Colombo family boss, 11 others busted in NYC mob sweep, feds say

By Larry McShane

NEW YORK — The reputed octogenarian boss of the Colombo crime family and eight other mobsters were busted Tuesday morning in a law enforcement sweep in New York City, a source said.

Family head Andrew (Mush) Russo, 86, and his underboss were among those arrested, the source said. The gangsters also included one family soldier and six other associates of the Colombo family, with a total of 12 arrests made and one suspect still at large, the source said.

In a secretly recorded conversation before his most recent arrest in 2011, the oft-arrested Russo made it clear he had no intention of leaving the mob life: “I can’t walk away. I can’t rest.”

Court documents indicated Russo has prior convictions for bribery, racketeering and witness tampering.

The defendants were due for arraignment Tuesday afternoon in Brooklyn federal court, although no details were provided on the specific charges against the defendants. WNBC-TV reported the arrests were for health care fraud allegations and union-related corruption.

Russo, a cousin of late family boss Carmine Persico, was most recently arrested in January 2011, eventually pleading guilty to federal charges. Authorities said he was the Colombo street boss at the time — and captured him discussing mob business in recorded conversations.

“I don’t hesitate, I’ve never hesitated” to use violence against mobsters who stepped out of line, he said in a recorded chat.


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