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5:37 am
Thu January 17, 2013

FBI Arrests Dozens In Garbage Pickup Case

Originally published on Thu January 17, 2013 11:11 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Some other news. Thirty-two people from New York and New Jersey are charged with using threats of violence to control garbage pickup routes.

Authorities say many have ties to the mob, as NPR's Joel Rose reports.

JOEL ROSE, BYLINE: Organized crime has a long history of infiltrating the trash collection business in New York and New Jersey. It's also the official family business of America's most famous TV gangster, Tony Soprano.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE SOPRANOS")

JAMES GANDOLFINI: (as Tony Soprano) I'm in the waste management business. Everybody immediately assumes you're mobbed up. It's a stereotype and it's offensive.

ROSE: But federal prosecutors say there's still some truth to the cliche. Early Wednesday morning, the FBI arrested dozens of men with nicknames like Papa Smurf, Muzzy, Tony Lodi and Big Bill.

The indictment claims that a dozen of them are associated with the Genevieve, Gambino and Lucchese crime families. Some had been banned from the waste management business because of prior convictions. They're charged with using threats of violence and other strong arm tactics to control and extort trash hauling companies in the suburbs of New York City.

In one incident, prosecutors say two of the defendants didn't think they were getting paid fast enough, so they stole a garbage truck and kept it until they got their money.

Joel Rose, NPR News, New York. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.