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5 arrested in 1978 JFK Lufthansa 'Goodfellas' Heist

11:35 AM, Jan 23, 2014   |    comments
Feds arrest 5 In 1978 Lufthansa Heist (Photo: CBS News)
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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 New York.

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 today.

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, "GoodFellas."

James "Jimmy the Gent" Burke, the suspected mastermind of the airport heist, died of cancer in a Buffalo, N.Y., hospital in April 1996.

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