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17 Alleged Members and Associates of Gambino Crime Family Arrested

Aired June 4, 2002 - 11:40   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We take you live now to Brooklyn, New York. This is going to be an announcement by the state attorney Eliot Spitzer, announcing the arrest, we believe, of 17 alleged members and associates of the Gambino crime family. It includes, information we have received, acting boss Peter Gotti. He's brother of imprisoned mob boss John Gotti, and apparently has been running the family since John Gotti has been in prison.

Let's go ahead and listen in to this news conference.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

ALAN VINEGRAD, U.S. ATTORNEY, EASTERN DISTRICT OF N.Y.: With me here today are Eliot Spitzer, the attorney general of the state of New York, Kevin Donovan, the assistant director in charge of the New York office of the FBI, Thomas D. Maria, executive director of the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, Gordon Heddell, the inspector general of the United States Department of Labor, William Murphy, the district attorney of Richmond County, and Raymond Kelly, the commissioner of the New York City Police Department.

We are here today to announce the unsealing of a 68-count racketeering indictment that charges 17 members and associates of the Gambino organized crime family with a whole host of mob crimes. For many decades, organized crime has exerted a corrupting influence over the operation of unions and businesses on our city's waterfront piers.

For years, two Mafia families split control over the peers between them. With the Genovese family controlling the Manhattan and New Jersey piers, the Gambino family controlling the Brooklyn and Staten Island piers, and both families controlling the International Longshoremen's Association and the union locals that supply the laborers who work at the piers.

But now, the tied is turning. In January of this year, we announced the racketeering indictment of the leaders of the Genovese family for their extortionate role in controlling the commercial life of the piers. And today, we announced that the leaders and members of the Gambino family will be brought to justice as well for their unlawful control of the New York waterfront.

Our three-year investigation of this case has revealed a stark picture of the mob exercising control over the waterfront in almost every conceivable way. The mob controlled the leadership of the ILA, putting hand-picked nominees in positions of power. It controlled the affairs of the union's national health and benefit fund, and through mob muscle, got the fund to award a multimillion dollar prescription drug contract to a company that then paid a $400,000 kick back to the mob. The mob controlled the decisions of union delegates about who to hire, and who to fire and how to run their locals. It forced people into union jobs and forced other people out of them. It extorted tens of thousands of dollars from the owner of Staten Island's Hallan Hook (ph) terminal and thousands more from a truck company doing business there. It extorted thousands and thousands of dollars from laborers as the price of getting work at the piers.

It even got to the point that when a longshoreman settled a legitimate workers' compensation claim, the mob extorted a piece of the man's financial recovery. What all of this shows is that when it comes to the waterfront, the greedy grip of organized crime knows no bounds.

Today's indictment seeks to hold responsible the Gambino crime family leaders, members and associates that are responsible for this extortionate regime. It includes racketeering charges against Frank Scollo (ph), the vice president of ILA and the president of local 1814, a man who sold himself out to the mob.

It includes charges against Anthony "Sonny" Soccone (ph), a powerful captain in the Gambino crime family. And Primo Casserino (ph), a ruthless Gambino soldier who habitually shook down waterfront businesses, waterfront workers, restaurant owners, loan shark victims, gambling victims and others.

And it includes charges against many other members and associates of the Gambino organized crime family who played an instrumental role in this scheme.

Today's charges also reveal the continued control of the Gottis over the affairs of the Gambino crime family, and law enforcement's determination to end it. Peter Gotti, the boss of the Gambino family, his brother Richard, V. Gotti, a Gambino captain, and his nephew, Richard V. Gotti, a Gambino soldier, have all been charged today for their role in overseeing and profiting from the many illegal undertakings of the Gambino family.

KAGAN: We have been listening to a live news conference from Brooklyn, New York. These are members of the state attorney office there in New York State, announcing the arrests of 17 members, alleged members, of the Gambino crime family. These of course the brother of John Gotti, who of course has been in the prison for a number of years, his brother Peter Gotti and Richard Gotti, and then Richard Gotti's son, who also goes by the name of Richard.

Among 17 people who have been indicted, these charges include racketeering, extortion, money-laundering and witness tampering, and that is according to the state attorney general's office, a big bust there in organized crime in the state of New York.

We will get a quick break in here and be back after this. TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com



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