Feature Articles

August 2000

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

RHODE ISLAND: The top aid to Providence Mayor Vincent "Buddy" Cianci Jr. has been indicted on charges of arranging bribes.

  –  Frank E. Corrente became the highest-ranking city official charged. He was accused of arranging bribes in connection with city leases and contracts. Corrente's indictment has a direct link to the Mayor office.

  –  According to the indictment, a wittness said he heard the former city tax board chairman claim that Corrente and Cianci received bribes from a property owner who was trying to win city business.

  –  To date, four city officials and two lawyers have been convicted in the federal investigation.

  –  Cianci has been in office since 1981. During his first administration 30 city workers and contractors were indicted on charges including extortion and fraud. Some 22 were eventually convicted.

  –  In 1984, Cianci received a five-year suspended sentence for assaulting a man he suspected of having an affair with his wife.

JAPAN: National police were called into one of Toyko's most affluent neighborhoods to stop a street gun battle between two warring gangsters groups. Two men were wounded in the gun fight which wittnesses said involved at least ten persons.

WASHINGTON: The FBI is using specialized software installed at Internet service providers to scan millions of e-mail messages as a means to covertly track criminal suspects.   –  The system, dubbed Carnivore, can only be used temporarily under a state or federal court order, yet its deployment has raised concerns in the Internet industry because it must be hooked up to the service provider's computer networks and could allow the government to eavesdrop on all customers' digital communications.

JAPAN: The government has decided to enact a new set wiretapping laws into force which will allow law enforcement authorities to use wiretaps to monitor private communications while investigating organized crime, provided they have obtained warrants from district court judges.

  –  Under the law, land-line telephones in addition to cellular phones, faxes and e-mail can be subject to wiretapping.   –  The measure is part of a legislative package to crack down on organized crime.

BOSTON: Two men were arrested on federal drug charges while waiting for the Red Line "T" at South Station. The pair were found to have 70 kilograms of cocaine with an estimated street value of $2.5 million, in their possession.

  –  Arrested were Gustavo Andres Zuluaga and Gerardo Molin. According to a complaint and affidavit Zuluaga is a Colombian narcotics transporter who had begun to operate in New Hampshire and was planning to transport large quanties of narcotics into Massachusetts.

ITALY: The Calabrian Mafia, or 'Ndrangheta, is trying to obtain licenses for shops in some of Milan's most famous shopping streets according to the Government. Its believed that they will try to sell stolen goods from those locations.

ITALY: According to Legambiente, an Italian ecological association, the Mafia earned 26.2 billion lire ($12.9 million) from ecologically damaging activities such as illegal construction and hazardous waste disposal in 1999.

SPAIN: The government has approved a new extradition agreement with Italy that could spell trouble for hundreds of mafiosos believed to be hiding in Spain, which has been called a paradise for Mafia members convicted in absentia in Italy because Spanish law blocks extradition in such cases.

  –  The new regulations will speed up extradition requests, develop greater cooperation between judges in both countries and establish a permanent follow-up committee.

  –  El Pais newspaper reported last month that an Italian justice official had complained that Spanish authorities were blocking more than 1,000 extradition orders against convicted members of the Mafia because they had been tried in absentia.

ZAMBIA: Federal law enforcers are asking the Zambian government to implement relevant laws on asset forfeiture and other acts against money-laundering before the end of the year so as to empower them to confiscate assets and prosecute money-launders.

ITALY: Italian police said they had smashed an extensive Mafia operation to smuggle growth hormones, anabolic steroids and the stamina-boosting drug erythropoietin from Sicily to sports centres and laboratories throughout Italy.

  –  Police raided 65 houses, offices, medical laboratories, gymnasiums and pharmacies in cities throughout the country and placed 26 people under investigation.

  –  They confiscated 1,500 packets of medication, thousands of pills and capsules, prescriptions, price lists of doping products and instructions for athletes on how to administer doping agents.

TURKEY: A Turkish court sentenced underworld boss Alaattin Cakici to more than three years in jail for inciting an attack on a journalist.

  –  The sentence of three years and four months will be added to a five-year term Cakici received in June for ``forming and directing a gang established to commit crime.''

  –  Prosecutors said Cakici ordered a 1994 shooting that injured journalist Hincal Uluc. The attack came during a wave of allegedly Mafia-related shootings that were extensively covered in Turkey's newspapers.

Mr. Tuohy can be reached at

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