Jerry Capeci is considered a mob expert. He’s the founder and editor of the paid subscription website Gang Land News. This article was republished with permission.
By Jerry Capeci
Anthony Zoccolillo’s role as a co-star of the short-lived Mama’s Boys of the Bronx reality TV show was pretty much a flop.
But there was applause all around for the former Genovese crime family associate-turned super snitch at his sentencing last month. Surrounded by dozens of FBI agents, NYPD detectives and very happy family members, a smiling but moisteyed Zoccolillo walked out of Manhattan Federal Court and breathed free fresh air for the first time in 18 months.
His best review came from Judge Richard Sullivan who praised him for “truly extraordinary” undercover work following his arrest on drug dealing charges and sentenced Zoccolillo to “time served.”
In January, Gang Land dubbed Zoccolillo The Most Effective Mob Turncoat Of 2014. Federal prosecutor Rebecca Mermelstein said he was he even better than that. She credited him with giving her the crucial evidence to obtain six indictments against 14 mobsters and drug dealers, and dubbed Zoccolillo the best cooperating witness she had seen in her five years as an assistant U.S. Attorney.
“This is, without a doubt, the cooperator who has offered the most substantial assistance,” Mermelstein said of Zoccolillo. She submitted a list of 27 gangsters, including 13 members of a violent Bronx-based Albanian gang who pleaded guilty to drug, weapons and other charges rather than face the former Mama’s Boy on the witness stand.
“He did it from the very beginning” when he “worked proactively to make hundreds of in-person telephone recordings,” she said. “Unlike many people, he never withheld anything. He never got caught minimizing anything. He came forward immediately and did the right thing.”
The sentencing documents, and a transcript of the proceeding, which took place May 1, were sealed until this week. Judge Sullivan ordered them unsealed following a Gang Land pro se motion that cited the public’s common law and First Amendment right to open court proceedings. Zoccolillo, as Gang Land first disclosed two years ago, flipped on the same day he was arrested — February 20, 2013.
He quickly snared Genovese mobster Salvatore (Sally KO) Larca and three others on tape as they conspired to buy thousands of pounds of marijuana in northern California and distribute it in New York. Larca was buying the high-grade weed for $1500 a pound and selling it for $4000 a pound.