A federal body arrested 11 reputed organized crime figures, including a Packer Park resident.
The FBI scooped up 11 alleged Mafia members Monday, with the biggest catch being suspected boss Joseph Ligambi.
The agency’s early morning swarm targeted southern New Jersey and South Philadelphia, the latter the site of Ligambi’s Packer Park home. The detained men joined two others already in federal custody and learned their names appeared in a 70-page indictment revealed later in the day.
The document’s 50 counts disclose their alleged participation in gambling operations involving illegal sports betting and video poker machines. The charges note Ligambi, 71, and his associates allegedly provided the mechanisms to bars, convenience stores and restaurants in and around Philadelphia, including several local establishments. Last year, a Pennsylvania Attorney General Office raid led to the seizure of 80 such devices.
The lengthy accusations make no mention of any homicides, referring only to allusions to threats of violence through intimidation. The lack of savage acts meshes with officials’ views of Ligambi as one who represented a new direction in the area’s local crime faction, one that revolved around big talk instead of action.
Investigators allege that Ligambi, who before a U.S. District Court hearing Monday pled not guilty to gambling, loan-sharking, racketeering conspiracy and witness intimidation, among other charges, began to head the Philadelphia mob after former head Joseph Merlino’s 2001 racketeering conviction. Ligambi served 10 years in prison for the murder of another reputed Mafia member, but a 1997 retrial led to his acquittal. His bail hearing is scheduled for today.
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A total of 15 alleged members of La Cosa Nostra, a Philadelphia organized crime family, were arrested last year. Now three of those involved will spend more than two years in federal prison.
One of the alleged mobsters charged with racketeering and related charges was granted bail May 31, but that was turned over on appeal the following day.
Joseph “Uncle Joe” Ligambi and 12 of his alleged mob associates, who all have ties to South Philly, were arrested last week as a part of a federal indictment. The 13 were officially charged federally May 23 for racketeering, extortion and illegal gambling that mainly occurred locally.