SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Five men arrested in Springfield on Thursday were not the only people facing charges related to their alleged involvement in organized crime. According to a news release sent to 22News by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York City, a total of 46 alleged leaders, members, and associates of organized crime families were charged Thursday in New York, Florida, and Massachusetts.
Two of the men arrested in Springfield, Ralph Santaniello and Francesco Depergola, are listed among the dozens of defendants in the case United States v. Parrello Et. Al. The U.S. Attorney’s office says the case involves “a sprawling and long-running conspiracy composed of leaders, members, and associates of the Genovese, Gambino, Luchese, Bonnano, and Philadelphia Organized Crime Families of La Cosa Nostra, who worked together to engage in a multitude of criminal activities throughout the East Coast of the United States between Springfield, Massachusetts and southern Florida.”
“The indictment reads like an old school mafia novel, where extortion, illegal gambling, arson, and threats to ‘whack’ someone are carried out along with some modern-day crimes of credit card skimming,” Said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Diego Rodriguez.
One of the 46 being charged under the indictment is Joseph “Skinny Joey” Merlino, who is the reputed crime boss in Philadelphia.
New York Police Commissioner William Bratton said that Thursday’s arrests have dealt a “significant blow” to the Mafia. “As alleged, in typical mob fashion, the rackets ran from Springfield to South Florida and left no scheme behind. These mobsters seemed to use every scheme known to us, from arson, to shake-downs, violence, health care fraud, and even untaxed cigarettes to keep the racket going.”
Under their indictment at U.S. District Court in Springfield, Santaniello (along with Giovanni Calabrese) is accused of threatening to cut off the head of a towing business owner if he did not pay protection money. Depergola is also accused of trying to extort the same businessman.
Three other defendants arrested in Springfield Thursday were not among those listed in the New York indictment: Giovanni Calabrese, Gerald Daniele, and Richard Valentini. All five of those defendants, alleged associates of the Genovese crime family, will be at U.S. District Court in Springfield on Thursday. Other defendants in the case United States v. Parrello Et. Al. are set for arraignment at federal court in Manhattan or West Palm Beach, Florida.