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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 12, 2015

Ten Members and Associates of Decavalcante Organized Crime Family Arrested

Charged With Murder Plot, Cocaine Distribution and Prostitution Business

NEWARK, N.J. – Ten members and associates of the DeCavalcante organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra were arrested today and charged with various plots to commit murder, distribute drugs and run a prostitution business, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Charles Stango, 71, of Henderson, Nevada; Frank Nigro, 72, of Toms River, New Jersey; and Paul Colella, 68, of Toms River, were arrested this morning and charged by complaint for their roles in a plot to kill a rival gang member. Charles Stango was also charged along with his son, Anthony Stango, 33 of Brick, New Jersey, with conspiring with members of his New Jersey-based “crew” to distribute cocaine and run a prostitution business. John Capozzi, 34, of Union, New Jersey; Mario Galli, 23, of Toms River, New Jersey; and Nicholas Degidio, 37, of Union, New Jersey, were also charged with cocaine distribution.

“Though its ranks have been thinned by countless convictions and its own internal bloodletting, traditional organized crime remains a real problem,” U.S. Attorney Fishman said. “As today’s complaint shows, members and associates of a long-standing organized crime family continue to ply their illegal trade, selling dangerous drugs and illegal cigarettes, promoting prostitution and threatening to settle internal scores with violence and death.”

“Today Newark FBI arrested 10 members of the DeCavalcante organized crime family, disrupting one of the most notorious crime families,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard M. Frankel said. “The FBI is confident this is a severe blow to the La Cosa Nostra family. It is also a message to La Cosa Nostra that FBI Newark will do everything possible within in its legal powers to eradicate La Cosa Nostra from New Jersey.

“The Commission remains committed to working with all its law enforcement partners to eliminate organized crime in and around the port district,” Walter Arsenault, Executive Director of the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, said.

According to the complaint unsealed today:

Stango, a captain in the DeCavalcante family, allegedly sought and obtained permission from Nigro, the crime family’s consigliore – or counsel – and other upper-echelon members of the crime family, to kill a rival member living in New Jersey. Colella’s role was to speak on behalf of Charles Stango to ensure the killing would be approved by other ranking members. Charles Stango discussed his plans with an undercover agent, which included hiring two members of an outlaw biker gang to shoot the rival gang member.

Charles and Anthony Stango also allegedly planned to operate a high-end escort service targeting white collar businessmen and professionals in the Toms River area. As part of the plan, their crew would establish a legal club as a front for the prostitution business in order to avoid law enforcement scrutiny.

On several occasions between Dec. 12, 2014, and March 9, 2015, Stango and various conspirators were audio or video recorded conducting drug transactions with an undercover law enforcement officer.

Authorities also arrested three members of a separate “crew” of the crime family: James Heeney, 35, of Elizabeth, New Jersey, and Rosario Pali, 35, of Linden, New Jersey, were charged with conspiring to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine. Heeney and Pali were recorded on various occasions between Aug. 29, 2012, and March 14, 2013, providing undercover officers with quantities of cocaine in exchange for cash and counterfeit goods. Luigi Oliveri, 41, of Elizabeth, was charged with the possession of contraband cigarettes. Between June 6, 2013, and Nov. 6, 2013, Oliveri bought multiple cases of untaxed cigarettes from undercover law enforcement officers.

All of the defendants arrested in New Jersey are scheduled to appear this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Falk in Newark federal court. Charles Stango is scheduled to appear later today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nancy Koppe in Las Vegas, Nevada, federal court.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited the members of the FBI’s Organized Crime Task Force under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Richard M. Frankel in Newark; the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, under the direction of Executive Director Walter Arsenault; the Bayonne Police Department, under the direction of Chief Drew Niekrasz; and the N.J. State Commission of Investigation, under the direction of Chairman Joseph F. Scancarella, with the investigation leading to today’s charges. He also thanked the FBI’s Las Vegas office and the Union County Prosecutor’s Office for their roles in the investigation.

The government is represented by Senior Litigation Counsel V. Grady O’Malley and Assistant U.S. Attorney James Donnelly of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Organized Crime/Gangs Unit.

15-088                                      

Stango, Charles et al. Complaint
Heeney, James & Pali, Rosario Complaint
Oliveri, Luigi Complaint

Updated August 18, 2015