A member of the Gambino organized crime family was sentenced to life without parole for racketeering charges that span more than thee decades.
Bartolomeo Vernace was found guilty of all nine racketeering acts, a 1981 double homicide, heroin trafficking, robbery and illegal gambling.
“For more than four decades, the defendant dedicated his life to committing crimes for the mafia. He rose through the ranks to become a powerful Gambino family leader by making money from crime and committing brutal acts of violence, including the 1981 murders of two innocent bar owners over a spilled drink. Though they were taken from their families long ago, Richard Godkin and John D’Agnese—two businessmen who also ran the local Boys’ Club—have not been forgotten,” U.S. Attorney Lynch said. “We hope the victims’ families are able to take some measure of comfort from the fact that, with this life sentence, one of the killers has now been brought to justice.”
“After more than 33 years evading justice, Bartolomeo ‘Bobby Glasses’ Vernace can hide no more. Vernace made a life of being a key player in the Gambino crime family where his activities led to his convictions for heroin trafficking, robbery, loansharking, gambling, and firearms, as well the vicious double murder. Today’s life sentence ensures the rest of Bobby Glasses’s life will only be seen inside of a federal facility,” added FBI Assistant Director in Charge Venizelos.
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The Rev. Al Sharpton lashed out at critics who are calling him a rat for helping the FBI go after Mafia figures in the 1980s.
At a news conference in Harlem, Sharpton said he “did what was right” when he helped an FBI task force – the “Genovese Squad” – pursue violent mafia members, the New York Daily News reports.
“I was not and am not a rat because I wasn’t with the rats,” he said. “I’m a cat. I chase rats.”
Sharpton said he approached the feds only because his life was threatened by mobsters and had no idea feds were referring to him as an informant.
I don’t know none of that,” Sharpton said. “I know I was threatened. I did what anybody would do…other than a thug. And I cooperated.”
An anti-mafia raid is targeting more than 40 people in the U.S. and Europe, CNN reports.
The operation, “New Bridge,” led to the arrests of 17 people in Italy and seven in New York. They are accused of international drug-trafficking and organized crime.
The operation was coordinated by the Italian national anti-mafia body.
One of the targets is the Calabria mafia, known as the Ndrangheta, which is responsible for drug trafficking between South and Central America, Canada, the United States and Italy.