10 members of Gambino crime family arrested in takedown

Ten men linked to the Gambino crime family were indicted in federal court in Brooklyn on Wednesday on charges of racketeering, extortion, witness retaliation, and union-related crimes as part of an attempt to dominate the garbage-hauling and demolition industries in New York. 

The takedown was part of an international operation, that saw Italian law enforcement arrest six other organized crime members and associates who are charged with, among other crimes, mafia association, and connected criminals. 

"As alleged, for years, the defendants committed violent extortions, assaults, arson, witness retaliation, and other crimes in an attempt to dominate the New York carting and demolition industries," stated United States Attorney Breon Peace.  "Today’s arrests reflect the commitment of this Office and our law enforcement partners, both here and abroad, to keep our communities safe by the complete dismantling of organized crime." 

According to prosecutors, the 10 men arrested are:

  • Joseph Lanni, also known as "Joe Brooklyn" and "Mommino," an alleged captain in the Gambino organized crime family
  • Diego "Danny" Tantillo
  • Angelo Gradilone, also known as "Fifi," an alleged Gambino soldier
  • James LaForte, an alleged Gambino soldier
  • Vito Rappa, an alleged U.S.-based Sicilian Mafia member and Gambino associate
  • Francesco Vicari, also known as "Uncle Ciccio," an alleged U.S.-based Sicilian Mafia associate and Gambino associate
  • Salvatore DiLorenzo, an alleged Gambino associate
  • Robert Brooke, an alleged Gambino associate
  • Kyle Johnson, also known as "Twin," an alleged Gambino associate
  • Vincent Minsquero, also known as "Vinny Slick," an alleged Gambino associate.

Prosecutors say that Tantillo, Rappa, Vicari, and Johnson engaged in a violent extortion conspiracy, demanding money from an unidentified man who operated a carting business in the New York City area. 

The extortion scheme involved threatening the victim with a bat, setting fire to the steps of the victim's residence, attempting to damage the victim's carting trucks, and violently assaulting an associate of the victim. 

In addition, Tantillo and Vicari were caught on wiretaps discussing threats they made to the victim and his father-in-law, with Rappa saying on one call that Vicari "acted like the ‘Last of the Samurai,"  in describing how Vicari picked up a knife and directed the victim's father-in-law to threaten to cut the victim in half in order to get the victim to make extortionate payments.

Prosecutors say the suspects also committed a series of crimes to steal and embezzle from unions and employee benefit plans, and rigged bids in the demolition and carting industries.

"Today’s arrests should serve as a warning to others who believe they can operate in plain sight with apparent impunity – the NYPD and our law enforcement partners exist to shatter that notion," stated NYPD Commissioner Edward A. Caban. "And we will continue to take down members of traditional organized crime wherever they may operate."