ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Nicodemo (Little Nicky) Scarfo, the reputed underworld boss of Philadelphia and southern New Jersey, and his top aides were arrested Monday in an operation that authorities said was aimed at dismantling his crime family.
Scarfo, 57, was arrested in a raid at his girlfriend's apartment. His 17 top aides, including his nephew, Philip (Crazy Phil) Leonetti, 33, an alleged mob enforcer, were taken into custody at various locations in New Jersey and Philadelphia.
Scarfo, who state police say has a long history of violence, reputedly heads the Philadelphia-based organized crime family once led by Angelo Bruno, who died in a shotgun attack outside his south Philadelphia home in March, 1980.
Scarfo, 43rd on a recent Fortune magazine list of the nation's richest and most powerful gangsters, ascended to the top of the organization less than a year later, after Bruno's successor, Philip (Chicken Man) Testa, was killed by a nail-filled bomb, authorities said. It was one of at least two dozen unsolved Bruno family killings since Bruno's death.