctioned by Colombo street boss Thomas "Tommy Shots" Gioeli.

Last year, Gioeli was convicted of murder conspiracy charges stemming from his role in planning the hit.

Brooklyn federal prosecutors say that Colandra was part of a hit team - and one of two gunmen - who carried out the bloody killing of renegade Colombo crime-family member John Minerva, who was shot dead along with a friend, Michael Imbergamo.

The feds say that Imbergamo - who had no mob connections - was in the wrong place at the wrong time, as he and his mobster pal were gunned down as they sat in a parked car outside the Broadway Cafe in North Massapequa, LI.

Minerva - a mob soldier who had allied himself with the breakaway Orena faction during the bloody internecine Colombo war in the early 1990s - had been marked for death by a team of Colombos loyal to the Persico faction, which eventually prevailed as victors in the mob conflict.

The feds never charged Colandra with the murders, partly because the statute of limitations on the federal murder-racketeering laws in force at the time of the killings had lapsed.

Today Colandra pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents about his involvement in the hit, but he did not admit pulling the trigger. He will eventually serve a five-year term in prison, in a plea agreement with federal prosecutors.

Today Brooklyn federal Judge Brian Cogan was told by prosecutors that Colandra had only a brief involvement with the Colombo crime family over several months in the early 1990s.

After the murders, he left the mob, and became an informant for the Drug Enforcement Administration, the feds told the judge.

He has since been living a normal life, working at a church, and coaching youth baseball, officials say.

mmaddux@nypost.com

Ex-mafia associate cops to lying about Colombo double-hit


A former mob associate pleaded guilty today to lying about his role as a trigger-man in a double-hit during the Colombo crime family's bloody factional war two decades ago.

Anthony Colandra, 43, who has since left the Mafia, admitted in Brooklyn federal court that he lied to investigators about being present at a 1992 double-murder that allegedly was sanctioned by Colombo street boss Thomas "Tommy Shots" Gioeli.

Last year, Gioeli was convicted of murder conspiracy charges stemming from his role in planning the hit.

Brooklyn federal prosecutors say that Colandra was part of a hit team - and one of two gunmen - who carried out the bloody killing of renegade Colombo crime-family member John Minerva, who was shot dead along with a friend, Michael Imbergamo.

The feds say that Imbergamo - who had no mob connections - was in the wrong place at the wrong time, as he and his mobster pal were gunned down as they sat in a parked car outside the Broadway Cafe in North Massapequa, LI.

Minerva - a mob soldier who had allied himself with the breakaway Orena faction during the bloody internecine Colombo war in the early 1990s - had been marked for death by a team of Colombos loyal to the Persico faction, which eventually prevailed as victors in the mob conflict.

The feds never charged Colandra with the murders, partly because the statute of limitations on the federal murder-racketeering laws in force at the time of the killings had lapsed.

Today Colandra pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents about his involvement in the hit, but he did not admit pulling the trigger. He will eventually serve a five-year term in prison, in a plea agreement with federal prosecutors.

Today Brooklyn federal Judge Brian Cogan was told by prosecutors that Colandra had only a brief involvement with the Colombo crime family over several months in the early 1990s.

After the murders, he left the mob, and became an informant for the Drug Enforcement Administration, the feds told the judge.

He has since been living a normal life, working at a church, and coaching youth baseball, officials say.

mmaddux@nypost.com

 

 

'Yakuza' gangster tries to cash in on Fukushima disaster



TOKYO — A member of one of Japan's infamous "yakuza" organized crime syndicates has been arrested for illegally sending men to work at a construction company helping to clean-up the area around the tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear power plant, police said Thursday.
Yoshinori Arai, 40, who allegedly belongs to the Sumiyoshikai crime group, was detained after he sent three workers to do decontamination work without proper permits in November, according to Yamagata police.
The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported the three men aged in their 50s were paid about $164 to $186 a day, mainly for cutting grass and other decontamination work. A third of the pay went to Arai, according to the report.
Police said they were also investigating a similar case involving 10 other workers allegedly sent to the area in December.