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19 Reputed Lucchese Crime Family Members, Associates Charged In Mob Takedown

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Nineteen reputed members and associates of the Lucchese crime family appeared in court in Westchester County Wednesday on numerous serious charges.

LINK: Read the Full Indictment 

The suspects were arraigned in White Plains U.S. District Court later Wednesday for crimes including racketeering, murder, drug distribution and firearm possession, prosecutors said.

The feds said they have decapitated the Lucchese crime family – one of the five traditional New York mafia families.

"The defendants allegedly used violence and threats of violence, as the mob always has, to make illegal money, to enforce discipline in the ranks, and to silence witnesses," Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said.

With chains clanking around their waists, the accused monsters shuffled into the courtroom six at a time. Their attorney was seated behind them in the jury box, while wives with oversized sunglasses sat in the gallery, WCBS 880's Alex Silverman reported.

Among the 19 charged is the alleged boss, Matthew Madonna – as well as alleged underboss Steven Crea Sr. and alleged consigliere, or adviser, Joseph DiNapoli.

Other defendants have nicknames including "Wonder Boy," "Big John," "Joey Glasses," and "Paulie Roast Beef."

Some face charges in the death of Lucchese associate Michael Meldish, who was killed in the Bronx in November 2013, as well as attempted hits on members and associates of the Bonanno crime family, according to the indictment.

LISTEN: 1010 WINS | WCBS 880

In one case, the indictment claims a Bonanno family associate was almost killed in his home after showing disrespect to Lucchese family bosses.

In another incident, the indictment alleges one of the defendants traveled to New Hampshire to try to track down and kill a person for providing information to law enforcement.

"Organized crime families believe their way of life is acceptable and continue to show through their criminal behavior that they don't plan to stop," FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. said. "Their crimes aren't victimless, and this case proves they're willing to use murder and many other violent tactics to enforce their dominance."

The indictment also includes allegations of fraud in a $25 million hospital expansion and other public building projects.

Fifteen of the defendants were taken into custody Wednesday. Three others were already in federal custody, and Madonna was transferred from state into federal custody.

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