Prosecutors nab reputed Gambino family members

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(AP) - Federal prosecutors have charged dozens of reputed members of the Gambino crime family with murders, drug trafficking, robberies, extortion, and other crimes dating back to the 1970s, authorities said Thursday.

Some 62 people were being sought or were in custody in the New York area in connection with the sprawling indictment, which covers gangland killings from the era when the crime family was run by Paul Castellano, who was assassinated in 1985.

"Today we are able to bring closure to crimes from the past," said U.S. Attorney Benton Campbell in Brooklyn. "Today we seek justice for those men and their families and we make clear that those crimes and those victims are not forgotten."

The most recent alleged crimes date back only a few years, and include charges related to credit fraud conspiracies and theft of union benefits.

The 170-page indictment alleges that associates of the crime family extorted people in the construction industry, embezzled from labor unions, engaged in illegal loansharking and bookmaking.

At a news conference in Brooklyn, officials outlined the scope of the massive investigation, which includes charges brought in state court by the Queens district attorney.

"Organized crime still exists in the city and the state of New York," said New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. "We like to think that it's a vestige of the past. It's not."

The targets include a long list of well-known mobsters and people reputed to be top leaders in the Gambino clan, some of whom have already served prison time for past offenses.

Among those being sought were the reputed acting boss of the Gambino family, John "Jackie the Nose" D'Amico, who is accused of playing a lead role in a broad racketeering conspiracy.

As of Thursday morning, the FBI had arrested 54 people in New York City and its northern suburbs, New Jersey and Long Island. Raids were also under way in Italy.

Authorities in Rome said they were targeting alleged members of Mafia families who control drug trafficking between the two sides of the Atlantic.

The Gambino crime family has been the subject of a steady stream of government indictments and prosecutions since its late don, John Gotti, was sentenced to life in prison in 1992.

One acting boss after another has gone to prison, including Gotti's son, John Gotti Jr., who was not named in this most recent indictment.

The government's last high-profile attack on the family ended in defeat.

In that case, the younger Gotti, freed after completing his prison term, was tried three times on charges that he conspired to murder the radio talk show host Curtis Sliwa for insulting his father.

Each trial ended in a hung jury and prosecutors finally gave up the case last year.To watch the news conference on the busts, go to channel 612 on your iO digital cable box and select iO Extra.

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