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MafiaCrackdown

^PM-Mafia Crackdown,0360
^Racketeering conviction for reputed Detroit mob boss
^AP Photos DT105-109
^By JIM SUHR= ^Associated Press Writer=
DETROIT (AP) Two years after authorities announced they had driven a stake through the heart of Detroit's mafia, a jury convicted the purported mob boss and three others of racketeering.
Jack Tocco and the others had been accused of running a loan-sharking and illegal gambling operation that dated to the mid-1960s.
``In terms of organized crime (in Detroit), this is the most significant prosecution we've had,'' Assistant U.S. Attorney Keith Corbett said after Wednesday's verdicts.
U.S. Attorney Saul Green said evidence showed that Tocco, 72, was guilty of mob activities dating to 1966, including conspiring to extort a ``street tax'' from bookmakers.
Tocco was found guilty of two racketeering counts and one extortion charge. Federal jurors cleared him of 10 extortion counts.
Jurors cleared Tocco's brother, 66-year-old Anthony Tocco, of all 13 felonies he faced. But three other defendants Anthony Corrado, 63, Paul Corrado, 39, and Nove Tocco, 51 were convicted on racketeering, extortion and other charges.
Each racketeering count carries up to 20 years behind bars.
Each of the defendants refused to talk with reporters. Jack Tocco's attorney, David Griem, said his client would appeal.
Testimony in the 14-week trial included a trucking executive who said he paid the group about $1 million over 15 years to avoid labor problems at his company.
Other testimony characterized the men as bumbling wiseguys. Jurors heard how the alleged mobsters routinely got lost en route to shakedowns, didn't know how to buy bullets and bickered about getting underpaid.
Defense attorneys contended that their clients were just big talkers and small-time hustlers.
Eleven other associates, including alleged underboss Anthony Zerilli, are to be tried later this year.
Still pending is a ruling on the government's request to seize from the defendants several million dollars allegedly derived from questionable interests.

(Copyright 1998 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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