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Feds takes arrest leadership of the Colombo crime family, including Boss Andrew ‘Mush’ Russo, 85, underboss Benjamin ‘The Claw’ Castellazzo, 83, all capos along with nine other mobsters on a 19-count indictment

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FBI arrested the entire leadership of the Colombo crime family during early morning raids in New York and New Jersey:

Colombo family boss, Andrew ‘Mush’ Russo, 85, and 13 others are accused of move to take over labor union in federal racketeering indictment

Nine of the defendants are members of the Colombo crime family, including the crime family’s boss, Andrew Russo, underboss, Benjamin Castellazzo, and consigliere, Ralph DiMatteo, and four of his captains

One of those arrested is a soldier for the Bonanno family

Thirteen of the 14 suspects were arrested in the raid on members of two of the five families

Colombo family consigliere, Ralph DiMatteo, is being sought by FBI, but remains at large

The alleged mobsters were arrested on 19-count indictment for healthcare fraud and union related corruption

Reputed boss of the Colombo crime family Andrew ‘Mush’ Russo, 85, [photo], was arrested in an early-morning raid Tuesday over fraud and corruption

The octogenarian boss of the Colombo crime family along with his underboss and consigliere were among 14 alleged top mobsters indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice, 13 of whom were arrested in early-morning raids Tuesday in New York and New Jersey, federal officials said.
In a major blow to Colombo family, boss Andrew ‘Mush’ Russo, 87, underboss Benjamin Castellazzo, 83, were among arrested Tuesday. Among the 14 indicted are four captains in the crime family, including the nephew of legendary boss Carmine ‘Junior’ Persico, with one defendant still at large, authorities said. .
Russo, 87, and Castellazzo, 83, were taken into custody by federal agents and New York police, along with seven other members of the Colombo crime family, including three of the crew’s captains, a U.S. attorney spokesperson said. 
Among them was 75-year-old capo Vincent Ricciardo, who  was recorded during a phone call threatening to kill a labor union official if he didn’t play ball, according to the 19-count indictment. 
‘I’ll put him in the ground right in front of his wife and kids, right in front of his f—–g house,’ Ricciardo says in the disturbing recording described in the indictment.
‘I’m not afraid to go to jail, let me tell you something, to prove a point? I would f—–g shoot him right in front of his wife and kids, call the police, f–k it, let me go, how long you think I’m gonna last anyway?’
The indictment includes racketeering, loansharking, money laundering, drug trafficking and a health fraud.
Russo’s consigliere, Ralph DiMatteo, 66, was also charged but is still at large. 

Mush Russo, an alleged Colombo crime family boss, seen arriving at Brooklyn Federal Court in 2013, has a long record of convictions

The other captains, or capos, arrested include Theodore Persico Jr., 58, – the nephew of the late Colombo boss Carmine Persico – and Richard Ferrara, 59. Colombo soldier Michael Uvino, 56, and associates Thomas Costa, 52, and Domenick Ricciardo, 56 – Vincent’s cousin – were also booked. The indictment against the crime family members lays out multiple schemes in a long-running campaign to infiltrate and take control of a Queens-based labor union and its affiliated health care benefit program, and to a conspiracy to commit fraud in connection with workplace safety certifications.  Russo, Castellazzo, DiMatteo, Ferrara, Persico, Uvino, and Vincent and Domenick Ricciardo colluded with fellow defendants Erin Thompkins, 53, and Joseph Bellantoni, 39, among others, to devise a scheme to launder money from union healthcare contracts and payments through various channels linked to Bellantoni, and eventually to the Colombo crime family’s leaders, according to the indictment.
‘Today’s charges describe a long-standing, ruthless pattern by the administration of the Colombo crime family, its captains, members and associates, of conspiring to exert control over the management of a labor union by threatening to inflict bodily harm on one of its senior officials and devising a scheme to divert and launder vendor contract funds from its health care benefit program,’ Acting U.S. Attorney Jacquelyn M. Kasulis said of the high-profile arrests.
‘In addition, for their own enrichment, the defendants conspired to engage in extortionate loansharking, money laundering and fraud, as well as drug trafficking.’
‘In addition, for their own enrichment, the defendants conspired to engage in extortionate loansharking, money laundering and fraud, as well as drug trafficking.’ 

Colombo underboss Benjamin ‘The Claw’ Castellazzo [left], 83, and high-ranking capo Theodore Persico Jr. [right], were among the 13 arrested mobsters, feds said. Persico Jr. is the nephew of the late Colombo boss Carmine Persico

‘This Office and its law enforcement partners are committed to dismantling organized crime families, eliminating their corrupt influence in our communities and protecting the independence of labor unions.’ 
The feds also arrested a soldier for the Bonanno family, John Ragano, who is charged with loansharking, fraud and drug-trafficking offenses. 
Ragano is accused of masterminding a scheme to issue fraudulent workplace safety training certifications to construction workers, according to the indictment.
Rather than provide candidates the proper training, Ragano and fellow defendant and business partner, John Glover, 62, allegedly falsified federal paperwork, indicating hundreds of workers completed mandatory safety courses that they did not complete or actually attend. Instead, various defendants used Ragano’s pseudo-schools to conduct meetings involving Sicilian mafia members and to store stashes of illegal drugs.
The last listed defendant, Vincent Martino, 43, was charged along with Vincent Ricciardo, Ragano, Costa, and Glover with conspiracy to distribute marijuana by transporting large shipments of the drug across state lines in vehicles from New York to Florida.
‘Everything we allege in this investigation proves history does indeed repeat itself,’ FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Driscoll said concerning the indictment.
‘The underbelly of the crime families in New York City is alive and well.
‘These soldiers, consiglieres, underbosses, and bosses are obviously not students of history, and don’t seem to comprehend that we’re going to catch them.
‘Regardless of how many times they fill the void we create in their ranks, our FBI Organized Crime Task Force, and our law enforcement partners, are positioned to take them out again, and again,’ Driscoll said.

The feds also arrested John Ragano, soldier for the Bonanno family, who is charged with loansharking, fraud and drug-trafficking offenses. Ragano is accused of leading a scheme to issue fraudulent workplace safety training certifications to construction workers

According to the indictment, the defendants and their co-conspirators committed and are charged with a wide array of crimes – including extortion, loansharking, fraud and drug trafficking – on behalf of the Colombo organized crime family.
The document asserts that Russo, Castellazzo, and DiMatteo, as well captains Persico, Ferrara and Vincent Ricciardo, initiated direct threats of bodily harm, to control the management of the labor union that they were targeting, and influenced decisions that benefitted the family. 

Colombo crime family indictment – U.S. Dept. Of Justice

According to the U.S. attorney’s office, Colombo captain Ricciardo and his cousin, associate Domenick Ricciardo, collected a portion of the salary of a senior union official for roughly 20 years, threatening the high-ranking official and his family with violence – and even murder – if he did not comply with the family’s demands.
In 2019, the family sought to divert more than $10,000 per month from the union’s healthcare system directly to the administration of the Colombo crime family. 
The Colombos first started the shakedown in 2001 of the union representing construction workers in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The family’s top echelon became involved two years ago with an eye on turning the union into a mob-run operation, the indictment charges,
“The investigation revealed that the collection of salary payments from Labor Union personnel was only one facet of a broader plan to take total control of the Labor Union and more lucrative Health Fund,” according to the indictment. Ricciardo, known as “Vinny Unions,” explained the mob’s future plans for the union in another conversation, court papers allege.
“I’m gonna put an assistant administrator in there with youse, a legitimate guy,” he said in another recorded chat. “Youse are gonna have a trustee meeting, youse are gonna hire him as an assistant administrator, whatever the f— you do, and he’s gonna call all the shots.”
The suspects were taken to federal court in Brooklyn Tuesday afternoon and will appear before a judge via videoconference to face the slew of charges against them.   
Unlike the others, Vincent Ricciardo was arrested in North Carolina and will be arraigned in Charlotte, also Tuesday afternoon.

Mush Russo first rose to prominence in the family when he was promoted to acting underboss in 1973.  He is cousin to Carmine Persico, [photo], former boss of the Colombo Crime Family who died in 2019

Russo is a cousin of former Colombo family boss Carmine Persico, and first rose to prominence in the family when he was promoted to acting underboss in 1973. He was sentenced to 14 years in state prison in November 1986, until his release in July 1994, under special parole conditions. 
After his release, Russo was named street boss, while Persico’s son, Alphonse ‘Allie Boy’ Persico, served as acting boss. During his reign, he brought the then-warring Colombos back from the brink after a devastating civil war, but was arrested again in 1996 by the FBI, who slapped him with racketeering charges, claiming he illegally controlled and oversaw Long Island’s garbage hauling industry. 
In August 1999, Russo was convicted of jury tampering and sentenced to 57 months in jail, compounded by 123 months for both parole violation and his involvement in the racketeering case.
In 2010, at 76 years old, Russo again took over the family as street boss after his parole expired, succeeding the incarcerated Ralph DeLeo. 
In 2013, he was sentenced to another 33 months in prison.

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