Bonanno Boss Mikey Nose Mancuso Makes "Scary" Appearance At Luchese Murder Trial

What kind of gangster poses his elderly grandma with his dope? What kind of idiot is behind the camera?-- Gang Land News

1.) We believe we have found a source who was close to Michael Meldish for a time and who knows all about the Meldish brothers and the Purple Gang... 2.) Anthony Ruggiano Jr. was off yesterday, and we may occasionally interrupt that ongoing series to cover other stories...

A "shocking" photograph taken by turncoat witness Anthony Zoccolillo inspired the media to return to the Michael Meldish murder trial. (And we weren’t far behind.)

Zoccolillo flipped and gave the FBI more than 4,000 photos he had snapped. He testified that there was “20 or so pounds” of marijuana in those bags. The woman in the picture is Luchese soldier Vinny Bruno's grandmother who, according to Gang Land, wrote a letter to the sentencing judge to advocate for a lighter sentence for Bruno.

The photo was taken sometime before reputed Lucchese wiseguy Vincent Bruno was sent upriver on a 2012 case (oddly enough, a drug trafficking case) and shows a hunched-over Bruno dangling his left arm over his not smiling walker-using 95-year-old grandmother's shoulder while holding in his other hand one big-ass vacuum-sealed bag of weed. Helping set the overall mood for the “gramma with drug dealer” photo is a beaming background photo of a circa-Breakfast at Tiffany's Audrey Hepburn. And clearly visible in the foreground are at least 11 giant bags of pot (holding about 20 pounds, as per turncoat testimony).

The photograph was entered into evidence in White Plains court at the murder racketeering trial of four alleged Lucchese gangsters: former acting Lucchese boss Matthew Madonna, his underboss, Steven Crea Sr., soldier Christopher Londonio, and alleged associate Terrence Caldwell.

Madonna is accused of ordering the 2013 hit on ex-Purple Gang leader Michael Meldish after he refused to repay a $100,000 loan, Londonio is the accused wheelman in the hit, and Caldwell is the alleged shooter. Crea Senior is charged with ordering Bruno and alleged mobster Paul (Paulie Roast Beef) Cassano to hit Carl Ulzheimer, a Bonanno family associate who lived in the Bronx in 2012.

Specifically, the Feds allege that in 2012, "armed members and associates of the Bonanno Family of La Cosa Nostra forced their way into a Bronx social club controlled by the Luchese Family." Ulzheimer then "acted in a manner that a leader of the Luchese Family, Steven L. Crea perceived as a personal affront… Crea Sr. (then) ordered his son, Steven D. Crea to have the Associate killed."

Crea Jr. passed the order to Cassano and Bruno. On a subsequent night, the two traveled to Ulzheimer’s Bronx residence, where Bruno, hefting a pistol, tried to find Ulzheimer and kill him, but failed.

In addition to the Meldish murder and attempted Ulzheimer hit, the defendants also face charges for participating in a racketeering conspiracy from 2001 to 2017 and other crimes.

"The dispute between the rival families was then resolved before the murder was carried out."

As per Gang Land, in a taped phone call that prosecutors played for the jury, Bonanno boss Michael (Mikey Nose) Mancuso was heard telling a friend that some "naughty nips" had "beat the shit out of" Meldish outside Rao's."

"They beat him, kicked him and everything," Mancuso told his friend in the August 19, 2011 phone call from the South Carolina prison where he was then housed.

"I've been dying to call you," Mancuso chuckled about the beating that had taken place a week earlier. "He was on the floor and they were kicking him in his face and everything. (He had) blood all over him."

We noted back in January that a source told us that Mancuso following his release, was making the Pelham Bay rounds "all dressed up" and "playing the part," and "reminding people who is in charge."

Mikey Nose also had been telling people "he is all over the Internet and is actually mentioning (this website)." So Nose apparently reads about himself here on Cosa Nostra News.

Bonanno wiseguys Ernest (Ernie) Aiello and Johnny Joe Junior Spirito allegedly doled out the beating following an order from Mancuso. Meldish allegedly had had the temerity (or the balls, if you will) to ignore The Nose’s warnings to stop seeing an old girlfriend.

Jerry Capeci reported that “logic would suggest that lawyers for Luchese gangsters who are on trial for Meldish's murder would have been the ones to play the tape since it suggests the Bonanno family boss also had motive to want Meldish dead. But the defense attorneys never got the chance.”

"Instead, the government played the recording "primarily" to fix the time of the beating before August 17, 2011, when defendant Caldwell went to prison for an unrelated crime. That would help corroborate testimony that Meldish and Caldwell had spoken about avenging the beating right after it happened.”

Mancuso sounded "gleeful in sort of a childish way," prosecutors noted during the trial.

"In discussing the beating, it's pretty clear he's not fired up to the level of murder. It's more like, 'Ha, ha, that guy got his butt kicked, it's in front of everybody, he's embarrassed.'"

"The Court has been reasonably clear that there is no good faith basis to suggest that the Bonannos did it," one source told Gang Land, "but that hasn't stopped the defense counsel at every turn from saying, 'Michael Mancuso, he's a scary guy; isn't he?'"

"Mikey Nose is a scary guy," another source observed, is "the most recited quote."

Mancuso was about halfway through his full 15-year sentence for the Randy Pizzolo rubout when the conversation took place.

The jury today was to begin deliberating the fate of the defendants....

The so-called Purple Gang roamed the South Bronx and Harlem and whacked and dismembered its victims, of which there reportedly were 17 as of December 1977.

The gang was involved in the large‐scale distribution of "kilos" of heroin in Harlem and the Bronx; it was known to pull off "muscle” jobs for Mafia families, too.

Apparently the Purple Gang stepped up when law enforcement cleared away existing narcotics trafficking rings such as the one that was part of the "French Connection" case. The Purple Gang also supposedly entered the contract killing business after it got into drug trafficking. Prior its members essentially cut their teeth as glorified coffee boys in decade-long apprenticeships.

A DEA report had asserted: “The younger (Purple Gang) group, impressed by the antics, violence and wealth of the older traffickers began to emulate them and after a while became . . . uncontrollable . . .”

According to a 1977 New York Times report: "In 1973, when a major law enforcement push against wholesale heroin distribution resulted in the convictions of Louis Inglese, the former drug boss of the Pleasant Avenue area, John Campopiano, and Carmine Tramunti, a highranking member of the Luchese crime family, the young members of the Purple Gang—according to the D.E.A.—moved to fill the vacancies in their local narcotics distribution network.

"Narcotics traffic in New York is controlled by both Italian and black organized crime groups. According to one intelligence report, members of the Purple Gang were supplying the black heroin network of the recently convicted drug dealer Leroy (Nicky) Barnes with heroin for $75,000 a kilogram.”

Most Purple Gang members were raised on Pleasant Avenue between 110th and 117th streets and were related to known Mafia figures or had been allied with local drug traffickers.

The gang is still mentioned occasionally -- usually when former members kill someone, are elevated in a Mafia family's hierarchy, or are themselves killed. Meldish -- who was shot in the head in November 2013 -- was referred to in stories as the former boss of the Purple Gang.

Adding "color" to early stories about the Meldish murder was NYPD Detective Sgt. Joseph Coffey, who died in September 2015. "Publicity Joe" -- as "The Westies," the Westside Irish mob once allied with the Gambinos, supposedly dubbed Coffey -- recalled Michael Meldish's past affiliation with the gang.

Coffey was among the 1970s-era investigators who originally probed the gang. He was quoted in a 1979 story about how the Purple Gang was suspected of involvement in a wave of unsolved .22 caliber killings -- many of which were allegedly carried out with the same weapon. The killings were spread out geographically in the Northeast, Midwest, and elsewhere. (The murder of Outfit Don Sam Giancana was reportedly among the murders involved in that investigation.) The small .22 was perfect for hits, as stories noted, for many reasons (among them: the pistol can be easily muffled with a silencer).

The story of the Purple Gang exploded on the front page in 1977 with the Times story, which was based on “confidential police and Federal agency intelligence reports,” one of which was a December 1976 report by the DEA that spoke “of the Purple Gang’s ‘enormous capacity for’ violence” and “lack of respect for other members of organized crime. "

Law enforcement -- all law enforcement, the "big three" of FBI, DEA, and NYPD -- was issuing a blood curdling warning about an emerging "sixth family" (one of three or four "emerging sixth families" we're aware of, historically speaking) that was poised to clash with all five New York families. It looked like bodies were going to start piling up any day.

Police intelligence authorities theorized that the group was trying to expand its “lucrative heroin distribution network” by moving in on the “Galante family." (Little did they know that Galante wasn't long for this world).

Some police sources said the Purple Gang was a broken off faction of Cosa Nostra. 

As for the gang's name: "The group... calls itself the Purple Gang, after the band of criminals that terrorized Detroit during the Prohibition era..."