Reputed Genovese Mob Capo Cooperating with FedsJOHN M. DOYLE , Associated Press
Mar. 21, 1987 7:17 AM ET
NEW YORK (AP) _ A reputed high-ranking member of the Genovese crime family turned informant and even acted as an undercover agent in a drug investigation that led to three arrests, federal prosecutors say.
According to papers filed Friday at federal court in Manhattan, the cooperation of Vincent ''Fish'' Cafaro, resulted in the arrests of three men Thursday on drug conspiracy and heroin trafficking charges.
An affidavit filed with the court said Cafaro ''contacted the government to explore the possibility of becoming a cooperating witness'' last September and began cooperating with prosecutors' ongoing investigation into organized crime in New York in mid-October.
U.S. Attorney Rudolph Giuliani described Cafaro, 53, of the Bronx, as ''the highest-ranking mob figure in New York who has agreed to cooperate'' with authorities.
Giuliani said it would be ''inappropriate at this time'' to characterize the significance of Cafaro's defection from the Mafia code of silence.
William Doran, head of the criminal division in the FBI's New York office, said that ''anytime anyone cooperates, it's important.''
Cafaro is one of 16 alleged members and associates of the Genovese crime family, including his son, Thomas, 28, charged in a federal racketeering case scheduled to go to trial April 6.
The lead defendant in the case is Anthony ''Fat Tony'' Salerno, 75, who was convicted last November as part of the ''commission'' that has ruled the American Mafia since Prohibition. Salerno and the heads of the Colombo and Lucchese crime families were sentenced to 100-year prison terms.
The 40-count indictment accused the defendants of bid-rigging in New York's construction industry, loansharking and fraudulent intervention in the election of Teamsters' President Jackie Presser.
Giuliani said Cafaro, who is in federal protective custody, and his son are still defendants in the case but refused to say whether the elder Cafaro would plead guilty and testify.
He would not speculate on the reasons for Cafaro's cooperation.
According to a complaint filed Friday, Salvatore ''Sallie'' Larca, 43; Ralph ''The General'' Tutino, 58; and Leoluca ''Leo'' Guarino, 51; were charged with conspiring to distribute heroin and heroin distribution.
They were accused of selling one kilogram of uncut, 88 percent-pure heroin to Cafaro last Dec. 27 for $210,000. The trio was arrested after selling another kilo of heroin to Cafaro Thursday, officials said.
They were ordered detained until a bail hearing Wednesday. The three face a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum life sentence if convicted on the distribution counts. They also face up to $4 million in fines.