Prosecutors Indict Mafia Members for Extortion and Drug Trafficking in Atlantic City

November 26th, 2020 4.00pm

Prosecutors in Pennsylvania were quite busy this week, as they unsealed fifteen indictments against alleged members of a local crime syndicate.

The list of charges includes racketeering, illegal gambling, extortion and drug trafficking.

According to a statement made by the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the Bruno-Scarfo crime family has been trying to extend its influence into Atlantic City since 2015 and to do so they’ve been continually adding new members to its organisation.

Putting an End to Years of Criminal Activities

The brains behind the whole operation were two reputed mafia bosses, “Handsome Stevie” Mazzone and Domenic “Baby Dom” Grande.

The crime syndicate mentioned above has been trying to achieve this goal by taking money from local bookmakers and loan sharks. Apart from doing that, the organisation also distributed drugs, such as cocaine and heroin. According to available information, drug trafficking wasn’t the primary source of their income.

The list of alleged members that were indicted earlier this week includes individuals nicknamed Tony Meatballs,” “Joey Electric” and “Louie the Sheep”. Charges have been made against Mazzone and Grande as well.

Ten of them were charged with racketeering and the collection of unlawful debts, while the rest of the crew will face a number of charges such as conspiracy to make extortionate extensions of credit, conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and conducting an illicit gambling operation.

The list of charges includes plotting to kidnap and murder a local dealer, who sold them fake drugs.

Atlantic City was once regarded as a territory controlled by the famous Philadelphia crime family. Back in the late 1970s, even the New Jersey Commission of Investigation confirmed the family were present in legitimate businesses in the city, from selling cigarettes to owning nightclubs. Atlantic City was preparing to launch its first casino, which drew even more attention from the crime syndicate.

A Long History of Mafia Influence

The family’s leading man in Atlantic City was Nicodemo “Little Nicky” Scarfo, who oversaw the entire operation. He later became the head of the family, replacing Angelo Bruno, who was murdered in 1980.

Scarfo made the most out of the fact the growing casino industry in the city attracted many developers. He forced them to use his cement contracting company and made a fortune for himself and the family. One of those developers was the current president of the United States, Donald Trump.

As the first casino began opening their doors in the late 1970s, Governor Brendan Byrne warned the mafia to keep its hands out of the city. The very same year, Scarfo order the killing of a local judge, who didn’t want to accept a bribe.

Scarfo also had control over the local union that represented thousands of casino workers employed in Atlantic City. By the beginning of the 1990s, the Scarfo family had its connections everywhere, funnelling bribes and doing all sorts of illegal activities. The Atlantic City Mayor, Michael J. Matthews was also linked to the crime family and involved in numerous corrupt deals.

After Scarfo was sent to prison in 1988 and lost his influence in the city, the mafia started fighting among themselves over the control of Atlantic City. After the recent prosecutions of Joseph “Uncle Joe” Ligambi and Joseph “Skinny Joey” Merlino showed the criminal organisation had utterly lost its grip on the city.

Nevertheless, the family remains strong as ever.

Commenting on the case, US Attorney William McSwain said the authorities would not rest until the local crime syndicate was reduced to bad memory.



The criminal organisation controlled Atlantic City for years