Luchese Mobster Faces Life For Attempted Murder Of Federal Witness

After pleading guilty, reputed Luchese wiseguy Joseph Datello faces life in prison for attempting to murder a federal witness.


Specifically, Datello, 67, of Staten Island, New York, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit racketeering, and as part of that plea admitted racketeering acts including the attempted murder of the Witness, narcotics trafficking, and collecting debts through the threat of violence.

According to prosecutors the witness in question helped the Fed's build cases against Datello and other members of the Luchese crime family, including alleged underboss Steven Crea.

Authorities said Datello thought he knew where the witness could be found; with Crea's blessing, he then went there to kill the former Luchese associate.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said: “Witness safety is paramount to ensuring the prosecution of criminal organizations. Thanks to the FBI’s Joint Organized Crime Task Force, who uncovered Datello’s crimes without risking the security of the witness, Datello now faces life in prison for threatening a federal witness.”

Crea is also charged with attempting to have the witness killed, along with other crimes. His trial is expected to begin next year.

Datello was among 19 reputed mobsters arrested in a May 2017 sweep.

Vincent Bruno pleaded guilty to attempted murder in aid of a racketeering conspiracy on September 13 before United States Magistrate Judge Paul E. Davison. Specifically, he pleaded to attempting to kill, and conspiring to kill, a Bronx man described as a Bonanno associate, in 2012.

In May 2017, 19 members and associates of the Luchese crime family were arrested and charged in a nine-count indictment for involvement in offenses including racketeering, murder, attempted murder, narcotics trafficking, and gun crimes. Some of the Luchese mobsters named in the indictment are charged with the 2013 execution murder of Luchese associate Michael Meldish in front of his Bronx home.

Since the unsealing of the indictment, 10 defendants have pleaded guilty, and have been or will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Cathy Seibel.

According to the plea agreement signed by Datello, his statements when pleading guilty, allegations in the indictment, and statements in related court filings and proceedings:

In 2002, an individual (the “Witness”) who had been working with Datello and Steven L. Crea, a leader in the Luchese Family, provided information to state and federal authorities concerning Datello's and Crea’s participation in racketeering activity. That information, and other evidence, led to the successful prosecution of Datello, Crea, and others. 
In October 2016, Datello learned information that he thought revealed the Witness’s current whereabouts. Datello travelled to what he believed was the Witness’s address and waited there, trying to find the Witness. Had Datello found the Witness, he intended, with the blessing of Crea, to kill the Witness.

Crea is also charged with attempting to have the Witness killed, and other crimes,including the Michael Meldish murder, and is scheduled to begin trial before Judge Seibel in 2019.

 These crimes carry a maximum sentence of life in prison. Datello will be sentenced before Judge Seibel.