Chicago mafia absorbs blow, Westside wiseguys bite the dust in bust

 

Chicago mobsters Bobby Panozzo and Paul Koroluk of the Outfit’s Grand Avenue crew were stung last week. And the 54-year old Panozzo could be stung again soon……with murder charges.

Operating a sub-group within the Grand Avenue faction, identified as “The P-K Crew” (the pair’s initials), Panozzo and Koroluk, and two subordinates, one being Panozzo’s namesake and 22-year old son, Bobby, Jr, were nabbed last Thursday in a police sting operation by Cook County narcotics detectives for running an elaborate armed-robbery ring targeting unprotected drug houses, as well as engaging in home invasions, arson, burglary, drug trafficking, attempted murder and possibly murder.

 

Arrested in West Side Outfit crew case

“Robert Panozzo, 54, Paul Koroluk, 55, Panozzo’s son, Robert Panozzo, Jr., 22, Maher Abuhabsah, 33, and Koroluk’s wife, Maria Koroluk, 53″

 

The racketeering and home invasion charges carry maximum 60-year prison sentences. Using tips from street gang members, a police radio scanner and stolen police uniforms, the P-K’s raided a series of area drug houses before the cops could. Their traditional home invasions were brutal and bloody; Panozzo chopped off one victim’s ear for lying to him in the midst of Panozzo robbing him.

The robbery crew was caught in the act, set-up by the cops and tricked into thinking they were ripping off a 45-kilo shipment of cocaine from a stash house on South Brandon Avenue in the city’s Hegewisch district, when in fact they were walking into a carefully-planned bear trap, the culmination of an investigation called, “Operation Crew Cut”.

Walking out of the purported stash house early Thursday morning, Panozzo, Koroluk and their associates were met by a swat team of Chicago police officers.Panozzo and the half-Polish, half-Italian Koroluk, 55, are both Chicago mafia Grand Avenue mob crew veterans, first reporting to Joseph (Joey the Clown) Lombardo, currently imprisoned, and now taking orders from Albert Vena, Lombardo’s replacement as capo of the city’s Westside.

Sources close to the investigation, say Vena, a person dubbed “the most dangerous gangster in Chicago” by organized experts, the Windy City media and fellow mobsters alike, was “very close” to be indicted in the case, too. FBI wiretaps and street informants tie Vena to pocketing a percentage of the scores Panozzo and Koroluk were taking down.

Gangster running buddies for years, Panozzo and Koroluk were groomed in the art of robbery by Joey the Clown himself. The pair came up in a Lombardo-overseen burglary crew headed by his driver, James (Jimmy Legs) D’Antonio. FBI documents related to D’Antonio claim that Panozzo and Koroluk actually went along on the final actual robbery job the Clown personally participated in during an early 1980s jewelry store heist. By that time, Lombardo was already a capo and according to the report took a liking to Panozzo, nicknaming him “Bobby Pinocchio” for his talent for deception. The young Panozzo and Koroluk are alleged to have acted as look-outs on the job.

The P-K crew has been on law enforcement’s radar for the past couple years. In 2012, crew members Louie Capuzi and Frank Obrochta, were nailed on charges of burglary, home invasion, insurance fraud and prostitution and are currently awaiting trial.

Last fall, Chicago Police discovered Panozzo and Koroluk tried to put a murder contract on a witness in a forthcoming home invasion case. Then in the winter, Panozzo and Vena were mentioned at the trial of Windy City cop-turned-mobster Steve Mandell, convicted in February of attempting to kidnap, torture and eventually murder a pair of associates and one of their wives, in a ploy to assume control of one associate’s strip clubs and the other’s real estate assets. Testimony and FBI surveillance photos revealed that Panozzo and Mandell dined with Vena at Vena’s favorite Italian eatery, La Scrola (also a “forever fav” of the Lombardo when he was on the streets).

Part of the indictment against Panozzo released Saturday quotes a confidential federal informant as accusing Panozzo of the murder of an elderly woman back in 1987, a homicide he is said to have bragged about. The informant said the murder was preceded by the woman signing over her property to Panozzo and concluded with him allegedly killing her by throwing her down three different flights of stairs in her apartment building.

Law enforcement sources in the Windy City tell the Mob Insider that a first-degree homicide charge against Panozzo could be added to the indictment before the case hits trial and that the FBI and Chicago PD detectives are investigating Panozzo’s connection to a currently unsolved October 1987 murder that took place in an apartment complex on W. Ohio Street and matches the informant’s description of events.

Less than a decade ago, Panozzo and Koroluk were arrested and convicted on similar burglary charges and were sentenced to seven-year prison bits in 2006. A source close to the Grand Avenue crew claims Panozzo also helps Vena, someone he’s very close to, look after the crew’s loan sharking business and that he has a reputation on the city’s Westside as a “tough-as-nails collector.”

One of the street gangs feeding the P-K gang with information on what drug houses to rob was allegedly the C-Notes, according to the Chicago Crime Commission, a longtime “Outfit JV team,” that Vena was once a member of and maintains close ties with.

Retired Chicago PD organized crime investigator Robert McDonald used to keep tabs on Panozzo and Vena in the 1980s.

“We’d watch Lombardo’s young guys and Bobby and Albie were two you always knew weren’t guys you messed with, they were the type of individuals that really enjoyed the work, took pleasure in inflicting pain,” he said. “Lombardo knew there was always room in the Chicago Outfit for guys like that and he made sure they were utilized from a young age.”

 

Article courtesy of Scott M. Burnstein Author of Motor City Mafia: A Century of Organized Crime in Detroit (Images of America) and other great mafia titles.

Chicago Mafia has a new elder statesman

 

Joseph “The Builder” Andriacchi is believed to be the new face of the Chicago Outfit taking over for former mob boss Johnny “No Nose” DiFronzo according to sources. DiFronzo has seen his physical and mental health decline over the last few years forcing him to finally step down as boss of the Chicago mob. Andriacchi filled in for DiFronzo in the early 90′s while he was in prison for several months and has a long history in the Outfit. He is also part of the powerful Cicero Crew of the Chicago crime family.

 

Joseph Andriacchi

“Joseph Andriacchi”

 

The position held in the Outfit today by Andriacchi has changed with time and is no longer a day to day operation type post and more so that of an elder statesman for the crime family. Top ranking Outfit mobsters which now include Albert Vena, Solly DeLaurentis, and James Iandino among others handle daily mob business and act as family advisers and it is unclear if any single Outfit member acts in the traditional role of a mafia boss today. The Outfit ranks have always been handled somewhat differently then other Cosa Nostra families around the country. The new shift in power in the Chicago Outfit will no doubt increase the influence of the Cicero crew among others.

 

The mafia in Chicago has taken its share of hits from law enforcement over the years and has seen the passing of previous bosses like Anthony Accardo , Paul Ricca, and Joseph Aiuppa but still remains a powerful and influential organized crime empire.

 

 

Bonanno family capo Nicky Santora declines plea deal

 

Nicholas “Nicky Mouth” Santora reputed captain in the Bonanno crime family rejected a plea deal offered by prosecutors. If he agreed to plead guilty to one count of enterprise corruption prosecutors he would of been looking at sentencing guidelines of 7-21 years. The deal could of shaved approx a year of the minimal sentence he is going to face if he goes to trial and is found guilty. Defense lawyer Michael Alber said his client did not like the deal being offered and that prosecutors were attempting to link people who don’t even recognize each other except for their time in court.

 

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“From left: Vito Badamo, Ernest Aiello, Anthony Santoro and Nicholas Santora in court.”

 

Nicky Mouth Santora now 71 inspired the character played by Bruno Kirby in the 1997 mafia movie “Donnis Brasco”. He along with eight other mob associates were busted on multiple charges of typical mafia related rackets including loan sharking and drug dealing. Each of the defendants is facing a possible sentence of up to 25 years in prison.

 

Anthony “Skinny” Santoro was also offered a plea deal of 9-18 years in prison if he plead guilty but like his fellow mobster rejected it. It would of been the second longest term behind that offered to Nicky Mouth. Tim Parlatore the defense attorney for Santoro called the offer ridiculous for a non-violent gambling offense. Santora remains behind bars but bond was set at $1 Million dollars.

 

 

Detroit Mafia Godfather Jack Tocco Passes Away

 

Giacomo “Black Jack” Tocco the longtime boss of the Detroit Mafia passed away of natural causes in an unexpected bit of mafia news. Tocco took power of the mob in Detroit back in 1979 and was the longest tenured mafia boss in the country. He was known as a very low key old school style boss who was more intelligent and business savvy then he was violent. Tocco was born into the mob with his dad William “Black Bill” Tocco being one of the founding fathers of the crime family. Black Jack operated behind the scenes and was able to avoid many of the pitfalls of a mafia boss staying out of jail for the majority of his career, except for a 1998 conviction on racketeering charges resulting in an 11 month stay in prison.

 

Giacomo Tocco

Giacomo “Black Jack” Tocco

 

Tocco was long considered a suspect in the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa and then was directly implicated in his disappearance by former Detroit Mafia underboss and his first cousin Anthony “Tony Z” Zerilli. Acting on information supplied by Zerilli the FBI dug up plots of farmland once owned by Tocco back in 2013 hoping to recover Hoffa’s remains.
 

Zerilli claimed that mob underlings informed him that Hoffa was taken out to the property beaten to death with a shovel and buried there. Tony Z was also convicted in 1998 along with Tocco and the two had a falling out which eventually led to him cooperating with the FBI in 2012 leading to the search in 2013. But the dig came up empty and no remains of Hoffa were discovered.

 

Jack Tocco was one of the last remaining links to the mafia of old the Golden Era or the American Mafia of the 60′s through the early 80′s. The Detroit Mafia has just recently began moving into a new era with new leadership but Giacomo was truly one of the last Godfathers.

 

For more information on the history of the Mafia in Detroit check out Motor City Mafia: A Century of Organized Crime in Detroit (Images of America) and other great mafia titles by author Scott M. Burnstein.

 

Stallone to play role of former Colombo mobster Greg Scarpa in upcoming movie

Greg “The Grim Reaper” Scarpa a former capo in the Colombo crime family and FBI informant could be played by Sylvester Stallone in upcoming movie. A screenplay about the life of the infamous mobster by Nick Pileggi who also wrote both Casino and Goodfellas is set to be made into a movie.   It will cover the mafia life of Scarpa and the numerous murders he was involved in along with his career as a top echelon FBI informant. Pileggi called it a fabulous story and according to him Stallone is definitely interested in playing the part of Scarpa. It would be produced by Irwin Winkler of Rocky fame along with Avi Lener, who did The Expendables series.
 

Greg Scarpa

“Greg Scarpa”

 

He was a proven hard core mobster and rose through the ranks of the New York Mafia as part of the Colombo family becoming one of families more powerful capo’s. He ran a crew which included many members who themselves went on to be high ranking Colombo members. His was known for his violence and brutal ways which earned him the nickname “The Grim Reaper”. As the chief enforcer for former Colombo boss Carmine Persico he was responsible for at least three murders during the bloody Colombo family war in the early 1990′s.
 

Besides his life as a made man in the Colombo family Scarpa also led a very interesting life as an informant having had a hand in the famous “Mississippi Burning” case. J. Edgar Hover then the FBI director called upon Scarpa to help find the bodies of the missing civil rights workers down and bring the killers to justice. The Grim Reaper proved to be a good choice as he orchestrated the kidnapping of a member of the local Ku Klux Klan and tortured him for days. According to reports he pulled the Klan members finger nails out and pistol whipped him repeatedly before finally threatening to blow is brains out if he didn’t supply the information he needed.