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Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Gangster gunned down in Port Moody

Posted On 07:31 0 comments

Residents in the usually quiet community of Port Moody, B.C., are reeling over the brazen daytime killing Monday of a convicted gangster, the city’s second targeted hit in as many months. The victim was identified to QMI Agency as convicted kidnapper Randy Naicker, though police would not confirm his name. Vancouver police were called in investigate after a man was gunned down shortly before 4:45 p.m. A personal acquaintance of Naicker’s, who asked for anonymity, said Naicker was heading back to his silver Infinity SUV by Starbucks after meeting with friends when two men — dressed in black and faces covered — pulled up in a new green Volkswagon Torag SUV. “One guy walked up to Randy and shot him. He shot him dead, shot him in broad daylight in front of everybody, in front of the people on the Starbucks patio,” the source said, adding Naicker’s friends watched the drama unfold from inside their own vehicle. The gunman then apparently turned the gun on Naicker’s friends, who took off and were chased down a back alley but were able to shake their pursuers. However, there are conflicting reports on this point. Another witness, watching from her apartment window in the complex adjacent to the crime scene, said she saw two cars race away immediately after shots were fired. She said the masked men were in the lead car, driven by an unmasked white man. A second vehicle gave chase behind it. One of the masked men in the lead car rolled down the window and tossed a gun onto the street, she said. Police cordoned off the area as they investigated. The suspects’ vehicle had been parked at the same spot since 2 p.m., according to a QMI Agency source. “It was waiting there for a while,” he said. Naicker, in his mid-30s, was reportedly a co-founder of the Independent Soldiers gang who was convicted in 2006 for the kidnapping, confinement and extortion of a criminal associate linked to a previous double homicide and $400,000 drug theft. Naicker, a former Burnaby, B.C., resident, was described in court as a Fijian with a “big face, a heavy voice and a red and green tattoo of a dragon extending from one shoulder to the other,” and had sometimes gone by the nickname “Big Bar.” A friend, however, said Naicker was reformed. “He wasn’t a gangster anymore. He didn’t have that lifestyle anymore,” the source said. ““He’d cleaned up his life. Everything was good. He had a whole new lease on life.” Last August, a member of the Independent Soldiers had reportedly been in the car and injured when Red Scorpions associate Jonathan Bacon was shot dead and full-patch Hells Angel member Larry Amero wounded in a gangland hit outside a Kelowna, B.C., casino. On May 31, gangster Gurbinder Singh Toor — an associate of the Dhak/Duhre group — was gunned down outside a recreation complex in Port Moody.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Hampton drug suspect tied to Latin Kings gang, police allege

Posted On 03:49 0 comments

Gang activity occurs in town, but "not with great frequency," Police Chief Jamie Sullivan said Thursday. The chief was responding to a question from the Hampton Union after court documents revealed one of the five people arrested in recent drug raids at Hampton Beach and Seabrook has ties to the Latin Kings, an infamous street gang with a national network. Related Stories Hampton drug suspect tied to Latin Kings gang, police allegePolice say drug bust sends clear messageTwo arrested in raids allegedly sold cocaine to officersTwo arraigned on drug charges following Friday raidsWeapons, drugs seized in Hampton Beach, Seabrook raidsFive charged and weapons, drugs seized in Hampton Beach, SeabrookFive charged and weapons, drugs seized in Hampton Beach, Seabrook According to the affidavit, police believe Jimmy "Jayda" Ambrosi, 31, who lived in town had a leadership position with a Lowell, Mass., chapter of the gang and if he didn't meet his drug selling quota he would suffer the consequences. Sullivan said he could not comment directly on the affidavit or the case because it is pending. "I will let the affidavit speak for itself," he said. "We work in conjunction with other police departments and we pay close attention to organized criminal activity. And when we see it, we share resources to investigate and we will continue to do that in the future." This information about Ambrosi is contained in a recently unsealed affidavit for the search warrant police obtained to execute the raids. The gang's primary source of income, according to the FBI, is the street-level distribution of powder cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin and marijuana. The Latin Kings are violent, have thousands of members in the United States and internationally, with power centers in New York City and Chicago, according to a U.S. Department of Justice affidavit filed in a separate case in Massachusetts, where 46 people were arrested early this month, published reports stated. Court documents detail the yearlong Hampton and Seabrook investigation, which led to the arrest of Ambrosi and four others. The probe involved confidential informants, undercover police officers and multiple agencies and state agencies, including the N.H. Attorney General's Drug Task Force. Search warrants were executed around 8 a.m. May 4 at 7 I St. and 7 Perkins Ave. in Hampton and at 71 Washington St. in Seabrook. Authorities seized an unspecified amount of marijuana and cocaine from the three homes, and at the time said they made a made a significant dent in the Seacoast's illegal drugs scene. Arrested during the raids were Ambrosi and Andrew Wojtowicz, 24; Vicki Powell, 31; James Neptune, 27; and David Briere, 28. Two others involved were arrested on May 7. Wojtowicz's twin brother, James, 24, and Reinaldo "Chooki" Ruiz, 24, who according to police is also a documented member of the Latin Kings. The affidavit for the search warrant filed by Hampton police officer Christopher Gilroy said the investigation revealed the group led by Ambrosi and Andrew Wojtowicz worked together and dealt quantities of crack cocaine, powdered cocaine and Ecstasy pills. Police said the investigation began in 2011 but noted in the affidavit that police had previously suspected the Wojtowicz brothers were dealing drugs at the beach. A 2010 stolen property arrest revealed the suspect traded stolen jewelry for drugs from James Wojtowicz, according to the document. In another case, parents of a teen suspected their child stole jewelry to trade it for drugs from the Wojtowicz brothers. Police also received complaints from neighbors throughout 2011 about drug deals at 7 Perkins Ave., including one who called it a "drug den." According to the affidavit, an informant told police the group was "organized" and maintained intelligence on officers and their vehicles. Another source later told police the Wojtowicz brothers were connected with members of the Latin Kings, specifically naming Ambrosi, according to the affidavit. The Lowell Police Department's Community Response Unit, which is primarily responsible for gang intelligence and enforcement specific to gangs, later confirmed to police that Ambrosi was a documented Latin Kings member. During the summer of 2011, Hampton police met with an undercover police detective with the N.H. Attorney General's Drug Task Force, who also had information that Andrew Wojtowicz was a known cocaine dealer in Hampton. A confidential informant and an undercover officer purchased cocaine from Wojtowicz on June 2, 3 and 7, 2011, and they were eventually introduced to Ambrosi, according to the affidavit. They continued to purchase cocaine from members of the group on numerous occasions during the yearlong investigation that featured surveillance, including wiretaps. On one of the buys, according to the affidavit, undercover agents recorded a conversation with Ambrosi, who told them he was in a leadership position with the Latin Kings and that several people reported to him in the organization. Ambrosi spoke about his profit margin from selling controlled drugs, stating he could "suffer consequences" from other Latin Kings if he did not meet a quota. He admitted he makes a consistent profit after the overhead expenses such as "paying drivers, paying back fronted product and paying employees and bosses." Gilroy stated in the affidavit that police were able to determine the drugs were picked up from an unlisted source in Massachusetts, and then transported by vehicle to Hampton, where it was converted to crack cocaine for sale. It was also determined that Powell, who was the girlfriend of Andrew Wojtowicz, had four registered vehicles in her name, which are used to facilitate the drug sales. Powell also purchased firearms for Ambrosi at the Kittery Trading Post in Maine, according to the affidavit. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms interviewed Powell about the purchase of the guns, and she said they were for Ambrosi. Ambrosi and Wojtowicz face federal charges, while the other suspects are facing state felony charges of sale of a controlled drug. Ambrosi was charged in U.S. District Court in Concord with four counts of distributing cocaine and one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine base and one count of distribution of cocaine base. Wojtowicz faces six counts of distribution of cocaine, five counts of distribution of cocaine base and one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine base.

Man who punched and fractured gangster's jaw escapes jail

Posted On 03:47 0 comments

Singaporean businessman was fined $3,000 on Thursday for punching and fracturing a gangster's jaw. The Straits Times reported that he was spared a jail sentence as the judge said it was an exceptional case. Ong Long Hock, 64, had pleaded guilty to causing hurt to Lee Tze Wei, 32, a sales executive. The incident occurred on Feb 17, 2009 at about 7pm. Ong and his family had drove down to the Punggol Nasi Lemak stall near Tanjong Katong Road. Ong's daughter-in-law, Delia Chiang Chia Yen, 31, was on the way to queue for food when she was pestered by Lee and his friend. Claiming to be gangsters, the duo swore at her and her husband. The two men started punching and kicking Ong's son before family members could call the police. A third man also joined in the assault. Ong tried to break up the fight and was also hit. When the three assailants tried to flee, Ong and his son managed to grab Lee and pin him to the ground. That was when Ong punched him. "Assaulting him at this point was clearly excessive," said District Judge Toh Yung Cheong, who added that the correct thing to do was to wait for the police to arrive. But Ong's lawyer, Mr A. P. Thirumurthy, said his client was a victim, reported The New Paper.  Ong told the Shin Min Daily News on Thursday that he had lost five teeth in the fight, and spent $20,000 on dental treatment. He said he joined in the fight after seeing his son's bloodied face and daughter-in-law's shouts for help. His son and daughter-in-law reportedly lost a tooth each. The owner of a printing business is married with five children ranging from 37 to 42 years of age. He says he wished to put the matter behind them and move on. Lee has also been charged with causing grievous hurt. His case has yet to be heard.

Bulger’s lawyer seeks to delay trial 1 year

Posted On 03:46 0 comments

The lawyer for gangster James “Whitey” Bulger has asked that his high-profile trial be put off for a year beyond its scheduled Nov. 5 date, saying they “cannot possibly be prepared” on time. “Indeed,” lawyer J.W. Carney Jr. said in a 17-page filing Wednesday night, “to maintain that date will eviscerate the ­defendant’s rights to due process of law and to effective ­assistance of counsel under the Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the Federal Constitution.” The court-appointed Carney and his team of lawyers have maintained since Bulger’s ­arrest in June 2011 that they have been inundated with voluminous evidence in the decades-­old case, and that the notorious gangster will certainly go to trial to face racketeering charges, including accusations of murder.

Little Italy shooting victim was a gang leader

Posted On 03:42 0 comments

Police, meanwhile, knew Mr. Raposo as a low-level gang leader, once the main man in the McCormick Boys, a small west-end crew that bought drugs from Italian organized crime to push on the streets. Why he was gunned down Monday on the crowded patio of the Sicilian Sidewalk Café in Little Italy has not been revealed, but police have charged Dean Wiwchar, 26, with first-degree murder. The Toronto-area man was remanded in custody. Outside court, his lawyer said he planned to plead not guilty. While Mr. Wiwchar sat in a holding cell, some 200 people were gathering to pay respects to Mr. Raposo. Shortly after 9 a.m., six black-clad pallbearers wearing large white flowers on their lapels carried his casket out of the warm sunshine and into the dim interior of St. Mary’s Church on Bathurst Street. There, his older sister Michelle said Mr. Raposo was a lively man with an easy smile who liked to come up with business ideas on the spur of the moment. “He saw life as an adventure and he lived it to the fullest,” she told the largely Portuguese mourners. In his sermon, Mr. Raposo’s priest recalled seeing him at his son’s baptism, where he held his child to his face. “We will remember John for how he lived,” he said, “not for how he died.” As a hymn played and mourners took Communion, Mr. Raposo’s 17-month-old son cried. A police source familiar with Mr. Raposo for years said the man strayed from the upstanding lifestyle of his parents. The McCormick Boys, who took their name from a park on the edge of Toronto’s Portuguese neighbourhood, had about 10 core members and perhaps twice as many associates. They were not major players, but their drug connections with the mob discouraged anyone from messing with them, the source said. “[Mr. Raposo] was the head dude, he was the moneyman. You could talk with him but he was shady – smart and crafty, very good at dodging surveillance,” the police source said. “And when you talked to him it was all ‘Yes, sir; No, sir.’ ” Mr. Raposo had sporadic run-ins with police, starting in 1997 when he was in his early 20s. Last year, he was accused of beating up a man over a gin rummy game at a Mississauga gambling den. He was set to stand trial next month. But by all appearances, Mr. Raposo had done well for himself. He owned two pieces of property, including a place on Willard Avenue, in upscale Swansea, where he built a large new house for his family and was expecting a second child with his common-law wife. The life of the man accused of killing him, by comparison, was tumultuous in recent years. A native of bucolic Stouffville, north of Toronto, Mr. Wiwchar has been in trouble with police much of his adult life. In 2004 alone, he faced dozens of charges in Ontario courts. Reports at the time in the Toronto Sun and a Metroland community newspaper in York Region identified him as a suspect in a knife attack in a Markham pool hall, two robberies of fast food restaurants and a home invasion. His lawyer, Christopher Avery, said Mr. Wiwchar was convicted in 2005 for robbery and sentenced to time in prison, some of which was served in British Columbia. He then racked up seven criminal convictions in Abbotsford and Agassiz, B.C., garnering jail time, a firearms ban and an order to provide a DNA sample. After he got out of jail, Mr. Wiwchar remained in B.C., where he still has a girlfriend. One court document from 2011 listed him as living at a shelter on the gritty Downtown Eastside; later papers gave his address as an apartment building in the West End. It is unclear when he returned to Ontario. Clad in dark pants and a white short-sleeved shirt, Mr. Wiwchar stood about 6 feet 3 inches tall in the prisoner’s box of a basement courtroom at Old City Hall. A man with a medium build and thick dark hair with tightly clipped bangs, he showed no reaction to the proceedings. By the time he appeared in court, Mr. Raposo’s funeral had wrapped up, with mourners lingering a while outside the church. And over in Little Italy, the Sicilian had re-opened for business.

gang-infused road rage shooting played out just outside the tony Cartier jewelry shop in the city’s marquee shopping district.

Posted On 03:33 0 comments

A 31-year-old man, described as the aggressor in the road rage case, ended up in critical condition after getting shot in the gut. Sources called him “a documented gang member.”

The shooter fled in a silver Dodge Durango. He was still being sought Friday, police said.

The two drivers pulled over on Ontario Street, just a few feet from Michigan Avenue, just after 12:30 a.m. Friday.

“The cars end up pulling over to the curb, and they get into a confrontation,” Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said. “One guy gets out of his car, goes over to the other guy’s car and uses a pipe to break the window of the guy who did the shooting. The guy who got shot was an aggressor.”

Before the shooting, someone inside the silver Durango asked the victim, “What are you about?” — street slang for “What gang are you in?” according to police sources. The victim replied, “I’m not about nothing.” The person in the Durango then said, “I’m a King,” a reference to the Latin Kings street gang, police sources said.

McCarthy described the location of the shooting as a “troublesome” instance.

But he also said, “Road rage unfortunately happens where cars go. It’s not something that’s confined to the neighborhoods. If it could be confined to a geography, it would be a whole different dynamic.”

Asked whether tourists, shoppers and area residents have reason to be afraid when they’re out on the Magnificent Mile, McCarthy said, “No, they should not. We are deployed there. We had officers deployed when this happened. Officers work late at night. I was just on Michigan Avenue myself. There are cops all over the place. There’s cops down there everywhere.”

McCarthy said his department continues to try to reduce the violence.

“That fact is, we’re gonna get this under control,” the superintendent said. “We have a gang problem. This whole issue is troubling. People think you can flip a light switch and turn it off.”

Downtown and River North already were on edge because of a return of the mob attacks that occurred in the area last summer. Those attacks involved random and innocent victims, including two doctors at Northwestern Memorial. The attacks prompted the hospital to offer employees who work late at night a security escort to their cars parked at nearby garages.

The shooting startled some residents walking through the upscale area many viewed as a haven from the violence common in other neighborhoods.

“Usually, it’s safe. You never hear about shootings here,” said Maria Vinnick, a mother of two who has lived in the city for seven years.

“It worries me,” said Mark Ammerman, 39, a North Sider who frequently walks through the River North neighborhood after nights out.

But Ammerman said one shooting won’t keep him out of the neighborhood at night.

“I don’t feel unsafe in Chicago,” he said. “It wouldn’t stop me from coming down here and going to dinner.”

Others said the shooting likely was an isolated incident that shouldn’t take attention away from the fact that shootings are common in other parts of the city.

“I’m less concerned about it being here,” North Side resident Mark Gordon, 46, said as he unlocked his bike from a street sign a few feet from where the shooting occurred.

Several tourists said they were surprised but not alarmed about the unusual location of the violence.

“It doesn’t scare me,” said Lisa Leeson, a resident of Vancouver, British Columbia, who’s visiting Chicago with her husband and 1-year-old son. “It happens in all cities. Because you’re in a downtown area doesn’t mean you’re protected from those realities.”

Fraternal Order of Police union president Mike Shields said he sees the shooting as a reminder of the manpower shortage in the police department resulting from a three-year hiring slowdown and Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s decision to balance his first budget by eliminating more than 1,400 police vacancies.

“There are shootings in the Gold Coast at night clubs,” Shields said. “There are shootings at nightclubs late at night in Lincoln Park. But this type of stuff does not happen or should not happen on Michigan Avenue.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Bulger had shelf full of gangster books

Posted On 05:33 0 comments

Boston mobster James "Whitey" Bulger (BUHL'-jur) had a shelf filled with books about gangsters, including several about himself, when he was captured in California last year after 16 years on the run. Bulger, who was also an FBI informant, fled Boston shortly before he was indicted in early 1995. He was one of the FBI's most wanted fugitives until he and longtime girlfriend Catherine Greig (grehg) were caught last June. A photo of a bookshelf found in their Santa Monica apartment shows "G-Men and Gangsters" and "The Untold Story of My Life Inside Whitey Bulger's Irish Mob," co-written by Kevin Weeks, Bulger's former right-hand man. The photo was among hundreds of documents prosecutors released Friday, three days after Greig was sentenced to eight years in prison for helping Bulger on the run.

Monday, 18 June 2012

organized crime is trying for a comeback at the Hunts Point.

Posted On 01:05 0 comments

When cops busted up a $1 million-a-year Mafia bookmaking ring at the city's biggest produce market in late 2006, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly warned the mob: “Stay out of Hunts Point Market.”

Just over five years later, organized crime is trying for a comeback at the Hunts Point.
In the last year, city investigators have denied licenses to three produce companies with alleged mob ties. Last month, two reputed gangsters used a fork and glass plates to bloody a local restaurateur they claimed owed them money for lettuce.
The timing of this goodfella resurgence is not so good.
The city is pushing to spend big taxpayer bucks to overhaul the aging facility that provides 60% of the fruit and vegetables consumed across the five boroughs.
City and state officials are talking about splitting the cost of a $320 million upgrade with the wholesalers who lease the city-owned space so they don’t make good on their threat to move to New Jersey.
A key issue is who will pay what. But a growing obstacle is what role the city will play in keeping an eye out for mob involvement at the market.
Since 2001, that role has belonged to the Business Integrity Commission, the agency that recently spotted what they viewed as attempts by organized crime to sneak back into the market.
Last year, BIC infuriated Hunts Point’s 40-plus produce vendors by hiking licensing fees from $250 to $4,000 and charging workers up to $650 for required background checks.
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. confirmed the ongoing talks about upgrading Hunts Point include discussion about changing BIC’s role there, a role he feels should be reduced because the mob’s power has shrunk.
“I think BIC should back off,” Diaz said. “I think the time of John Gotti and Vinnie the Chin Gigante is all said and done.”
Don’t tell that to Gennaro Alaio, co-owner of Patricia’s of Tremont, a highly-praised Italian restaurant in Throg’s Neck.
In February Alaio told police two men came to his restaurant seeking what he owed them for lettuce he bought from their company, River Produce.
One man was Vincent Bondi, who swung a fork at him, then whacked him in the head with a metal chair, and finally tossed glass dinner plates at him, court records charge.
Bondi, Alaio says, was assisted by John Donnadio, who hit him in the face, then shoved him to the floor. Both men were arrested and face assault charges.
Bondi is identified by law enforcement as a Genovese family associate who did two years in prison on extortion charges.
He set up River Produce while he was on probation, buying fruits and vegetables at Hunts Point and selling them to restaurateurs.
His “right hand man” at River is Donnadio, identified by law enforcement as a Luchese crime family associate who served time for racketeering and attempted kidnapping.
When Bondi applied to BIC for a wholesale license in 2009, he admitted that a former partner in a loansharking business once told borrowers, “If you don’t pay, Vinnie Bondi will put a bullet in your chin.”
Questioned by BIC about his “right hand man” Donnadio, Bondi replied, “He knew a few people. He did whatever he did. Unfortunately they categorize people.”
Both men’s lawyer, Stacey Richman, said both men have nothing to do with the mob and claimed Alaio attacked first. Alaio did not return a call seeking comment.
In August BIC rejected River Produce’s license request. Last week in a windowless back room at River, Bondi told a News reporter he was being railroaded by BIC:
“I’m a legitimate guy. I pay my taxes. I’m going to keep doing what I do, but they won’t let me.”
Another alleged Genovese family associate with connections to the market is John Caggiano, who was arrested and kicked out in 2006 for running the mob’s million-dollar bookmaking operation at Hunts Point.
At the time, Caggiano owned C&S Wholesale Produce, selling produce he bought at Hunts Point. After his arrest, he had to dissolve C&S, but within a year he had formed ADJ Wholesale Produce, named after his wife, Ann Marie, and his children, Dominick and Joanna.
Records list the principals as a real estate broker and her husband, a funeral home owner who happens to be the brother of Caggiano’s mob overseer, a Genovese soldier named Ralph Balsamo.
During his parole hearing in January 2010, Caggiano, without naming ADJ,  made his control of the firm quite clear.
“They’re not familiar with the produce business, and they’re losing money, and they need someone to run it, manage it, and show them how to save money,” he said.
“We’re assuming that’s a legitimate enterprise,” a parole board member said.
"Yes it is," Caggiano replied.
In February BIC denied ADJ’s license request. Last week workers at the market talked about seeing ADJ trucks there as recently as two weeks ago.
A lawyer for Caggiano, Bondi and Donnadio, former Bronx prosecutor Paul Gentile, questioned whether BIC sometimes oversteps its bounds.
“I’m sure they do good and they’re necessary, but there’s no check, no balance,” he said. “In some areas, some of these guys deserve what happened to them and some don’t.”
One man Gentile felt didn’t deserve BIC’s attention was his client Silvestro LoVerde, who applied for a Hunts Point license in 2009.
BIC discovered that for years, LoVerde was business partners with Frank Cali, an acting capo in the Gambino crime family.
When questioned by the BIC, LoVerde claimed he was unaware of Cali’s mob resume, despite Cali’s pleading guilty to extortion in 2008 and getting a 16-month prison term.
“I never look at who’s who, who’s what, because the bottom line to me is I don’t care,” he said.
Cali, for his part, gave the commission his name, date of birth and Social Security number, then took the Fifth
to every other question.
BIC shot down LoVerde’s request, but he appealed. The court upheld that rejection in June, but Gentile is considering taking the case to federal court.MOB17N_3


John Caggiano, an alleged Genovese crime family associate, was forced to dissolve his produce business, but within a year he formed ADJ Wholesale Produce. 

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Feds share new details of Bulger's fugitive life

Posted On 02:24 0 comments

A neighbor said the old man would sit up all night peering through binoculars. A handwritten sign on the apartment door said "Please Do Not Knock" because he slept during the day. But nearby residents had no idea that the man was really James "Whitey" Bulger, one of most wanted fugitives in the world. Hundreds of documents and photos released by federal prosecutors Friday offer a detailed look inside the California apartment where Bulger and his longtime girlfriend, Catherine Greig, hid out during 16 years on the run. In their Santa Monica apartment, investigators found a weekly planner filled with notes on everyday tasks, including laundry, cleaning, picking up prescriptions and going to doctor's appointments. But they also found holes in the walls filled with handguns, rifles and cash.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Japanese gangster arrested in Thailand for fraud

Posted On 11:31 0 comments

Thai immigration police have arrested a man believed to be a key member of one of the largest mafia networks in Japan who is accused of swindling $1.6 million out of a company there. Police Col. Chartchai Ieamsaeng says police found Japan's Ushio Sugawara on Thursday in a Bangkok guesthouse after receiving a tip-off from the Japanese Embassy. Japanese police issued arrest warrants for Sugawara and three other gang members in 2010 for allegedly swindling money from a Japanese company through a proxy. The estimated damage from the fraud was 130 million yen ($1.6 million). Chartchai said Friday that Sugawara is a member of the Sixth Yamaguchi-gumi, one of the largest Japanese mafia organizations. He says Sugawara fled to Thailand eight months ago and will be deported to Japan.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Henry Hill -- the former mobster whose life story became the basis for the movie "Goodfellas" -- died today at the age of 69

Posted On 13:58 0 comments


Henry Hill has died at the age of 69.

Henry Hill -- the former mobster whose life story became the basis for the movie "Goodfellas" -- died today at the age of 69 ... TMZ has learned. 

TMZ spoke with Hill's girlfriend Lisa ... who told us Hill passed away in an L.A. hospital Tuesday after a long battle with an undisclosed illness. 

Lisa tells us, "He had been sick for a long time ... his heart gave out."

We're told Hill had focused on mending relationships with estranged family members in recent years ... and Lisa tells us he had made tremendous progress before he died. 

Hill leaves behind two children. 

Hill was famously portrayed by Ray Liotta in the 1990 classic "Goodfellas."

Hill's exploits in the mob world were legendary -- but he prided himself on reforming later in life ... and became a frequent guest on the Howard Stern show.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Wife of accused Mexican Mafia leader pleads guilty to conspiracy

Posted On 09:50 0 comments

The estranged wife of an Escondido man who prosecutors said was a Mexican Mafia gang member running a criminal enterprise involving several North County gangs has pleaded guilty to conspiracy. The plea in federal court from Angelina Chavez-Espudo came in late May, four months after local and federal authorities arrested 108 people ---- including Chavez-Espudo among four dozen arrested in North County ---- all of whom authorities said were connected to a massive drug and firearms trafficking ring. Chavez-Espudo, 49, is married to Rudy Espudo, who federal prosecutors said controlled drug dealers from various gangs and taxed them on behalf of the Mexican Mafia in North County, according to prosecutors. The gangs include several Escondido, Fallbrook and San Marcos-based organizations, prosecutors said. Authorities also said that, under Espudo, gang members smuggled drugs into the county-run Vista Detention Center and sold them for the Mexican Mafia, punished opponents and relayed orders with ease to and from the outside. The Mexican Mafia, also known as La Eme (Spanish for the letter "M"), is a relatively small cabal of about 200 members, one of whom was Espudo, prosecutors said. That small faction runs a larger network of associates, soldiers and facilitators. The indictment in Espudo's case is replete with discussions about "taxes" or "rent" gang members paid to Espudo. In some cases, prosecutors said in the indictment, Espudo's associates demanded monthly tribute from local gangs, who would be threatened and assessed with late fees if the payments were tardy. The Espudo couple was estranged and living separately when each was arrested in January as part of the largest sweep of local gangs in recent memory. The sweep consisted of coordinated operations, including Operation Notorious County in North County, and Operation Carnalismo and Operation 12-Step in central and southern San Diego County, officials said. During an 18-month investigation, authorities said they seized more than 14 pounds of methamphetamine, more than 250 grams of heroin and 4 ounces of cocaine, along with several guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition. In addition, they took body armor, five vehicles, Rolex watches, several designer purses, a diamond ring and two homes ---- and more than $150,000 in cash, authorities said. One of the indictments arising from the investigation focused on Espudo and the operations prosecutors say he ran. Forty people were charged in that indictment, and as of Friday, four of the defendants, including his wife, had pleaded guilty. All were charged with conspiracy under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Conviction under the act can carry a potential sentence from no time behind bars to life in prison. Chavez-Espudo's plea deal leaves her sentence at the discretion of the judge, but shields her from any future charges arising in the case, Pippins said. According to the indictment, Chavez-Espudo spoke to people in the organization on behalf of Espudo while he was behind bars, and her words were considered as if Espudo himself were saying them. Chavez-Espudo essentially acted as a messenger for her husband, passing on information from him to others in the organization when he was behind bars, according to her defense attorney, Victor Pippins. He said his client's level of involvement in criminal activity was not substantial, that it was based solely on her relationship with her husband. "I do feel that she was put into a situation that led her to where she is (behind bars in legal trouble)," Pippins said Friday. "Her relationship is the beginning and the end of her involvement in this case." The couple had been married for 10 years and had no children, Pippins said. He said that, at the time her her arrest, Chavez-Espudo was a homeowner with a normal office job where she had worked for a number of years. As far as testifying against her husband, Pippins said Chavez-Espudo could be compelled to testify to some issues, but some spousal communications are protected. Such testimony is not part of the agreement. Her sentencing is set for late August. Each of the three others who pleaded guilty to a role in the conspiracy are scheduled to be sentenced in July. No trial date has been set for her estranged husband, but he is due in court for a motion hearing in early July.

Gang pinned crack house on teen girl, court hears

Posted On 09:48 0 comments

Street gang associates paraded a city teen around to different Winnipeg lawyers' offices in hopes of her signing a sworn statement falsely pinning the blame for operating a crack house solely on her shoulders, a Manitoba judge has heard. The 16-year-old's case sheds a grim light on the brazen lengths gangs appear willing to go to manipulate kids into doing their dirty work and taking the fall — largely due to the lighter sanctions youth between 12-17 years old face under Canada's youth justice laws. The girl was sentenced to two years of supervised probation in front of Judge Lynn Stannard last week after pleading guilty to two counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking. She was busted in January after Winnipeg street crime cops raided two street gang-linked West Broadway-area crack houses and caught her selling drugs outside one of them. She was bailed out but busted on new charges in April and held in custody. Defence lawyer Stacey Soldier told Stannard the teen's "friends" recently took her around to different city law offices in a shady, but failed, bid to relieve ranking gang members of any wrongdoing. "They're essentially trying to get her to take responsibility for running a crack house. Clearly that's not the case. She's 16 years of age," she said. "She's being used, I don't think she gets that," Crown attorney Victoria Cornick told court, adding the moment she's an adult the gang would likely abandon her if caught and prosecuted. "The second she goes to (prison), they're going to find another 16-year-old girl to sell crack for them," she said. Stannard harangued the teen about her associations and said her situation was a testament to how much actual loyalty she could expect from the gang in the long run. "Think about it," Stanndard said. "It's rats leading a sinking ship — that's what they are. They're all going to end up in jail at some point in time, they're losers," Stannard said. "Nobody cares. They're your buds when they want something," she added. Court heard the girl comes from a background of supportive "sober good people" who despite considerable adversity have led upstanding lives. The girl fell in with the bad crowd and substance abuse, Soldier said. "You have family that cares about you," Stannard told the teen. "Those people don't."

Friday, 8 June 2012

Gangster-Turned-Lawyer Returned to Crime, Faces Sentencing in July

Posted On 18:45 0 comments

Isaac Guillen's life story about leaving his Riverside, Calif. gang to become a criminal lawyer was so good, it inspired a television show produced by Jennifer Lopez in 2006 called "Brethren." Like the television show, however, the story proved fictional. Guillen was indicted with 39 other members and associates of the 18th Street Gang on charges of racketeering and money laundering. Guillen pleaded guilty earlier this year and faces sentencing this summer for using his client privileges to gain access to what is widely considered the highest security prison in the country -- the Florence Federal Correctional Complex in Colorado -- and serving as a go-between for an imprisoned gang leader and the 18th Street Gang. Guillen's story began in Riverside, where was initiated into the Devil Wolves when he was 11 years old, according to the Los Angeles Times. He was arrested for burglary, assault and car theft over the years, and was handed over to the California Youth Authority more than once. Years later, when a rival gang fired shots at his apartment, where he lived in with his wife and toddlers, he decided to quit drinking and enrolled in community college. (He also got custody of the kids after he and his wife divorced.) By 1997, Guillen graduated from UCLA with a law degree. Guillen's rap sheet held him back during his job hunt, but lawyers at the federal public defender's office, including Ellen Barry, took a chance on him, according to the L.A. Times. Barry took Gullien along on interviews in a Mexican Mafia murder case, and she urged the state bar to admit him despite his criminal record. The new lawyer earned a reputation among prisoners for taking the time to talk to clients because he was from the streets himself. In 2003, Guillen met Francisco "Puppet" Martinez, a member of the Mexican Mafia who was under federal lockdown for racketeering in Los Angeles. When Martinez asked Guillen to pass a message to Gullien's current client, Alberto "Nefty" Pina, he thought there might be more to the messages, he later said, but he passed them on anyway. When Gullien accepted payment for Pina's appeal, Pina's sister also handed him $15,000 for Martinez. He put it in a safe. In 2004, a judge told Guillen about a plot to have him killed. Martinez used his influence to take care of it, and regularly reminded Gullien that he saved his life. "I felt like I owed him something," Guillen said in court, according to the L.A. Times. Gullien and Martinez became business partners in a limousine service, a liquor distributor and a real estate holding corporation, according to an FBI press release. The Times describes how Guillen would receive "wads of cash" of up to $17,000 from gangsters in a Denny's parking lot near Interstate 10. He also crossed the border with $50,000 hidden around his waist to deliver to Martinez's family in Mexico. In court earlier this year, Guillen said he laundered $1.3 million and was paid $180,000 for his gang work between 2003 and 2008, according to the L.A. Times. Police began to crack down on the gang after its members shot a newborn baby while targeting a street vendor. Drug profits were down, and all three of Guillen and Martinez's businesses went under. In 2009, Guillen was indicted and sent to a federal detention center, where he's been ever since. Guillen was initially unwilling to cooperate with law enforcement, but once lawyers showed him a letter from Martinez ordering that Guillen be "taken out," Guillen agreed to plead guilty and testify against four other Mexican Mafia members on the federal government's behalf, federal prosecutor Kevin Lally told ABC News. Sentencing is expected to take place this summer. Guillen was found guilty on 12 felony charges – one count of racketeering conspiracy, one count of money laundering conspiracy and 10 counts of money laundering. He could face life in prison. Neither Guillen's mentor, Ellen Barry, nor his lawyer, William S. Harris, returned phone calls from

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Central American Gang MS-13 Cuts Swath of Murder and Mayhem Across Long Island

Posted On 00:22 0 comments

Near midnight on March 17, 2010, Mario Alberto Canton Quijada—known as “Baby Blue”—sat in the back seat of a Ford Explorer as his fellow gang members drove it down to the beach in Far Rockaway, Queens. In the car with Quijada were Carlos “Silencio” Ortega, 22 at the time, and three other members of MS-13, the brutal Central American gang that in recent years has established an extensive presence in formerly quiet suburban areas such as Long Island. Police trying to investigate the gang have repeatedly run up against a wall of silence, but they are fighting back: in recent months more than 40 alleged MS-13 members from Long Island have been indicted in New York courts on a range of charges that include racketeering, murder (attempted and accomplished), assaults with dangerous weapons, and conspiracy. No one can know exactly what Quijada thought was coming that night in 2010, but as a member of Surenos Locos Salvatruchas, the Queens-based clique of MS-13, he knew the rules, even if he didn’t want to abide by them. The peaceful, empty span of beach cannot have been a comforting sight. According to documents provided to The Daily Beast by the U.S Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, Ortega and the three others walked Quijada down toward the water. Someone pointed a .22-caliber pistol at his head and pulled the trigger, but it jammed, so out came a machete and knives. MS-13 likes the machete because it is heavy and sharp, and merely owning one won’t get you arrested in New York. According to the documents, Ortega and the men he was with drove the machete with such force into Quijada’s skull that it stuck in his eye socket. The murder was a good example of the way MS-13 treats its friends. Engaging in violence, particularly against those thought to have betrayed the gang, is the surest way to jockey for promotion, according to court papers filed by an FBI special agent in Ortega’s case, and the pattern shows itself again and again in the gang’s conduct on Long Island. Quijada’s own crime, by the brutal law of MS-13’s land, was that he refused to commit one. In particular, other members had complained that he wasn’t violent enough toward other gangs, that he didn’t jump to draw blood, according to the documents.

Monday, 4 June 2012

‘Gangster’ arrested over death of princess’s friend in Russia

Posted On 23:19 0 comments

Police in Russia have detained an alleged gangster on suspicion of organising the contract killing of Princess Michael of Kent’s close friend Mikhail Kravchenko. The furniture tycoon, with whom she shared a four day break in Venice in 2006, was gunned down near his home nine days ago. Alexei Pronin, 36, who is being held in Moscow over the shooting, has previously served time in jail and is said to have been a security consultant for Kravchenko, though this has not been confirmed. Some reports say Pronin has confessed to organising the hit. A police source said: “Alexei Pronin is known in the Ryazan region as a “member of Slony (Elephants) criminal grouping”. Sources said a Lada car bought by Pronin in Ryazan was used by two assassins to drive to Moscow. The names of the gunmen are said to be known by police. The princess and her husband Prince Michael were described as “very distressed” over her friend’s murder. Kravchenko was at the centre of a royal scandal in 2006 after being photographed hand in hand with Princess Michael in Venice, raising questions about her marriage. Both denied an affair. The Moscow arrest follows claims that Kravchenko had been threatened by business enemies over his furniture empire.

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