Lucchese crime family mobster Christopher Londonio and mob associate Terrence Caldwell have been indicted on murder charges in the mob hit on Michael Meldish former leader of the infamous NY Purple Gang.
Meldish was shot to death back on November 15, 2013, while sitting in his car in front of his home. According to the Bronx District Attorney’s office, both men have been linked to the crime by phone records, license plate readers, and DNA evidence.
The Purple Gang led by Michael and his brother Joseph were a feared crew in the 1970’s and 80’s controlling the Harlem and Bronx heroin trade. The group was affiliated with the New York Mafia through the Lucchese, Bonanno, and Genovese families working in part as muscle and freelance killers. They took the name “Purple Gang” from a feared crew who once ruled in Detroit in the prohibition era and had become a powerful force on streets back in the 1970’s.
At one point authorities believed the group had become powerful enough to ignite a mob war by attempting to become the area’s sixth organized crime group. Then in the mid to late 1980’s the crew’s power began to dwindle as many of its members were convicted in various drug busts. Authorities say Meldish is believed to have carried out at least 10 hits during the 1970’s and 80’s with his brother Joseph believed to have been part of as many as 70 contract killings. Joe Meldish is currently serving a 12-year sentence for his role in a 1999 mafia hit.
Londonio was out on bail for a Bronx weapons charges indictment before being hit with federal gun charges putting him behind bars while the state presented evidence of his alleged involvement in the Meldish hit. Both defendants have pleaded not guilty to the charges although Londorio’s attorney Robert Blossner withdrew from the case because of an undisclosed conflict of interest. Blossner also represents Lucchese family capo Matthew Madonna who sources say is part of a continuing investigation into the Meldish murder.