By Gina Martinez
Two members of the Lucchese crime family have been charged with murdering a fellow family member and the attempted murder of a Bonnano family member from Whitestone, according to Manhattan federal prosecutors.
Christopher Londonio, 43, and Terrance Caldwell, 58, are facing carges of murder, racketeering conspiracy, conspiracy to commit murder, and firearm offenses, according to the indictment handed up by the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan.
Londonio and Caldwell are accused of killing Michael Meldish near Baisley Avenue and Ellsworth Avenue in the Bronx on Nov. 15, 2013, Meldish was found murdered execution-style in his parked Lincoln LS sedan at 10:30 p.m., police said.
Meldish and his brother, Joseph led the ‘Purple Gang’ who were known for committing hits for the Lucchese, Bonnano and Genovese families.
Caldwell was also indicted in the attempted murder of 47-year-old Whitestone resident Enzo “The Baker” Stagno, a well-known member of the Bonnano crime family, prosecutors said. According to the charges, on May 29, 2013 Caldwell shot at Stagno on First Avenue and 111th Street in Manhattan. Police said Stagno was struck in the chest while he was on his cellphone in his parked SUV. Stagno survived the shooting with only minor injuries, according to police.
“This is further proof that the mob’s rackets, schemes, and violence are persistent,” NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill said. “As alleged, the defendants engaged in ruthless violence, including the murder of Michael Meldish in the Bronx and the attempted murder of a Bonnano soldier in Manhattan — both in 2013. Our thanks to the thorough work of NYPD detectives, FBI agents, and prosecutors in the Southern District that led to today’s indictment.”
The U.S. attorney’s office said Caldwell and Londonio were members of the criminal organization, La Cosa Nostra, also known as the Mafia. La Cosa Nostra operated through six entities known as families in the New York/ New Jersey area, including the Lucchese family, Bonnano family, and Gambino family. The families operate through groups known as “crews” or “regimes” that consists of “made” members, sometimes known as “soldiers” or “good fellows.” Soldiers are aided in their criminal activities by other trusted individuals, known as “associates.” Associates participate in various activities of the crew and its members. In order for an associate to become a made member of the family, they must be of Italian descent, demonstrate the ability to generate income for the family and demonstrate willingness to commit acts of violence.
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart