PROVIDENCE, R.I., Nov. 18 (UPI) -- In a case that began as an investigation into a Rhode Island flea market, 21 people have been charged with a mob-run counterfeit handbag scheme.
State troopers say in 18 months they uncovered an operation that traded counterfeit leather goods for drugs and weapons, WPRI-TV, Providence, R.I., reported. Nicholas Pari, a reputed mob associate, and Lloyd Morse, owner of the Valley Street Flea Market in Providence, were allegedly in charge of day-to-day operations.
Some of those arrested have allegedly been part of organized crime in Rhode Island for decades. That includes Pari, who was convicted in 1978 of killing Joe "Onions" Scanlon, and Domenic Lombardi, who has been convicted of crimes including arson.
"Domenic Lombardi Jr. is a historic figure in Rhode Island. He's been around," said Lt. Col. Steven O'Donnell.
Most of the arrests were made in a series of dawn raids Monday. Lombardi was picked up in Florida, where he was on vacation, and is being held there pending extradition proceedings, and two other arrests were made later Monday in Rhode Island. One suspect was already in jail.