Manhattan U.S. Attorney Charges Seven Additional Members And Associates Of Genovese And Bonanno Organized Crime Families With Narcotics Trafficking Conspiracy And Loan Sharking
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, George Venizelos, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and Raymond W. Kelly, the Police Commissioner of the City of New York (“NYPD”), announced today the unsealing of charges in Manhattan federal court against seven additional alleged members and associates of the Genovese and Bonanno organized crime families, including a Genovese “Capo,” for offenses including narcotics trafficking conspiracy and loan sharking. Five other defendants, including a solider in the Genovese organized crime family, were charged in a prior Indictment with narcotics trafficking.
In connection with the Superseding Indictment unsealed today, six defendants have been arrested in New York. The six defendants taken into custody today in New York were presented and arraigned in Manhattan federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry B. Pitman this afternoon. An additional defendant, ELON VALENTINE, was previously arrested on state charges and remains detained.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “As alleged, these defendants, all of whom were members and associates of the Genovese and Bonanno families, operated a narcotics trafficking scheme that ran across the country and onto our streets, on one hand, and a conspiracy to make extortionate loans, on the other. This Office is committed to rooting out any and all organized crime activity wherever we find it.”
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge George Venizelos said: “Today’s charges show that the wise guys in New York tried to take a ‘higher,’ albeit illegal, approach to make money along with their usual loan sharking ways. Allegedly, members and associates of the Genovese and Bonanno organized crime families along with their cohorts ran a large scale marijuana operation that included the transport of marijuana from California to New York. However wise they thought their alleged antics would be, today, the FBI stands with our law enforcement partners announcing charges to end this cross country drug trade.”
NYPD Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said: “I commend the NYPD Organized Crime Investigations Division and their FBI partners in the Joint Organized Crime Task Force for seeing this case through, as well as the prosecutors in U.S. Attorney Bharara’s office for their work on this case.”
According to the allegations in the Indictments unsealed today in Manhattan federal court and other court documents and proceedings:
VINCENT BASCIANO, JR., STEPHEN BASCIANO, GEORGE KOKENYEI, JOEY BASCIANO, and VALENTINE conspired to distribute hundreds, and in some cases, thousands, of pounds of marijuana. For example, KOKENYEI arranged for large shipments of marijuana to be sent from California to New York, while BASCIANO, JR., ran a marijuana route in the Bronx, New York, that distributed hundreds of pounds of marijuana.
PASQUALE FALCETTI, a “capo” in the Genovese crime family, and THOMAS JOY conspired to make extortionate loans to victims in the Bronx, New York, and elsewhere.
A chart containing the ages and charges against the defendants, as well as the maximum penalties they face is attached.
Mr. Bharara thanked the FBI and the NYPD, specifically the FBI-NYPD Joint Organized Crime Task Force, for their work in the investigation.
The case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Organized Crime Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rebecca Mermelstein and Peter Skinner of the Organized Crime Unit are in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.