FBI Arrest 18 in Organized Crime Raids
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) _ The FBI conducted a sweep of organized crime figures across Connecticut early Monday, arresting 18 people on charges ranging from gambling to violating the federal anti-racketeering act, authorities said.
The arrests took place in Bridgeport, Fairfield, Stratford and Trumbull, and a 19th person is being sought.
The arrests capped a two-year investigation into members of the Vito Genovese organized crime family, which the FBI says is based in New York and runs a crime orgnization in Connecticut.
One of the people arrested Monday on federal gambling charges is Thomas Lanese, 42, of Fairfield, a carpenter employed by Bridgeport’s Public Works Department.
Bridgeport Mayor Thomas W. Bucci immediately suspended Lanese with pay after being told of the arrest and said he would meet with other town officials to determine if Lanese should be suspended without pay.
All 18 of the people arrested were released on bail following hearings before U.S. Magistrate Thomas P. Smith. A hearing will be held Dec. 13 to determine if there was probable cause for the arrests.
Several of the people arrested were charged with conspiring to violate the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, which includes any criminal act that continues over several years.
The investigation included five months of court-authorized electronic surveillance, said William A. Keefer, prosecutor for the U.S. Justice Department’s Organized Crime and Racketeering Strike Force.
Search-and-seizure warrants also were used and information provided by a ″number of cooperating witnesses,″ he said.