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  • lynnheider30

It’s 2023, not 1983. But the feds just rounded up a bunch of mafia associates.

They have nicknames like “Fifi,” “Twin,” and “Vinny Slick,” but they’re not French Poodles rescued from a puppy mill. They are among ten alleged members and associates of the New York Gambino mafia family named in an indictment unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn, New York today.

These guys didn’t hold regular jobs doing things such as driving trucks, teaching eighth grade history, or working assembly lines in auto factories. They followed in the footsteps of their mob family baby daddies, violently shaking down legit labor unions, demolition, and carting (hauling by truck, I assume) businesses.

According to the news release issued by the United States Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of New York, the defendants perpetrated a series of crimes in New York and New Jersey between 2017 and 2023. While these third-generation Baby ‘Binos are unlikely to have their criminal enterprises glamorized in a Hollywood film, DOJ says their transgressions included extortions, retaliating against a federal witness, money laundering, and more. They rigged bids for lucrative contracts, demanded jobs for which they never showed up but received union pay and benefits, violently beat up a demolition company dispatcher with a hammer, threatened another guy with a baseball bat, and set his front steps on fire.

Six of their associates were taken out by Italian law enforcement today too, in an effort coordinated with the US DOJ. Seeing the TV footage of heavily armed law enforcement agencies swoop down on them, and seeing their American counterparts cuffed and escorted to jail by agents wearing branded “raid jackets” reminded me of an era 40 years ago, when I was a young reporter in Las Vegas, covering the back door of the federal courthouse with my favorite videographer and watching mobsters being hauled into court. There was Tony “the Ant” Spilotro, said to be the Chicago mob’s main dude in Vegas, and some of his associates including “Fat Herbie” Blitzstein, and many other of “Tony’s cronies.” Some did time. Some bailed out and beat the charges, but neither Spilotro nor Blitzstein escaped the wrath of their fellow gangsters – both were murdered by the mob.

Vegas mob watchers know that a combination of local and federal law enforcement efforts, the Gaming Control Board’s crackdown, and some late 70’s – early 80’s media pressure, put that mob family out of business. But it’s astonishing to get on Google and see that today’s arrests in Italy and New York are not unique. Organized crime is alive, both in traditional mafia families and in drug cartels.

We’re wrong to glorify the mob, put the runts who run it on pedestals, and say things were better when La Cosa Nostra wise guys ran our cities. They weren’t – at least not because of them. And they own a lot of what’s broken today.

Resources: For an honest look at the mob's past and present, follow the Facebook pages, Mob Summit and Las Vegas Mafia History. Dan E. Moldea's Mobology is another option to subscribe to.

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