Feature Articles

February 12, 2001

Round Up The Usual Suspects

By John William Tuohy

John William Tuohy is a writer who lives in Washingon, D.C.

compiled by John William Tuohy

The Magazines Network...

NEW YORK: According to sources, the FBI is preparing to charge the boss of New York's International Union of Elevator Constructors Local 1 with racketeering charges for allegedly shaking down construction firms and giving no-show jobs to mobsters' relatives.

      According to agents, the phantom jobs went to relatives of the Gambino and Genovese crime-family members and a large number of mob relatives are already on the union roster, including Joseph Gotti, a nephew of jailed-for-life Gambino boss John Gotti. The Union says that Joseph Gotti has worked as an elevator operator at numerous sites.

      Also reportedly on Local 1's union's roster are James Bilotti, a nephew of Thomas Bilotti, who was murdered in the 1985 along with Gambino boss Paul "Big Paulie" Castellano, and two relatives of longtime Gambino member Louis Valerio, who was an associate of mob turncoat Salvatore "Sammy Bull" Gravano.

NEW YORK: A reputed enforcer for a drug gang has himself been executed during a gun battle in the Red Hook District in a Brooklyn housing project. His name was not released last night.

      The Red Hook district was once run by Joey Gallo and the "Gang that Couldn't Shoot Straight."

      An unknown gunman pumped a single bullet into the head of a 27-year-old man in the narrow hallway of the building.

      Police found another young man was found two blocks away with a gunshot wound to his buttocks.

      It was unclear what sparked the shootout, but detectives said it appeared to have been drug-related, and believe at least four weapons were fired.

      A .357 revolver was recovered at the scene, along with casings from a .45-caliber handgun, a .380 handgun, and a 9-mm semiautomatic, sources said. Detectives were also investigating whether a machine gun was used in the shootout at a New York Local.

NEW YORK: Ex Mafia Don-in-waiting Bill Bonnano has sold his latest book to St. Martin's Press for six figures, and will package the project for film or TV with producer Dan Paulson. The two previously collaborated on "Bonnano: A Godfather's Story," a 1999 Showtime mini-series based on separate books by father and son.

      As yet untitled, it will offer a broad history of organized crime since the end of Prohibition, focusing "not just on who shot who on what street corner, but on how this whole thing got started," Bill Bonnano told Daily Variety.

BOSTON: Thomas Hillary, a former mob associate who entered the Witness Protection Program seven years ago after turning state's witness appeared in court this month for a closed sentencing hearing.

      Judge Robert E. Keeton ordered his courtroom locked, leaving reporters out in the hallway as he pronounced sentencing during a half-hour hearing. He further refused a reporter's request for any information about the hearing, including the length of Hillary's sentence. However, sources say Hillary was sentenced to 11 months in prison but was released with time served.

      Hillary was arrested in 1992 on racketeering and bribery charges as part of an FBI sting targeting corruption in the movie industry. Hillary pleaded guilty to the charges in 1993 and admitted that he was involved in a plot by organized crime to bribe members of Teamsters Local 25 to allow a Hollywood company to produce movies in New England with non-union workers. The movie company was actually run by the FBI.

      Hillary agreed to cooperate against reputed New England Mafia boss Francis Salemme. Salemme pleaded guilty to racketeering charges and was sentenced earlier this year to 11 years in prison.

CAMDEN: Three bank officials have testified against Mayor Milton Milan who faces a 19-count indictment that includes charges of taking cash from organized crime, accepting free home improvements from city vendors and laundering drug money.

PHILADELPHIA: Three Pennsylvania Teamsters belonging to Local 115 have been sentenced in connection with the 1998 beating of Clinton protesters during a fundraising trip by Bill Clinton to Philadelphia.

      Mark Hopkins, Charles Davis and Norma Bottomer pled guilty to various charges, including assault and conspiracy, in connection with the beating of protester Don Adams and his sister, Teri. In 1999, Marc Nardonne and Kevin McNulty pled guilty to charges of riot, conspiracy and assault.

      Both Adamses were beaten to the ground by the Teamsters.

      Adams later filed a criminal complaint accusing Local 115 president John P. Morris of starting the fight and of instructing union members to attack him. The beatings, broadcast on local television stations, left Adams with a gash under his eye and multiple bruises.

FORT LAUDERDALE: The former president of a Teamsters union local 390 and his brother-in-law have been indicted on racketeering charges for allegedly using members to smuggle drugs and forcing laborers to pay kickbacks in return for future work.

      The indictment said the two men demanded the kickbacks from union stevedores used to smuggle cocaine and marijuana from ships. The charges also claim drug profits financed a truck rental company which supplied South Florida movie and television productions.

      Also named were Lark's brother-in-law Larry Crenshaw and six others for allegedly profiting from the drug smuggling operation. One of those named, John Gallo, was identified as a pornographic film producer who allegedly used $1 million in profits to set up three other pornographic film companies.

ROME: Leonardo Benvenuti, one of Italy's most prolific and respected film writers has died of a heart attack. He was 77. In a career spanning five decades, Benvenuti wrote at least 200 scripts, most of which were made into films including "Once Upon a Time in America," director Sergio Leone's 1984 epic of gangster life in New York's Lower East Side.

ROME: According to a parliamentary study on illegal waste trafficking, the Mafia controls about 30 percent of Italy's rubbish disposal companies, including toxic waste.

      The report said the so-called "ecomafia" ran companies dealing with about 35 million tons of refuse a year, raking in at least $6.66 billion.

      The commission, looking into links between organized crime and rubbish, said groups including the Naples-based Camorra and the Calabrian 'Ndrangheta were infiltrating the entire chain of waste disposal.

      Commission head Massimo Scalia said the Mafia, seeking new business interests beyond their traditional southern strongholds, had moved into areas of Italy that had been considered free from the grip of organized crime.

      The report said both local governments and companies unwittingly used Mafia-controlled firms to get rid of their garbage, especially industrial and toxic waste, which is harder to dispose of.

      The report also showed the illegal rubbish route winding its way overseas.

      Radioactive waste from Italy dumped in Somalia may have affected Italian soldiers based there with a United Nations force in the mid-1990s, the report said.

GENEVA: The United Nation said that large scale movements of voluntary and forced migrants have uprooted more than 150 million people worldwide and are set to increase further.

      Mass trafficking in humans has grown in China, with up to 200,000 people leaving for the U.S., Australia and other countries each year through smuggling rings run by organized crime, a report by the International Organization for Migration said. Smuggling networks have also been uncovered in Western Europe, where an estimated 3 million people live illegally.

      "Many trafficked migrants find themselves forced into prostitution or effective slavery to pay off their debts to the traffickers, or otherwise dependent on jobs where they suffer severe exploitation and abominable working conditions," the Geneva-based international aid organization said.

      Women make up 47.5 percent of all migrants, and many move abroad as the main wage earner rather than as accompanying family members. The report notes, however, that women are more vulnerable to abuse and discrimination.

      In addition, the "global network of overseas Chinese established through the migrations of the nineteenth century permits the operation of a complex system of alternative smuggling routes from China to the countries of the West," it said.

MADRID: Spain, Italy and Britain have succeeded in breaking up an international hashish smuggling ring, arresting 30 people, Spanish police said.

      The gang, which imported the illicit drug from Morocco, could have smuggled up to 400 tonnes of hashish across several countries, a police statement said.

      According to police, the drugs entered Europe either via the Netherlands and were then distributed to other European countries or by means of traffickers importing it directly to Italy and Britain.

BERN: A Swiss parliamentary committee said difficulties with implementing the country's new anti-money-laundering law hasn't improved in the past five months as money managers and the government have been slow to adopt the changes.

      According to the law, banks and asset managers are required to report transactions they suspect involve illegally acquired money. Its enforcement has been on hold after disagreements on procedures and a controversial strategy.

ANKARA: Turkish prisoners, led by members of organized crime, ended a hostage standoff with police Friday after five people were killed in two days of unrest.

      The uprising at Usak prison in western Turkey, the fourth hostage-taking at a Turkish prison in two weeks, was another example of Turkey's struggle to maintain control of its overcrowded prisons.

HONG KONG: The government in Hong Kong is facing the growing problem of more Chinese women from the mainland engaging in prostitution in the territory, the government said.

      The organized crime gangs in Asia play a heavy hand in prostitution.

      The monthly average number of Chinese women involved in prostitution and convicted for breach of conditions of stay or illegally remaining in Hong Kong for the first nine months this year jumped by 71% from the 1999 figures.

      For the first time in the territory, a group of local residents took to the streets on Sunday to protest the sex business in the Sham Shui Po district, which they claimed had deteriorated due to an influx of mainland Chinese prostitutes.

TOKYO: The Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) said it would add new criteria to the screening of listing applications for its Mothers (Market of the high-growth emerging stocks) sector to promote the healthy development of the market for start-up venture businesses.

      Specifically, the TSE will examine whether a listing candidate has ties with organized crime groups before accepting its application.

      The exchange currently carries out the examination after accepting an application.

YOKOHAMA: Seven Japanese men have been arrested on suspicion of producing and selling obscene videotapes featuring teenage Thai girls last year, police said.

      The suspects, whom police suspected are tied to Organized Crime, include Akihisa Kuga, 51, president of Connection, a Tokyo-based video production and sales company, and video cameraman Tatsuya Kobayashi, 35, are accused of producing a videotape featuring two Thai girls, aged 16 and 17, in Thailand in December last year.

      Kuga and two of his firm's employees are also suspected of selling copies of a separate pornographic videotape featuring another Thai girl to three people in Japan in November and December last year.

      They deny the allegation, telling investigators they thought the girls were at least 18. Investigators believe that the suspects began producing and selling videotapes featuring young girls from around 1989. Last year, the business earned some 800 million yen in sales made at retail outlets and over the Internet.

BANGKOK: A Japanese man was arrested in a hotel room in northern Thailand on suspicion of having sex with a 12-year-old girl, Thai police said Saturday.

      The victim's mother is also in police custody on charges of sexual abuse for allegedly selling the girl to a member of Organized Crime for the purpose of prostitution for $162.

AUSTRALIA: There has been a call for the Government to reverse a decision by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) to disband its specialist unit investigating child sex tourism overseas.

      Operation Morocco was established after Federal Parliament enacted laws making it illegal for Australians traveling overseas to engage in sex with children.

      The AFP maintains the work of the unit will continue, but will be carried out by general investigative teams.

BOSTON: Federal prosecutors brought new charges against fugitive mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger and accused a former policeman of hiding an arsenal of weapons to protect his mobster brother.

      Michael Flemmi, the brother of alleged gangster Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi, allegedly tried to hide 80 weapons, including 10 machine guns, 13 rifles, nine shotguns and dozens of handguns, U.S. Attorney Donald Stern said. The guns were found during searches over the past 10 months,

      Michael Flemmi, 63, who retired this year after 32 years on the Boston police force, was arrested and charged with obstruction of justice and perjury, possession of unregistered weapons and transfer and possession of machine guns.

      Prosecutors said the weapons were stashed at a Boston-area home of a gang member who has since died and then were moved to the back yard of a home owned by Flemmi's parents.

      In January, apparently anticipating a search warrant to uncover the weapons, Stephen Flemmi enlisted his brother's help to move the cache to other places, authorities said.

      U.S. Attorney Stern stated: "The recovery of this mind-boggling arsenal, including ten machine guns and numerous other high-powered firearms, together with return of these serious charges result from the continued determination of investigators and prosecutors to uncover the full scope of the Bulger Group's criminal activities and to eliminate any remaining threat this organization might pose to the public safety. The calculated efforts to thwart the recovery of these weapons, through lies and evidence tampering, were unsuccessful. The Bulger Group's storehouse of weapons has been safely dismantled."

The following weapons were found:

      - Two .45-caliber fully automatic pistols without markings

      - .45-caliber United States Military submachine gun with attachable 13 1/4" silencer and no visible markings relating to serial number.

      - .45-caliber Auto Ordinance Thompson submachine gun

      - Three 9mm-caliber German MP40 submachine gun serial no. obliterated

      - 56mm-caliber Colt fully automatic rifle

      - .45-caliber M3 submachine gun

      - .30-caliber U.S. carbine fully automatic rifle

      - .30 carbine-caliber Plainfield Machine rifle with pistol grip, telescoping stock, and ability to accept detachable magazine.

      - 9mm-caliber Uzi rifle, model A

      - Two .30 carbine-caliber Universal rifle, model M1

      - 30-06-caliber Remington rifle, model 742, serial no. 140619

      - 30-06-caliber Springfield Armory rifle, model M1 garand

      - .30-carbine caliber Universal rifle, Model M1

      - .44 magnum-caliber Sturm, Ruger rifle

      - 308 win-caliber Browning rifle, serial no. 69373M70

      - 30-06-caliber Remington Wingmaster rifle, model 742

      - .30 carbine-caliber Universal rifle, model M1

      - .30 carbine-caliber Universal rifle, model M1

      - 20-gauge Browning shotgun with cut-down barrel

      - 12-gauge JC Higgins shotgun with cut-down barrel, model 120, and with no markings relating to serial no.

      - 12-gauge Ithaca shotgun with cut-down barrel

      - 12-gauge Winchester shotgun, serial no. 825678(E)

      - 12-gauge Browning shotgun, serial no. 382736

      - 12-gauge Mossberg shotgun, model 500A

      - 12-gauge Winchester shotgun, model 12, serial no. 1670091

      - 12-gauge Remington shotgun, serial no. 468099

      - 16-gauge LC Smith shotgun

      - .380-caliber Beretta pistol with attached silencer/suppressor

      - .32-caliber Spanish-made pistol with attached silencer/suppressor

      - .32-caliber Walther pistol with attached silencer/suppressor device

      - .380-caliber Beretta pistol with attached silencer/suppressor

      - .380-caliber FN Browning pistol with attached silencer/suppressor

      - .22-caliber Colt Woodsman pistol with attached silencer/suppressor

      - .22-caliber High Standard derringer pistol

      - .38 special-caliber F.I.E. derringer pistol, serial no. 006539

      - .22-caliber Sterling Arms pistol

      - .357 magnum-caliber Astra revolver

      - .38 special-caliber Smith & Wesson Airweight revolver

      - .44 magnum-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver

      - .357 magnum-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver

      - Two .380-caliber Walther pistol, model PP, serial no. 38030A

      - .22-caliber High Standard pistol

      - 9mm-caliber Walther pistol

      - .38 special-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver

      - 9mm-caliber Walther pistol

      - .38 special-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver

      - Frame of .45-caliber Government pistol, model 1911A1, with no markings relating to serial no.

      - .25-caliber Beretta Jetfire pistol

      - Two .45-caliber Colt pistol, model NM

      - .45-caliber Ithaca pistol, model 1911A1

      - .25-caliber Astra pistol

      - .22-caliber Sturm, Ruger pistol

      - .30 mauser-caliber Mauser Broomhandle pistol

      - .38 special-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver

      - .22-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver

      - .22-caliber H&R revolver

      - .22-caliber Ruger Mach-II pistol

      - .45-caliber R.P.B. Industries pistol, model M10, serial no. obliterated

      - 9mm-caliber Walther pistol, model P-38

      - .38 special-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver

      - .38 special-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver

      - .38 special-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver

      - 9mm Walther pistol, model P38, serial no. 746h

      - Eight silencers

      - Approximately 80 boxes and other containers of ammunition

      - Assorted magazines of various types and calibers

      - Assorted holsters and gun cases

      - Assorted firearm tools and lubricants

      - One blue light

      - Assorted handcuffs

      - Assorted brass knuckles

      - Assorted knives

      - Assorted badges

      - Assorted face masks and gas masks

"Round Up The Usual Suspects" is produced by the

Mr. Tuohy can be reached at

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