Federal agents arrest scores of Mafia leaders - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Federal agents arrest scores of Mafia leaders

NEW YORK (NBC) - Federal agents arrested dozens of suspected mafia members in several states before daybreak Thursday on charges that range from murder to extortion and gambling.

By 8 a.m., most of the 127 suspected members or associates of mafia crime families in New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island had been processed and formally charged with crimes that went back decades.

"Today's arrests mark an important and encouraging step forward in disrupting La Cosa Nostra's operations," said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

Holder said some of those arrested are accused of extortion, racketeering and murder, include classic mob hits against rivals, as well as senseless killings.

"Two other murder victims allegedly were shot in a public bar because of a dispute over a spilled drink," Holder said.

The arrests followed a pre-dawn staging at Fort Hamilton Army base in Brooklyn.

Carried out with military precision, heavily armed agents suited up in urban assault gear then headed out before daybreak.

Eight-hundred agents were used in what has been called the biggest, single-day mafia round-up ever.

The arrests are expected to weaken mob activity, but Holder says the goal is to eradicate it.

Others warn the mafia's resilience has made eradication impossible, at least so far.

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