Police Say They Bust Organized Crime Murder Plan
MIAMI (AP) _ A reputed leader of the Gambino organized crime family and four men described by police as mob ″soldiers″ have been arrested in Florida and New Jersey on charges they planned to execute two people, authorities announced Saturday.
″This essentially was an attempt to set up a classic mob hit,″ said FBI Agent Bill Perry. ″This one was nipped in the bud. We don’t know if it is a war, revenge or an attempt at keeping somebody silent.″
All five men were arrested Friday night and charged with conspiracy to commit murder. Federal agents, in related arrests, also rounded up four people on drug charges Friday night and early Saturday.
The five were arrested after police using wiretaps uncovered a plan to kill two people in the New York area, said Arthur Nehrbass, head of of the Metro- Dade Police Department’s Organized Crime Bureau.
Joseph Paterno, 51, who police said was a mid-level manager in the Gambino clan of New York, was arrested Friday night as he stepped away from a telephone booth in Miami Beach, Nehrbass said.
The other four charged with murder conspiracy were arrested by the FBI about the same time at or near Newark International Airport, authorities said.
They were identified by police as Frank Anthony Basto, 48, of Belleville, N.J., one of Paterno’s ″enforcers″; Carl Joseph Palo Jr., 62, of Fort Lee, N.J.; Martin Louis Carbone, 59, of Bloomfield, N.J., and Thomas Vincent Ignizio, 47, of North Miami Beach.
Authorities allege Paterno ordered the four men to murder two people.
But FBI Agent Bill Perry said federal agents did not know the identities of the two people they believe were targets of assassins.
″We haven’t developed a motive for the two murders,″ said Nehrbass. ″But the four soldiers were probably contacted to make the hit by Paterno sometime Thursday after he’d determined the victims would be alone Saturday or Sunday.″
At the time of his arrest, Ignizio had a .22-caliber pistol with a silencer, police said.
Perry said Florida and New Jersey authorities learned of the alleged murder plot through surveillance surrounding a nine-month U.S. Secret Service investigation into an alleged Gambino scheme to sell counterfeit credit cards.
In the other arrests, Secret Service agents in Florida apprehended Thomas Molinaro, 57, of Miami Beach, late Friday on credit-card fraud and drug trafficking charges, and Federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents Friday night and Saturday morning rounded up Willie O’Bront, 61, of Miami Beach, a convicted drug dealer, Carol J. Turner, 44, of Miami, and Archie Stott, 72, of North Miami, authorities said.
O’Bront, Ms. Turner and Stott were charged with drug trafficking conspiracy, and Nehrbass said the three had ties to the Gambino family.