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7 plead not guilty in NYC mob crackdown

Anthony Santoro (left) and Vito Badano were among the reputed mobsters facing charges Tuesday in New York.

Associated Press

Anthony Santoro (left) and Vito Badano were among the reputed mobsters facing charges Tuesday in New York.

NEW YORK — Nine reputed members of the Bonanno crime family were charged in an indictment unsealed Tuesday with what prosecutors called old-school mob activity: gambling, loan sharking, extortion, and drugs.

A two-year investigation dismantled one crew of the family, including a captain, two capos, a soldier, and several associates, two of whom were members of an International Brotherhood of Teamsters local union, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said.

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Vance said that prosecutors have done such a good job taking down the mob in the past that it may seem like they’re no longer a threat. ‘‘Many mistakenly believe that the mob has disappeared entirely except if you watch HBO,’’ he said, referring to ‘‘The Sopranos.’’ “But we know in fact this is not the case.’’

Manhattan prosecutors said the defendants, including the former president of Local 917, were accused of using their union positions to solicit members as clients for their criminal enterprises, including online gambling and drugs. They were also accused of gun possession.

The suspected captain, Nicholas ‘‘Nicky Mouth’’ Santora, was sentenced in December to two years behind bars in a separate mob case in Brooklyn federal court.

Seven of the suspects pleaded not guilty Tuesday, and their lawyers said they were innocent of the charges and would make bail. The eighth was expected to appear Wednesday, and prosecutors weren’t sure when Santora, who’s imprisoned in Pennsylvania, would appear.

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