CNN -- The mafia has traditionally maintained respect for women and children, but allegations the Gambino crime family was involved in underage prostitution may mean the last vestiges of mob reverence are gone, authorities said. To some observers, seeing a woman among the defendants in a federal indictment, unsealed Tuesday, was just as shocking as charges the syndicate was peddling teens to customers in New Jersey and three New York boroughs.
Suzanne Porcelli, 43, was the only female among 14 reputed Gambino crime family members and associates indicted on charges including racketeering, murder, sex trafficking of a minor, extortion and drug trafficking. Thirteen defendants, including Porcelli, entered not guilty pleas Tuesday, according to the U.
Fifteen FBI agents showed up at the door of the single mother's home in Brooklyn to arrest her at 6 a. Tuesday, said her lawyer, Vincent Romano.
She was released on bond. Porcelli's name appears only six times in the document detailing a litany of accusations against suspected members and associates of the Gambino crime family.
The list runs the gamut from murder to OxyContin trafficking to defrauding high-end restaurants with inflated invoices for meat orders. Read about the charges against the 14 accused.
Porcelli is charged with four counts in a sex trafficking ring involving some underaged girls, and not for charges of murder or racketeering-related activity. Obviously she's not a member or associate of any crime family. She's charged in a very limited conduct in the indictment," Romano said.
However slight her alleged role, having a woman caught up in an underage prostitution ring with the Gambino crime family marks a turn for the worse in organized crime, said Joe Coffey, a former commanding officer of the New York Police Department's organized crime unit. Porcelli's name appears alongside the likes of year-old Daniel Marino, a longtime member and current Gambino family boss, according to court documents.
Porcelli is also accused of working with alleged Gambino family soldier Thomas Orefice, who is accused of a "staggering crime spree" related to most of the criminal enterprises in the indictment. Porcelli faces four charges, including sex trafficking and sex trafficking of a minor, for her alleged role in an interstate sex trafficking ring in and Orefice is accused of devising and executing the business plan for the prostitution ring, in which underage girls, including at least one year-old, were offered up to paying customers in Manhattan, Brooklyn, New Jersey and Staten Island, according to court documents.
The defendants advertised their service on Craigslist and other websites, and had customers call a phone line operated by Porcelli to arrange appointments, the documents state.
Sex and drugs are nothing new to organized crime, says Coffey, but their expanding prominence within day-to-day operations reflects the weakening mores of the mafia and society. Although they've always been ruthless, greedy, unlawful, murderous, they always had a certain amount of respect, i.
A law enforcement crackdown in the s and s targeting organized crime's leadership left a power vacuum that has been filled by leaders with a greater appetite for sex and drugs, he said. Share this on:.
Among the defendants in a federal indictment unsealed Tuesday was year-old Suzanne Porcelli. Timeline: Gambino crime family. Most Popular. Fine art from an iPhone?
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