Colombo Organized Crime Family Soldier and Ten Associates in Staten Island Crew Indicted on Racketeering, Robbery, Assault, Firearms, Loansharking, Gambling, and Narcotics Distribution Charges
Albanian Organized Crime Associate Charged Separately With Marijuana Distribution Conspiracy
An indictment was unsealed this morning in federal court in Brooklyn charging Colombo organized crime family soldier MICHAEL SOUZA and associates ANTHONY SOUZA, MICHAEL BOLINO, NICHOLAS BRUNO, SHELTON WILLIS, EMANUEL RUTA, CHARLES FUSCO, DONATO DICAMILLO, CHARLES MCCLEAN, STUART DUGAN, and MICHAEL ARMINANTE variously with racketeering conspiracy, robbery conspiracy, bank robbery conspiracy, firearms possession, conspiracy to commit assault in aid of racketeering, cocaine base distribution conspiracy, marijuana distribution conspiracy, loansharking, and illegal gambling. The prosecution resulted in the disruption of an armored car robbery and a plot to murder a Bonanno crime family associate, and the apprehension of the leader of a home invasion crew responsible for a string of recent robberies in New York and Connecticut. As part of the same investigation, Albanian organized crime associate LULZIM KUPA was charged with marijuana distribution conspiracy in a separate indictment.1
The charges were announced by Roslynn R. Mauskopf, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and John P. Gilbride, Special Agent-in-Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration, New York Field Division.
Ten of the defendants were arrested earlier today and are scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Steven M. Gold, at the United States Courthouse, 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, New York. The case has been assigned to United States District Judge Sandra L. Townes.
The indictments are the culmination of an eight-month investigation, and included wiretap interceptions of one of MICHAEL SOUZA’s cell phones and consensual recordings by a cooperating witness of SOUZA and numerous of the other defendants.
As set forth in the first indictment and a detention memorandum unsealed earlier today, MICHAEL SOUZA and his brother, Colombo crime family associate ANTHONY SOUZA, are charged with racketeering conspiracy, with predicate acts of marijuana distribution conspiracy, loansharking, and illegal gambling. The SOUZA brothers are also charged, along with defendants MICHAEL BOLINO and SHELTON WILLIS, with conspiracy in aid of racketeering by planning an assault on a Staten Island Bonanno crime family associate who had challenged MICHAEL SOUZA’s authority during a financial dispute between the Bonanno and Colombo crime families. In a threat issued directly by MICHAEL SOUZA, SOUZA told the Bonanno associate that SOUZA would “smash his f------ head in” and warned that the associate would not “see it comin’.” MICHAEL SOUZA consulted ANTHONY SOUZA about the assault, and ANTHONY SOUZA advised that they should launch a surprise attack – a “jack in the box.” ANTHONY SOUZA and others used electronic databases to attempt to locate the Bonanno associate’s home address, and the SOUZA brothers and others discussed using a tracking device with GPS-capability to locate the Bonanno associate through his cell phone usage. The SOUZA brothers later dispatched defendants BOLINO and WILLIS to try to surveil the Bonanno associate at a Staten Island restaurant and bar. Various audio recordings of the defendants made during the investigation revealed that the perpetrators planned to wear masks during the assault, and that MICHAEL SOUZA possessed a handgun while planning the assault.
More recently, the assault plot matured into a plan to murder the Bonnano associate. Toward that end, MICHAEL SOUZA purchased a silencer and tested it. The DEA seized the silencer today while executing a search warrant on SOUZA’s car.
In addition, the SOUZA brothers are charged with conspiring with defendants BRUNO, FUSCO, MCCLEAN, and ARMINANTE to distribute marijuana, and are also charged, along with defendant EMANUEL RUTA, with operating a lucrative sports betting business. Today, DEA agents seized two firearms from BRUNO’s residence, including a defaced shotgun, and seized a quantity of marijuana and a semi-automatic handgun from FUSCO’s residence.
BOLINO, a long time Colombo associate who has prior federal and state robbery convictions, is also charged with conspiring to rob an armored car that was scheduled to deliver over $200,000 in cash to the Richmond County Savings Bank, located on Hylan Boulevard in Staten Island. As part of the robbery, BOLINO and others planned to “mace” employees of Princeton Armored Car services, remove the cash delivery bag, and transfer the bag of cash to an associate waiting nearby on a motorcycle. Based on information from a cooperating witness, DEA was able to disrupt the plot by dispatching a large number of agents to the bank just prior to the time of the planned robbery.
WILLIS, the leader of a violent interstate home invasion gang, is charged with two recent robbery conspiracies, during which he, or other gang members, possessed firearms. During one of the robberies in Staten Island in August 2006, WILLIS and DUGAN impersonated New York City Police officers while attempting to rob a house of money they believed a deceased union employee had left there. WILLIS and DUGAN assaulted a female care-giver at the house, and then fled, using police scanners successfully to evade local law enforcement. Defendant DICAMILLO provided WILLIS and DUGAN with the tip that money from a labor union was located in the house. In the second charged robbery, which occurred later in August 2006, WILLIS and others invaded a home in Ansonia, Connecticut, in search of narcotics and money. During the robbery, two of the individuals at the address were pistol whipped, with one of the victims suffering a skull fracture. Today, DEA agents seized a police scanner, burglary tools, and other evidence while executing a search warrant at WILLIS’s residence.
WILLIS is also charged, along with defendant MCCLEAN, with conspiring to distribute crack cocaine.
KUPA, who has a prior federal narcotics felony and is on supervised release from that conviction, is charged in the second indictment with conspiring to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana during 2006. During the investigation, DEA agents intercepted a shipment of approximately 60 pounds of marijuana destined for KUPA, and wiretap intercepts revealed that KUPA was conspiring to distribute and distributing even larger amounts of marijuana. In addition, a cooperating witness recorded KUPA admitting to a recent assault of a narcotics trafficker whose house KUPA had previously burglarized.
“The public can be assured that those who participate in organized criminal activity will be brought to justice and held accountable,” stated United States AttorneyMauskopf. “The investigation and prosecution of organized crime continues to be a priority of this office.” Ms. Mauskopf thanked the Staten Island District Attorney’s Office and the Ansonia Police Department for their cooperation and assistance in the investigation.
DEA Special Agent-in-Charge Gilbride stated, “Throughout Staten Island these individuals were acting like pirates. They trafficked drugs, they robbed people, they carried guns. It is the DEA’s focus to stop the violence associated with drug trafficking and put these people behind bars. This is yet another example of the extent the greedy will go to in order to reap the money that is proliferated throughout the drug trade.”
If convicted of all charges, MICHAEL SOUZA faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years’ imprisonment and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, ANTHONY SOUZA faces a maximum sentence of 48 years’ imprisonment, MICHAEL BOLINO and SHELTON WILLIS face a sentence of mandatory life imprisonment, CHARLES MCCLEAN faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, STUART DUGAN faces a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years’ imprisonment and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, EMANUEL RUTA and DONATO DICAMILLO face a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment, NICHOLAS BRUNO, CHARLES FUSCO, and MICHAEL ARMINANTE face a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment, and LULZIM KUPA faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney John Buretta.
MICHAEL ANGELO SOUZA
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