BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – A dozen people including an alleged underboss of the Gambino crime family (search) were arrested Wednesday following an investigation into organized crime in Connecticut, Rhode Island and suburban New York.
Anthony "The Genius" Megale (search) and 11 others were charged in a 46-count federal indictment with racketeering, extortion and illegal gambling. Two other indictments charges some of the same people with conspiracy and cocaine dealing.
Four of those arrested, including Megale, are alleged to be made members of the Gambino family. According to the indictment, Megale, a Stamford resident also known as "Tony Connecticut," ran the operation from Fairfield County as an "underboss" reporting to Gambino bosses.
All 12 defendants were arraigned Wednesday afternoon and ordered held without bond pending bail hearings over the next week in U.S. District Court. None of the defendants entered a plea.
They face up to 20 years in prison on each charge.
According to prosecutors, Megale demanded $2,000 each month from a nightclub owner for "protection" and an additional amount every year as a Christmas bonus. The owner of a vending machine company was ordered to pay the organization $200 each month, the indictment alleges. The names of the alleged victims were not made public.