The alleged boss of the Colombo crime family was among 14 men who were arrested by the NYPD and FBI on labor racketeering charges Tuesday.
Andrew "Mush" Russo and underboss Benjamin "Benji" Castellazzo were two of the 10 Colombo members arrested, while several other accused mobsters were arrested including a Bonanno family member. The 87-year-old Colombo boss and the others are accused of trying to forcibly take control of a Queens labor union nad its healthcare benefit program.
The scheme involved the accused suspects coercing union representatives to use Colombo family vendors and taking $10,000 per month from the union's health fund. Bonanno family soldier John Ragano is accused of providing fake workplace safety training certifications to construction workers and using two workplace safety schools to hold mob meetings and stash illegal drugs. Ragano also faces loansharking, fraud, and drug trafficking offenses.
The mob bust came after a recording caught Colombo captain Vincent Ricciardo threatening a labor official in a phone conversation and stating, "I'll put him in the ground right in front of his wife and kids, right in front of his f****** house, you laugh all you want pal, I'm not afraid to go to jail, let me tell you something, to prove a point. I would f****** shoot him right in front of his wife and kids, call the police, f*** it, let me go, how long you think I'm gonna last anyway."
"Today's charges describe a long-standing, ruthless pattern by the administration of the Colombo crime family, its captains, members and associates, of conspiring to exert control over the management of a labor union by threatening to inflict bodily harm on one of its senior officials and devising a scheme to divert and launder vendor contract funds from its healthcare benefit program," said Jacquelyn Kasulis, acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
A Colombo crime family captain was also arrested in North Carolina. All defendants face labor racketeering, extortion, and money laundering charges. Consigliere, Ralph DiMatteo, remains on the run.
Source: NBC New York