More than a dozen reputed members of the Colombo crime family, including the mob clan’s entire leadership, were charged Tuesday in a sweeping labor racketeering case brought by federal prosecutors in Brooklyn.
All but two of the men were arrested in the early hours of Tuesday across New York and New Jersey, according to a law enforcement official who had been briefed on the case. Another was expected to surrender to the authorities on Tuesday, and one defendant was at large in Florida, a second official said.
The indictment accuses the Colombo family of orchestrating a two-decade scheme to extort an unnamed labor union that represented construction workers, using threats of violence to secure payments and arrange contracts that would benefit the crime family.
The charges are an ambitious effort by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn to take down what was once one of the city’s five Mafia families. In addition to the union extortion scheme, the indictment charges several misdeeds often associated with the mob, including drug trafficking, money laundering, loan sharking and falsifying federal-labor-safety paperwork.
In a court filing, prosecutors described a series of intercepted calls among members of the organization, writing that the recordings “unequivocally make clear that the Colombo crime family is thriving and continues to engage in various crimes.” Prosecutors are seeking the detention of most of the defendants, who are slated to appear before a judge Tuesday afternoon.
William K. Rashbaum contributed reporting.