Bonanno Family Soldier and Associates Indicted for Racketeering and Related Violent Crimes Murder Victim Strangled and Drowned at Staten Island Mansion
GINO GALESTRO, a soldier in the Bonanno organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra, and four associates, JOSEPH YOUNG, also known as “Joe Black,” JOHN TUFARELLI, also known as “Little John,” JOSE GARCIA, and STEFAN CICALE, were indicted by a federal grand jury in Brooklyn on charges involving murder, assault, arson, robbery, carjacking, loansharking, and illegal firearm possession. YOUNG, TUFARELLI, CICALE, and GARCIA are scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Ramon E. Reyes, Jr., at the U.S. Courthouse, 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, New York. GALESTRO will be arraigned at a later date. The case has been assigned to United States District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis.
The charges were announced by Roslynn R. Mauskopf, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Mark J. Mershon, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office.
According to the superseding indictment and a detention memorandum filed with the court, GALESTRO’s crew participated in a variety of violent crimes, including:
• In early 2005, GALESTRO ordered the murder of Bonanno family associate Robert McKelvey, who had fallen out of favor with GALESTRO. A member of GALESTRO’s crew recruited YOUNG to carry out the murder. YOUNG, who was to be paid approximately $8,000 for the hit, and a co-conspirator, lured McKelvey to a secluded mansion in Staten Island where YOUNG was living. There, YOUNG attempted to strangle McKelvey, but McKelvey broke free and fled. YOUNG tackled McKelvey, brought him to the ground, repeatedly stabbed him with a knife, and then dragged McKelvey to a pond and drowned him. Later, at GALESTRO’s direction, CICALE, GARCIA, YOUNG, and a co-conspirator disposed of the body, leaving no remains.
• In January 2006, YOUNG, with GALESTRO’s approval, conspired to set fire to a house in Staten Island in order to “send a message” to one of the residents. YOUNG doused the back of the house with gasoline, and then set it on fire.
• In October 2005, TUFARELLI, CICALE, and co-conspirators assaulted an individual who fell behind in repaying a loanshark debt.
• In July 2005, YOUNG held up a New Jersey man at gunpoint and stole his car.
• In May 2005, YOUNG, GARCIA, and a co-conspirator, with the approval of GALESTRO, assaulted a Staten Island mechanic with a metal pipe.
• In March 2004, TUFARELLI and co-conspirators, with the approval of GALESTRO, robbed a delivery truck driver at gunpoint as he was collecting payment from a cheese shop in Brooklyn.
“Today’s indictment is yet another step in our ongoing initiative to put an end to the wanton violence of the Bonanno organized crime family,” stated United States Attorney Mauskopf. “Our goal is to dismantle this criminal enterprise in its entirety.” Ms. Mauskopf thanked the New York City Police Department for its assistance in the case.
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Mershon stated, “The occasional public perception that organized crime violence is a vestige of a bygone era is put to lie by the brutality that characterized the murder of Robert McKelvey. The cravenness of the killing was matched by the thoroughness with which the body and other evidence were disposed of. La Cosa Nostra is still about making money illegally, enforcing illegal agreements, and killing people in furtherance of those aims.”
GALESTRO and YOUNG are charged with racketeering, including the McKelvey murder as a racketeering act, murder in aid of racketeering, murder-for-hire, and conspiracy to commit those offenses. If convicted of racketeering, they face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, or the death penalty. CICALE and GARCIA are charged with being accessories-after-the-fact to murder, and if convicted they face a maximum sentence of 15 years imprisonment. GARCIA faces an additional 20 years imprisonment if convicted of assault in aid of racketeering, and CICALE faces an additional 20 years imprisonment if convicted of loansharking. If convicted of robbery with a firearm, TUFARELLI faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Joey Lipton.
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