The following article in
the Journal newspapers of NY supports OSIA contention
that the Mafia is dying out, being replaced by new crime families of different ethnicities.
ALBANIAN MOB FOLLOWS DEMOGRAPHIC SHIFT
By Timothy O'Conner
November 1, 2004
NEW YORK — No organized- crime indictment would be complete, it seems, without the inclusion of the traditional Five Families of New York's Mafia. So it was no surprise to see the Mafia named as rivals and occasional partners of the Albanian mob dubbed the Rudaj Organization in a 44-page indictment unsealed last week in New York.
But the indictment indicated that Mafia members also played roles not often associated with the notoriously violent Five Families: victims.
The indictment includes an alleged episode in which the Rudaj Organization, so named for the man accused of being its kingpin, Alex Rudaj of Yorktown, muscled in on two members of a "competing criminal organization" that "was also involved in controlling and protecting illegal gambling" in Queens. The Mafia members are identified only as "Victim 3" and "Victim 4." The indictment said the Albanian mob instilled a fear of physical violence in their mob victims.
In the past decade, with the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act in one fist and a coterie of mob informants in the other, federal prosecutors have decimated the ranks of New York's Five Families. Throughout that time, other ethnically affiliated organized-crime groups have risen to fill the vacuum created by the pro-secutions. The indictment of 26 people, accused of being members of the organization, marks the first federal prosecution of an alleged Albanian mob in this country.
After announcing the arrests of 24 people accused of being members of the Rudaj Organization, U.S. Attorney David Kelley said the Rudaj Organization was a "large organization that was able to make inroads throughout the city and Westchester in areas that traditionally have been run by the Mafia."
"We've seen over the years groups such as this ... be it Russian or Albanian ... step into the turf of organized crime," Kelley said. "This happens to be the most extensive that we've seen."...
Westchester County District Attorney Jeanine Pirro, whose office started the investigation four years ago that led to last week's federal indictments, said that newer groups are looking to shove aside the hobbled Mafia.
"I think it's a combination of weakening traditional organized crime and the hungrier, more violent criminal organizations that are looking to establish turf," she said Friday. "You've got old-guard crime families who've certainly been broken down somewhat by prosecution in the last couple of decades, and newer criminal enterprises that are looking to take turf from these families."
The Rudaj Organization, called "The Corporation" by its members, started in 1993 in Westchester and spread to the Bronx and Queens, law enforcement officials said. Twenty-six people were indicted last week in connection with racketeering, attempted murder, extortion, gambling and loan-sharking.
Fred Snelling, the agent in charge of the FBI's criminal division in New York, said the organization amounted to a "sixth family."
"They are truly organized in their efforts to bring havoc to this community," Snelling said.
During a bail hearing for one of the two dozen people arrested in the case, Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Treanor said that the Albanian mob had taken over the operations of the Lucchese family in Astoria.
For more than a century, the rise of ethnically affiliated organized-crime groups has coincided with waves of immigration from different areas of Europe, from Irish mobsters in the late 19th century, to Jewish gangsters and the Mafia in the 20th century, to the Russian and Albanian gangs of today.
Noting that several of the defendants indicted in the case are not Albanian, Pirro said that most of the defendants in the case were either native Albanians or first-generation Albanian-Americans.
"There's always someone new who's looking to flex their muscles and fill in the void," she said. "This group in particular is extremely violent and particularly brazen."
Reach Timothy O'Connor at firstname.lastname@example.org or 914-694-3523.
mob follows demographic shift