A number of high-ranking Colombo crime family members — including 87-year-old street boss Andrew “Mush” Russo, 83-year-old underboss Benjamin “Benji” Castellazzo and another 87-year-old underboss — have been arrested by the NYPD and FBI in connection with a wide-ranging labor racketeering and extortion fraud scheme, reports NBC News.
The 19-count indictment charges a total of 14 defendants, including 10 members and associates of the Colombo crime family, with multiple schemes in a long-running effort to allegedly infiltrate and take control of a Queens-based construction labor union and its affiliated healthcare benefit program. They are also accused of conspiring to commit fraud in connection with workplace safety certifications. Russo faces charges of racketeering, as does Castellazzo and consigliere Ralph DiMatteo. Others are charged with racketeering, along with members of the Bonanno crime family being charged with loansharking, fraud and drug trafficking offenses. Top Colombo crime family members and alleged co-conspirators extorted the labor union management by threatening bodily harm to force decisions that benefitted the crime family.