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Early AM ‘Springfield Crew’ Sweep Nets Four Mobsters for Gambling, Extortion

Written by:
Guest
Published on:
Aug/04/2016

  • Charges include federal gambling, extortion, and loan-sharking
  • One of the four men arrested works as an extermination specialist
  • Another of the mobsters used his parents home for weekly sit-downs related to a gambling and loan-sharking ring and was once caught on wire tap discussing “outstanding debts”
  • Another of the mobsters described by a judge as being “not very bright” was once president of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Society Club and had previously entered a plea deal in connection to a home invasion

State and federal investigators nabbed four men Springfield, Massachusetts men tied to New York’s Genovese Crime Family during the early morning hours Thursday.

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The men – members of the so-called “Springfield Crew” – have been charged with federal gambling, extortion, and loan-sharking.

Those arrested include Ralph “Ralphie” A. Santaniello, Gerald Daniele, Giovanni "Johnny" Calabrese and Frank Depergola.

All four were expected to be transported to U.S. District Court later this morning for initial appearances or arraignments.

The arrests follow a two-year investigation by the Massachusetts State Police Special Services Section; the Hampden County District Attorney's Office and the FBI.

Calabrese works in name as a Braman extermination specialist for a family business and often makes extortionate collections in a company car, according to court documents.  The other three reportedly have long standing ties in the criminal underworld.

Santaniello, of Springfield, utilized his parents home for weekly sit-downs related to a gambling and loan-sharking ring.  In 2005, he was nabbed for holding "accounting meetings" on outstanding debts after being caught on federal wire tapping at the home and charged for his his role in a gaming and loan-sharking ring that grossed $500,000.

According to Mass Live, he has enjoyed the role of the ad hoc leader of the Springfield Crew, bolstered by his father, Amedeo Santaniello, a one-time right hand of slain Springfield mob boss Adolfo “Big Al” Bruno.

Daniele, of Longmeadow, was once president of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Society Club and once pleaded guilty to home invasion in 1993.

"I don't think he's bright enough to see a good thing," a judge told the prosecutor during a plea hearing at the time.

Public records also show he has prior drug and assault records out of Florida. He has also been the subject of several restraining orders.

One time restaurant owner Depergola was the sole witness in the 2003 murder of Bruno and served two years in a federal prison for strong-arming a pizza shop owner over a gambling debt.

Bruno's killers and their co-conspirators were prosecuted between 2005 and 2011 with some serving life sentences.  The Springfield Crew has been in disarray ever since according to authorities.

- Jagajeet Chiba, Gambling911.com

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