U.S. arrests more than 40 alleged Mafia members in five states

NEW YORK U.S. authorities arrested more than 40 suspected Mafia members in five states early on Thursday on charges including racketeering, extortion, loan sharking, smuggling, arson and gun trafficking.

A federal indictment unsealed in New York tied 46 defendants to four of the city’s five major Mafia outfits – the Genovese, Gambino, Luchese and Bonanno families. Other suspects were part of the main Philadelphia family, the indictment said.

The arrests were made in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Florida, an FBI spokeswoman said.

In a second indictment unsealed in Massachusetts on Thursday, two of the defendants were accused of working for the Genovese family in a separate extortion scheme, along with three other members of the family.

In a case unrelated to the federal sweep, the grandson of former New York mob boss John Gotti, also named John, was among seven people charged on Thursday by prosecutors in the New York City borough of Queens with dealing oxycodone and other pharmaceutical drugs. The elder John Gotti died in prison of cancer in 2002.

The federal defendants, with nicknames such as “Rooster,” “Tony the Cripple” and “Mustache Pat,” used violence, threats and the destruction of property to intimidate people in their neighborhoods, according to authorities.

In one instance, several defendants attacked an individual they believed was panhandling outside a restaurant owned by one of the mobsters, using glass jars and steel-tipped boots, prosecutors said. In another, some defendants set fire to a car parked outside a rival gambling club.

The various schemes extended from New York to Costa Rica, including running sports gambling rings, selling untaxed cigarettes and making fake credit cards, the indictment said.

(Editing by Bernadette Baum and Bill Trott)

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