Luchese Chief "of Interest" in Meldish Mob Hit

Suspects were never in short supply regarding the Michael Meldish murder.

The former Purple Gang boss was offed in November 2013 in what's described as a classic gangland hit tableau.

Michael Meldish, former Purple Gang leader, may have died for pissing off
a high-ranking Luchese Mafioso.

His body, expensively attired, ensconced in a camel-colored leather jacket, was slumped over in the driver's seat, his head back, his mouth agape.

“Michael was a stone-cold killer,” Joseph Coffey, former commanding officer of the NYPD’s organized crime homicide task force, told the New York Daily News.

Coffey admitted he'd spent years trying to pin murders on Meldish, though acknowledged that he faced one insurmountable obstacle: “We couldn’t get any witnesses," Coffey has said. "They had the people so terrified they just wouldn’t cooperate.” 

Meldish is believed to have committed as many as 10 mob-related hits, and was never prosecuted for a single one. His brother and longtime street partner Joseph Meldish has been serving a 25-to-life sentence for a 1999 slaying. Joseph is believed to have committed as many as 70 contract killings. 

Both Meldish and Joseph were leaders of the notorious Purple Gang, which back in the 1970s and 1980s dealt heroin in the Bronx and Harlem and whacked people for the Bonanno, Luchese, and Genovese crime families.

The gang appropriated its named from the Prohibition-era Detroit gang. The "new" Purple Gang had a distinction, however, for dismembering victims' bodies.

The Purple Gang also may have had ties to Latin American terrorists in a firearms for narcotics trade agreement.

By the late 1980s, members increasingly were apprehended in drug busts. Some of the remaining members then joined the 116th Street Crew, with a few of them landing buttons in three crime families.

Meldish was a Luchese associate at the time of his death.

Meldish was slain in front of this house, when he stopped his car.

Joseph, 60, is serving his sentence at Shawangunk Correctional Facility for murder in the 2nd degree for the 1999 mistaken identity execution of Joe Brown inside Frenchy’s Bar, formerly located in Throggs Neck.

According to the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, Meldish will be eligible for parole on September 22, 2032.
Christopher Londonio

Gangland News reported the arrest of two suspects a couple of weeks back: 
"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... and ordered held without bail.... 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...."

Caldwell, 57, was arrested in early May on charges of murder, manslaughter and criminal possession of a weapon. He currently resides in Manhattan at 129 W. 147th Street and has a long record that includes 20 prior arrests dating back to 1973, the Bronx Times reported.

Terence Caldwell.
Caldwell and Londonio, of 753 Revere Avenue, have had a long standing relationship, according to the NYPD.

Meldish, who had 18 prior arrests dating back to 1971, seemed to have pulled to a stop at a crosswalk and was exiting his vehicle when he was fired on.

The shooter had either ambushed Meldish at this location or was his passenger.

Further investigation determined Meldish was shot in the right side of his head from a short distance (gunpowder residue was lacking).

The motive for the Meldish killing remains unknown. However, we may now know the first inklings of the reason for the murder, according to Gangland News, which reported that, in addition to the two suspects facing pending indictments, law enforcement officials are parsing a list of mob-affiliated suspects that includes two high-level gangsters in two crime families: the Bonannos and Lucheses.
"In the months before Meldish was whacked, powerful high-ranked wiseguys from two rival crime families — Michael "Mikey Nose" Mancuso and Matthew "Matty" Madonna — each voiced their fury about the murderous Bronx-based drug dealer who was murdered in 2013, according to court papers and knowledgeable Gang Land sources. 
"There is no evidence either of the veteran mobsters had anything to do with it. As former NYPD detective Joe Coffey said right after the murder, Meldish "was a stone-cold killer" with many enemies "in the mob" who were happy that he was dead. But sources say imprisoned Bonanno boss Mancuso, as well as reputed Luchese underboss Madonna, both vented their anger at Meldish and his ways in the 15 months before he was shot to death in front of his home in the Throgs Neck section of the Bronx on November 15, 2013 at the age of 62."

Mikey Nose ordered a Bonanno mobster to administer a beating to Meldish "for what Mancuso considered disrespectful acts toward Mancuso on Meldish's part," according to a court filing by Manhattan prosecutors against nine Bonanno family mobsters and associates hit with state racketeering charges in July of 2013.

An unidentified informant told the feds that an acting capo in the Bonanno family named Ernest Aiello caught up with Meldish in August of 2012 in uptown Manhattan, supposedly outside East Harlem's infamous Rao's restaurant.

Aiello, 35, is not charged with assaulting Meldish and he is not a suspect in Meldish's murder, Gangland News noted. The mobster has an ironclad alibi --  denied bail, he's been sitting in a Riker's Island jail cell since his July 2013 arrest -- several months prior to the Meldish hit.

It's alleged that the 59-year-old Mancuso, behind bars for 11 years now, had ordered a new Bonanno member named Frank "Frankie Boy" Salerno to deliver messages from  Danbury prison, where Mancuso's held.

Matty Madonna, 79, was badmouthing Meldish around eight months before the doomed associate was hit in his car that November night in 2013.

Matty Madonna at 2010 arraignment.

At the time, Meldish supposedly worked for Madonna, collecting payments, among other things. Meldish also seemed to have angered the Luchese chief at some point.

Madonna is known to have a lot of juice in his crime family. Sources have described him as acting boss Steven Crea's right-hand-man, as well as a trusted "street boss" for the imprisoned-for-life official boss, Vittorio "Little Vic" Amuso.

According to Gangland News, "Madonna, and the Luchese crime family [are considered to be the] more likely [suspects] in the murder of Meldish than Mancuso and his Bonanno family cohorts."

Gangland further noted that crime families remain territorial, especially when the topic is clipping one of their own guys. For example, while Mancuso wouldn't face much recrimination for having a goon slap around a Luchese associate, he likely wouldn't dare give the ultimate order to end the man's life.

Also, Londonio, who is expected to be indicted soon for the Meldish hit, is a Luchese mobster who, like Meldish, was closely associated with Madonna.

Madonna, 79, pleaded guilty in Manhattan earlier this year to an unrelated 2009 gambling case. Later this year he is expected to be sentenced to one-to-three years.

Londonio and Maiorino were arrested on federal gun charges on May 11, on a complaint filed by FBI agent Theodore Otto, who for years has investigated the Gambino and Luchese families, Gangland News reported.

Gangland sources say Maiorino, 55, is not a suspect in the Meldish murder.

On June 22, 2015, Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson announced Caldwell and Londonio had been indicted for the killing of Meldish. Both are charged with murder in the first degree, manslaughter in the first degree and criminal possession of a weapon.

Both defendants pled not guilty before Justice Jeanette Rodriguez-Morick. If convicted of the charges, both face 25 years-to-life in prison.

Caldwell and Londonio were arrested in May and were tied to the crime by DNA, phone records, and license plate readers.

Madonna was nabbed for his part in other crimes though it's believed he's under investigation for ordering the murder.

Martin Tacetta, right, Ralph Perna, left.

Madonna, 79, and Martin Taccetta, 64, along with four other family members pled guilty to racketeering charges on June 17. Maddonna and Tacetta were sentenced to prison in New Jersey state court in late September for their roles in an international gambling ring that focused on extortion and violence to collect debts. Morris County Superior Court Judge Salem Vincent Ahto imposed respective five- and eight-year prison terms on Madonna, said to be a member of the Luchese family's ruling panel, who controlled gambling and other criminal activities from New York along with New York-based Lucchese boss Joseph DiNapoli, of Scarsdale.

Charges against DiNapoli are still pending.

Taccetta, an East Hanover, New Jersey, resident, served as the family’s Garden State underboss.

The arrests were made following an investigation known as Operation Heat, which stumbled upon a $2.2 billion global gambling enterprise focused on sporting events, along with prison smuggling.

“Through our far-reaching investigation into this multi-billion dollar criminal gambling enterprise, we built a racketeering case that extended to the top bosses of the Lucchese crime family in New York,” said New Jersey Attorney General John J. Hoffman of the operation..

“By putting Madonna in prison, we send a powerful message that we are committed to combating organized crime in the most effective way possible, which is to target the leadership ranks and disrupt the command structure of these criminal organizations.”

Elie Honig, director of the Division of Criminal Justice, vowed to continue investigating and prosecuting the “corrosive presence” of organized crime.

Four New Jersey-based crime family members, including a powerful New Jersey capo Ralph V. Perna, pled guilty to first-degree racketeering on June 17 and await sentencing.

Perna, 69, of East Hanover, faces eight years in prison, and his sons Joseph M. Perna, 45, of Wyckoff, and John G. Perna, 38, of West Caldwell, face 10-year terms.

John Mangrella, 72, of Clifton, could be incarcerated for eight years.

Sentencing for the Pernas is set for Jan. 6, and sentencing for Mangrella, who was due to be sentenced yesterday, is being rescheduled.

The 15-month gambling operation involved undercover agents who helped to process the wagers from hundreds and possibly thousands of gamblers using websites and a Costa Rican-based “wire room” where bets were recorded and results tallied.

One high-roller waged over $2 million in a two-month period, according to investigation records.

From the illicit proceeds, New York-based Luchese bosses, including Madonna and DiNapoli, got “tribute” payments.

Charges are also pending against East Jersey State Prison inmate Edwin B. Spears, a high-ranking member of the Bloods-affiliated street gang Nine Trey Gangsters, as well as a former corrections officer, Michael T. Bruinton, for their involvement in a prison smuggling scheme carried out during the same time as the gambling operation.

Spears allegedly formed an alliance with Joseph Perna and another defendant from the Luchese crime family, now deceased, to smuggle drugs and cellphones into the prison through Bruinton. Joseph Perna also enlisted Spears to help deter a man connected to the Bloods from extorting money from a man with Luchese ties.

Several other defendants were charged in that scheme.

"Alliance" Between Bloods and Mafia "Alarming"

Law enforcement officials said the Bloods-affiliated street gang joining forces with the Mafia was surprising. They also said it wasn't surprising.....

Marc Agnifilo, the former head of the gang unit in the United States attorney’s office in New Jersey, told the New York Times that due to the cultural differences between the Mafia families and the street gangs such alliances would seem to be short-term in nature.

Mafia crews shun the spotlight, while gangs like the Bloods and Crips are proud to show their gang affiliations, taunting law enforcement and the public with raw displays of power and wealth.

“No self-respecting mobster would want anything to do with the Bloods or Crips because those gangs are the antithesis of the Mafia,” Agnifilo said. “The mob is concerned with making money over the long haul, trying to appear respectable. But the Bloods are concerned with projecting their status, so they’re all, ‘I’m going to shoot up the block and wear a red bandanna.’”

Yet Agnifilo added that while prosecuting organized crime and street gang cases between 1998 and 2003, "he frequently heard members of the Bloods speak of Mafia members and customs with admiration."

“The Blood guys love mobsters because they’re the old-school gangsters,” he said. “A lot of my Mafia informants in prison would complain that they couldn’t get away from the Bloods’ always following them and fawning over them.”


  1. How does the confrontation outside of Rao's factor into all this? It's not all that clear what happened there

  2. Patty boy is very close to Michael nose, Actually it was his Uncle, Chubby Maoriino who was wise guy from the Bronx crew that pushed Pattty Defillippo to straighten Michael out.

  3. lets not get too excited good article but alot of guys did not like medish it could of been anyone. What i dont get here is that if gangland said it was most likely two bonnanos who did the hit how could the lucheses have ordered it? still it could have been an open contract or the lucheses farmed it out to the bonnanos but they dont get along these familys dont have a good relationship look at enzo "the baker" stagno. Gambinio, genovese and luchese familys have even cut the colmabo and bonnano familys out of alot of rackets. If it was mob related i would say it would be the lucheses they are bigger in the bronx than the bonnanos but the bonnanos could have done it i will wait see its all speculation at the moment

  4. No offense but "Luchese" is misspelled consistently its should correctly be "Lucchese". You know mob authority n all etc.

  5. Gangland reported Mancuso and Madonna both had griefs but the latter I'd more likely to have acted on them. Lot of Lucheses tied to Meldish who was a LUCHESE ASSOCIATE....

  6. Think the informant was a longtime Bonanno member?? LOL!!

  7. he disappeared... he is dead somewhere.

  8. he dissaerpared in the 90s. I remember sally.. he use to hangout with jr chilli all the time. he was always in speros club back in the day. he became a wiseguy, t
    but then they whacked him..

  9. i always thought he was connected with the bonnanos interesting. Still i am not sure it was the lucheses these things you can never be sure not mentoing names but a top genovese member lives a few houses down i dont think madona who is close with the genovese wolud order this and shooters were bonnanos. I dont know he could be a luchese who knows jerry capeci and gangland will have a better idea than me about this

  10. Madonna invented Nicky Barnes.

  11. ed did you see frank nadcucii got arrested in philly according to gangstereport

    they have not released the details yet for his arrest but people are saying it is parole violation but i dont know details not released

  12. There is confusion as to whom Chris Londonio is with...I've seen it reported that his mob superior is Bonanno mobster Patty Maiorino but also that he is very close to Lucchese underboss Matty Madonna and is a Lucchese associate. So the chances are whatever family this guy Londonio is truly with is the family that ordered the hit.


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