Feature Articles

July 3, 2000

July 3, 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 and Ed Becker

JAPAN: On June 19, former Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita died of respiratory failure. He was 76. An aide, Shin Kanemaru, admitted that he had sought help from the Yakuza, the Japanese Mafia, in silencing an ultrarightist group that was harassing Takeshita during the presidential race in 1987.
     Takeshita stepped down in June 1989 in disgrace in relation to the stock-for-favors scandal that involved politicians, senior government officials and businesspeople. Takeshita's secretary committed suicide after his involvement in the scandal was disclosed.

CAMBODIA: A Japanese man suspected as being a member of the Yakuza, the Japanese Mafia, has been arrested and charged with child pornography. If convicted, he will be the first Japanese citizen to be prosecuted under a new Japanese law applying to child porn offenses committed overseas.
      The man was arrested on June 14 after a Phnom Penh photo shop tipped police that he had submitted several rolls of allegedly pornographic photos for development.

PHILADELPHIA: Assistant U.S. Attorney Barry Gross identified reputed mob underboss Steve Mazzone as one of five shooters who severely wounded rival underboss Joseph Ciancaglini during the 1993 mob war.
     On March 2, 1993, Ciancaglini, then underboss for John Stanfa, was shot several times in the head and chest inside the Warfield Breakfast and Lunch Express in the Grays Ferry section of Philadelphia.
     The FBI, which had a hidden camera outside, videotaped the shadows of the gunmen getting out of their car, going into the restaurant and leaving in predawn darkness.
     Ciancaglini now walks with a walker and has significant hearing loss," Gross said.
     Gross also cited Mazzone's role in the May 19, 1996, wounding of Anthony Milicia, 70, a vending machine operator who would not pay the mob's street tax.
     Gross alleged Mazzone's role in the shooting during a federal bail hearing for Mazonne who is charged with six crimes of violence in a racketeering conspiracy.
     The indictment charged Mazzone and his co-defendants, reputed acting mob boss Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino, consigliere George Borgesi and soldier Martin "Marty" Angelina, in the mob hit, but it did not say what role any of them played.
     Gross told the judge that Mazzone listed Malone's bar as his place of employment, but "he didn't know how many days he worked there or what kind of work he did."
     In a related story, reputed mob associate Angelo Lutz, 36, told the judge that he could not afford to pay $20,000 in debts or hire private attorney Edward Crisonino for the upcoming racketeering trial.
     Lutz said he owns "nothing" and that his 1993 Cadillac was repossessed. Lutz, who never married, was now taking care of his mother, who was in bad health, according to Lutz. He said he has applied for welfare to be covered by health benefits.
     "I'm currently not working due to the fact that the government has put out a list of 81 people I cannot associate with," he added. "The business is in ruins."M

SPAIN: Madrid's prosecutor has decided that scantily dressed prostitutes who stroll in a popular Madrid park should not be ordered to cover up because they are simply wearing the uniform of their profession.
     The prosecutor, Mariano Fernando Bermejo, rejected a proposal to charge prostitutes with the offense of indecent exposure after the idea was put forward by a police chief outraged at the women's state of undress day and night in the park.
     The park, Casa de Campo, is a well-known center of prostitution but it also houses an amusement park, a zoo, soccer pitches and restaurants. Strolling families often come into contact with near naked men or women.

WASHINGTON STATE: Long time Teamsters boss Lawrence Brennan, president of Detroit Teamsters Local 337, has been charged with embezzling and diverting union funds to Brennan's 1997 reelection campaign.
     The charges were brought by the Independent Review Board, a quasi-governmental agency created in 1989 to monitor the Teamsters and end the influence of organized crime on union operation. The charges are a setback to union boss Jimmy Hoffa's goal to end government supervision of the union. Brennan is an ally of Hoffa.

ILLINOIS: Three Cook County Sheriff's officers have been charged with first degree murder for allegedly beating an inmate to death after he made lewd remarks to a female guard.
     The inmate, a self employed house painter named Louis Schmude, died two days later. Schmude had been arrested for throwing a brick through a window in his wife's home. Teamsters Local 714, which represents Cook County deputies, had no comment.

SOUTH AFRICA: After increasingly violent attacks on them by vigilantes, South African criminal gangs are lobbying the government for police protection.

Mr. Tuohy can be reached at

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