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. CHICAGO: Chicago Bears public relations director Bryan Harlan resigned after it was learned he had come under federal investigation for his alleged dealings with a mob-connected bookie.

  –  Harlan's father, Robert Harlan, is president of the Green Bay Packers.

  –  Harlan is suspected of placing bets on NFL games, including contests involving the Bears. At least two other former Bears employees also allegedly made wagers with the bookmaker, whose activities are at the center of the federal probe.

  –  Sources say Harlan's dealings with the bookmaker spanned more than a year, and he placed bets on all types of sporting events, not just football.   –  Government investigators became aware of the alleged gambling activity while checking out the operation of a prominent Chicago area bookie with ties to organized crime.

WASHINGTON: Teamsters President James Hoffa will attend the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia and, according to sources, he will be honored there at a party thrown by GOP chairman Jim Nicholson, 10 congressional Republicans and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge.

  –  This is the first time in 20 years that a union president has been honored by the GOP during one of its conventions, according to the Republican National Committee.

  –  The Teamsters' endorsement in the presidential race is being sought by both the Republicans and Democrats and their presidential nominees.

  –  The union, with its 1.5 million members, has not endorsed a candidate yet.

  –  Hoffa is a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles in August.

  –  Hoffa's father, James Riddle Hoffa, a convict, helped to make tens of millions of dollars in Teamsters funds available to members of organized crime and Hoffa is believed to have been murdered on the mobs orders.

CLEVELAND: Cleveland Browns president Carmen Policy has been accused of paying $1,000 to fix a criminal case for one of his clients in 1985, according to an FBI report.

  –  Michael Rich, a prosecutor convicted of racketeering, said that Mr. Policy paid the money to help Tom O'Nesti, a close friend of mobster Joseph Naples.

  –  A report by FBI agent Robert Kroner on mob-related activities was part of the documents filed for a separate case.

  –  Rich, an assistant prosecutor at the time, recommended to a judge that O'Nesti receive probation for a charge of receiving stolen property.

  –  The FBI report was obtained by attorney Sherman Miles who is representing a police officer from the Youngstown suburb of Campbell in a lawsuit against Rich and former Youngstown mob boss Lenine Strollo.

  –  The lawsuit contends that Strollo and Rich, who was law director and prosecutor for Campbell, conspired to fix a civil service test given for the police chief's position in 1994.

  –  Policy was named legal counsel for the 49ers in 1983 but maintained his Youngstown practice. He became team president in 1991. He resigned from the 49ers in July 1998 and teamed with billionaire Al Lerner in a bid to own the expansion Cleveland Browns.

ROME: Prosecutors in the case against ex-prime minister Giulio Andreotti have launched an appeal against his acquittal last year on Mafia charges, claiming that his acquittal was "nothing but a slip" and have filed 1,700 pages of fresh legal argument sharply criticising the decision handed down by the judiciary.

  –  Seven-times prime minister Andreotti, a life senator, was acquitted ``because the facts do not exist,'' court President Francesco Ingargiola.

  –  Among the allegations against Andreotti was that he once exchanged a kiss of respect with Mafia ``boss of bosses'' Salvatore ``Toto'' Riina, then Italy's most wanted man.

  –  Much of the prosecution evidence was uncorroborated testimony from Mafia turncoats whom Andreotti accused of trying to settle old scores against him by lying in court.

MOSCOW: A journalist for a Moscow newspaper died for a beating by an unknown attacker.

  –  Igor Domnikov, who worked for Novaya Gazeta, was beaten unconscious with a hammer by an unknown attacker on May 12 in the entranceway to his Moscow apartment building.

  –  Members of the Russian Mob are suspected in the murder.

MIAMI: Doctors found found 80 heroin-filled condoms in the stomach of a drug courier after one burst and stopped his heart.

  –  The 59-year-old man whose name was being withheld, checked himself into Miami's Mercy Hospital Monday complaining of chest and stomach pains. X-rays revealed a the ball of oblong-shaped pellets in his stomach.

  –  Seven hours later, doctors performed surgery after one of the latex pellets burst, causing the man's heart to convulse. He survived the surgery but died a day later.

LOS ANGELES: A federal indictment accused 26 suspected gang members of drug trafficking in a scheme that included renting out turf in a city Park to smaller dealers.

  –  The indictment targets the Columbia Li'l Cycos, a part of the 18th Street gang.

  –  Police and FBI agents arrested eight suspects so far while 10 others are already in custody from previous arrests.

  –  The indictment charges some of the gang members with carrying out three executions, attempted murders and beatings.

MANILA: The government filed kidnapping charges against six agents of the government's National Bureau of Investigation and two civilians for allegedly being behind the abduction of a Japanese executive, Takayuki Umeda, two months ago.

  –  Umeda, assistant manager of Japan Enterprises Corp. was abducted May 16 by at least seven armed men in the vicinity of the Philippine Village hotel near Manila's international airport in Paranaque City.

  –  The suspects introduced themselves as NBI agents, then snatched Umeda. Sarmiento, the driver of Umeda's vehicle, later filed a complaint before the presidential task force.

  –  Task force investigators said the kidnappers initially demanded $50,000 but settled for $10,000.

  –  Three days later, a task force team swooped down on a room in another Manila hotel where the victim was being kept. Kalingking and Cabaltera were arrested during the raid.

  –  The NBI is the country's equivalent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States and is under the Department of Justice.

Mr. Tuohy can be reached at

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