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Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Italian Mafia War claims 117th Victim

A mafia war has erupted this year between gangs linked to the Camorra, the name of the local Neopolitan Mafia and its once all-powerful clan, the Di Lauro family. A splinter group known as the "secessionists", has been trying to assert its control over drugs and prostitution rackets in an impoverished area called Scampia, on the northern outskirts of the southern Italian city of Naples. This current war is mild to one in the 1980's which killed some 700 people. News.com.au reports:

ITALIAN police have arrested three more members of a local mafia group that is waging a bloody turf war in the southern port city of Naples, officials said, as media reported the stand-off had claimed its 117th victim.

Italian Interior Minister Giuseppe Pisanu said the new arrests, which bring to 10 the number of mafiosi behind bars, meant police had "struck a third hard blow against the Camorra", the Neapolitan mafia.

The gang is engaged in a grisly vendetta over drugs distribution with a splinter group, which has left 117 people, including innocent passers-by, dead since January. Italian news agency Ansa said the latest death came late on Saturday, but gave no further details.

The conflict pits local mafia boss Paolo Di Lauro - aka Circuzzo the Millionaire - who is in hiding, against former members of his organisation who have formed a splinter group.
Mafia turf war claims 117th victim [news.com.au, Nov 29, 2004]
Police smash Naples Mafia 'summit' [bbc, Nov 25, 2004]
Mafia turf war grips Naples [bbc, Nov 24, 2004]

The BTK Strangler case update

Wichita BTK Strangler
The Wichita BTK (Bind-Torture-Kill) case has had a spurt of recent news stories. Amateur and professional BTK sleuths are stilling looking hard for any clues to identify the serial killer connected with eight unsolved homicides between 1974 and 1986. The self-named BTK reemerged in March of this year after disappearing for 18 years.

• The Wichita Eagle profiles Charlie Otero the son of Joseph and Julie Otero. Otero, 46, is nearing the end of a four-year sentence at Western New Mexico Correctional Facility in Grants, NM for aggravated battery in a domestic violence case.

Otero is the subject of intense interest because -- as many Wichitans could tell you -- four members of his family were killed by the BTK serial murderer 30 years ago...

In a recent interview with The Eagle, Otero said he regularly corresponds with six or seven people about the case. Most of them are regular participants in Internet discussion groups obsessed with the BTK case.

Reporters and filmmakers keep calling. "A lot of people want to tell his story," said Brian Reshetnik, deputy warden...

• The Wichita Eagle reports:
The Regional Forensic Science Center is poised to receive a second DNA analyzer to tackle what its director calls an "insane" number of new cases that need processing.

The Sedgwick County Commission is expected Wednesday to accept a federal grant in the amount of $84,742 to pay for the second analyzer. The new equipment should arrive and be working in four to six months.

"It's going absolutely insane in terms of the number of cases increasing," center director Tim Rohrig said Monday. "The number of exhibits are rising exponentially."

• KMBC-TV reports that a Wichita Police request to use DNA samples to exonerate officers working at time of murders has stirred up controversy:
Investigators looking for Wichita's most notorious serial killer are asking former Wichita police officers to provide samples of their DNA.

In a newsletter to retired police officers, lead detective Lt. Ken Landwehr said officials will use the samples to exonerate officers working during the time of the BTK murders. Specifically, Landwehr said investigators want to head off potential legal maneuvers once a suspect has been arrested...

One former police officer has balked at providing a DNA sample because he says it's an invasion of privacy -- not just his, but that of his family and generations of descendants.

• The Wichita Eagle on October 28th reported:
Workers at an office building just east of downtown say a suspicious package that may be from the Wichita serial killer BTK has given them an eerie feeling this week.

They say the package was found in a UPS drop box Friday night outside their office complex, the Omni Center, at 250 N. Kansas.

Police announced Tuesday that they "recently" obtained a letter possibly connected to the BTK investigation, and that it had been sent Monday (October 25th) to the FBI for verification.

After BTK's return, victims' son back in public eye [kansas.com, Nov 28, 2004]
DNA cases push forensic center to add analyzer [kansas.com, Nov 23, 2004]
Controversy Erupts Over Request For Police DNA In BTK Case [thekansascitychannel.com, Nov 22, 2004]
DNA of retired police sought in BTK probe [kansas.com, Nov 21, 2004]
Staff: BTK likely used UPS drop [kansas.com, Oct 28, 2004]
New letter might be from BTK, police say [kansas.com, Oct 27, 2004]

related:
Wichita BTK Information Summary

Monday, November 29, 2004

10 Most Dangerous Toys for 2004

World Against Toys Causing Harm Inc., or WATCH released its annual list of the most dangerous toys. The toys on this list are dangerous for ingestion and choking injuries, head, neck or other impact injuries, eye injuries, severe bodily injuries, or death.

Pocket Rocket Miniature Motorcycle
1. POCKET ROCKET MINIATURE MOTORCYCLE - Price: $183.22
Manufacturer or Distributor: Razor USA, LLC, Cerritos, CA
Purchased: Wal Mart
Age Recommendation: “12+ ages”

2. IMAGINARIUM POLICE CAR BUILDING BLOCKS - Price: $9.99
Manufacturer or Distributor: Geoffrey, Inc.
Purchased: Toys R Us
Age Recommendation: “1+”

3. DRESS ME PAZ Price - $19.95
Manufacturer or Distributor: Discovery Communications, Inc.
Purchased: Discovery Channel Store
Age Recommendation: “For all ages” (on toy) “Ages 18 months and up!” (on packaging)

4. MEGABUSTER BATTLE WEAPON - $16.99
Manufacturer or Distributor: Mattel, Inc.
Age Recommendation: “6+”

5. FUN SLIDES CARPET SKATES - $18.00
Manufacturer or Distributor: Simtec, Co., Irwin, PA
Age Recommendation: “Recommended for ages 6 and up

6. AIR BURST ROCKETS - $32.99
Manufacturer or Distributor: William Mark Corporation, Claremont, CA
Age Recommendation: “For Ages 10 and up with adult supervision”

7. 38” PLAYTIME TRAMPOLINE - $29.99
Manufacturer or Distributor: Variflex, Inc., Moorpark, CA
Purchased: Toys R Us
Age Recommendation: "3+”

8. HAPPY BIRTHDAY BEAR - $10.99
Manufacturer or Distributor: Gemmy Industries, Corp., Coppell, TX
Purchased: KB Toys
Age Recommendation: None

9. MAGAZINE MIRROR POUND-A-BALL - $12.99
Manufacturer or Distributor: Battat, Inc.; Parents Magazine
Purchased: Target
Age Recommendation: “12+ Months”

10. GUN SQUAD SET – UZ-1 COMMANDO MACHINE GUN - $14.95 (Set of 3)
Manufacturer or Distributor: 411 Toys (ACTA company), Van Nuys, CA
Purchased: www.411games.com (Internet)
Age Recommendation: “Not for children under 3 years”

Annual dangerous-toys list includes twist on old favorites [Newsday.com]

President Bush is Officially Overweight

Yes, it is hard to believe but according to the standards of the National Institutes of Health the President of the United States is considered officially overweight. President Bush is 6 feet tall and weighs 194 pounds. His body mass index, or B.M.I., a measurement of height relative to weight, is 26.3, and 25 or above is officially overweight for both sexes.

A person with an index over 30 is classified as obese under this system. The BMI guidelines are established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The body mass index formula is:
BMI = [weight in pounds/(height in inches)^2] x 703

In fact almost half of American presidents have been overweight based on the BMI.

President...years in office....height........weight(lbs)...BMI
James Madison...1809-17....5 feet 4 inches....99.......17.0
Andrew Jackson..1829-37....6 feet 1 inch.....144.......19.0
Abraham Lincoln 1861-65....6 feet 4 inches...178.......21.7
John F. Kennedy 1961-63....6 feet 0 inches...167.......22.6
Ulysses S. Grant 1869-77...5 feet 8.5 ins....156.......23.3
Richard M. Nixon 1969-74...5 feet 11.5 ins...174.......23.9
Millard Filmore 1850-53....5 feet 9 inches...164.......24.2
George Washington 1789-97..6 feet 2 inches...199.......25.5
George W. Bush..2001-......6 feet 0 inches...194.......26.3
Bill Clinton...1993-2001...6 feet 2.5 ins....223.......28.3
Chester A. Arthur 1881-85..6 feet 2 inches...224.......28.7
Theodore Roosevelt 1901-09 5 feet 10 inches..210.......30.2
William Howard Taft 1909-13 6 feet 0 inches..312.......42.3

Tell the Truth: Does This Index Make Me Look Fat? [NY Times]

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Camden, N.J., Named Most-Dangerous City

The Morgan Quitno Corp. that publishes "City Crime Rankings" has released its rankings for this year. The rankings look at the rate for six crime categories: Murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary and auto theft. It compares 350 cities with populations of 75,000 or more that reported crime data to the FBI. Final 2003 statistics, released by the FBI in October, were used to determine the rankings.

The five most dangerous cities in the U.S. are:
1. Camden, NJ
2. Detroit, MI
3. Atlanta, GA
4. St. Louis, MO
5. Gary, IN

St. Louis and Atlanta would have changed places if the the St. Louis police department had not omitted 5,760 crimes from their 2003 crime data submitted to the FBI.

On the other side of the coin. The five safest cities in the U.S. are:
1. Newton, Mass
2. Brick Township, N.J.
3. Amherst, N.Y.,
4. Mission Viejo, Calif.
5. Clarkstown, N.Y.

Camden, N.J., Named Most-Dangerous City [Officer.com]

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Cockfighting - legal blood sport in Louisiana & New Mexico

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Monday, November 15th left Louisiana and New Mexico as the only states where cockfighting is legal. Opponents and supporters of this blood sport get ready to rumble reports Boston.com:

"We can't afford a million-dollar race horse or a million-dollar NASCAR car," said 68-year-old Ray Alexander, who raises roosters in Lincoln, Miss. "We can afford a chicken, and we can go out and be competitive with that chicken."

Animal activists see things differently, contending the activity is inhumane. Roosters -- fitted with razor-like spurs on their claws -- tear one another to pieces inside a ring, known as a "pit." Many of the fights end with one of the birds dead and the other crippled.

"There's just no good reason, in this day and age, to be engaged in this activity," Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, said. "There's no good reason for any jurisdiction to allow it."

Larry Mathews, spokesman for the United Gamefowl Breeders Association, is not surprised by activists' reaction.

"We would expect them to continue to fight us, as we will continue to fight for ourselves," he said.

Cockfighting supporters brace battles [Boston.com]

related:
Another flu pandemic coming?

Russian Criminals active in Buffalo, NY

Buffalo and Western New York are seeing an increase in organized Russian crime. The Buffalo News reports:

Robert Stein
Robert Stein

The arrest of Robert Stein in an auto accident fraud scheme signals a growing infiltration of Russian crime groups into the Buffalo Niagara region, the FBI says

"Whether it's actual organized crime members, or just individual Russians are involved in criminal activity, they're beginning to establish a toehold here," said Peter Ahearn, special agent in charge of the Buffalo FBI office...

Russian gangsters first appeared on the local radar screen in 1994, when a Russian was accused of trying to extort $150,000 from Alexander Mogilny, at the time a star winger on the Buffalo Sabres, FBI officials said. Mogilny said Serguei Fomitchev threatened to shoot him in the legs if he didn't pay the money. Fomitchev was deported after pleading guilty to a reduced charge.

"The Russian mob has tried to extort money from other pro hockey players, and it's something we're always watching for here in Buffalo," Ahearn said.

But Ahearn said a bigger moneymaker for Russian crime figures in America is the staged accident scam, which usually involves intentional low-speed car crashes, the faking of neck and back injuries, and medical clinics that process bogus insurance claims.

"We're seeing the first signs of it in the Buffalo area," Ahearn said.

Stein is not the only native of Russia under FBI scrutiny here. In May, agents charged in court papers that Maxim Levin, 26, of the Town of Tonawanda, sold cocaine and medical prescriptions. They charged him as well with operating an Amherst "medical mill" that cheated insurance companies by staging "questionable automobile accidents."

Levin, a prelaw student, also ran a company selling neck braces, knee braces and other equipment for people with injuries.

Levin and 21 other people, including several Russians living in the Buffalo area, were arrested on drug conspiracy charges last May. Levin also was accused of selling cocaine. A judge denied bail for Levin after learning that Levin told a cellmate that he planned to escape to Moscow and "finish off" a person who provided information about him.

Stein is represented by Buffalo attorney Paul J. Cambria.

Russian crime groups infiltrating western NY [AP, Dec. 1, 2004, scroll down]
Russian criminals active locally [BuffaloNews.com, Nov. 22, 2004]

related:
CRASH-FOR-CASH CON (RUSSIAN CRIMINALS $500M INSURANCE RIPOFF) [Free Republic]
Largest No-Fault Insurance Fraud Scheme in New York State [NY State Insurance Dept]
TODAY'S INSURANCE FRAUD HAS'BONNIE AND CLYDE' OVERTONES [roughnotes.com]

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

DaimlerChrysler head exec's limo lifted

If the chairman of DaimlerChrysler can't protect his car what hope does the average citizen have? Moscow News is reporting that the Russian Mafia stole Mr. Schrempp's limo to fill a special "order":

A car belonging to the chairman of the DaimlerChrysler board of directors, J├╝rgen E. Schrempp, may have been stolen to order by the Russian mafia, an investigation quoted by Germany’s Bild newspaper said.

The Mercedes S 600 worth $800,000 was stolen in Stuttgart three weeks ago, 20 minutes after Schrempp left the car near a pedestrian zone. Police quoted by the paper believe the car, weighing 3.5 tons, was shipped on a trailer.

The paper did not elaborate why the investigation said the car had been stolen by the Russian mafia. Investigators said the Mercedes had most probably been taken out of the country shortly after it was stolen.
Russian Mafia Suspected in Theft of DaimlerChrysler Head’s Car [Moscow News]
Exec's 1M limo lifted [NY Post]

Monday, November 22, 2004

Terrorism Goes to Sea

Gal Luft and Anne Korin wrote an article for the Nov/Dec issue of Foreign Affairs Magazine entitled "Terrorism Goes to Sea." They say that terrorists probing for weak links in our security will find them in the pirate-infested waters that much of the worlds oil and gas is shipped through. Some excerpts:

Intelligence agencies estimate that Al Qaeda and its affiliates now own dozens of phantom ships - hijacked vessels that have been repainted and renamed and operate under false documentation.... Security experts have long warned that terrorists might try to ram a ship loaded with explosive cargo, perhaps even a weapon of mass destruction, into a major port or terminal...

Ominously, there have been cases of terrorist pirates hijacking tankers in order to practice steering them through straits and crowded sea-lanes - the maritime equivalent of the Sept. 11 hijackers' training in Florida flight schools. These apparent kamikazes-in-training have questioned crews on how to operate ships but have shown little interest in how to dock them.

Terrorism Goes to Sea [ForeignAffairs.org]

related:
Pirates Stalking the Malacca Strait
Nigerian Pirates: Most Deadly
Piracy on the High Seas
Weekly Piracy Report [iccwbo.org]

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Sarah Fox murder case grows cold and reward is raised

Sarah Fox
Sarah Fox

The Sarah Fox case sadly grows cold. The Star-Ledger reports:

Jersey woman's family still hopes her killer is found-

Five months after the nude body of Juilliard drama student Sarah Fox was found in a Manhattan park, her family in Gloucester County is still waiting for answers.

Despite dozens of interviews, investigators remain thwarted, saying a lack physical evidence has hampered the search for the 21-year-old's killer.

But Fox's family in Gibbstown, N.J., hasn't given up. Earlier this month, they added $15,000 to the $10,000 reward already offered by New York City, hoping someone will come forward and identify whoever brutally strangled the blue-eyed aspiring actress who went for a jog May 19 and never came home.

An agonizing wait for justice [Star-Ledger, 31-Oct]

related:
Sarah Fox Murder Mystery Update [June 9, 2004]
Juilliard Student Murder Mystery - Sarah Fox [May 28, 2004]

Update: Pablo Guzman of WCBS-TV Channel 2 in New York reported in an "exclusive" Special Feature leading off the 11:00 pm news on Wednesday, Dec. 1st, that police have identified a prime suspect in the Sarah Fox murder.

Prime Suspect Identified by Police in Sarah Fox Murder Case [Dec. 2, 2004]

Thursday, November 18, 2004

The Kofi Annan Organization aka the U.N. Mafia

Organized Albanian, Chinese, Hispanic, and Italian Mafia criminal gangs look like small time hoods and pikers when compared to the massive organized looting of the United Nations (UN) oil-for-food program. Kofi Annan's son, Kojo, was on the payroll of a contractor involved in the program.

Sen. Norm Coleman a freshman Republican from Minnesota is chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. He is conducting a congressional investigation probing the U.N.'s fraudulent oil-for-food program in Iraq and Annan's obstruction of the senatorial inquiry.

Robert Novak reports: "'The extent of the corruption is staggering,'' Sen. Norm Coleman told me. 'The scope of the ripoff at the U.N. is substantially more than the widely reported $10 billion to $11 billion in graft.'"

CNN reports: Saddam Hussein's regime made more than $21.3 billion in illegal revenue by subverting the U.N. oil-for-food program -- more than double previous estimates, according to congressional investigators.

"This is like an onion -- we just keep uncovering more layers and more layers," said Sen. Norm Coleman.


The Senate vs. the U.N. [Chicago Sun-Times]
Probe: Iraqi oil money estimates double [CNN]

Monday, November 15, 2004

Aggie Snake Gun

Doc Russia goes to a gun show and checks out an "Aggie Snake Gun" and "a real .50 cal that was being sold for $1750. If I had the money to burn, I would have bought it. The weight is estimated at 100lbs. It was made by National arms, or some similar sounding company. It was really sweet."

A Little Refreshed [Bloodletting]

Law Officers Killed and Assaulted in 2003

On May 17, 1792, Deputy Sheriff Isaac Smith with the New York City Sheriff’s Office investigated a disturbance at a colonial inn owned by Levi Hunt, located in what is now the Bronx. The victim deputy was shot with one of two flintlock pistols carried by John Ryer, an unruly drunk, whom the officer was attempting to arrest. Although Ryer fled north into Canada, he was shortly located, arrested, and extradited to New York, where he was tried and hanged for the murder on October 2, 1793.

This scenario describes what is now believed to have been the first law enforcement officer feloniously killed in the line of duty in the United States. It is not too different from the cases presented in the 2003 edition of Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted.

Last year, 132 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty. That's one officer lost every 2.8 days.

Of that total, 52 were "feloniously killed"--murdered by criminals. Eighty more officers died accidentally while on duty, mostly in traffic accidents.

Another 57,841 officers were assaulted on the job last year--about one every nine minutes.

Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted in 2003 [FBI]

New Mafia Gangs of New York fly below the radar screen

Some observations about the recent busts of the Albanian (Rudaj Organization - 26 individuals) and Chinese (Wang, Lim, & Wu Organizations - 51 individuals) mobs in New York:

• The Chinese mobs are an equal opportunity employer - women are allowed to work for the criminal enterprise. The Albanian mob had only men.

• Both groups were connected by strong ethnic ties. The Chinese members had ties to Fujian province northeast of Hong Kong. The Albanians were led by a core of six ethnic Albanians and one Italian but had soldiers who were Greek, Arab and Italian.

• "The newcomers have adopted the swagger and the nicknames favored by previous generations of gangsters," according to the indictment.

• Language allowed these groups to protect themselves. The Fujianese speak a dialect that is all but unknown to many second- and third-generation American Chinese. Albanian is also an obscure language.

• This new generation of ethnic Mafia has not drawn the attention of the mainstream news media like the old Italian mobs. No US news organization published the names of all the indicted individuals. Overall media coverage of these stories has been weak. The New York Times did not even run a story about the Albanian Mafia (Rudaj Organization) indictments and arrests.

Crackdown Targets New Wave of Mobs [Washington Post]

related:
Gangs of New York: Feds ID the Chinese Mafia
The Gangs of New York: Two Violent Chinese Gangs Busted
The Rudaj Organization aka: The Albanian Mafia

Rochester, NY man arrested for joining "Jihad"

It's disturbing to see a kid go off the deep end like this. Casper Star Tribune reported: A Wyoming Technical Institute student charged with attempting to help terrorists in Somalia reportedly said he wished he had flown a hijacked plane during the Sept. 11 attacks, federal authorities said.

Mark Robert Walker, 19, of Rochester, N.Y., had become interested in Islam at a mosque in his hometown...

Walker was arrested Saturday while crossing into El Paso, Texas, from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, where prosecutors say he was using an Internet cafe to line up a meeting with someone known as "Khalid" at the El Paso airport Saturday afternoon, reported the Democrat and Chronicle of Rochester, N.Y.

Walker told federal law enforcement officials he planned to purchase the night-vision goggles and bullet-proof vests with $2,100 in $100 bills he was carrying, the complaint said. Walker told agents he would give the items to fighters with Ittihad al Islamiya and other groups that want an Islamic government in Somalia. Ittihad al Islamiya has been designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State and Treasury departments as of April 2003 and has had ties to Al-Qaeda.

MAN CHARGED IN EL PASO FOR AIDING TERRORIST ORGANIZATION [US Immigrations & Customs Enforcement]
Student 'obsessed with jihad' [Casper Star Tribune] [via Free Republic]

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Gangs of New York: Feds ID the Chinese Mafia

Some interesting nicknames used by the alleged Chinese gang members; examples: "Duck Egg Chow," "Mustache," "Sister Ying," "Aunt Wan Zheng," and "Cat Sister."

THE LIM INDICTMENT
The Lim Indictment, which charges a total of 28 defendants, alleges that eight of the defendants, were members of a violent and organized criminal enterprise (the "Lim Organization"). The Lim RICO (racketeering offenses) Defendants:

• LIM SHANG, a/k/a “Ah Ho,” a/k/a “Lo Ban,” a/k/a “Lin He”
• CHEN SHENG, a/k/a “Lo Ma,” a/k/a “Xiao Ma”
• YI TIAN ZHENG, a/k/a “Yi Tian”
• LI YAN, a/k/a “Wai Sum Yu,” a/k/a “Ah Fung,” a/k/a “Tony”
• LI GUO QIU, a/k/a “Jimmy”
• CHEN YAN QING, a/k/a “Yan Qing,” a/k/a “Ah Sheng”
• FNU LNU, a/k/a “Ah Liang"
• MA YU DONG, a/k/a “Ah Dong"

a/k/a = also known as, FNU = First Name Unknown, LNU = Last Name Unknown

In addition to all of the Lim RICO Defendants, those charged in the gambling counts include:

• ZHANG XIU QIAO, a/k/a “Duck Egg Chow”
• FNU LNU, a/k/a “Andy”
• FNU LNU, a/k/a “Ah Ling”
• FNU LNU, a/k/a “Jiang Li Ming,” a/k/a “William Chen”
• QIU XING GUO, a/k/a “Yi Guo”
• FNU LNU, a/k/a “Li Zi”
• FNU LNU, a/k/a “Sister Ying”
• FNU LNU, a/k/a “Dong Gua”
• FNU LNU, a/k/a “Wu Hai”
• FNU LNU, a/k/a “Aunt Wan Zheng”

In addition to three of the Lim RICO Defendants – LIM SHANG, LI YAN, and MA YU DONG –those charged in the counterfeit goods trafficking counts include:

• LIN JIE
• FNU LNU, a/k/a “Lao Zhong”
• LIAO MING
• LAO CAI
• FNU LNU, a/k/a “Ah Wei”
• YI DONG
• HUINA CHEN, a/k/a “David”
• ZHI XIONG QIU, a/k/a “William”
• FNU LNU, a/k/a “Zhou Ping"
• FNU LNU, a/k/a “Zhong Ge”

The Lim Indictment seeks forfeiture in the total amount of $5 million from the Lim RICO Defendants.

THE WANG INDICTMENT
The Wang Indictment, which charges a total of 18 defendants, alleges that eight of the defendants were members and associates of a violent and organized criminal enterprise (the "Wang Organization”). The Wang RICO Defendants:

• WANG SHAO FENG, a/k/a “Yi Fen,” a/k/a “Yi Feng,” a/k/a “Ah Fung,” a/k/a “Yan Xie”
• CAO HONG, a/k/a “Ah Chui,” a/k/a “Ah Shui,” a/k/a “Ah Bui,” a/k/a “Ah Boai,” a/k/a “Zhang Shan”
• CAO WEI, a/k/a “Ah Muk,” a/k/a “Ah Mak,” a/k/a “Ah Mar”
• LIN FEI, a/k/a “Wen Jai,” a/k/a “Wen Zi,” a/k/a “Ohn Yang”
• CHEN LIANG, a/k/a “Wu Dei”
• HU ZI, a/k/a “Mustache”
• PAN PING CHENG, a/k/a “Chen Chen,” a/k/a “Cheng Cheng”
• ZENG ZHEN JIEN, a/k/a “Yi Jiu,” a/k/a “Uncle”

CAO HONG, CAO WEI, and LIN FEI also charged with attempted murder of two individuals.

In addition to the racketeering charges, nine defendants listed in the Wang Indictment are charged with conspiring to smuggle illegal aliens from the People’s Republic of China to the United States for profit. In addition to the five Wang RICO Defendants — WANG SHAO FENG, CAO HONG, HU ZI, PAN PING CHENG, ZENG ZHEN JIEN — those charged in the alien smuggling counts include:

• WU JIAN
• SHAO YONG WANG, a/k/a “Sister Yong,” a/k/a “Mei Mei”
• HONG DI
• YI GUANG

Twelve defendants listed in the Wang Indictment are charged with participating in a conspiracy to conduct and operate an illegal gambling business, and with operation of an illegal gambling business. In addition to all of the Wang RICO Defendants, those charged in the gambling counts include:

• FNU LNU, a/k/a “Di Di,” a/k/a “Dong Xu,” a/k/a “Yi Hui”
• WANG GANG YONG, a/k/a “Yi Gua”
• CHUNG K. NGAI, a/k/a “Sister Guo Feng”
• LIN SHAN RI

The Wang Indictment also seeks forfeiture in the total amount of $6 million from the Wang RICO Defendants.

THE BI JUAN WU INDICTMENT

The third indictment unsealed on November 12th charges an additional five defendants:

• BI JUAN WU
• NONG JIANG
• RONG ZHENG
• JEN MEI ZHENG, a/k/a “Mei”
• FNU LNU, a/k/a “Cat Sister”

– with, variously, conspiring to smuggle, and smuggling illegal aliens from the People’s Republic of China to the United States for fees of up to $35,000 for each alien; conspiring to hold aliens hostage pending the payment of exorbitant smuggling fees; and laundering the proceeds from their illegal alien smuggling activities by transferring funds to and from China.

The charges contained in the Wang Indictment, the Lim Indictment, and the Bi Juan Wu Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

U.S. INDICTS 51 CHINESE ORGANIZED CRIME FIGURES AND ASSOCIATES IN MASSIVE COORDINATED SWEEP [US Customs & Immigration Enforcement - Homeland Security, Nov 12, 2004]
U.S. Authorities Target Two Chinese Organized Crime Groups [US Dept. of State, Nov. 15, 2004]

Saturday, November 13, 2004

The Gangs of New York: Two Violent Chinese Gangs Busted

Reuters reports: Fifty-one people believed to be members of two powerful Chinese organized crime gangs in New York were rounded up in predawn raids and indicted on Friday (Nov 12th), authorities said.

In three separate indictments filed in Manhattan federal court, the gang members faced charges including murder, attempted murder, racketeering, extortion, alien smuggling, money laundering and operation of illegal gambling businesses.

Federal agents and New York police arrested members of the Lim and Wang crime organizations after investigations spanning two years, authorities said.

Seven gang members were charged with attempting and conspiring to murder five victims. One victim was shot in the head, and others were stabbed and beaten almost to death.

The indictments also seek $11 million in forfeiture from 16 defendants charged with racketeering offenses.


The gangs are called the "Lim organization" and "Wang organization" by authorities. They wreaked havoc on Chinese immigrant communities, particularly in Manhattan's Chinatown and Flushing, Queens. The gambling parlors that served as the gang bases were located on Hester, Allen and Forsyth Streets in Chinatown in Manhattan and on 40th Road and 44th Road in Flushing, Queens.

NY Times reports: The officials charged that one gang was led by Lim Shang, 31, and the other by Wang Shao Feng, also 31. Unlike Chinatown crime organizations from the past, the two gangs did not have names. In contrast to gangs that dominated Chinatown in the early 1990's, whose power was based on controlling city blocks in the community, the new gangs grew up around Mr. Wang and Mr. Lim, Mr. Kelley said, because they were especially ruthless leaders.

The main victims of the gangs' violence were customers who went to their clandestine gambling parlors to play traditional Chinese card games, the officials said, and ran up high debts. The gangs did not threaten residents in the general communities where they operated, as Chinatown gangs did during a crime wave a decade ago.

One line of gang business was to fly Chinese immigrants to New York with false passports and airline tickets, charging as much as $70,000 per person, the officials said. Five gang members are charged with smuggling immigrants and holding some of them hostage in New York hideouts until the fees were paid.


The NY Post reported: The sweeping charges were brought following a two-year probe (Codenamed Operation Panda) launched by the joint FBI-NYPD Asian Criminal Enterprise Task Force, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Bureau of Immigration and Customs and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District.

U.S. Charges 51 With Chinatown Smuggling [NY Times]
51 Suspected Chinese Gang Members Arrested in NY [Reuters]
Gangster Rap [NY Post]

update:
Gangs of New York: Feds ID the Chinese Mafia

Friday, November 12, 2004

Secret Shortwave Spy Numbers Stations

"59372 98324 19043 78903 95320...". The mechanized female voice drones on and on... What have you stumbled on to? Instructions to spies? Messages exchanged between drug dealers? Deliberate attempts at deception and mis-information?

Chances are, all of the above! What you've tuned in to is called a "Spy Numbers Station". They've been on the air for several decades, and only recently have the mysteries started to unfold.

Links:
SpyNumbers.com [Chris Smolinski]
Shortwave Espionage [Simon Mason]
Numbers Stations
Numbers & Oddities a.k.a. the "Spooks Newsletter"
Spy Numbers Message Board - Ham radio operators post loggings, as well as engage in general discussions, including discussions about equipment, receivers, etc.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Mafia Burial Grounds

The FBI has been investigating two suspected mob burial grounds. One is in Queens, New York for the Italian Mafia and one in Atascosa County, TX south of San Antonio for the Mexican Mafia. Both have come up a little short of expectations in terms of yield.

• NEW YORK, Reuters reports: The FBI on Monday (Oct 25th) ended a three-week excavation of a vacant New York City lot suspected of being a mob cemetery after finding just two skeletons and abandoning hope of unearthing more bodies. The skeletons are believed to be remains of two murdered organized crime family captains, the FBI said.

The FBI had hoped to find more victims in the lot nicknamed "Mafiaville" by local residents, based on testimony from Mafia turncoats...

Authorities had thought they might find the body of John Favara, a former neighbor of Mafia crime boss John Gotti. It is believed Gotti ordered Favara killed after he accidentally ran over and killed Gotti's 12-year-old son.

Favara disappeared after the 1980 accident and has never been found.

Dozens of FBI agents, city police officers and members of the medical examiner's office have toiled daily at the site, using heavy machinery to move the dirt and screen it for evidence.

The New York medical examiner's office was trying to identify the two victims. They are suspected of being Bonanno crime family capo Phillip Giaccone and Dominic Trinchera.

The two were gunned down in 1981 along with Alfonse Indelicato for plotting to take control of the Bonanno family. Indelicato's body was found in the lot weeks after his murder.

Accused Bonanno boss Joseph "Big Joey" Massino, the city's so-called Last Don, was convicted of killing the trio.


FBI Ends Mafia Burial Ground Dig in New York Lot [Reuters]

• The Houston Chronicle reports: Law officers who suspected that a Central Texas ranch was a graveyard for victims of a power struggle within the Mexican Mafia gang have recovered the skeletal remains of one person.

Federal officers on Saturday ended their search for more remains at the ranch in western Atascosa County after digging on the brushy land for three days using bulldozers and excavators.

Authorities failed to locate the numerous other victims of gang violence allegedly buried there as part of a Mexican Mafia graveyard. The remains unearthed Friday were taken to the Bexar County medical examiner's office for identification.


Last week KSAT reported: The remains of a high-ranking official of the Mexican Mafia were dug up Friday at an Atascosa County ranch.

The remains were found in separate locations at a 10-acre site off County Road 310 near Kyote, sources said.

Authorities would not immediately confirm the apparent discovery.

"I don't want to comment, because I don't know what they have, if anything," said Atascosa County Sheriff Tommy Williams.

The state of composition of the body indicated the victim may have been buried at the location several months ago, sources said.

Three informants are at the ranch helping the FBI, the San Antonio Police Department and the Atascosa County Sheriff's Deparment with the investigation of the alleged Mexican Mafia grave site.

The dig is expected to last several days.

Authorities were led to the alleged graveyard following a series of body discoveries. The most recent was Tuesday when the body of a man was found in the truck of a car in the parking lot of an H-E-B supermarket in the 700 block of Southwest Military Drive.

The victim was believed to have had previous ties to the Mexican Mafia.


Sources: Mexican Mafia Body Found At Grave Site [KSAT.com]

Another flu pandemic coming?

the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, when some 500,000 people in the US died. Worldwide the death toll was between 20 million and 50 million. Could this happen again?
The 1918 Spanish flu pandemic killed some 500,000 Americans and 20 million to 50 million people worldwide. Photo shows a crowded emergency hospital at Fort Riley, Kan.

Will some teenage Thai cockfighter who swaps spit with his rooster cause the next great flu pandemic?

Recently the Thailand Department of Disease Control reported on the flu death of an 18-year-old male. They said that the boy had ''had very close contact to . . . fighting cocks by carrying and helping to clear up the mucous secretion from the throat of the cock during the fighting game by using his mouth.''

That is, the young man -- in a move not uncommon in cockfighting circles -- had cleared the cock's airway by sucking his rooster's beak and then swallowing the spit and mucus. Is this the pathway that allows avaian or "bird flu" to jump to humans? The NY Times reports:

Between January and the end of October, 32 people have died from avian influenza in Vietnam and Thailand. Tens of millions of chickens have succumbed. Millions of others have been slaughtered. More nations have admitted to outbreaks among birds in more provinces than would have been conceivable even 18 months ago. All of this, Fukuda says, ''certainly increases the possibility'' of a much larger outbreak of avian flu among people...

Influenza viruses are divided into three types: A, B or C, depending on the virus structure. Humans can be infected with all three, although C-class flus are uncommon and influenza B doesn't usually cause severe illness except among children.

Influenza A is the monster, in both animals and people, causing, by and large, the most virulent illness. Type A influenzas (unlike B's or C's) have multiple subtypes, identified with maddeningly cryptic names: H3N2, H1N1, H7N2. The ''H'' is for hemagglutinin, a spiky protein on the surface of the influenza molecule. In human flu viruses, the spikes of hemagglutinin connect, like sinister Legos, with matching receptors on the outside of healthy respiratory-system cells. The virus then melds with the healthy cell and begins replicating. Neuraminidase, the ''N'' in the flu name, another protein, uncouples the virus from its host, tearing the cell membrane and allowing the progeny to escape, killing the cell. Loosed, they start repeating the process deeper and deeper into the respiratory tract...

To cause a pandemic, an entirely new human influenza subtype must emerge, one that most people would never have been exposed to and would not have immunities to. This flu also must be able to be transmitted efficiently from person to person. In recent history, three main types of influenza A have circulated freely in humans. (Many more exist in birds.) Each of these strains caused a pandemic when they were introduced into the human race. The catastrophic 1918 Spanish flu pandemic was caused by H1N1. The 1957 Asian flu pandemic, which killed 70,000 in the United States, was brought about by H2N2. And the 1968 pandemic of Hong Kong flu introduced H3N2. That outbreak killed about 34,000 people in the United States.

Science doesn't quite understand how a nonhuman flu virus adapts and becomes a human flu, and why more, in fact, don't. But they do suspect that it is a process of gene swapping. If an avian flu infects a person who, coincidentally, suffers from a human flu, the two bugs might exchange genetic material. The resulting virus could be essentially avian, but possessing genetic components of the human flu that would allow it to be easily transmitted from person to person. This is how the Asian flu and the Hong Kong flu pandemics began.


The Flu Hunters [NY Times]
Flu Coverage [NY Times]
Bird Flu Is Back, Raising Fear of Spread Among Humans [NY Times]
Bird Flu Deaths in Thailand Raise New Fears [NY Times]
Thais Suspect Human Spread of Bird Flu [NY Times]

related:
Weekly Flu Report [CDC]
Flu Activity-Reports & Surveillance [CDC]

Tuesday, November 9, 2004

Mafia Studies Course at Rome University

BBC reports: Films, books and music have led people to misunderstand the Mafia.

A university lecture hall packed full before 11am is a rare sight. But law students taking part in Italy's first Mafia studies course at Rome University fill the aisles and stairways.

"Can you believe it - 500 students have enrolled," says a surprised Professor Mario Trapani, one of the course directors at Rome University's law faculty.

"We never expected this many applications. This course is really the first of its kind in Italy."

A high profile panel of experts provide the first lesson.

The students listen, captivated, as a leading Sicilian magistrate from Palermo recounts gruesome details of how a Cosa Nostra Mafia boss disposed of one unfortunate teenager...

Students will learn about the very different types of Mafia networks that exist in Italy: the Cosa Nostra in Sicily, La Camorra in Campania, La Sacra Corona Unita in Puglia and the Ndrangheta in Calabria - which investigators say is now the most powerful.

They will also examine involvement with Russian, Chinese and Albanian mafia gangs.


Law students take on the Mafia [BBC]

Boston ID theft bust with ties to Russia mob

AP Reported, Nov 6th: Police say they've broken up a major identity theft ring with ties to organized crime in Russia.

Police held a press conference today to announce the arrest of 28-year-old Andrew Schwamkoff and the seizure of thousands of dollars worth of equipment, cash, fake documents and credit cards.

The sting came about because a woman told police that someone tried to use her credit card to buy goods and ship them to a Mail Boxes Etc. on Newbury Street.

Yesterday, police staked out the store and watched a man arrive, claim packages and give money to Schwamkoff.

Police stopped Schwamkoff outside of his Brighton apartment. Inside, they found boxes full of laptop computers, clothes and other electronic equipment, as well as fake licenses, blank credit cards, counterfeiting equipment, and about 15,000 dollars in cash.

Police say Schwamkoff has stolen the identity of more than 200 people, and is the ring leader of an ID fraud ring with ties to the Russian mob.


Police announce ID theft bust [AP]
Cops eye Russian mob tie [Boston Herald]

Crime-terror nexus is biggest cyber threat

UPI reported: The gravest threat to U.S. cyber security now comes from the potential for collaboration between terrorists and organized crime, experts say.

"The bad guys are geeks now, too," said Robert Bagnall, a former military intelligence officer who specializes in computer security for small and medium sized companies.

Bagnall told emergency managers and business continuity professionals in Washington that a growing black market in "commodity hacking" -- hackers for hire -- meant rogue states and transnational terrorists could buy compromised data and computer security penetration skills quite cheaply on the open market.

"Commodity hacking is becoming available to organizations that aren't large and well funded -- because they don't have to be," Bagnall told the CPM East conference.

Bagnall said hacked data, like credit card numbers and system passwords, was available for sale on Russian Web sites, and increasingly organized crime groups "are selling information, they're trading and sharing information."


Crime-terror nexus is biggest cyber threat [Washington Times]

related:
Parasite: The new word in malware [ZDNet-Robert Bagnell]
Panel Discussion and Q&A On Information Security [Robert Bagnell]

Sunday, November 7, 2004

CIA Spooks Drinking Lots of Starbucks Espresso

Sources tell the Johnsville News that the busiest Starbucks in the world is at CIA Headquarters (George H.W. Bush Center for Central Intelligence) in Langley, Virginia. Seems the lines are very long and there is a huge demand for quality caffeinated espresso based beverages.

One certainly can not begrudge these hard working people a "venti skim extra hot Caramel Macchiato" every now and then. You could say Starbucks is their secret weapon in guarding democracy 24x7 in this age of insanity.

The employees/baristas of course need a background check and security clearance. The store/outlet does not show up on the corporate store locator. It is a "Stealthy Starbucks" operation.

Saturday, November 6, 2004

U.S. slavery still a reality

The Seattle Times reported:

Federal officials yesterday rolled out a public-education campaign about the victims of human trafficking, a group estimated to be entering the U.S. at a rate of between 4,500 and 17,500 annually.

These are foreigners brought into the United States and forced into domestic servitude, prostitution or factory work.

"Many think slavery was a thing of the past, but slavery still exists in great numbers," said Ambassador John Miller, director of the State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.

The worldwide human trafficking problem is much worse. OrgKrimminal.org just reported:
The head of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, Tim Carlsgaard, announced on Nov. 1, that the number of human trafficking victims had been estimated at around 700,000 persons worldwide, annually.

Speaking at a press conference in Belgrade, Carlsgaard said that certain international organizations had even estimated the figure at around two million victims a year.

During the presentation of a new media campaign of the Belgrade-based Astra organization and the U.N., Carlsgaard also said that this widespread problem required action at the local level, stressing that the U.N. alone could not fight the problem.

He also said that Serbia was a country of origin, transit, and a destination for human trafficking victims.

links:
Officials say U.S. slavery still a reality [Seattle Times]
New campaign against human trafficking [B92.net]

related:
Sex Slaves on Main Street [TJN]

Friday, November 5, 2004

Mafia Books: The Good Life for Bad People

Does the reality TV series Growing Up Gotti signal the end of the line for the Italian Mafia? Or could it simply be that new crime blood like the Albanian Mafia is taking over and pistol whipping and kicking the crap out of the old Italian crime families. Does anyone "go to the mattresses" anymore? Whatever the case, the NY Times reviews old school "Italian Mafia" books:

The historian John Dickie dates the start of the American love affair with the Mafia to the Senate's 1951 Kefauver committee hearings, which featured televised interrogations of dozens of made men. That's more than 50 years of books, movies, TV shows and news coverage -- a lot of pasta and murder...

• Andrea Giovino's DIVORCED FROM THE MOB: My Journey From Organized Crime to Independent Woman (Carroll & Graf, $25)

• British journalist Clare Longrigg's NO QUESTIONS ASKED: The Secret Life of Women in the Mob (Miramax, $24.95)

• Ron Felber's IL DOTTORE: The Double Life of a Mafia Doctor (Barricade, $24.95)

• Donnie Brasco - aka Joseph D. Pistone: THE WAY OF THE WISEGUY: True Stories from the FBI's Most Famous Undercover Agent (Running Press, $22.95)

• Henry Hill's GANGSTERS AND GOODFELLAS: The Mob, Witness Protection, and Life on the Run (M. Evans, $21.95)

• Gregg and Gina Hill (Henry's children): ON THE RUN: A Mafia Childhood (Warner, $24.95)

• John Dickie's COSA NOSTRA: A History of the Sicilian Mafia (Palgrave, $26.95)

Mafia Books: The Good Life for Bad People [NY Times, 31-Oct-04]

Tuesday, November 2, 2004

The Rudaj Organization aka: The Albanian Mafia

updated: June 17, 2006


Albanian Mafia

The Rudaj Organization is the name given the Albanian Mafia in the New York City metro area in a 44-page indictment unsealed last week in New York. Twenty-six people were indicted in connection with racketeering, attempted murder, robbery, extortion, gambling and loan-sharking.

On October 26th, 2004, the FBI and Manhattan U.S. Attorney David Kelley announced the arrest of the group's alleged boss, Alex Rudaj, and 21 other reputed gang members charged in the indictment. Kelley's office said it believes the indictment is the first federal racketeering case in the United States against an alleged organized crime enterprise run by Albanians. The Journal News reports:
The indictment includes an alleged episode in which the Rudaj Organization, so named for the man accused of being its kingpin, Alex Rudaj of Yorktown, muscled in on two members of a "competing criminal organization" that "was also involved in controlling and protecting illegal gambling" in Queens. The Mafia members are identified only as "Victim 3" and "Victim 4." The indictment said the Albanian mob instilled a fear of physical violence in their mob victims...

The Rudaj Organization, called "The Corporation" by its members, started in 1993 in Westchester and spread to the Bronx and Queens, law enforcement officials said.

Fred Snelling, the agent in charge of the FBI's criminal division in New York, said the organization amounted to a "sixth family."
[the five traditional NY Mafia families: Bonanno, Colombo, Gambino, Genovese and Lucchese]
"They are truly organized in their efforts to bring havoc to this community," Snelling said.

During a bail hearing for one of the two dozen people arrested in the case, Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Treanor said that the Albanian mob had taken over the operations of the Lucchese family in Astoria (Queens).
The Westchester County men charged:
  • Alex Rudaj (Allie Boy, Uncle Radaj, Xhaxhai, Sandro Rudovic), age 37, 975 Sunset St., Yorktown.
  • Nikola Dedaj (Nicky Nails, Big Nick, Nikol), 41, 18 Danby Place, Yonkers.
  • Angelo DiPietro (Fat Angelo), 47, 78 Sagamore Road, Hopewell Junction, lived until recently in Mount Vernon. Former owner of Sue's Rendezvous, a strip club in Mount Vernon, NY
  • Angelo Capalbo (Angelina), 5 Rosewood Road, White Plains.
  • Michael Pizzuti, 46 Glen Road, Eastchester.
  • Nicola Murdocca (Nick), 74 Pleasant Ridge Road, Harrison.
  • Joseph Genua, 44 Fleetwood Ave., Mount Vernon.
  • Harold Bringman, 222 Center Ave., New Rochelle.
  • Joseph Bongiovanni (Joe Bong), 6 South Road, Harrison.
  • Paul Avitable (Shad the Rooster), 25 Westview Drive, Rye.
Others charged:
  • Nardino Colotti (Leonardo, Lenny), age 42, lives in Bronx, NY - Italian with ties to the late Gambino soldier Skinny Phil Loscalzo
  • Anthony DiPietro (Ant)
  • Prenka Ivezaj (Frankie, Big Frank), 39, lives in Queens, New York.
  • Ioannis "John" Karagiannis
  • Lefteris Katsigiannis
  • Spiros Karagiannis
  • Gregory Kommatas
  • Gjelosh "Joey" Lelcaj, 30, lives in Bronx, New York.
  • Nikolaos Michalopoulos (Kefala)
  • Ljusa "Louie" Nuculovic, 46, lives in Hopewell Junction, New York.
  • Nikola "Nicky" Nuculovic
  • Paul "Paulie" Nuculovic
  • Petros Pantazis
  • Miri Patani (Saverio Valente)
  • Kostas Panzialis
  • Sheikh Abdul Shakoor (Shaku)
Mr. Rudaj and twenty other defendants (listed above) were taken into custody on the morning of Oct. 26, 2004, with the following exceptions:
Defendant Angelo Dipietro was already in custody. Defendants Gjelosh Lelcaj and Miri Patani were at large. It is unclear what the exact status was of defendants Ioannis Karagiannis and Spiros Karagiannis.

The indictment contains only charges. A defendant is presumed innocent of the charges, and it will be the government’s burden to prove a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.


Gjelosh Lelcaj

Gjelosh Lelcaj (Aliases: Gjelosh Lelgaj, Joey Lelcaj, Joey Gjelosh) captured by the FBI sometime after Oct. 26, 2004.

Lelcaj is allegedly a member of the Albanian Criminal Enterprise (The Rudaj Organization) and was charged with extortion, participating in illegal gambling operations, providing protection to organized gambling clubs controlled by the organization, and using a firearm in the commission of a crime of violence.


Miri Patani

Miri Patani - Rudaj Organization member - Wanted By Feds call (212) 384-5000 with information. The FBI is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading directly to the arrest of Miri Patani. He should be considered armed and dangerous.

Rudaj, Nardino Colotti and Nikola Dedaj were charged under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, with leading the organization. Prenka Ivezaj, Ljusa Nuculovic, Angelo Dipietro, and Gjelosh Lelcaj were also charged under the RICO indictment. Rudaj stole the nickname "Allie Boy" from the Colombo family's boss Alphonse Persico.

Specifics regarding the attack on the Lucchese crime family:

Rudaj lead an attack in August 2001 on two members of the Lucchese crime family who ran a gambling racket inside a Greek social club called Soccer Fever at 26-80 30th St. in Queens, according to the indictment.

Rudaj and at least six other men entered the club with guns on Aug. 3, beat one of the men in the head with a pistol and chased them out of the neighborhood by threatening to destroy the building, the indictment said. The Rudaj Organization then opened or began collecting protection payments from at least six Astoria, Queens gambling clubs including:
  • Athenia on Newtown Avenue
  • The Saloni Social Club on 30th Avenue
  • And Sanidisi on 31st Street
  • Skutarija on 23rd Avenue
  • An unidentified club on 30th Avenue
  • Zeus on 23rd Avenue
The clubs were allegedly managed by Rudaj Organization member Louie Nucolovic until March 2004, when Rudaj kicked him out and personally took over, said Megan Gaffney, a spokeswoman with the Department of Justice.

The gambling dens the mob ran in the NY area were very lucrative. The seven clubs listed above were among 50 gambling spots the gang ran. The RICO indictment attempts to seize $5.8 million in ill-gotten gains from seven defendants and $3.4 million from all 22 defendants, based on the gambling allegations.

The Feds said that before the gang was brought down it was discussing expanding into Bayside, Queens.

On Nov 4th the Journal News reported:
The lawyer (James Kousouros) for accused mob kingpin Alex Rudaj yesterday denied his client was the leader of a ruthless organized-crime group, saying he was a hardworking family man and philanthropist...

"My client vehemently denies the charges that he is some sort of mob kingpin," he said. "He's a family man. He's got a wife and two children. He's worked at a variety of jobs. He paid his taxes." Kousouros said that Rudaj, an ethnic Albanian from Yugoslavia, had done many "philanthropic deeds" in his native country.
Mr. Rudaj was denied bail on Dec. 7, 2004 and his trial was scheduled to begin Sept. 26, 2005.

Links:
U.S. CHARGES VIOLENT ALBANIAN ORGANIZED CRIME GROUP IN GROUNDBREAKING RACKETEERING INDICTMENT [US DOJ, Oct. 26, 2004]
Albanian 'Mafiosi' in feds' net [NY Daily News]
Moving in on the mob [NY Daily News]
Albania 'Mafia' Broken [NY Post]
Albanian crime ring suspects arrested [CNN]
NYC mob family kicked out by Albanian gang [UPI / Washington Times]
Feds bust Albanian mobsters' Astoria gambling ring [TimesLedger.com, Dec. 16, 2004]

archived stories ($2.95 for one $6.95 for three):
Albanian mob follows demographic shift [The Journal News, Nov. 1, 2004] [alternate link]
10 Westchester men linked to Albanian mob [The Journal News, Oct. 27, 2004]
Lawyer says Rudaj is no gangster [The Journal News, Nov. 4, 2004]

It is interesting that the NY Times did not publish anything on this story. No US news organization published the names of all 26 indicted individuals-that information came from the DOJ press release and the individuals were also listed on an Albanian web site: Shekulli Online.

update: Jan. 6, 2006 - Alex Rudaj and five of his gang members were convicted of racketeering on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2006.

update: June 17, 2006 -

On Friday, June 16, 2006, Alex Rudaj, 38, was sentenced to 27 years in federal prison for racketeering, extortion and gambling offenses.

Three of Rudaj's co-defendants also got hit with stiff sentences in U.S. District Court in Manhattan by Judge Denise Cote.

27 years for Nardino "Lenny" Colotti of the Bronx.

26 years and 7 months for Nick "Big Nick" Dedaj of Yonkers.

22 years for Prenka "Frankie" Ivezaj of Queens.

The men had faced maximum sentences of life in prison. They were also ordered on Friday to forfeit a total of $5.75 million and four properties to the government. They also must each serve five years of supervised release.

Sixteen other defendants from the Rudaj Organization have already pleaded guilty.

Rudaj's lawyer, James Kousouros, said they planned to appeal.

sources:
4 members of upstart Albanian crime group sentenced, fined [Newsday, June 17, 2006]
Yorktown man, head of crime family, sentenced to 27 years [TheJournalNews.com, June 17, 2006]
Alex Rudaj - Albanian Mafia - Convicted in Racketeering Trial [TJN, Jan. 5, 2006]
Alex Rudaj - Albanian Mafia Trial - Week 8 [Nov. 16, 2005]
Alex Rudaj - Albanian Mafia Trial - Week 3 [Oct. 11, 2005]
Gangs of New York: Rudaj vs. Gambinos [Dec. 14, 2004]
Albanian Mafia Boss Denied Bail [Dec. 10, 2004]
New Mafia Gangs of New York fly below the radar screen [Nov. 15, 2004]
The New Islamic Mafia / Albanian Mafia: Information Summary [Sept. 25, 2004]

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