Federal authorities indicted 15 alleged members and associates of the Philadelphia mafia Monday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania announced.
The men charged are alleged members or associates of the South Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey-based criminal organization La Cosa Nostra (LCN), according to a press release from the Department of Justice. They are charged with several crimes, including racketeering conspiracy, illegal gambling, loansharking, extortion and drug trafficking.
“Thanks to the dedicated and courageous efforts of federal law enforcement over the past several decades, the Philadelphia mob isn’t what it used to be, and thank God for that,” U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain said. “But it is still a problem and is still allegedly committing serious federal crimes, which is why we at the Department of Justice are focused on stamping it out. We will not rest until the mob is nothing but a bad memory.” (RELATED: Media Calls Trump A Mob Boss Over And Over Again)
Thanks to the dedicated and courageous efforts of federal law enforcement over the past several decades, the Philadelphia mob isn’t what it used to be, and thank God for that. https://t.co/QNBHNPSZvF
— US Attorney William M. McSwain (@USAttyMcSwain) November 23, 2020
La Cosa Nostra is operated through a structure that includes a Boss, Underboss and Captains, the press release said. People who serve in these roles oversee “soldiers,” members who have been formally initiated into the LCN, and “associates,” who have not been formally initiated but still engage in criminal activity on the LCN’s behalf. Members of the group must be of 100% Italian ancestry and agree to a code of silence about the organization, called the “Omerta.”
Beginning in August of 2015, 10 of the defendants allegedly conspired to participate in the LCN’s activities through racketeering and the collection of unlawful debts. The other 5 defendants have been charged for various other crimes, including conducting an illegal gambling business, conspiracy to make extortionate extensions of credit and conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.
According to the indictment, the defendants and other members of the mafia allegedly distributed heroin, cocaine, fentanyl, methamphetamine and oxycodone pills. They also collected tens of thousands of dollars in unlawful debts that were “owed” to the group, charging up to a 400% interest rate, and allegedly conspired to kidnap or murder a drug dealer after he allegedly sold fake drugs to the group.
“The charges unsealed today against these 15 alleged members and associates of the Philadelphia La Cosa Nostra show that the mafia remains a criminal presence in our city and beyond,” said Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division, Michael J. Driscoll. “From loansharking and illegal gambling to drug trafficking and extortion, the mob continues to keep its fingers in many different pots, in its ceaseless quest for illegal profits. This group should’ve learned by now that the FBI is as committed to eradicating organized crime as wise guys are to embracing it.”