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July 18, 2019

Philadelphia property raided as U.S., Italian investigators crack down on Mafia

Investigations Mafia
Philadelphia property raided Mafia investigation Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

A Philadelphia property was raided on Wednesday as part of an U.S. and Italian investigation into a Sicilian Mafia clan with ties to the notorious Gambino crime family.

A Philadelphia property among those raided Wednesday as part of a U.S. and Italian investigation into a Sicilian Mafia clan with ties to the notorious Gambino crime family.

FBI agents and Italian police obtained international search warrants and raided properties in Philadelphia, New Jersey, and Staten Island, New York, at the same time as similar raids took place in Palermo, Italy, Reuters reported.

The location of the Philadelphia property involved in the raid had not been released as of early Thursday afternoon. The investigation reportedly focused on the Palermo-based Inzerillo clan and their U.S. allies, the New York-based Gambino family.

Authorities arrested 18 suspects in Italy and one in the United States, officials said Wednesday, and a 20th suspect remains at-large. About 200 U.S and Italian law enforcement officers were involved in the raids.

The Italian suspects face multiple charges, including membership of the Mafia, aggravated extortion, fraud, and "unfair competition," Reuters reported. 

Among those arrested are Salvatore Gambino, mayor of a small town outside of Palermo; Rosario "Sal" Gambino, a former New Jersey resident who was deported to Italy for heroin trafficking; and Thomas Gambino. 

The ties between the Inzerillo and Gambino families run deep. Francesco "Franky Boy" Cali, reported crime boss for the Gambino organization, was born in Sicily and married into the Inzerillo family. Cali fled Italy after the early 1980s Mafia war with the rival Corleone clan, The New York Post reports. After alleged mob boss Salvatore "Toto" Riina died in prison in 2017 the Inzerillo family has reportedly attempted to make a comeback in the region. 

Cali was shot and killed at his home in Staten Island in March, but investigators don't believe Cali's death is tied to the mob, according to the New York Post. Instead, law enforcement agents allege Anthony Comello, 24, shot Cali in revenge for telling his niece not to date the construction worker.

The Gambino crime family has ties to Philadelphia. John Stanfa was introduced to Angelo Bruno, mob boss for the Philadelphia crime family, by the Gambinos. Eleven years after Bruno was shot and killed while sitting in a car outside his South Philadelphia home, Stanfa would become boss in 1991 — a title that was backed by the Gambinos. Stanfa was convicted of racketeering, extortion, loan sharking, murder and conspiracy to commit murder in 1994. He was sentenced to serve five consecutive life sentences. 

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