Criminal charges were filed this week against Christopher Londonio and Terrance Caldwell with federal offenses related to their alleged role in the November 15, 2013, murder of Michael Meldish.
Also for their participation in a long-running racketeering conspiracy composed of leaders, members, and associates of La Cosa Nostra, also known as the “Mafia.”
Londonio and Caldwell are charged with racketeering conspiracy, conspiracy to commit murder, murder, and firearms offenses.
Caldwell is also charged with assault and attempted murder in aid of racketeering, in connection with his alleged role in the shooting of a Bonanno Family member on May 29, 2013.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “The mob continues to kill and maim in the name of La Cosa Nostra, and as alleged, Christopher Londonio and Terrance Caldwell did just that. In a misguided show of allegiance to this violent way of life, Londonio and Caldwell allegedly murdered Michael Meldish and attempted to kill a Bonanno Family soldier. “
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. said: “Hollywood and popular fiction almost romanticize the mob, so much so the general public may not know it exists in real life anymore. However, the crimes members are accused of taking part in are violent and all too real for their victims. The men charged in this case allegedly committed murder, robbery, dealing illegal drugs and extortion to only name a few. “
According to the allegations in the Indictment, which was filed in White Plains federal court on Feb. 8:
- La Cosa Nostra is composed of leaders, members, and associates who work together and coordinate to engage in a multitude of criminal activities. La Cosa Nostra operates through entities known as “Families.”
- In the New York City area, those families include the Genovese, Gambino, Luchese, Bonanno, Colombo, and Decavalcante Families.
- Each Family operates through groups of individuals known as “crews” and “regimes.” Each “crew” has as its leader a person known as a “Caporegime,” “Capo,” “Captain,” or “Skipper,” who is responsible for supervising the criminal activities of his crew and providing “Soldiers” and associates with support and protection.
- The Capo typically receives a share of the illegal earnings of each of his crew’s Soldiers and associates, which is sometimes referred to as Atribute.
Each crew consists of “made” members, sometimes known as “Soldiers,” “wiseguys,” “friends of ours,” and “good fellows.”
- Soldiers are aided in their criminal endeavors by other trusted individuals, known as “associates,” who sometimes are referred to as “connected” or identified as “with” a Soldier or other member of the Family.
- Associates participate in the various activities of the crew and its members.
- In order for an associate to become a made member of the Family, the associate must first be of Italian descent and typically needs to demonstrate the ability to generate income for the Family and/or the willingness to commit acts of violence.
- From in or about 2011 up to and including in or about 2017, Londonio and Caldwell, along with other members and associates of La Cosa Nostra, committed a wide range of crimes, including murder, attempted murder, assault, robbery, extortion, gambling, and narcotics trafficking.
In particular, on May 29, 2013, Caldwell attempted to murder a Bonanno Soldier in the vicinity of First Avenue and 111th Street, in Manhattan, according to officials.
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