ROME – 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 that date back to the days when the crime family was run by Paul Castellano, before his assasination in 1985.
The most recent alleged crimes date back only a few years, and include charges related to credit fraud conspiracies and theft of union benefits.
Click here for a list of colorful nicknames in the mob indictment.
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.
The indictment's 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.
The U.S. attorney in Brooklyn was expected to release more details about the investigation at a news conference Thursday.
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.