Get Our Newsletter



Links

Columnists



Site Search


Entire (RSS)
Comments (RSS)

Archive Calendar

September 2019
S M T W T F S
« Aug    
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
2930  

Guides

How to Become a Bounty Hunter



Tag: mobster

Octogenarian Mobster In Lufthansa Heist Case Is One Of A Kind

Jerry Capeci is considered an expert on the mob. He is the founder of the website, Gang Land News, a paid subscription site.  This article was republished with permission.
 
By Jerry Capeci
Gang Land News

Bonanno capo Vincent Asaro has a lot of firsts on his Mafia resume. The 80-year-old Queens man is a third generation mobster, having followed his father and grandfather into the mob. He added yet another generation when he sponsored his son to be a “made man.” He is also the only wiseguy ever charged with taking part in one of Gang Land’s most famous crimes, the storied $6 million Lufthansa Airlines heist. A former heroin addict, Asarokicked the habit “cold turkey” in the 1950s. He also kicked some ass. After a group of men abused his old man, he used his fists to pummel them, one at a time, while a cohort held the rest of the crowd at bay with a firearm.

Those are some of the high — or low — lights of Asaro’s career according to a trio of federal prosecutors in Brooklyn, who want to keep him behind bars for how ever many years he has left. That’s where he’s been for the past 16 months as he awaits trial for the daring pre-dawn Kennedy Airport robbery in 1978, as well as for a 1969 murder.

Last week, prosecutors asked Judge Alynne Ross to let them use evidence about Asaro’s “heroin use, illegal gambling and borrowing money” at his upcoming trial. They say that is “necessary to complete the story of the charged crimes” for the jurors who will have to decide whether Asaro is

guilty of murder and a slew of other crimes in what they describe as a 45-year-long racketeering conspiracy.

The prosecutors say they have “many witnesses” prepared to testify how Asaro “evolved from a teenage heroin addict into a mastermind of the Lufthansa Heist.”

The witnesses would describe a “powerful but broke mafia leader,” one who substituted one addiction for another by blowing all the money he made during his life of crime by “gambling, both illegal and legal, to anextreme degree.”

He is not the first mobster to become addicted to heroin, but Asaro, who was on a three-member Bonanno family ruling panel in 2012, is the first known ex-junkie to serve as an Administration member of one of the notorious Five Families.

“The defendant’s story is one of redemption and loss,” prosecutors Nicole Argentieri, Alicyn Cooley and Lindsay Gerdes wrote. “Witnesses are expected to testify regarding the defendant’s drug addiction and how he apparently beat it ‘cold turkey’ so that he could join the Asaros’ ranks of mafia soldiers. In addition, (they) are expected to testify that (Asaro) at one point was demoted from the rank of captain due to, among other things, his repeated appropriation of money from the individuals assigned to him in order to feed his gambling addiction.”

In the 1960s, after he kicked his heroin habit, Asaro “earned respect from the mafia for being an earner,” by taking part in “robberies, the sale of stolen goods and loansharking,” prosecutors wrote. In that decade, his father Jerome schooled him, and introduced him to James (Jimmy the Gent) Burke, the murderous Luchese gangster who is the recognized mastermind of the heist, they wrote.

In a voluminous 72-page filing, the prosecutors write that testimony by six cooperating witnesses will directly link Asaro’s heroin addiction and his obsessive gambling losses to his guilt of many charged crimes in the indictment, particularly the Lufthansa robbery.

“Many cooperating witnesses and civilian witnesses with personal knowledge of the defendant are expected to testify that the defendant struggled with heroin addiction as a teenager and into his twenties,” wrote prosecutors Argentieri, Cooley and Gerdes.

Among those prepared to testify about the Bonanno veteran are Asaro’s cousin Gaspar (Gary) Valenti, 68, who says he took part in the Lufthansa heist with Burke, as well as a second witness, former Gambino associate Anthony Ruggiano Jr., 61, who would detail Asaro’s heroin use — as well as his compulsive gambling, the prosecutors wrote.

Read more »

Weekend Series on Crime History: Mobster Vincent Gigante

Weekend Series on Law Enforcement: Mobster Anthony “The Ant” Spilotro

Boston Mobster ‘Whitey’ Bulger Faces Victims’ Families, Life in Prison Today

Updated Bulger photo/wbur

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

James “Whitey” Bulger, who once ruled violently over Boston’s criminal world, is expected to get a sentence of life in prison today and hear from victims of his crimes.

It’s unclear whether the 84-year-old man will speak during the trial.

But those who will speak are wives and children of some of Bulger’s victims, the Boston Globe reports.

Prosecutors are seeking two life term sentences plus five years following the 31 criminal convictions.

If Bulger’s trial is any indication, it’s hard to tell how Bulger will react today. He’s shouted at witnesses in the past.

OTHER STORIES OF INTERST

Disgust, Fear Rattled Jurors Tasked with Deciding Fate of mobster ‘Whitey’ Bulger

Updated Bulger photo/wbur

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

For the four women and eight men tasked with deciding whether notorious mobster James “Whitey” Bulger was guilty of murder and racketeering, life was not easy.

Sometimes the jurors shouted at each other; other times they felt disgusted with the sleazy witnesses.

The trial was so stressful that some even popped aspirin to soothe headaches, the Boston Globe reports after interviewing some jury members.

Juror Janet Uhlar, 56, of Eastham, said she was disgusted to hear that some witnesses were never jailed despite committing murders.

“It really broke my heart to see that happening, to see what our founding fathers laid down their lives for, the judicial system, corrupted like that,” Uhlar told the Globe.

The jury convicted Bulger on 31 of 32 counts Monday. He has not yet been sentenced.

Will Accused Mobster ‘Whitey’ Bulger Testify Today in Racketeering, Murder Trial

Updated Bulger photo/wbur

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The racketeering and murder trial of James ‘Whitey’ Bulger is coming to an end, and the defense is expected to rest its case today.

All eyes are on Bulger, who has not said yet whether he will testify on his own behalf or let the witnesses doing the speaking for him, the Boston Globe reports today.

One of Bulger’s lawyers, J.W. Carney Jr. gave no indication whether Bulger would take the stand.

“Every criminal defendant has until the last witness is presented in the defense to make a decision as to whether he or she would testify,” Carney said.

Carney’s plan early on was to place Bulger on the stand, but the judge has ruled the defendant cannot use an immunity defense while testifying.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

 FBI Uses Hacker Tactics to Spy on Suspects

‘Your Hell Is Just Beginning,’ Victim tells Ariel Castro

‘Security Threat’ Prompts Closure of U.S. Embassies on Sunday

Justice Department to File Civil Charges Against Bank of America

Boston Police Commission Rumored to Be Candidate for Homeland Security Post

Experts Say Reputed Mobster ‘Whitey’ Bulger May Be Unable to Resist Testifying in Own Trial

 

Updated Bulger photo/wbur

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Will reputed mobster James “Whitey” Bulger testify in his own murder and racketeering trial?

Some experts believe it may be too hard for Bulger to resist.

“He’s already done-in. He’s going to die in prison,”  James McDonald, a lawyer for corrupt FBI agent John Connolly, told the Boston Herald. “This is the time to say what he’s going to say.”

But defense attorneys said it would be damaging if Bulger testifies in his own trial.

“From a defense attorney’s perspective, I’d rather he not take the stand,” William Kickham, an attorney and courtroom commentator, told the Boston Herlad.

“The risk of cross-examination is always very high. However, I think Whitey Bulger knows the chances of him walking away from this a free man are zero to none. I don’t think Bulger will be able to resist.”

Today, the defense takes center stage after prosecutors rested their case Friday.

‘Whitey’ Bulger Henchman: Feds Allowed Mob Boss to Continue Breaking Law

Steve Flemmi/dateline nbc

 
Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Corrupt FBI agent John Connolly urged the feds against prosecuting him and James “Whitey” Bulger so they could continue delivering information about rival gangs, a former henchman for the accused mob boss testified Wednesday, The Boston Globe reports.

Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi testified that Connolly helped them avoid indictments at a time when other gangs were being prosecuted.

“Jim Bulger and myself were taken out of the indictment,” Flemmi testified. “That’s what John Connolly told me and that’s what Jim Bulger told me.”

Instead of being charged, Flemmi testified that he and Bulger continued to commit crimes with the FBI’s knowledge, The Globe reported.