Search Results for '2012'

High-ranking prison gang member among three arrested in 2012 San Jose slaying

| April 12, 2013 | 0 Comments

8790061_600x338SAN JOSE — Police on Wednesday announced the arrest of three men believed to be responsible for a gang-related shooting last summer — including a high-ranking member of a prison gang who was already in custody on federal racketeering charges, according to court documents.
Working with Red Bluff and Tehama County authorities, San Jose investigators located Josef Ryan Oakes, 24, in Red Bluff and arrested him April 2 in connection with the slaying of Martin Chacon, a shooting on Aug. 13 that marked the first of eight killings in an especially violent 11-day period last year.
Two other suspects in the case, Alberto Jose Larez, 44, also of Red Bluff, and Angel Kiko Martinez, 30, of San Jose, were already in custody on unrelated state and federal matters when the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office filed murder charges against them in Chacon’s case.
A federal indictment filed against Larez in November lists seven counts, including conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering. Court documents state that by 2011, Larez was a regiment commander in the Nuestra Familia prison gang who trafficked drugs and groomed younger Norteno gang members and put them to work committing crimes.
It states that Larez, along with five other parties unrelated to the San Jose case, “agreed together and with each other to kill actual and suspected members of rival gangs, individuals suspected of cooperating with law enforcement, and individuals

who defied the will of Nuestra Familia” in order to move up in the gang.
Chacon, 38, was found slumped over in the driver’s seat of a white Chevrolet Impala parked on Charles Street off Oakland Road in north San Jose about 1:40 p.m. He had been shot once and was pronounced dead at the scene.
That same day, a popular homeless woman was stabbed to death in a bizarre sword attack on San Carlos Street and a 21-year-old was shot in a drive-by on Denair Avenue. He died at the hospital two days later.
It was the start of a violent stretch that tallied eight homicides — half believed to be gang related — as well as a number of nonfatal shootings. It was followed by a six-week reprieve with no homicides until early October, when three people were killed in four days.
The city ended 2012 with 46 homicides, the most in 20 years. So far, there have been 11 homicides in San Jose this year.


China loses US$46B to cybercrime in 2012

| January 29, 2013 | 0 Comments

Many cybercrime victims in China do not report their cases as the losses are small and not thought worthy of involving the police.

Many cybercrime victims in China do not report their cases as the losses are small and not thought worthy of involving the police.

Summary: Country chalks up a loss of 289 billion yuan to activities such as fraud and information theft, even though public security agencies investigated more than 118,000 Internet-related crimes last year.

Online crimes such as fraud and personal information theft have cost China 289 billion yuan (US$46.4 billion) in 2012, but the lack of legal support makes it tough for local authorities to reduce the losses.

Citing a study by the People’s Public Security University of China on Internet crimes in the country, Global Times reported Tuesday that local public security departments investigated more than 118,000 Internet crimes last year, with many cases involving multiple victims.

The study noted an average of 700,000 Internet users in China are victims of cybercrime each day. However, many victims do not report the crime as the cases may involve only small amounts of money and are thought not worthy of involving the authorities, it added.

Topping the list of online crimes, according to number of victims and money involved, are fraud, prostitution, pyramid selling and personal information theft, it stated.

Legal support lacking
However, local law enforcement agencies have their hands tied in fighting onlline crimes given the lack of legal support, the study revealed. Global Times said while China passed a regulation at the end of 2012 to strengthen information protection, a comprehensive law on Internet crimes is still badly needed.

Wei Yongzheng, professor at the People’s Public Security University and lead author of the report, told the online news site that Internet crimes are normally prosecuted using existing criminal laws but these are only vaguely related to Web-based offenses and not entirely practical.

Wei said: “For example, if hackers attack the Web site of a financial organization and transfer money, there are no laws pinpointing the parties responsible during the Internet invasion. It is unclear whether the hacker, the bank’s Web site or any other related party should shoulder some responsibilities for the crime.”

Chinese authorities have been ramping up Web policing efforts since March 2012. In mid-October, the Ministry of Public Security said it solved 4,400 Internet-related cases while busting 700 cybercriminal gangs and arrested 8,900 suspects.


Mafia Family Charts & Leadership 2012/13

| January 14, 2013 | 0 Comments
Mafia Family Charts & Leadership 2012/13
Gambino Family Chart & Leadership 2012/13

Boss: Domenico “Italian Dom” Cefalu Underboss: Francesco “Franky Boy” Cali Consigliere: Bartolomeo “Bobby Glasses” Vernace (IP,UI) New Jersey Crew Boss: Nicholas “Nicky Mita” Mitarotonda

Gambino Family Chart & Leadership 2012/13

Gambino Family Chart & Leadership 2012/13

Columbo Family Chart & Leadership 2012/13

Boss: Carmine “Junior/The Snake” Persico (Life IP) Acting Boss: Alphonse “Allie Boy” Persico (Life IP) Street Boss: Andrew “Andy Mush” Russo (IP,UI) Underboss: John “Sonny” Franzese (IP) Acting Underboss: Dominick “Donnie Shacks” Montemarano Consigliere: Richard “Ritchie Nerves” Fusco (IP) Acting Consigliere: Thomas “Tom Mix/Mr. T” Farese

Columbo Family Chart & Leadership 2012/13

Columbo Family Chart & Leadership 2012/13

Genovese Family Chart & Leadership 2012/13

Boss: Unknown Acting Boss: Daniel “Danny the Lion” Leo (IP) Street Boss: Liborio “Barney” Bellomo Underboss: Venero “Benny Eggs” Mangano Consigliere: Dominick “Quiet Dom” Cirillo New Jersey Crew Boss: Unknown

Genovese Family Chart & Leadership 2012/13

Genovese Family Chart & Leadership 2012/13

Bonnano Family Chart & Leadership 2012/13

Boss(unofficial): Vincent “Vinny Gorgeous” Basciano (Life IP) Acting Boss: Vincent “Vinny T.V.” Badalamenti (IP) Underboss: Nicholas “Nicky Mouth” Santora (IP) Consigliere: Anthony “T.G.” Graziano (IP) Acting Consigliere: Anthony “Fat Tony” Rabito New Jersey Crew Boss: Joseph Sammartino Sr.

Bonnano Family Chart & Leadership 2012/13

Bonnano Family Chart & Leadership 2012/13

Lucchese Family Chart & Leadership 2012/13

Boss: Steven “Stevie Wonder/Herbie” Crea Underboss: Unknown Consigliere: Joseph “Joe C.” Caridi New Jersey Crew Boss: Michael “Mad Dog” Taccetta (IP) Acting Jersey Crew Boss: Ralph Vito Perna (UI)

Lucchese Family Chart & Leadership 2012/13

Lucchese Family Chart & Leadership 2012/13

Kansas Family Chart & Leadership 2012/13

Boss: John Sciortino UnderBoss: Peter Simone Consigliere: “unknown”

Kansas Family Chart & Leadership 2012/13

Kansas Family Chart & Leadership 2012/13

NJ Decavalcante Family Chart & Leadership 2012/13

Boss: Giovanni “John the Eagle/Uncle John” Riggi (IP) -Acting Boss: Francesco “Frank” Guarraci UnderBoss: Joseph Miranda Consiglieri: Stefano “Steve the Truck Driver” Vitabile (IP) Acting Consiglieri: “unknown”

NJ Decavalcante Family Chart & Leadership 2012/13

NJ Decavalcante Family Chart & Leadership 2012/13

New England Family Chart & Leadership 2012/13

Boss: Anthony “Tony” DiNunzio/52 (UI) UnderBoss: “unknown” Consiglieri: Carmen “The Cheese Man” DiNunzio (IP/2015)

New England Family Chart & Leadership 2012/13

New England Family Chart & Leadership 2012/13

Philadelphia Family Chart & Leadership 2012/13

Boss – Joseph “Uncle Joe” Ligambi (UI)/Joey Merlino (?) Acting Boss – Steve Mazzone Underboss – Joseph “Mousie” Massimino (UI) Acting Underboss – “unknown” Consigliere – George Borgesi (UI) Acting Consigliere – “unknown”)

Philadelphia Family Chart & Leadership 2012/13

Philadelphia Family Chart & Leadership 2012/13

Cleveland Family Chart & Leadership 2012/13

Boss: Joseph “Joe Loose” Lacobacci Acting Boss: Russell “RJ” Papalardo Underboss: “unknown” Consigliere: “unknown”

Cleveland Family Chart & Leadership 2012/13

Cleveland Family Chart & Leadership 2012/13

Boss: Giacomo “Black Jack” Tocco Underboss: Joseph “Joe Hooks” Mirabile Consiglieri: Dominic “Uncle Dom” Bommarito Counselor Emeritus: Antonino “Tony the Exterminator” Ruggirello Street Boss: Jack “Jackie the Kid/ Jackie the Bathrobe” Giacalone Street Counselor: Allen “The General” Hilf
Detroit Family Chart & Leadership 2012/13

Detroit Family Chart & Leadership 2012/13


Chinese Mafia ‘Setting Brothels in Nairobi’

| August 1, 2013 | 0 Comments

nairobi-prostitutesThe dreaded Chinese mafia appears to be setting base in Nairobi as the Asian giant increases its local investments, The Nairobian has reliably learnt.

Our inquiries indicate that the global criminal syndicate is targeting the growing Chinese population and businesses in Kenya. All over the world, the Chinese mafia is known to be involved in human trafficking, prostitution, loan-sharking, gambling, murder and gun smuggling.

It also claims to offer protection to Chinese abroad for a fee. They are a sophisticated and dangerous group, whose influence cannot be ignored.

“Some of my friends in the Hurlingham area say they have been approached by characters offering to get lucrative deals for them and offer protection. I’m also aware they are setting up brothels that exclusively have trafficked Chinese women to service their citizens in Nairobi,” says a Chinese businessman, who did not wish to be named.

Our source believes that even though there have not been widespread reports of such organised criminal enterprises in Nairobi, there are fears that the few that are operating in Kenya could be setting up the foundation for something bigger. He says some of the suspected criminals have unique tattoos that identified them.

If confirmed, the supposed presence of the Chinese Mafia in Kenya’s capital dovetails into a trend elsewhere in the world where the group sets up base in cities with growing Chinese populations and investments. Crooked businessmen from the Asian countries operating abroad do not usually mind working in concert with the criminals.

A security expert, who spoke to The Nairobian on condition of anonymity, also alleged that the increased poaching could be linked to Chinese criminal gangs. In the first six months of 2013 more than 7.5 tonnes of ivory was seized in Kenya, more than was seized in all of 2012.

In the recent past, many Chinese nationals have been arrested attempting to smuggle ivory out of Kenya. Many more are said to have successfully shipped out such precious, but illegal, commodities.

The Chinese embassy in Kenya has denied claims that their citizens are involved in crime and distanced the Asian country from the rising levels of poaching.

Chinese gangs, who are also known as the Yellow Mafia or the Chinese Triads, refer to the conglomerate of criminal syndicates concealed within Chinese communities around the world. The Chinese Triads are collectively known as the ‘Dark Society’ or ‘Black Society’, and share similarities with the Russian mafia, Italian mafia and the Japanese Yakuza.

Concerns about the Chinese Triads are not only limited to Kenya. Researchers have pointed out that Chinese organised criminal entities operate in virtually every African state, especially where there is a sea coast and a mining or extractive industry. Chinese gangs are the major buyers of ivory, shark fins, rhino horns and illegally-mined gold and diamonds. In Botswana, the mafia has been accused of being responsible for murders targeting the Chinese community.

Last year, Angola repatriated Chinese ‘gangsters’, who were engaged in kidnapping and blackmailing, and sometimes stealing from rich and respectable Chinese in Angola. The deported men were part of Fuqing, a Chinese gang that has taken root in Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Russia.

Fears of Chinese mafia in Kenya come at a time after the deportation of Kurtasov Andrey also known as Andrei Kourtasov on July 6, a Russian who was alleged to be a notorious mafia boss in Nairobi.

Nonetheless, city police boss Benson Kibue told The Nairobian that claims of Chinese Mafia in the capital are inaccurate.

“That is false information. We have not received any such reports. In fact, it is the Chinese that are being targeted and we have handled many attacks against them. Anybody with details on Chinese criminals should tell the police,” Kibue said.

Mexico Captures Notorious Zetas Drug Lord

| July 17, 2013 | 1 Comment

Miguel Angel Trevino Morales

Miguel Angel Trevino Morales

MEXICO CITY, July 17 (BERNAMA-NNN-AGENCIES) — The notoriously brutal leader of the feared Zetas drug cartel, Miguel Angel Trevino Morales was captured Monday, news reports said, quoting Mexican authorities.

Mexican naval special forces seized Trevino Morales, alias Z-40, in Nuevo Laredo, a border city across from Laredo, Texas, in the state of Tamaulipas, long a Zeta stronghold, government security spokesman Eduardo Sanchez said.

Trevino, 40, faces charges of organised crime, homicide, torture and money laundering, Sanchez said. There are at least seven arrest warrants for his capture.

Trevino is accused of ordering the kidnapping and killing of hundreds of migrants in the border state of Tamaulipas, Sanchez said.

His arrest is the most significant blow to drug trafficking in Mexico since President Enrique Pena Nieto took office in December.

Mexican authorities had been offering a reward of 30 million pesos (about US$2.4 million) and the US State Department had been offering an award of up to US$5 million for information leading to his capture.

In a news conference describing the dramatic military operation late Monday night, Sanchez said Trevino was known for “cruelty” and “the fury with which he attacked his victims.”

The Zetas started out as the enforcement arm of Mexico’s Gulf cartel, but later split off and formed their own drug trafficking organisation.

They have since branched out into extortion, kidnapping and human smuggling.

The Zetas are accused of smuggling tonnes of cocaine and other drugs annually to the United States, generating many millions of dollars.

The Zetas are considered one of the most powerful and feared organised crime groups in Mexico, founded by former soldiers and known for their brutality.

Originally, the Zetas acted as the armed enforcers of the Gulf Cartel, but the two groups split in recent years, sparking brutal turf wars in the north of the country.

Many of the worst atrocities in the drug war have been blamed on the Zetas, including the massacre of dozens of migrants in northern Mexico in 2010 and the dumping of 49 decapitated bodies near the city of Monterrey last year.

Although he lacked a military background, Trevino had a reputation for extreme violence.

Along with two of his brothers, he was charged with laundering drug proceeds through horse racing last year.

US authorities accused Trevino and 13 others of pouring millions of dollars in proceeds from drug trafficking into the purchase, training and racing of horses across four states.

His arrest comes eight months after Mexican troops killed his predecessor, Heriberto Lazcano, in a gunfight in the northern state of Coahuila, only to lose Lazcano’s body hours later.

After his death, gunmen burst into a funeral home and stole his body, which has never been recovered.

Trevino is the highest-profile drug kingpin detained since president Pena Nieto took office in December.

During the six-year term of his predecessor, Felipe Calderon, authorities captured or killed two dozen of the 37 most wanted drug capos.

But Calderon’s time in office was marked by more than 70,000 drug-related murders between 2006-2012.


Art heist of the century ends up in ashes: EUR 18 mln worth of famous paintings stolen from Dutch museum burned in countryside stove in Romania

| July 17, 2013 | 0 Comments

femme-devant-une-fenetre-ouverteThe seven paintings stolen by a group of Romanians from the Kunsthal museum in Rotterdam in October 2012 ended up burned in a village in Tulcea county, Romania, where the mother of one of the thieves lives. Radu Dogaru, one of the men who broke into the museum last year and stole the paintings , brought them to Romania inside pillows, and then deposited at his mother’s house in the village of Carcaliu, Tulcea county.

When the investigation started, and after the men failed to find buyers for the paintings, Dogaru’s mother got scared and buried the paintings in the yard of a deserted house nearby her home, then in the graveyard, and finally, after prosecutors searched her house in February this year, she dug them out and burned them in her stove. This is how Picasso’s Tete d’Arlequin, Monet’s Waterloo Bridge and Charing Cross Bridge, Freud’s Woman with Eyes Closed, Matisse’s La Liseuse en Blanc et Jaune, Gauguin’s Femme Devant une Fenetre Ouverte (in picture) and Meyer de Haan’s Autoportrait, all ended up in ashes in a countryside stove in Eastern Romania.

Three men were initially involved in the heist which caused a EUR 18 million prejudice: Radu Dogaru and Adrian Procop, who broke into the museum, without expecting to find artworks of great value, and Eugen Darie, who was an accomplice. After stealing them, the three took off the frames and hid the canvases in pillows which were deposited in the trunk of their car. They entered Romania by car and nobody searched their car at the border. The group tried to sell the paintings with the help of various accomplices, but to no avail, as nobody was interested in buying the stolen artwork.

Dogaru’s mother confessed she decided to burn the paintings in an attempt to help her son and hoping that if no evidence of the heist was found, he would escape jail. The prosecutors sent the remaining ashes in the woman’s stove to the National Museum of History for a technical expertise, which is still ongoing. The woman could be sent to jail from 10 to 20 years. Other Romanians are also involved in this case, as accomplices, and the prosecutors also started cases against them. The entire file has been sent by prosecutors to the Sector 3 Court, which has set a first court date for August 3.

During the investigation, prosecutors revealed that the thieves and their crime, which was described at the time as “the heist of the century,” have appeared more and more like bungling amateurs getting lucky as more information has been released. It came to light that the thieves knew little or nothing about the paintings and their value and had no idea where or how to sell them.

The Romanian police arrested the three suspects back in January 2013, after a tip-off from a former girlfriend of one of the three. The robbery itself took place on October 16 last year and was described by news organization Deutsche Welles as a “lightning speed, audacious theft,” in which the thieves broke into the museum, stole the paintings and made their escape within 90 seconds. At the time, the heist baffled Dutch Police, who couldn’t understand how the thieves had got round the museum’s alarm systems.


Illicit Antiquities Dealers to Face Trial

| July 9, 2013 | 0 Comments

arxaia_632_355-300x168Fifty three people will face trial at the Criminal Court of Thessaloniki on the charges of participating in the illicit trade of antiquities in Northern and Central Greece with connections abroad.

The illegal network was uncovered in March 2012 after a giant police operation was carried out in the regions of Macedonia, Thessaly and Central Greece. The investigations of the prosecution authorities revealed a priceless archaeological treasure consisting of a thousand coins and objects from various eras.

The main defendant is a 67-year-old retired customs officer, from Yerakarou of Thessaloniki, who is temporally detained, and appears to have created a network of partners including many of his relatives. He managed to collect mainly ancient coins from different regions in Northern and Central Greece.

Most of the defendants were people who illegally searched for archaeological treasures and would deliver their findings to the network established by the 67-year-old. As it occurs from the indictment issued by the Appeals Council of Thessaloniki , the main defendant appears to have funneled the ancient coins to specialized auction houses abroad.


How Cop Killer Dale Cregan put 300 Manchester Gangsters Behind Bars

| July 9, 2013 | 0 Comments

Dale Cregan was jailed for life for the four Manchester murders (GMP)

Dale Cregan was jailed for life for the four Manchester murders (GMP)

An investigation into organised crime following the murders of PCs Nicola Hughes and Fiona Bone and David and Mark Short has resulted in a further 300 arrests.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said the operation has made it “virtually impossible” for gangs to operate in the areas of communities of Tameside and north and east Manchester.

As a result of the investigation, codenamed Challenger, more than 300 people have been arrested, £2m worth of property seized, more than £300,000 worth of drugs recovered and £650,000 worth of restraint orders since October 2012.

Police said they initially targeted 28 key individuals associated with the main criminal networks in the area, and all but a handful have either been arrested and charged or are on bail.

Last month, Dale Cregan received a life sentence for the murders of the Shorts and the two police officers.

The killing of the father and son was the culmination of a long-standing dispute between two rival Manchester families – the Shorts and the Atkinsons – which reignited in May 2012 after a row in a pub.

GMP chief constable Sir Peter Fahy said: “The investigation into the murders of Fiona, Nicola and the Short family revealed a far-reaching web of organised criminality and extreme violence which had to be tackled.

“The historic rivalry between criminal factions fighting over reputation and territory and creating alternative systems of justice was the spark that led to the tragic events we saw last year.

“Over the past few years, we have made huge strides towards tackling organised crime. Millions of pounds worth of drugs have been seized and more than 1,500 years of jail time handed out to offenders.

“However, we know there are still criminal networks causing misery to certain communities so Operation Challenger seeks to build on our successes and permanently tackle these organised crime groups.”

Murdered police officers Fiona Bone (L) and Nicola Hughes (GMP)

Murdered police officers Fiona Bone (L) and Nicola Hughes (GMP)

Tony Lloyd, Greater Manchester’s police and crime commissioner, added: “Greater Manchester is a safe place to live, but there are some abhorrent individuals who think they can weave a web of organised criminality to instil fear into our communities.

“But the conviction of Cregan and his cohorts for the brutal murders of PCs Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes, and Mark and David Short – along with the ongoing work of the police, local councils and other agencies involved in Operation Challenger – sends a clear message of hope that people who think they are ‘hard men’ will be hunted down and brought to book.”


Suspected global bank heist boss killed

| May 11, 2013 | 0 Comments

US Justice Department said ring hacked into credit card processing firms and ATMs in 27 countries [Reuters]

US Justice Department said ring hacked into credit card processing firms and ATMs in 27 countries [Reuters]

Dominican police said suspected cyber criminal Alberto Lajud-Pena killed on April 27 in San Francisco de Macoris.

The suspected leader of the New York arm of a $45m global bank heist was shot dead during an attempted robbery in the Dominican Republic last month, police have said.

Dominican police said on Friday that suspected cyber criminal Alberto Lajud-Pena, 23, was killed on April 27 in a house in the city of San Francisco de Macoris about 160km north-east of the capital, Santo Domingo.

Investigators found $100,000 in cash in the house, along with an M-16 assault rifle, two 9 mm pistols, a revolver, ammunition clips and a telescopic sight.

The money and weapons belonged to Lajud-Pena, police said, as more arrests were made in Germany over the elaborate international cyber crime that perpetuated one of the biggest bank heists in the world.

Lajud-Pena was one of eight men that US prosecutors said were part of the New York cell of the international criminal syndicate that stole from two Middle Eastern banks.

The US Justice Department said the ring hacked into credit card processing firms and withdrawing money from cash machines in 27 countries in December 2012 and February 2013.

Global ringleaders

It said the New York group stole $2.4m from almost 3,000 ATMs in the city during the space of 10 hours in February. Lajud-Pena’s alleged co-defendants were arrested in Yonkers, a New York City suburb that is home to a large Dominican population.

Lajud-Pena was shot and killed by a gang of three men, police in the Dominican Republic said.

It was not immediately clear if the gang or the $100,000 found at the house were linked to the cyber theft, or whether the trio had been arrested or if they escaped.

The global ringleaders of the cyber theft are believed to be outside the United States, although prosecutors declined to give details, citing the continuing investigation.

But German prosecutors said on Friday that they had arrested two Dutch citizens suspected of involvement in the cyber heist.

German police confirmed that a 35-year-old man and a 56-year-old woman were caught on February 19 withdrawing 170,000 euros ($220,500) in Dusseldorf using Bank of Muscat credit cards.

A spokesman for the Dusseldorf prosecutor’s office said that a total of $2.4 million had been withdrawn in seven German cities.

He said that the pair had come to Dusseldorf with the purpose of withdrawing the money in Germany. The two suspects are accused of computer fraud and faking credit cards.

Counterfeit cards

Germany’s banking association, BdB, said it was not aware of any banks in Germany suffering losses as a result of the scheme.

US prosecutors allege that the hackers increased the available balance and withdrawal limits on prepaid MasterCard debit cards issued by Bank of Muscat of Oman, and National Bank of Ras Al Khaimah PSC (RAKBANK) of the United Arab Emirates.

They then distributed counterfeit debit cards to “cashers” around the world, enabling them to siphon millions of dollars from cash machines in a matter of hours, the US complaint said.

National Bank of Ras Al Khaimah (RAKBANK) chief executive Graham Honeybill said on Friday that the fraud against it took place in December 2012 and resulted in losses of about $4.7 million for the United Arab Emirates-based lender.

“This had been fully provided for before it closed its 2012 accounts,” Honeybill said in a written statement.

“We are given to understand that the overall fraud encompassed a number of banks not only in the Middle East but in the USA and other countries.

“The bank can confirm that none of its customers suffered any financial loss as a result of this fraud.”

Honeybill said it involved the bank’s service provider in India, without naming the provider or giving any further details.


Alleged Mafia figure linked to Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist gets 30-month sentence

| May 10, 2013 | 0 Comments

r-ROBERT-GENTILE-ART-HEIST-large570HARTFORD – The alleged Mafia figure from Connecticut tied to the notorious Isabella Stewart Gardner museum heist was sentenced here in federal court today to 30 months in prison for possessing guns and ammunition and for selling prescription drugs.

Robert Gentile, 76, whose house was searched last year in relation to the Gardner investigation, has been in prison since his arrest in February 2012. He could be released in 10 months under federal prison guidelines. He would then have to serve three months of home confinement and a total of three years of supervised release.

Seated at the edge of his seat, the ailing Gentile made the sign of the cross as the sentence was announced. Gentile, who moments earlier had tearfully pleaded for mercy, responded, “Thank you your honor, thank you very much.”

His lawyer, A. Ryan McGuigan, later said he welcomed the sentence.

The sentence handed out by US District Judge Robert N. Chatigny was seen as being lenient for a mobster who has a history of crimes. Gentile had faced 46 to 57 months in prison under sentencing guidelines.

Chatigny said that he was considering Gentile’s age, his ailing health, and his wife’s poor health in handing out the sentence.

“It’s significantly punitive for a man your age, and for a man whose wife needs him,” Chatigny said.

Gentile, an alleged “made man” connected with the Philadelphia Mafia, has been linked to the late Robert Guarente, who has become a focus of investigation into the notorious Gardner heist – the largest property theft in US history.

Assistant US Attorney John Durham said in court today that investigators found a Boston Herald article published after the March 20, 1990, theft during the search of Gentile’s home in February 2012. They also found a list of the 13 works of art stolen in the heist, along with their estimated value.

Durham said Gentile later scored poorly on a polygraph test.

Gentile has repeatedly denied any knowledge of the location of the paintings, however.

The Gardner Museum has offered a $5 million reward for their return of the 13 works of art, which include rare paintings by Rembrandt, Degas, and Vermeer.

In March, the FBI said for the first time that investigators had identified the culprits who stole the paintings, and that they had traced some of the art to Philadelphia as recently as a decade ago.

The trail has since gone cold, and the FBI is now hoping a tip from the public will reinvigorate the search, officials have said.

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