UK & World News
New York 'Mafia' Raid: 30 Arrested By FBI
Thirty alleged New York mobsters have been arrested on suspicion of using the city's private waste disposal industry as a Mafia front.
The suspects, with nicknames including 'Big Bill' and 'Uncle Sonny', were held after early-morning FBI raids in the New York and New Jersey areas.
Those arrested, including Carmine 'Papa Smurf' Franco, are thought to have close ties with the Gambino, Genovese and Lucchese families - three of New York's largest organised crime families.
They face charges including extortion, loanskarking, racketeering and fraud.
US Attorney Preet Bharara said: "As alleged, organised crime still wraps its tentacles around industries it has fed off for decades, but law enforcement continues to pry loose its grip."
She added: "Organised crime insinuated itself into the waste disposal industry throughout a vast swath of counties in New York and New Jersey, and the tactics they used to exert and maintain their control come right out of the Mafia playbook - extortion, intimidation, and threats of violence."
Charges brought against the suspects include fraud, loan-sharking and "conspiring to participate in a racketeering enterprise that asserted illegal and extortionate control over commercial waste-hauling companies," according to the Manhattan federal prosecutor's office.
Many - like Franco, who was banned from running waste management companies in 1998 after being convicted for fraud - are also accused of having a stake in a licenced waste disposal business while having a criminal record or ties to organised crime families.
This is something prohibited by New York state law.
FBI assistant director-in-charge George Venizelos said the charges "show the on-going threat posed by mob families and their criminal associates. In addition to the violence that often accompanies their schemes, the economic impact amounts to a mob tax on goods and services".