Feds arrest 5 In 1978 Lufthansa Heist (Photo: CBS News)
NEW YORK-- Law enforcement sources told CBS News that five alleged
members of the Bonanno organized crime family have been arrested Thursday,
including one in connection with the 1978 Lufthansa heist at John F. Kennedy International Airport in
The other four are to be charged with a variety of violent
crimes, including murder and extortion.
They were arrested by FBI agents this morning in the New
York area. They are expected to be arraigned in Federal Court in Brooklyn later
CBS Station WCBS
reports that a racketeering indictment is set to be unsealed Thursday.
WCBS reports Vincent Asaro, one of the five arrested today, allegedly helped pull off the Lufthansa robbery.
Among other charges, the 78-year-old Asaro is also accused of
strangling Paul Katz when Katz was suspected of cooperating with law
enforcement, authorities said.
Also charged Thursday were Jermone Asaro, Jack Bonventure, Thomas Di Fiore and John Ragano, authorities told WCBS.
In 1978 thieves took
$5 million in cash and nearly a million dollars' worth of jewels from the
vaults of Lufthansa at JFK. The cash and
jewelry were never recovered.
Only one man was ever
prosecuted in connection with the robbery: Louis Werner, an airport
employee and inside informant.
One of those involved
was Henry Hill, a mob member who entered the witness protection program and
became the inspiration of the 1990 Martin Scorsese film,
James "Jimmy the Gent" Burke, the
suspected mastermind of the airport heist, died of cancer in a Buffalo, N.Y.,
hospital in April 1996.