Bonanno Crime Family Associate With Drug Dealing History Indicted For (What Else?) Drug Dealing

A New Jersey-based Bonanno crime family associate who was once a member of Nicky Santora’s crew—and who has a history of drug dealing—was indicted with another man for drug dealing.

Richard (Richie) Sinde
Richard Sinde is charged with conspiring, possessing, and intending to distribute cocaine. 

The associate—Richard (Richie) Sinde, 56, of Fort Lee, New Jersey—was indicted in September alongside Robert (Bobby) Ingrao, 74, of Lodi, New Jersey, according to the U.S. Attorney, Northern District of New York, Carla B. Freedman and Ray Donovan, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, New York Division, in a media release.

Sinde and Ingrao were each charged with conspiring, possessing, and intending to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine. Sinde was arraigned on October 19 before United States Magistrate Judge Daniel J. Stewart and released with conditions. Ingrao was to be arraigned at a later date.

If convicted, each man faces at least 10 years and up to life in prison, as well as at least 5 years of supervised release.

On April 2, 2021, Ingrao was driving a blue 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee north on Interstate 87, according to a criminal complaint previously filed against him. New York State Police stopped the vehicle in Greene County. Ingrao, who was driving alone, told troopers that he was returning the vehicle to Schenectady. Troopers, discovering Ingrao lacked a driver’s license, arrested him and towed the Jeep. While taking an inventory of the Jeep’s contents, Troopers discovered a trap in the trunk that was concealing 9 kilograms of cocaine.
Also being investigated in connection with the seizure of the cocaine are Jeffrey Civitello Jr., 22, of Albany, who is reportedly the owner of the Jeep, and his father, who has prior Federal convictions for cocaine trafficking and money laundering. Civitello was not in the Jeep during the stop, but investigators spotted him and his father, Jeffrey Civitello Sr., two days before the DEA seizure when they were meeting with Sinde and Ingrao—and a third man, Christopher Kelly, 54, of Brooklyn—to lend the trio the vehicle.

On October 21, Federal drug investigators raided Civitello Jr.’s penthouse apartment on the top floor of a building in Schenectady on Albany Street, seizing 75 pounds of marijuana, loaded weapons, and hundreds of thousands of dollars. Civitello Jr. now faces federal drug and weapons charges in Albany—and is also being investigated for the cocaine trafficking case. He has pleaded not guilty and is being held in the Albany County jail.

Working to convince U.S. Magistrate Judge Daniel Stewart to reconsider an earlier order to detain Civitello Jr. without bail, Syracuse-based attorneys Robert G. Wells and Derek S. Andrews sent the judge letters from Civitello's mother, sister, and other family members, among others, to attest to Civitello Jr.'s good character. 

They also sent photos of the defendant. In one photo, a tattoo on his arm is visible that states: "La Famiglia e tutto." "The Family is Everything" in Italian.

Jeffrey Civitello Jr.
Lawyers for Civitello Jr. sent letters to attest to his good character.

As for Sinde, in July 2016, he was busted in Manhattan for being part of a $15 million drug ring led by members and associates of New York's Gambino, Bonanno, Genovese, and Colombo crime families. Twenty-two were caught in the dragnet and faced charges for participating in the lucrative drug smuggling network that shipped marijuana from California to New York. 

Sinde and John Kelly were the accused ringleaders of the operation, which shipped hundreds of pounds of medical-grade marijuana, according to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. Specifically, the crew shipped about 350 pounds of weed a month between February 2014 and November of 2015 making approximately $15 million during that period. The pot was shipped via the U.S. Postal Service in packages weighing up to 15 pounds or vans carrying up to 150 pounds from coast to coast.

Dragged into the case after his complaints about another co-defendant owing him money were caught on wiretap was longtime Gambino family captain Michael (Mickey Boy) Paradiso, who, according to Gang Land News, may today be serving as the family’s consigliere, or the number three man in the crime family's hierarchy. Mickey Boy supposedly got the big bump in the wake of the March 2019 murder of Gambino underboss Francesco (Frank) Cali.

On May 18, 2017, Sinde was sentenced to five years’ probation and forfeiture of approximately $11,800.

Sinde also was one of nine busted in July 2013 for being part of a Bonanno family crew. In a June 2011 recording, Sinde discussed the sale of 300,000 Viagra and Cialis pills with longtime Bonanno wiseguy Nicky Santora, NYPD Det. Angelo Barone testified. 

The state claimed that capo Santora was in charge of an Internet gambling site and also sold prescription drugs such as oxycodone and Viagra on the black market. Santora, who was part of the Donnie Brasco case, died in 2018.