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Youngstown crime era

Sunday, May 27, 2001

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A federal strike force has indicted more than 70 people in a probe of organized crime and public corruption in the Youngstown area. The following is a sampling of major players caught up in the scandals.

The Strollo criminal enterprise
Lenine Strollo
mob boss
Charges: racketeering, tax fraud, attempted murder
Status: pled guilty
Note: After Youngstown crime boss Joseph Naples Jr. was murdered in 1991, Strollo ascended to the head of a criminal enterprise that operates in northeastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. It operates under the aegis of the Pittsburgh organized crime group purportedly headed by Michael Genovese of West Deer. As part of plea bargains in federal and state courts, he has agreed to help the FBI in other cases.

Bernard Altshuler
top associate
Charges: racketeering, murder
Status: convicted
Note: Arranged the murder of mobster Ernie Biondillo and the attempted murder of prosecutor-elect Paul Gains.

Lawrence P. Garono
top associate
Charge: racketeering
Status: pled guilty
Note: Managed illegal gambling businesses.

Jeffrey Riddle
Charge: racketeering, murder
Status: convicted
Note: Found hitmen to kill Biondillo. Stalked Gains and drove get-away-car after attempted murder.

Lavance Turnage
Charges: racketeering, murder
Status: convicted
Note: Arranged Biondillo murder and attempted murder of Gains.

The congressman
James Traficant Jr.
U.S. Representative
Charges: racketeering, tax evasion, bribery, accepting illegal gratuities, defrauding the government, obstruction of justice
Status: pending
Note: Says he will defend himself in court.

Charles O'Nesti
director of district office
Charges: racketeering, perjury
Status: pled guilty; died 2/29/2000
Note: Delivered bribes for Strollo to Sheriff Philip Chance.

The criminal-justice system

Fred H. Bailey
county court judge
Charges: racketeering, case-fixing
Status: pled guilty
Note: Conspired with defense attorneys and an assistant prosecutor to fix cases.

Martin Emrich
county court judge
Charges: racketeering, extortion
Status: convicted
Note: Took $65,000 from Strollo to overlook illegal gambling.

John H. Chicase
Position: sheriff's office, head of vice unit
Charges: racketeering, tax fraud
Status: pled guilty
Note: Delivered $10,000 in illegal campaign contributions from Strollo to Chance. Shut down gambling joints not approved by Strollo.

Charles Xenakis
Campbell police chief
Charge: witness intimidation
Status: pled guilty
Note: Strollo selected him to be chief and paid him $500 a month to protect gambling operations.

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