NEW YORK — Ten reputed New York City mobsters were arrested on Tuesday as part of a sweeping extortion and racketeering case, acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Jacquelyn Kasulis announced.
The 19-count indictment was leveled against 14 defendants, including Colombo crime family boss Andrew “Mush” Russo and underboss Benjamin “Benji” Castellazzo.
Seven additional defendants are alleged members or associates of the Colombo crime family and one is a member of the Bonanno crime family, according to Kasulis’ office.
“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 health care benefit program. In addition, for their own enrichment, the defendants conspired to engage in extortionate loansharking, money laundering and fraud, as well as drug trafficking,” Kasulis said in a statement. “This Office and its law enforcement partners are committed to dismantling organized crime families, eliminating their corrupt influence in our communities and protecting the independence of labor unions.”
The charges include labor racketeering involving multiple predicate acts of extortion conspiracy, attempted
extortion and extortion, extortionate collection of credit conspiracy, extortionate collection of credit and money laundering conspiracy.