State and federal indictments have charged 87 people in a government move against the upper echelon of the Gambino crime family, reports the New York Times. A roundup began yesterday morning that authorities called the biggest in memory, one coordinated with arrests by Italian authorities in Sicily. The charges took aim at the family's leadership and a cadre of middle managers and lower level figures in the Gambino clan and others in the Bonanno and Genovese families.
The case left no doubt that organized crime, often declared as on the decline, remains a formidable force in the New York area. “It is simply wrong to suggest that La Cosa Nostra or LCN is no longer a threat to public safety or the economic vitality of New York City and the surrounding region,” said Mark Mershon, the assistant F.B.I. director who heads the bureau's New York office. The mob remains deeply entrenched in the construction industry, and New York's five families reap millions from loan-sharking, labor racketeering, securities fraud, gambling and drugs. Their schemes included pirating cable TV signals and telephone billing scams.