The feds continued to add charges to the racketeering case against New York Mafia associate Peter Tuccio.
But the reason behind the feds hard press could be his relationship with Philadelphia Mafia boss Joey Merlino. The 27-year-old Tuccio reportedly has links to both the Gambino and Lucchese crime families. He is the nephew of Lucchese family capo Joseph DeSena. Back in 2017, he began to pop up alongside Merlino accompanying him to court in Manhattan when he was on trial. According to reports he also made trips with Skinny Joey to Philly and North Jersey. During his trips, he had a chance to mingle with some of the elite in the Philly Mafia. It’s still unclear as to exactly what the relationship is between Merlino and Tuccio, perhaps it has more to do with the relations between the mafia in New York and Merlino.
“Joey Merlino and Peter Tuccio”
Peter Tuccio is accused of collecting street tax from a Queens restaurant owner. The pizza parlor was being shaken down by Gambino capo Ignazio (Uncle Iggy) Alonga according to the indictment. He ordered the New York Mafia associates to torch the victim’s car in an effort to intimidate him into paying. The arson attack was a complete mess as one of the mob associates Gino Gabrielli was captured on security camera footage lighting the car on fire. That’s not all the associate’s pant leg accidentally caught fire as he tried to flee.
Shortly after the arson attack took place Gabrielli and Tuccio were captured on surveillance video entering a local hospital. They were charged with arson conspiracy, extortion and extortion conspiracy and using fire to commit a felony. Gabrielli has already agreed to plead guilty. The superseding indictment filed by the feds last month added an additional extortion via arson charge along with with loan sharking charges.
Merlino was caught working alongside members of the Cosa Nostra families in New York in the East Coast LCN case back in 2016. Joey also has links to the Lucchese crime family through another wiseguy pal Lucchese soldier Joseph (Little Joe) Perna. His dad Ralph Perna runs the New Jersey faction of the Lucchese family. So there are plenty of theories floating around as to why a young mob associate would be in such good standing with the leader of the Mafia in Philadelphia.
This has seemingly also piqued the interest of the feds who could see Peter Tuccio as a way to potentially target Merlino. Joey pretty much beat the wrap in the East Coast LCN case eventually pleading guilty to a minor gambling charge doing only a few months in prison. The feds have always had a hard-on for Merlino and after that last fiasco, they may be looking to take another stab at putting him behind bars for good. Perhaps he has information that they think could be used against the flamboyant Philly mob boss.
These additional charges would give the feds some added leverage if they intended to try and get the young mafia associate to flip. If Peter Tuccio is found guilty he is facing a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison. He is currently free on bond and seemingly lying low. It will be very interesting to see how this one plays and out if his recent relationship with Merlino garners any attention if he makes it to trial.