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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of New York

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Seven Members and Associates of the Gambino and Bonanno Crime Families Indicted for Racketeering and Related Charges

Defendants Charged with Drug Trafficking, Loansharking, Gambling and Obstruction Offenses

Earlier today, in federal court in Central Islip, New York, a 13-count superseding indictment was unsealed charging six members and associates of the Gambino organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra and a member of the Bonanno organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra with racketeering conspiracy, including predicate acts of loansharking, operating illegal gambling businesses, narcotics distribution conspiracy and obstruction of justice conspiracy.  The superseding indictment relates to the defendants’ alleged criminal activities on Long Island, in Brooklyn, and elsewhere between January 2014 and December 2017.  The defendants – John “Johnny Boy” Ambrosio, an acting captain in the Gambino family, Frank “Frankie Boy” Salerno, a soldier in the Bonanno family, and Thomas Anzaone, Alessandro “Sandro” Damelio, Joseph Durso, Anthony Rodolico and Anthony Saladino, associates of the Gambino family, were arrested earlier today and are scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Gary R. Brown in federal court in Central Islip.   

Bridget M. Rohde, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Division (FBI), Angel M. Melendez, Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations New York (HSI), Timothy D. Sini, Commissioner, Suffolk County Police Department (SCPD), and James P. O’Neill, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the charges.

“Today’s arrests represent a major disruption of La Costra Nostra’s activities on Long Island,” stated acting United States Attorney Rohde.  “As alleged, the defendants engaged in a wide range of illegal and violent conduct in furtherance of their criminal enterprise.  The superseding indictment sends a message that this Office, together with our law enforcement partners, remains committed to diminishing these organized crime families and their deleterious effect on our communities.  Ms. Rohde also praised the exceptional investigative efforts and collaboration of the FBI, HSI, SCPD, and the NYPD.

“The arrests in this case prove organized crime families haven’t gone away, and continue to plague our communities with their general disregard for anything other than their own greed,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney.  “The overt deadly attacks that used to make headlines aren’t as prevalent, but their violent tactics haven’t changed.  Members of these families should take heed that the FBI Organized Crime Task Force and our law enforcement partners haven’t gone away, and we dedicate resources each and every day to putting these criminals in jail.”

“From operating an illegitimate casino and an illegal loan shark operation to distributing cocaine and marijuana, the charges against these individuals are extensive,” stated  HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Melendez.  “We remain committed to working with our law enforcement partners in investigating nefarious criminal organizations like La Cosa Nostra and dismantling their operations.”

“Building this solid case against these ruthless criminals took years of dedicated and collaborative work on behalf of the men and women of the Suffolk County Police Department and our law enforcement partners,” SCPD Commissioner Sini said. “I am extremely proud of our officers and investigators, grateful for the continued partnership between this department and the, NYPD, FBI, HSI and appreciative of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York to bring these criminals to justice.”

Loan Sharking Offenses

As alleged in the indictment and court filings, Ambrosio, also known as “Johnny Boy,” conducted a lucrative loansharking operation in which he, Anzalone, Rodolico, Saladino and others extended extortionate loans to, and used extortionate means to collect from numerous individuals, often charging exorbitant interest rates and employing violent collection methods.  For instance, in an intercepted conversation between Saladino and Anzalone, the two discussed various “gambling debts” owed by other parties, Saladino stated that he would give a debtor “something to be scared about”, but that he did not want a “beef” – a physical altercation – at his “club”, because he was “responsible to John [Ambrosio] for what happen[ed] there.”  In that same call, Saladino offered to “fix” another gambling debtor, saying “by the time we’re done…he’s not going to have an office to play anywhere.”  In another conversation with Ambrosio, an individual asked for Ambrosio’s help collecting a debt and recounted telling the debtor, “I don’t know if you know who I am and where I come from, but I promise you, you will never walk again.”  Ambrosio and Rodolico also allegedly attempted to obstruct the federal grand jury proceeding into their criminal activities by intimidating a loanshark victim into lying to law enforcement.

Illegal Gambling Offenses

According to the indictment and other court filings, Ambrosio also was involved with a variety of gambling operations, including illegal poker games, electronic gaming machines and internet sports betting, with Damelio, Durso, Salerno and Saladino being responsible for many of the day-to-day operations.  In one intercepted call, Ambrosio stated that there was no need to travel to a casino – “you can play right here” and “save gas money.” 

Narcotics Trafficking Offenses

As also alleged in the indictment and court filings, defendants Anzalone, Damelio, Durso, Saladino and Salerno distributed a variety of narcotics, including cocaine, marijuana and alprazolam, which is commonly known as Xanax.  Significantly, Saladino and Salerno engaged in the distribution of wholesale quantities of cocaine, including 12 separate sales to an undercover member of law enforcement totaling over half a kilogram.

The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

If convicted, Ambrosio, Anzalone, Damelio, Durso and Rodolico face a maximum of 20 years in prison.  Saladino and Salerno each face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment for the cocaine conspiracy offenses.

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Long Island Criminal Division.  Assistant United States Attorney Artie McConnell is in charge of the prosecution. 

The Defendants:

JOHn AMBROSIO (“Johnny Boy”)
Age: 74
Huntington, NY

Age: 44
Queens, NY

Age: 49
Queens, NY

Age: 26
Glen Cove, NY

Age: 46
Huntington, NY

Age: 67
Glen Cove, NY

FRANK SALERNO (“Frankie Boy”)
Age: 43
Queens, NY

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 17-CR-522 (S-1)(SJF)

John Marzulli Tyler Daniels United States Attorney’s Office (718) 254-6323
Updated December 12, 2017