Feds Bust 19 Luchese Mobsters Who "Operated with Seeming Impunity"

Updated: A superseding indictment charged 19 members and associates of the Luchese crime family with racketeering, murder, narcotics and firearms offenses.

As noted previously, the indictment's centerpiece is the murder of former Purple Gang boss Michael Meldish. However, three additional sanctioned hits (all of which were unsuccessful) are detailed in the indictment, which includes the odd (as in weird) shooting of one Bonanno member known as The Baker. Story here. A Bonanno associate also was targeted.

From left, Crea Sr., Madonna and Truscello

Fifteen Luchese mobsters were arrested yesterday; four others were in prison on other crimes.

The Luchese crime family's street boss, underboss and consiglieri were among the arrested. The indictment confirms that the official boss serves a life sentence presently.

Meldish, 62, was shot to death in 2013 while seated in his car. Alleged shooter Terence Caldwell was sitting in the passenger seat when he fired one bullet into the right side of Meldish's head at close range. Londonio, driving a getaway car, then pulled up.

The indictment builds on charges previously filed against Luchese soldier Christopher Londonio and Luchese associate Terence Caldwell, who were charged in February 2017 with racketeering and the murder of Meldish in the Bronx on November 15, 2013.

The indictment charges Matthew (Matty) Madonna, the alleged street boss of the Luchese Family, Crea Sr., the alleged underboss, and Steven Crea Jr., Londonio’s alleged captain, with ordering the murder of Meldish.

Meldish was killed for disrespecting Madonna.

As for the three other sanctioned but unsuccessful murders in the indictment (the alleged murder ban appears to be defunct these days):

  • Steven (Stevie Wonder) faces charges for ordering Luchese soldier Joseph (Joey Glasses) Datello to New Hampshire "to find, assault and kill" a cooperating witness last October. Datello, 66, of Staten Island, was unsuccessful.  

  • In late 2012, Paul Cassano and Vincent Bruno were both ordered by the Creas to whack a mob associate who had disrespected Crea Sr. They traveled to the Bonanno gangster's "home, armed with a gun" but apparently never used it. 

  • And on May 29, 2013, Caldwell allegedly shot Enzo the Baker Stagno. 

The indictment also contains additional racketeering charges against Madonna, Crea Sr. and Crea Jr., as well as the alleged consigliere of the Luchese crime family, Joseph DiNapoli, and numerous other members and associates.

All defendants arrested were to be presented in White Plains federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Judith C. McCarthy.

Luchese Street Matthew Madonna

Jerry Capeci on Gang Land News wrote today, "In an indication that violence and fear are still key mob tools, 17 of the defendants allegedly used or brandished guns while committing crimes, charges that carry a possible life sentence, and a mandatory minimum prison term of 10 years behind bars."

Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said: 

“As today’s charges demonstrate, La Cosa Nostra remains alive and active in New York City, but so does our commitment to eradicate the mob’s parasitic presence. We have charged 19 members and associates of the Luchese Crime Family, including its entire administration – the street boss, underboss and consigliere – with serious racketeering offenses. The defendants allegedly used violence and threats of violence, as the mob always has, to make illegal money, to enforce discipline in the ranks, and to silence witnesses. The mob members and associates charged today will answer for their alleged misdeeds in a court of law.”

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. said: 

“Organized crime families believe their way of life is acceptable and continue to show through their criminal behavior that they don’t plan to stop. Their crimes aren’t victimless, and this case proves they’re willing to use murder and many other violent tactics to enforce their dominance. The FBI/NYPD Joint Organized Crime Task Force and our other law enforcement partners, who have done exceptional work in this case, don’t plan to stop our pursuit of these crime families because they have a direct negative impact on communities and neighborhoods where they operate.”

HSI Special Agent in Charge Angel M. Melendez said: 

“The Luchese Family and its associates are alleged to be linked to guns, drugs, racketeering, and murder. They are also alleged to have used their criminal enterprise to launder money, tamper with witnesses and extortion. It is clear that this ‘family’ business is of no benefit to its community or to this great city. HSI will continue to strengthen its partnership with the FBI and NYPD to ensure that alleged criminals like the Luchese Family face the consequences of their actions.”

NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill said: 

“The allegations and extent of the criminal behavior are extraordinary. The Luchese Family operated with seeming impunity, allegedly carrying out murder, robberies, extortion, among a myriad of other charges unsealed today. We will not stop until violence has been eradicated – be it from a street gang or the mob.”

Waterfront Commission Executive Director Walter M. Arsenault said: “The Waterfront Commission will continue to work with all of its law enforcement partners to eliminate Organized Crime wherever it is found.”

The indictment, filed in White Plains federal court on May 24, 2017, also alleges:

"At most times relevant to the charges in the Superseding Indictment, MATTHEW MADONNA was the street boss of the family – that is, the individual who managed the affairs of the Family on behalf of the formal boss, who is serving a life sentence in federal prison. STEVEN CREA SR., a/k/a “Wonder Boy,” was the Underboss of the Luchese Family, and JOSEPH DINAPOLI was the Consigliere of the Luchese Family. Additionally, STEVEN CREA JR., DOMINIC TRUSCELLO, JOHN CASTELUCCI, a/k/a “Big John,” and TINDARO CORSO, a/k/a “Tino,” were Captains or Acting Captains in the Luchese Family. JOSEPH VENICE, JAMES MAFFUCCI, a/k/a “Jimmy the Jew,” JOSEPH DATELLO, a/k/a “Big Joe,” a/k/a “Joey Glasses,” PAUL CASSANO, a/k/a “Paulie Roast Beef,” and CHRISTOPHER LONDONIO were Soldiers in the Luchese Family.

"The Superseding Indictment alleges that from at least in or about 2000 up to and including in or about 2017, MATTHEW MADONNA, STEVEN CREA SR., JOSEPH DINAPOLI, STEVEN CREA JR., DOMINIC TRUSCELLO, JOHN CASTELUCCI, TINDARO CORSO, JOSEPH VENICE, JAMES MAFFUCCI, JOSEPH DATELLO, PAUL CASSANO, CHRISTOPHER LONDONIO, TERRENCE CALDWELL, a/k/a “T,” VINCENT BRUNO, BRIAN VAUGHAN, CARMINE GARCIA, a/k/a “Spanish Carmine,” RICHARD O’CONNOR, ROBERT CAMILLI, and JOHN INCATASCIATO, along with other members and associates of La Cosa Nostra, committed a wide array of crimes in connection with their association with the mafia, including murder, attempted murder, assault, robbery, extortion, gambling, narcotics trafficking, witness tampering, fraud, money laundering, and trafficking in contraband cigarettes.

The case is assigned to United States District Judge Cathy Seibel, who will hold an initial conference on Thursday, June 1, 2017, at 2:00 p.m.