Nov. 24 (UPI) — Federal prosecutors in Philadelphia announced indictments for 15 alleged mafia members in South Philadelphia and southern New Jersey on Monday.
Members allegedly belonging to “La Cosa Nostra” under mob-leader Steven “Stevie” Mazzone, 56, were charged with bookmaking and loan sharking in Philadelphia and Atlantic City beginning in October of 2015.
Ten defendants are charged with racketeering and the other five are charged with running illegal gambling rings, extortion and conspiracy to sell illegal drugs. Some of the defendants are accused of conspiring to kidnap and kill an associate who sold them fake drugs in Philadelphia, prosecutors said.
“The Philadelphia mob isn’t what it used to be, and thank God for that,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain in a statement. “But it is still a problem and is still allegedly committing serious federal crimes, which is why we at the Department of Justice are focused on stamping it out. We will not rest until the mob is nothing but a bad memory.”
Other defendants included Domenic Grande, aka “Dom,” “Mr. Hopkins,” “Mr. Brown,” or “Dom14,” age 41, as well as Joseph Servidio, aka “Joey Electric,” 60; Salvatore Mazzone, aka “Sonny,” age 55; Joseph Malone, age 70; Louis Barretta, aka “Louie Sheep,” age 56; Victor DeLuca, aka “Big Vic,” age 56; Kenneth Arabia, aka “Kenny,” age 67; Daniel Castelli, aka “Danny,” aka “Cozzy,” aka “Butch,” aka “Harry,” age 67; Carl Chianese, age 81; Anthony Gifoli, aka “Tony Meatballs,” age 73; John Romeo, age 58; Daniel Malatesta, age 75; Daniel Bucceroni, age 66; and John Michael Payne, age 34.
Defendants are accused of squeezing borrowers of illegal gambling debts for interest rates more than 400% and distributing illegal drugs, including heroin, cocaine, fentanyl, methamphetamine and oxycodone pills.
One defendant, Joseph Malone, was the proprietor of a restaurant for 40 years, his attorney told The Philadelphia Inquirer on Monday.
“My client, who has led a quiet life, is presumed innocent, as is everyone else,” attorney William Brennan said. “Unfortunately, when the federal agents arrived at his house, he suffered a heart attack and has undergone surgery. We’re now focusing on his health, but we look forward to defending [him] on these charges.”
The indictments were the result of a combined investigation between Philadelphia and Atlantic City law enforcement agencies and the FBI, prosecutors said.
“The mafia remains a criminal presence in our city and beyond,” said Michael Driscoll, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division, in a press release. “From loansharking and illegal gambling to drug trafficking and extortion, the mob continues to keep its fingers in many different pots, in its ceaseless quest for illegal profits. This group should’ve learned by now that the FBI is as committed to eradicating organized crime as wise guys are to embracing it.”
All 15 defendants will appear in front of U.S. District Judge R. Barclay Surrick on Jan. 8, according to court documents.