Feature Articles

May 2000

Mob Monthly May 22, 2000
A Round Up Of The Usual Suspects

By John William Tuohy

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

compiled by John William Tuohy

AUSTRIA: National Police have arrested two employees of a Liechtenstein trustee office as part of an investigation into alleged money laundering. A total of seven people have now been arrested in a series of raids related to money laundering in the tiny country of Liechtenstein which is accused of laundering cash belonging to the Russian Mafia and the Colombian cocaine cartels.

BOSTON: Alleged mobster Howie Winter lost his bid to get out of prison early when a federal judge denied his argument that prosecutors and police colluded to catch him with just enough cocaine to qualify him for a mandatory 10-year sentence.

Winter is a former leader of the Winter Hill gang that spawned Whitey Bulger. Winter argued that Drug Enforcement Administration agents kept him in business long enough for him to sell more than 5 kilos -- the threshold for the minimum mandatory sentence.

The judge ruled that the 70 year old alleged gangster would have to serve out the seven years left on his sentence.

Winter ran the Winter Hill gang until 1979, when he was convicted of masterminding a multimillion dollar race-fixing scheme at East Coast tracks. He was also convicted of attempted extortion for making bars use his pinball machines. Winter was released from jail in the late 1980s and was free until convicted on the drug charges in 1993.

CALIFORNIA: A 42-year-old Jody Diane ``Babydoll'' Gibson, who allegedly went by the name ``Sasha'' in conducting the Internet-based operation, a call-girl operation whose clients were said to include Hollywood figures and top business executives, was sentenced to three years in prison for pimping.

Gibson had once been a rival of former Hollywood Madam Heidi Fleiss in providing high-priced call girls to the rich and famous.

Gibson allegedly ran a ring of 30 call girls from a run down home in the suburbs. Clients paid between $500 and $3,000, for a prostitutes whom they chose from an Internet site. The judge referred to Gibson as "tragic and pathetic." Before he sentenced her. Gibson showed little reaction in the packed courtroom.

ENGLAND: Consumer Affairs Minister Kim Howell's warned Britians on the evils of buying counterfeit goods "Criminals often use counterfeiting as a lucrative way of funding other kinds of activity such as drug dealing and orga nized crime" he said, and warned that counterfeiting costs British industry 6 billion pounds ($9 billion) a year.

KUWAIT: Kuwait officials arrested eight suspected drug smugglers and seized half a ton of hashish (1,100 pounds) this week. Earlier this month, four Iranians were sentenced to death in Kuwait for trying to smuggle 55 kg (121 pounds) of hashish.

LAS VEGAS: Crime writer and researcher Ed Becker is doing well after a six hour triple by-pass heart surgery. Ed has been a friend to many regular readers of AMERICAN MAFIA.COM and a tremendous help to several staff writers as well.

MINNESOTA: Three officials with International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 120 have been found in contempt of court in connection with the assault of one Overnite Transportation Company driver and the harassment of a second that resulted in that driver being left inside a locked trailer.

The three Local 120 officials were convicted of violating a permanent injunction issued December 1, 1999, limiting teamster activity during the current walkout that began on October 24, 1999.

The convictions follow the convictions in Philadelphia of IBT Local 107 and a picket line captain who were found guilty of contempt of court and fined $30,000 in connection with the assault on an Overnite driver in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

The driver was accosted in his personal vehicle on the way to work, just one day prior to his scheduled testimony as a witness in a second case involving alleged threats by a teamster in a separate incident in Philadelphia.

The National Labor Relations Board has issued nine complaints against the teamsters for violence or threats of violence and judges in 21 cities in 14 states have issued injunctions against the union in effort to coral violence by picketers and teamster supporters. A federal task force is investigating possible teamster links to 48 shootings and numerous acts of assault and vandalism aimed at Overnite and its employees since the protest began.

MOSCOW: Vladimir Ustinov has been named Russia's chief prosecutor, or in other words, the country's top crime fighter. Ustinov has vowed to pursue investigations into high-level corruption and organized crime. Ustinov replaces Yuri Skuratov, who was embroiled in a sex and video tape scandal in which he, or someone who looked like him was shown on national television on a video tape having sex with two prostitutes.

NEW JERSEY: Peter "The Crumb" Caprio, a 70-year-old mob capo, from of Union Township, New Jersey, has agreed to turn government informant. Caprio was indicted by a grand jury for his alleged role in two gangland murders, which he is accused of supervising on July 16, 1994.

The victims were mob associate William "Crazy Willie" Glantz and capo Jos eph Sodano. Sodano was a big time earner for the mob who was reported to have been killed because he failed to share his profits.

Reputed acting boss "Skinny Joey" Merlino and Ralph Natale, the mob boss-turned-informant, told Caprio to carry out the Sodano murder, according to the indictment. Apparently, Joe Sodano's murder came after he refused to pay tribute from his enormous gambling profits to the Philadelphia mob hierarchy.

Reports were that he had reduced his $4,000-a-month tribute to $1,200 after "Little Nicky" Scarfo was jailed and then stop making payments altogether. Sodano also refused to attend a mob meetings when called. He was shot twice in the head in a Newark parking lot.

OMAN: Government officials and banker have decided to work more closely together to counter money launderers who are increasingly trying to transfer i llegal funds into the country.

Bankers have noticed that local banks have recently been flooded with cash transfers which they assume are generated by illegal activities.

Oman is close to a key drug smuggling route, stretching from Afghanistan, the world's biggest opium producer, and Pakistan through nearby Iran to Europe.

PHILADELPHIA: Earlier in the month, US Attorney Michael Stiles filed a document in federal court charging Ralph Natale, boss of the Philadelphia-South Jersey mob from 1994 to 1998, with racketeering conspiracy that included assorted attempted murders and murder. This week Natale took the stand in court this month and became the first Mob boss in history to repudiated the Mafia.

He pleaded guilty to a crime career that spanned 30 years and included seven murders, five attempted murders, extortion, gambling, drug trafficking and bribing Camden New Jersey City official.

Natale is expected to testify against his successor, reputed acting mob boss Joey Merlino, 10 other codefendants, and possibly other crime families.

Natale admitted killing George Feeney in 1970, Joseph McGreal in 1973, conspiring to kill Louis "Louie Irish" DeLuca in 1990; Felix Bocchino and Jame s "Jimmy Brooms" DiAddorio, in 1992, William Veasey in 1995 and Anthony Turra in 1998.

He admitted ordering the murder contract of Anthony Milicia, who was wounded, in 1996; conspiring to kill rival mob boss John Stanfa and his faction, which resulted in the 1993 wounding of his son, Joseph; the 1993 wounding of his underboss, Joseph Ciancaglini and of Leon "Yonnie" Lanzilotti.

PHILADELPHIA: Reputed mobster John Ciancaglini, is applying to get out of jail on bail. The Feds say that the last time Ciancaglini was released from jail, he participated in the murder of William 'Billy' Veasey.

According to the feds, John Ciancaglini, his father and two brothers all were made members of the Philadelphia mob. In fact, brother, Michael, was part of a crew that tried to kill his own brother, Joseph, during a mob war in 1993. Joseph Ciancaglini was an underboss of the John Stanfa crime family and Michael Ciancaglini was part of a crew that was trying to take over Stanfa's operations. Michael was killed a few months later in retaliation for the attack on Joseph.

When brother John Ciancaglini was released from jail, he joined the mob crew that wounded brother Joe, allegedly so he could participate in the murder of Veasey Oct. 5, 1995. Veasey's brother John, admitted killing Michael Ciancaglini in 1993.

RUSSIA: Vladimir Yakovlev was elected Mayor of St. Petersburg this week. Yakovlev has denied charges that he is closely linked to Russian organized crime. Sovershenno Sekretno, a national magazine, produced a special St. Petersburg edition earlier this month accusing Yakovlev of ties to organized crime. Police confiscated thousands of copies, which were distributed free through mail boxes.

St. Petersburg has been the scene of a several mob-style killings of political and business figures recently and a member of the city legislature, Yuri Shutov, is in jail on charges of ordering seven contract killings. Prosecutors have described him as the head of an organized crime group.

WEST VIRGINIA: A member of the Teamsters negotiating committee is the focus of a federal government investigation for illegal strike-related activities against the local Coco-Cola plant.

The National Labor Relations Board has issued an administrative complaint against Teamsters Local Union 505 over the actions of Joe Donahoe fo r allegedly making death threats to a working Coca-Cola employee. Coco-Cola spokes person Lauren Steele said "We have complained to the Teamsters time and time again about the union's pattern of vandalism, intimidation and threats of violence. With the Teamsters Union's long and well-documented history of violence, we take it extremely seriously when a Teamsters official threatens to kill one of our employees"

The government is also investigating charges that the Teamsters have been shooting at Coco-Cola trucks on state highways.

Mr. Tuohy can be reached at

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