PHILADELPHIA -- A federal grand jury Monday returned a sweeping indictment charging reputed Philadelphia-South Jersey mob boss Nicodemo Scarfo and 18 other people with engaging in a wide range of organized crime activities.
The indictment charges 'Little Nicky' Scarfo, 58, and his associates with 11 counts of racketeering and racketeering conspiracy between April 1976 and October 1987.
The racketeering charge covers a variety of alleged illegal activities, including 14 acts of murder or attempted murder, extortion, gambling and conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, or speed.
Federal, state, and local officials who announced the charges at a news conference said the indictment strikes at the heart of organized crime activities in the region.
'The charges attack organized crime at the highest levels,' said Joel Friedman, head of the Organized Crime Strike Force in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia District Attorney Ronald Castille said: 'This is the end to La Cosa Nostra in Philadelphia and South Jersey as we know it.'
All but three of the suspects already are behind bars serving sentences or awaiting trial for a variety of alleged offenses. The other three have been declared fugitives.
Scarfo, identified by authorities as the boss of the Philadelphia-South Jersey mob, was identified as a participant in most of the illegal activities listed in the indictment.
Scarfo has been in jail since January 1987 and currently is serving a 14-year sentence on an extortion conviction. He was acquitted in December of trying to corner the local methamphetamine market by importing and distributing more than 100 gallons of P2P, an ingredient in methamphetamine or speed.
He also faces trials in three separate murder cses in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Pennsylvania Attorney General LeRoy Zimmerman said the latest indictment was unprecedented in scope and was clear evidence that 'the answer to organized crime is organized law enforcement.'
Authorities said they would seek to bring all 19 suspects to trial together.
Named in the indictment, besides Scarfo, were:
-Philip Leonetti, 34, of Atlantic City, a reputed mob underboss and Scarfo's nephew;
-Salvatore 'Chuckie' Merlino, 48, of Margate, N.J., a reputed former underboss;
-Merlino's brother, Lawrence 'Yogi' Merlino, 41, of Margate;
-Joseph 'Chickie' Ciancaglini, 53, of Philadelphia, a reputed captain;
-Francis 'Faffy' Iannarella, Jr. 40, of Philadelphia, a reputed captain;
-Joseph 'Joey Pung' Pungitore, 31, of Philadelphia;
-Salvatore 'Wayne' Grande, 35, of Philadelphia;
-Charles 'Charlie White' Iannece, 52, of Philadelphia;
-Joseph Legambi, 49, of Philadelphia;
-Philip Narducci, 26, of Philadelphia;
-Narducci's brother, Frank Narducci, Jr., 34, of Philadelphia;
-Salvatore 'Tore' Scafidi, 28, of Philadelphia;
-Nicholas 'Nick the Blade' Virgilio, 60, of Atlantic City;
-Eugene 'Gino' Milano, 28 of Philadelphia;
-Nicholas 'Nicky Whip' Milano, 27, of Philadelphia, a fugitive;
-Joseph Grande, 38, of Philadelphia;
-Anthony Pungitore, Jr., 34, of Philadelphia, a fugitive;
-Ralph Staino, Jr., 55, of Philadelphia, a fugitive.