Genovese Family's "Springfield Crew" Member Johnny Cal Gets Three Years

April 11 update
Ralph Santaniello, Springfield crew chief, got five years...
Also, inserted Gerald Daniele info

Giovanni (Johnny Cal) Calabrese, 54, was sentenced earlier today (April 10, 2018) to three years in federal prison for extortion.

Johnny Cal was only paying his bills, he said, when he was arrested in August 2016.

Alleged boss of the Springfield Crew Ralph Santaniello, 50, is to be sentenced this afternoon.

That makes three of the five alleged members of the Genovese crime family's Springfield Crew to be sentenced in U.S. District Court for shaking down a towing company owner and running an illegal gambling ring in 2013 and 2015, respectively.

In March 2018, Gerald Daniele, 52, of Longmeadow was sentenced to two years in prison.

The defendants were arrested and charged on Aug. 4, 2016, as per the larger so-called East Coast LCN Enterprise case.

Four copped out, and one was convicted by a jury last December.

Calabrese, an extermination worker, posed the argument that he had to join the Mafia to pay off the mortgage on his Longmeadow home and still afford to send his children to the town's better schools. What's confusing is he previously blamed a part-time job at the Mardi Gras strip club for pushing him into organized crime. We're not sure what the precise reason is but chances are both statements are of equally negligible truth.

Since prosecutors have to work with what they have, Assistant U.S. Attorney Katharine Wagner was compelled to detail for U.S. District Judge Timothy Hillman how many folks have to pay mortgages and tuitions, etc., and the vast majority don't join the Mafia as a remedy for their financial struggles.

"Everyone understands financial stress. Everyone has trouble making their mortgages. Most people don't choose to join the mafia and extort innocent victims," Wagner said, as MassLive reported.

Defense attorney Jeremy B. Powers argued for probation, noting that Johnny Cal somehow did the local community "immeasurable good(ness)" by participating in Alcoholics Anonymous meetings for 20-something years."

I swear I'm not making this up.

To bolster his claim, he noted: "It's not easy to fill a courtroom full of people," gesturing at the "dozens of supporters for Calabrese in the gallery." (Springfield tow company owner Craig J. "C.J." Morel likely would've begged to differ. He was among the spectators today. Springfield Crew members had threatened to decapitate him.)

The judge did find common ground. "This is the most we've ever had at a sentencing and it speaks very well of your client," Hillman said.

Wagner asked the judge for a 57-month sentence.

Calabrese and co-defendant Santaniello, also of Longmeadow, visited Morel at his Hampden home in 2013 (Morel was actually rebuilding it at the time. It had burned to the ground in a fire.) The duo demanded $100,000, punched him in the face, and threatened to murder and bury him somewhere on the acreage Morel owned.

"I was never so scared in my life," Morel told Hillman during the sentencing hearing. When he complained to the police, he was labeled "a rat" and was harassed "mostly by Italians."

He said on one occasion, he went to an Italian restaurant and a man yelled out "give the rat some cheese," as MassLive reported.

Morel recorded hours of conversations with the defendants for state police investigators and ultimately paid them $20,000.

Johnny Cal got to say his piece: "I didn't threaten nobody but I do understand I was 100 percent wrong being involved with these people." Which doesn't really make a lot of sense, but why bother?

Calabrese was ordered to report to prison by May 21 and also pay $20,000 in restitution to the Hampden district attorney's office.

Santaniello is set for sentencing later this afternoon. Probably now....