NYC's Last Gangland Hit Allegedly Solved

In November 2013, one of the last mob hits in the New York area took place.

And now law enforcement reportedly has arrested those responsible, including a soldier in the Bonanno crime family.
Gangster Michael Meldish was slain the old-school way, with a bullet to the back of his head.
The murder scene of Michael Meldish.

Gangster Michael Meldish was slain the old-school way, with a bullet to the back of his head. The killing had all the signs of a gangland hit, complete with the victim slumped over in the driver's seat of his rusty Lincoln LS in Throgs Neck on Ellsworth Ave.

Meldish, whose brother is serving 25 to life in prison, was a notorious mob shooter who law enforcement believes killed more than 10 people in a decades-long criminal career during which he helmed the notorious Purple Gang of New York.

“Michael was a stone-cold killer,” Joseph Coffey, former commanding officer of the NYPD’s organized crime homicide task force, told the press at the time of the slaying.

"Detectives and FBI agents quietly arrested one — and possibly two — more suspects this week in the 2013 execution slaying," Gang Land News reported this week. Mob associate Christopher Londonio and Bonanno soldier Pasquale "Patty Boy" Maiorino were arrested on unrelated federal gun charges -- though reportedly Bronx prosecutors are prepping to meet with a grand jury to indict Londonio along with a cohort in crime named Terrence Caldwell for the murder.

"Authorities now have several of the alleged killers of Michael Meldish, who was 62 years old when he was slain, on ice while prosecutors push to obtain an indictment against them for the murder. Law enforcement sources identified the definite new suspect in the slaying as mob associate Christopher Londonio. 
"Londonio, 41, and his reputed mob superior, Bonanno soldier Pasquale (Patty Boy) Maiorino were arrested on federal gun charges Monday and ordered held without bail. The arrests follow a joint investigation by the NYPD, the FBI, and the offices of the Manhattan U.S. Attorney and the Bronx District Attorney. The federal charges stem from a state gun possession rap, filed against the defendants in November. The two men had been free on bail. 
"Sources say Bronx prosecutors will soon ask a grand jury to indict Londonio and a hoodlum named Terrence Caldwell for the gangland style rubout. Meldish's body was discovered on November 15, 2013 in a classic mob hit victim pose: He was seated behind the wheel of his car parked in front of his home at the corner of Ellsworth Avenue and Baisley Avenue in the Throgs Neck section of The Bronx. He had suffered a single fatal bullet wound to the head." 
"Caldwell, 57, is accused of being the trigger man in the hit, according to an arrest complaint by NYPD detective Darrell Julien. Caldwell, who has a drug conviction on his rap sheet, was remanded without bail following his arrest, said Bronx DA spokesman James Brunner." 

In 2011, Meldish's younger brother Joseph, was tried for a 1999 murder that took place in Frenchy's, a bar in the Bronx borough of New York.  Meldish had actually killed the wrong man -- instead of the intended target, a drug dealer, he'd shot the man's lookalike brother dead. The homicide victim, Joseph Brown, was 35 and worked as a city tunnel digger when he was killed. According to law enforcement sources, Brown was shot as he was sitting down on a bar stool.

Frenchy's bar in the Bronx. Joseph Meldish walked inside the crowded establishment
in 1999 and a shot a man dead. He shot the wrong man, however. He's believed
to have killed some 70 people, a large body count even for a contract killer.

Meldish and girlfriend Kimberly Hanzlik were both found guilty of murder. Hanzlik was accused of helping Meldish carry out the hit by informing the hit man of the supposed target's location in the Bronx bar.

This was one of those rare cases in which the jury convicted the two largely based on the testimony of their getaway driver, David Thiong.

Meldish is believed to have carried out around 70 contract killings in total and was supposedly lauded by Mafiosi for his ability to hide his tracks following a hit. (He certainly seems to have gotten a lot of practice in.)

Both Meldish brothers belonged to the Purple Gang, which was known for killing and dismembering rivals as it controlled the heroin trade in Harlem and the Bronx in the 1970s and 1980s. Its members — many of whom were relatives of more established crime figures — often freelanced as “muscle” for the Luchese, Genovese and Bonanno families. Taking its name from a group of thugs that terrorized Detroit during Prohibition, the Purple Gang grew so powerful in the late 1970s that authorities feared it might attempt to become the area’s sixth organized crime family — potentially igniting an all-out mob war. 

The group murdered some 17, including at least two police informants, and dismembered many victims. They also were behind the "large-scale distribution of narcotics in the South Bronx and Harlem" as well as selling guns, allegedly to groups based outside the U.S.

Interestingly, the group is said to have had 30 "made" members," according to police reports and some 80 "associates," according to the DEA.

According to one law enforcement group, the Purple Gang supplied the drug network of black drug dealer Leroy "Nicky" Barnes with heroin at $75,000 per kilo.

The DEA, FBI and NYPD monitored the group closely in the 1970s.

A 1976 federal report cited the gang’s “enormous capacity for violence” and “lack of respect for other members of organized crime.”

The crew’s power waned in the late 1980s as members were ensnared in drug busts.

Numerous ranking Mafia members once belonged to the crew, including Bonanno boss Michael "Mikey Nose" Mancuso and Genovese capo Daniel "The Lion" Leo.


  1. I never heard of this crew before, how is it they were never written about prior to this? You had the westies and other groups that worked with the mob that were written about, either they were not as big as their being portrayed or they we're one of the smartest gangs ever!

  2. ed i respect you but you have got alot of this wrong. Joey was arrested and convicted for the 1999 killing of guy who refuesed to give him $100 but he killed the wrong guy he killed the guys the brother he went on the lam from the police and from the genovese family who were fuming over joey killing someone in a connected bar.

    The purple gang did not "make people" they were a bunch of thugs most of smart ones went on to join the mob micheal and joey just did hits for wiseguys. Michael is scum responsible for around 50 murders i am glad he is dead no doubt about it he is like the devil he is in hell. Micheal was not rich he was lacking never really making money this hit was not sancitoned it was brash a genovese family capo (not mentioning his name here) lives a few doors down he would not want tat heat in his neigbourhood this was personal there is so many reasons someone would kill mcheal karma has finally caught up with him

    ed you need to do your facts


  4. A former drug-addicted prostitute convicted of fingering the wrong target for a mob hit man in a Bronx tavern in 1999 was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison, according to an article in the New York Post.

    There is no word regarding the sentencing of the hit man, Joseph Meldish. Prosecutors charge that Meldish — a reputed member of the Purple Gang, a drug-dealing group tied to the Gennovese, Luchese and Bonanno crime families — had meant to wipe out Brown’s brother, Thomas Brown, in the mistaken identity attack.

    Kim Hanzlick, now 45, walked into Frenchy's Tavern in Throggs Neck on March 21, 1999, and, according to another accomplice, identified a man sitting inside as Thomas Brown but the man she pointed out was actually Thomas' look-alike brother, Joseph Brown.

    Meldish walked in and calmly shot Brown right in front of his wife -- nine times.

  5. Honestly???? You never heard of the Purple Gang in New York????? Wow, I am surprised, Lou.

  6. i have my sources:D. Of course i know who the purple gang are my point being they never "inducted" guys the purple gang stopped in the 90s most of them were drug addicts the top gusy like danel leo joined the mob the purple gang collapsed. Micheal was broke when he died no one respects him in the bronx and joey is lucky to be alive the wiseguys in throggy neck were fuming it was a connected jointhe guy who owned Frenchy's at the time was on record with the right people . He was not running from the police it was the mob he was running from.

    Micheal if he was whacked by these guys which i think he was. It was either over drugs or vendetta but no susprise it was the bonnanos who did him like Ernie and QD (genovese family guys ) would approve of a hit like that right around the corner from their homes.

    the bonnanos are in trouble ed for the future the bronx faction should not be repeaired they are inducting all these kids they are inexperienced the bronx faction is only trouble always has been

    this was the guys brother the shooters brother

  7. it was not blacks who killed this guy. He is pure evil he is going to hell and his brother is joining him when he dies in the can

  8. No need for that people kill people everday I guess you have a personal issue with the brothers and if you do I get your hate but the guys they killed were not saints either

  9. Danny and Angelo Prisco ( who is related to Meldish) were part of the original east harlem based purple gang before they got made also many other top guys came from the purps

  10. thats where your wrong alot of pep]ople they killed had nothing to do with crime. Joey Medish wanted to kill this guy in 1999 after he would not give him a $100 thats the reasoning for him to kill someone. Then he goes and kills the guys brother who was a good kid nothing to do with organized crime in throggy neck the bar was connected like i said joey is lucky to be alive the mobsters wanted to whack him and the police wanted him so joey fled to florida
    These guys whacked people over stupid things these two our evil everyone was terrified of them they were animals

  11. i know that alot of mobsters came from the puple gang danny leo future genovese boss came up with them. I a trying to say they did not "make people" the purple gang did not exist by the late 70s the guys who carried on were thugs and junkies the medlishs brothers lost all respect in the mob world after joey whacked the guy in throggy neck. Micheal and joey made very LITTLE money in there day they were broke most of the time joey was the worst brother then micheal i am glad they are gone too many people lost there lives to these scum who

  12. Yea Ed, never heard of them, only purple gang I ever heard about were the ones out of Detroit, I read about Nicky Barns n never heard these guys connected to him, of all the great authors that write on the mob from NY, never read one book about them or even a mention about them from from someone else they were writing about, they couldn't of been that big Ed, I'll tell u what, if they were as big as this article it would be wise for u to be the first to put it out there, maybe in a little online book like the ones that been popping up recently.

  13. What facts are wrong? You're questioning my credibility based on nothing.

  14. That link is about the brother of the suspected shooter. I don't see your point.

  15. The Londonio guy is from throggs neck and his brother was killed when an army of cops and troopers kicked in his door on revere ave at 6:00am to arrest him on a drug case, he got out of bed and shot it out with the cops and was killed, this guy was in the house too and got pinched, the story I heard was the brother thought he was being robbed and tried to protect his family which were in the house, they could of easily grabbed him coming out of the house and cuffed him with no bullets flying...they had him dead to rights on the drug charges with 2 years of opinion overzealous cops they knew there were women in the house

  16. I'd watch. This guy was a psychopath! 👎

  17. I was going to when Meldish was first killed -- never got around to it. I am working on several other stories, I have a backlog of them in fact but I will add this to the list. FS and Cowboys coming up, plus an interview that I hope pans out into something major.... So little to do and so much time--no, wait, flip that, mean it the other way......Willie Wonka say that?

  18. Don't care. He was a loose cannon but he was about that life and he's doing 1000 yrs and smiling about it. Every fucking joker Italian kid has that tattoo now and they would tell on their mother if they caught a pinch. Stand tall pappa bear.

  19. The purple gang was definitely that big and then some. I could go into some heavy details, but I'm sure feds monitor this site. It's safe to mention some of the dead like Fat Gigi and Johnny Echoes. If you were around NYC during the 70's and 80's you would have heard of them for sure. The ones that didn't die eventually became made guys. There's a couple of them that hold some high positions today in the Genovese crew.
    They were a crew you didn't mess with. One of them chased someone down for calling him a greaseball and shot him point blank dead in the head. In the park across from Rao's one of them was walking with his girl, a black guy walked by saying "hey baby" and ended up with a bullet in his head. That's just the tip of the iceberg.
    This crew back in the day had pleasant avenue in east harlem on lock down. They had spotters hanging out on the street from morning to night to spot anyone unusual. It was the heroin hub of the north east. There were heroin traps throughout the tenements on that block. You know, remove a brick and there was a kilo tucked away. These guys were old school in that a lot of them didn't go out and buy crazy mansions, some stayed in the neighborhood or bought modest homes in long island or Westchester. One big dope guy had a candy store with his own apartment for him and his family in the back while he was making hundreds of thousands if not millions. Slacks and T-shirts or wife beaters and polished shoes was their uniform. Bachelor's III was a notorious bar on 2nd Avenue that was party central for these guys. Every barber shop was a numbers/bookie joint. I, myself, was involved in the one and only sit down of my life on 1st Ave and E. 116, because one dingbat raised his hands to an even bigger dingbat. Once these guys started going down is when there was the rise of the pizza connection and the zips.
    That denzel Washington movie was a joke. Bumpy Johnson was a flunky for Fat Tony as was those two Porto rican guys,, I forget their name. The blacks have always been tough as nails. The difference back then was the Italians weren't scared of them and were even tougher.
    There was never a big Italian and Spanish connection after the guy Cantellopes who was porto rican ratted out Vito Genovese and the Italians. After that incident the Italians stayed away from dealing directly with the Spanish, because they felt the Spanish were rats. That was back then.

  20. Ed,
    I had a nice response on here. What happened? The feds stole it maybe?

  21. It disappeared? Let me check.....

  22. It was in moderation.... it's up....

  23. So true. I tried to write a book about Pappa but couldn't get anywhere in terms of getting the trial transcripts. I was calling court reporters! Five different ones covered the trial. A couple had since retired. I got hold of one, who may have had a few days worth but wanted thousands of dollars.... there's got to be another way!!! Anyone know???

  24. Ya gotta pay them court reporters!!!!!!!!!
    Remember the Gotti Senior trial in Manhattan, the one where the union guy got shot in the ass? You know these big wiseguys pay their attorneys huge sums of cash in advance to cover all trial costs including the court reporter transcripts. The transcripts were completed a couple of hours after close of business each day. The court reporters made a deal with Shargel or Cutler for the service each day or each couple of days they would get paid. The attorneys were reneging on the deal unbeknownst to Gotti. One of the court reporters approached the Gotti lawyer team letting them know the deal was off. When Gotti found out, he looked at his lawyer or lawyers with disgust and says "Why don't ya pay'em." From that moment on those court reporters were paid each and every single day for their service.
    After he got the not guilty verdict all the jurors were invited to dinner in Little Italy by the Gotti team.

  25. I'm not a big Gotti fan, but like the man said, you won't see another guy like him for a million years.


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