Predawn Raid Hauls in About 30 'Garbage' Gangsters

The FBI and NYPD hauled out of bed and rounded up more than 30 mobsters connected to three of New York's five crime families in a predawn raid this morning, according to several published reports.

NBC New York reports that the arrests are based on indictments charging extortion and other federal crimes related to the garbage-hauling business.

The suspects were transported to the FBI office in Lower Manhattan for processing and are slated to be in federal court later today.

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara "alleged in three interlocking indictments that the defendants, arrested in predawn raids in New York and New Jersey, controlled several garbage-hauling businesses in five suburban counties," according to NBC.

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge George C. Venizelos said that "the indictments show the ongoing threat posed by mob families and their criminal associates. In addition to the violence that often accompanies their schemes, the economic impact amounts to a mob tax on goods and services. The arrests – the culmination of a long and thorough investigation – also show the ongoing determination of the FBI to diminishing the influence of La Cosa Nostra."

ABCNews reported that, according to the indictments, members of the enterprise avoided any official connection to the waste disposal business because they were banned from the industry or unlikely to be licensed.

Charges against the alleged mobsters include racketeering, extortion, mail and wire fraud, and conspiracy to transport stolen property.

Most of the arrested mobsters are members of the Genovese crime family, sources told 1010 WINS, but members of the Gambino and Luchese families also were involved, according to the New York Post, which noted that the investigation and arrests are the result of a joint effort between the FBI and police in New York City and the suburbs.

The names of the arrested have not been released yet; however, a couple did slip out into some news reports.

One of the named arrested is 44-year-old Mario Velez of Peekskill, who recently retired as a trooper from the New York State Police, according to ABCNews. "Velez is believed to have committed the acts while he was still a state trooper. He is charged with extortion," ABCNews reported, which add that another defendant is Carmine Franco, who is alleged to have owned or controlled a number of waste disposal companies during the past 30 years.

"Franco extorted the proceeds of those businesses from the controlled owners, directed and participated in the theft and interstate transportation of property associated with those businesses" and met with other members of the criminal enterprise, the government alleged, according to ABCNews.

One form of meeting, says the government, was the classic mob "sitdown," where members with conflicting claims would determine who could have an ownership interest in a particular company.

The defendants allegedly used some of the named owners, dubbed "controlled owners" of the businesses, to guarantee debts owed to the business. They also extended loans at extortionate rates, and according to the government, stole trucks and waste containers from competing companies.