Thirteen suspected mobsters in Philadelphia were charged with the Department of Justice on Monday with illegal gambling, loan-sharking, witness-tampering and other illegal acts long associated with organized crime.
The 13 include Philadelphia crime boss Joseph Ligambi, underboss Joseph Massimino and nine other mob members and associates who were arrested Monday morning by FBI agents and local law enforcement officers, Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer, head of the DOJ’s Criminal Division, said at a Philadelphia news conference. The remaining two defendants are already in prison.
The action announced Monday, which Breuer described as one of the largest such moves in a decade, follows the arrests of dozens of suspected mobsters across the Northeast during the winter.
“The life of a traditional ‘mobster’ has been dramatized in the movies and on TV,” Breuer said. ” But there is nothing entertaining about violence in our communities. There is nothing endearing about lives spent pursuing criminal activity. And there is no excuse or honor in favoring allegiance to a crime family over the rule of law.”
The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Zane David Memeger, said the indictment on which the latest charges is based illustrated the “systematic manner in which the organized crime family has sustained itself,” according to an account on The Philadelphia Inquirer website.
Breuer acknowledged that the Philadelphia mob “has shown a remarkable ability to reorganize and reinvigorate itself, even as its members were sent to prison.” But the mob’s pursuers are not discouraged, Breuer said: “We are not going away.”