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PROVIDENCE — Luigi “Baby Shacks” Manocchio, the former longtime boss of the Patriarca crime family, was indicted Thursday morning on extortion charges alleging the shaking down the owners of several adult entertainment businesses in the city including the Cadillac Lounge and Satin Doll strip clubs.
Luigi Manocchio was arrested Wednesday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and spent the night in the Broward County Jail.
AP photo / Broward Sheriff’s Office
The five-page indictment unsealed in U.S. District Court also charged Thomas Iafrate, identified as a mob associate. They’re each charged with extortion and extortion conspiracy
The charges come as federal agents this morning arrested more than 100 suspected mobsters in multiple investigations of organized crime families in New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island.
The charges against Manocchio, 83, allege that he received monthly protection payments — paid in cash — from the owners of the strip clubs. Failure to pay, would result in “the use of intimidation and implied threats of force, violence and fear,” the indictment alleges.
Jim Martin, spokesman for U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha, said that Manocchio was arrested in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Wednesday afternoon. He spent the night at the Broward Country Jail. He is expected to appear in U.S. District Court in Fort Lauderdale sometime today.
Iafrate was arrested this morning at his home in Johnston. He is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Providence at 2 p.m.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced the arrests and indictments of more than 100 organized crime figures New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island during a news conference this morning in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Holder reported that the overnight arrests of 127 people involved more than 800 federal, state and local law enforcement officials and “the unprecedented collaboration from four U.S. Attorney Offices.”
In attendance at the press conference was U.S. District Attorney of Rhode Island Peter F. Neronha.
The arrests, Holder said, mark the largest action against organized crime in the history of the FBI. However, Holder cautioned that “the organized crime enterprise is far from over.”
Luigi “Baby Shacks” Manocchio in Providence Superior Court in April 1999. His nickname is often misunderstood. For years, he’d been referred to as “Baby Shanks” rather than his real nickname, “Baby Shacks.” It seems that an older relative was known as “Shacks,” a reference to the man’s reputation for “shacking up” with various women. Providence Journal file photo
“Today’s arrests and charges mark an important step forward in disrupting La Cosa Nostra’s illegal activities,” Holder said. “This largest single day operation against La Cosa Nostra sends the message that our fight against traditional organized crime is strong, and our commitment is unwavering.”
“As we’ve seen for decades, mafia operations can negatively impact our economy – not only through a wide array of fraud schemes but also through the illegal imposition of mob “taxes” at our ports, in our construction industries, and on our small businesses,” Holder said.
“The violence outlined in these indictments, and perpetrated across decades, shows the lengths to which these individuals are willing to go to control their criminal enterprises and intimidate others,” he said. “The Department of Justice and our partners are determined to eradicate these criminal enterprises once and for all, and to bring their members to justice.”
In summarizing the scope of the investigation, Janice K. Fedarcyk, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s New York Division mentioned Manocchio by name, identifying him as “boss of the New England crime family.”
For decades, the Providence-based Patriarca crime family has overseen New England’s organized crime empire.
In the early 90s, Manocchio became the New England boss. In recent years, the aging Manocchio has split his time between Federal Hill in Providence and Florida. Manocchio’s role in the mob has diminished in the past five years.
The Associated Press noted that the takedown was another blow to New York’s five Mafia crime families. Fedarcyk of the FBI said that members of all five New York families had been charged. Federal probes aided by mob turncoats have decimated the families’ ranks and resulted in lengthy prison terms for several leaders, the Associated Press reported.
New York has five major organized crimes families: Gambino, Genovese, Luchese, Bonanno and Colombo.
In addition to Manocchio and Iafrate, also named in the indictments were Andrew Russo, 76, street boss of the Colombo family; Benjamin Castellazzo, 73, acting underboss of the Colombo family; Richard Fusco, 74, consigliere of the Colombo family; Joseph Corozzo, 69, consigliere of the Gambino family; and Bartolomeo Vernace, 61, a member of the Gambino family administration, according to the U.S. Attorneys Office in Rhode Island.
The most powerful family in northern New Jersey is Decavalcante.
In total, more than 30 official members of the LCN, or “made men,” were charged in the indictments unsealed today, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
According to the New York Times, the sweep began before dawn and the targets ranged from small-time book makers and crime-family functionaries to a number of senior mob figures and several corrupt union officials.
Also attending the news conference were Loretta E. Lynch, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York; Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York; and Paul J. Fishman, U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey.Read the U.S. Attorney’s press release.
— With reports by Journal Staff Writer Bryan Rourke