THIEF! The Gutsy, True Story of an Ex-Con Artist

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  • Media Reviews posted periodically
  • Mobwriter comments on true crime events and books

THIEF! character, Vince Eli

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Crime Beat Radio: Latest mob stories and more

Hailing all true crime afficianados:
John Gotti, Sr. & son
CRIME BEAT RADIO SHOW’S UPCOMING SCHEDULE FOR NOV 10, 2011, THROUGH JANUARY 5, 2012, FEATURES HIT MEN, MANHUNTS, JFK ASSASSINATION, AND MAFIA LESSONS FOR LEGITIMATE BUSINESSES

November, 2011— CRIME BEAT: ISSUES, CONTROVERSIES AND PERSONALITIES FROM THE DARKSIDE on Artist First World Radio Network is pleased to announce its forthcoming schedule for November 10, 2011, through January 5, 2012.:Topics covered include hit men, a sensational Canadian murder investigation, Mafia lessons for legitimate business, the JFK Assassination, manhunts, and more.

Here is the lineup:
November 10—David Gibb, investigative journalist and author of Camouflaged Killer, the shocking double life of Canadian Air Force colonel Russell Williams. Read more..
November 17—John Douglass, author of JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters. Read more..
November 24—Rick Porrello, author of To Kill an Irishman, which has recently been made into the Hollywood movie, Kill an Irishman. A command appearance. Read more..
December 1—Benjamin Runkle, Author of Wanted Dead or Alive: Manhunts from Geronimo to Bin Laden. Read more..
December 8—Larry Mazza, Tommy Dades and Bob Mladnich discuss the Colombo Mafia war of the early 1990s...Dades was a detective during that period and Larry Mazza, a hitman. Mladinich is writing a book on the topic. Read more..
December 15—Anthony Amore and Tom Mashberg authors of Stealing Rembrandts: The Untold Stories of Notorious Art Heists, and Eric Rasmussen, author of The Shakespeare Thefts: In Search of the First Folios. Read more..
December 22— Lou Ferrante, author of Mob Rules: What the Mafia Can Teach the Legitimate Businessman. Read more..
December 29— Tim Donaghy, former NBA referee and author of Personal Foul, a book about the gambling scandal that rocked the NBA. A command appearance. Read more..
January 5— Wahida Clark, best-selling urban fiction author and entrepreneur who honed her writing skills behind bars. A command appearance. Read more..

Crime Beat is a weekly hour-long radio program and airs every Thursday from 9 and 10 EST. Beginning with the May 5 program the show moves to the 8pm-9pm EST time slot on the Artist First World radio Network. Crime Beat presents fascinating topics that bring listeners closer to the dynamic underbelly of the world of crime. Guests have included ex-mobsters, undercover law enforcement agents, sports officials, informants, prisoners, drug dealers and investigative journalists, who have provided insights and fresh information about the world’s most fascinating subject: crime.

Crime Beat has been on the air since January 28 of this year and is currently averaging 100,000 listeners plus each week, and the figure is growing... Crime Beat is hosted by award-winning crime writer and documentary producer Ron Chepesiuk (www.ronchepesiuk.com) and broadcast journalist and freelance writer Will Hryb.

"Your radio format is great,” write Mark Christopoulus of northern California.

“Crime Beat is over the top, gentlemen! The show is on late in the afternoon out here, and me and my buddies from work get a chance to listen to it over a beer at our favorite watering hole before heading home."

Ivo DeLorenzi of Thunder Bay, Canada, writes: "I love your show... you guys manage to get top-calibre guests every week ... fascinating and remarkable, all rolled into one".
                                                                                      ***
For more information or to listen to the archives of Crime Beat, go to the Artist First Worldwide Radio Network at www.artistfirst.com.
To contact the Crime Beat radio program for interviews, e-mail crimebeat123@yahoo.com or call 803-366-5440.

P.S. Check out Mob Writer's controversial interview on Crime Beat Radio http://artistfirst.com/. Then click on "authors-first" (left side of screen) and scroll down to the "Rs." Click on Cherie Rohn.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Italian mafia boss found in bunker





Michele Zagaria 
Mr Zagaria had been living in hiding since the 1990s.

Italian police say they have discovered the notorious chief of a Naples mafia clan, Michele Zagaria, who has been on the run for 16 years.

Police said they had found him after digging through a secret bunker in his home town of Casapesenna near Naples.

Described as head of the powerful Casalesi clan, he was sentenced to multiple life sentences in absentia.

The Casalesi clan has been involved in drug trafficking and corruption in the construction industry.

There was jubilation among the security forces who finally managed to detain Mr Zagaria, the BBC's Alan Johnston in Rome reports.

"You won. The state has won," Mr Zagaria told anti-mafia investigators as he was being arrested, according to the AFP news agency.

Italian Interior Minister Anna Maria Cancellieri hailed the arrest as "a huge success by the state", adding that it would be a blow "not only against the Casalesi clan, but against the entire Camorra organisation."
'Near home'
Map of Italy

The Casalesi clan is one of a number of groups within the Camorra criminal network, which dominates the underworld in the Naples area.

Mr Zagaria had probably spent his years as a fugitive near home because mafia bosses "can only exercise their power if they're in an environment that protects them," anti-mafia prosecutor Piero Grasso told the AP news agency.

Mr Zagaria is thought to be the most senior figure in the Camorra who was still at large.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Back from a lengthy mystery trip

Sorry about the long silence. If I told you about my research trip, I'd have to kill you...

Look for a new posting SOON.

Yours truly

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Crime Beat Radio: JFK Assassination


Strategic Media Books

803-366-5440

strategicmediabooks@gmail.com

www.strategicmediabooks.com




CRIME BEAT RADIO SHOW’S UPCOMING SCHEDULE FOR NOV 10, 2011, THROUGH JANUARY 5, 2012, FEATURES HIT MEN, MANHUNTS, JFK ASSASSINATION, AND MAFIA LESSONS FOR LEGITIMATE BUSINESSES


November, 2011— CRIME BEAT: ISSUES, CONTROVERSIES AND PERSONALITIES FROM THE DARKSIDE on Artist First World Radio Network is pleased to announce its forthcoming schedule for November 10, 2011, through January 5, 2012.:Topics covered include hit men, a sensational Canadian murder investigation, Mafia lessons for legitimate business, the JFK Assassination, manhunts, and more. Here is the lineup:

  • November 10—David Gibb, investigative journalist and author of Camouflaged Killer, the shocking double life of Canadian Air Force colonel Russell Williams. Read more..
  • November 17—John Douglass, author of JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters. Read more..
  • November 24—Rick Porrello, author of To Kill an Irishman, which has recently been made into the Hollywood movie, Kill an Irishman. A command appearance. Read more..
  • December 1—Benjamin Runkle, Author of Wanted Dead or Alive: Manhunts from Geronimo to Bin Laden. Read more..
  • December 8—Larry Mazza, Tommy Dades and Bob Mladnich discuss the Colombo Mafia war of the early 1990s...Dades was a detective during that period and Larry Mazza, a hitman. Mladinich is writing a book on the topic. Read more..
  • December 15—Anthony Amore and Tom Mashberg authors of Stealing Rembrandts: The Untold Stories of Notorious Art Heists, and Eric Rasmussen, author of The Shakespeare Thefts: In Search of the First Folios. Read more..
  • December 22— Lou Ferrante, author of Mob Rules: What the Mafia Can Teach the Legitimate Businessman. Read more..
  • December 29— Tim Donaghy, former NBA referee and author of Personal Foul, a book about the gambling scandal that rocked the NBA. A command appearance. Read more..
  • January 5— Wahida Clark, best-selling urban fiction author and entrepreneur who honed her writing skills behind bars. A command appearance. Read more..





Crime Beat is a weekly hour-long radio program and airs every Thursday from 9 and 10 EST. Beginning with the May 5 program the show moves to the 8pm-9pm EST time slot on the Artist First World radio Network. Crime Beat presents fascinating topics that bring listeners closer to the dynamic underbelly of the world of crime. Guests have included ex-mobsters, undercover law enforcement agents, sports officials, informants, prisoners, drug dealers and investigative journalists, who have provided insights and fresh information about the world’s most fascinating subject: crime.

Crime Beat
has been on the air since January 28 of this year and is currently averaging 100,000 listeners plus each week, and the figure is growing... Crime Beat is hosted by award-winning crime writer and documentary producer Ron Chepesiuk (www.ronchepesiuk.com) and broadcast journalist and freelance writer Will Hryb.

"Your radio format is great,” write Mark Christopoulus of northern California.

“Crime Beat is over the top, gentlemen! The show is on late in the afternoon out here, and me and my buddies from work get a chance to listen to it over a beer at our favorite watering hole before heading home."


Ivo DeLorenzi of Thunder Bay, Canada, writes: "I love your show... you guys manage to get top-calibre guests every week ... fascinating and remarkable, all rolled into one".


For more information or to listen to the archives of Crime Beat, go to the Artist First Worldwide Radio Network at www.artistfirst.com.
To contact the Crime Beat radio program for interviews, e-mail crimebeat123@yahoo.com or call 803-366-5440.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

How Did Marilyn Monroe Really Die? Part II

This past August 15, 2011, I posted the first of three parts titled "How Did Marilyn Monroe Really Die?" I told interviewers Burl Barer and Howard Lapides on their True Crime Uncensored radio show http://outlawcrime.com, that Slick's best friend, Leroy, knew who the killers were because Leroy worked with one of them, a guy named Mugsy Tortorella.

I also told the two interviewers that Tortorella as one of the killers was given further credence based on the FBI files that were now in the public domain. However, when I later looked up the FBI website in order to quote from it, Monroe's killers names had mysteriously been blacked out. So I ordered the CD titled "FBI Files - Marilyn Monroe" The disc had even less info on it regarding Monroe's murderers.

During the writing of our book, Thief, Slick told me that stories floated around among mobsters for years about who actually killed Marilyn and Mugsy Tortorella's name always came up. Slick took all those stories with a grain of salt until his friend Leroy Smolen, now deceased, verified that Tortorella was indeed one of the murderers.

Slick revealed another story in Thief that further convinced him that Marilyn died from a mob hit. The excerpt from the book takes place around the early 1970s at Arlington Racetrack near Chicago when Slick bumps into an old mob guy named Mousie who says:

     "So, you two know one another, eh?" [meaning Slick and Mugsy Tortorella] Mousie was clearly impressed that I knew Mugsy.
     "Yeah, he worked with a couple of friends of mine," I answered. [the friends being Leroy Smolen]
     "Did those friends know that Mugsy thought Marilyn Monroe's ass was the best he's ever seen?"
     Now, any ordinary outsider would have said to himself, "Where did that remark come from?" But I knew how mob guys talked. Mousie was testing me, but he had to do it in a roundabout way. He couldn't come right out and ask, "Do you know Mugsy was the guy who killed Marilyn Monroe and put dope up her ass to make it look like she died from an overdose?" No. Mousie and I both would have been hit--him for talking and me for knowing too much. So, Mousie used this indirect way of finding out how much I knew. I'd heard about Marilyn being taken out by the mob through extremely reliable sources, but I never let on to anyone. Okay, there was only one way to play this if I  wanted to live a few more years.
     "Gee, I never heard that one." I managed to sound like maybe Mousie was making a joke and I didn't get the punch line.
     He glanced at me with those watery eyes that seemed to take in my every thought. Apparently he was satisfied I didn't know anything because he let the subject drop. I was itching to ask a ton of questions like, was the FBI in on it?...and were they afraid she was getting too close to JFK?...but I just nodded. The less you said to these Outfit guys the better.
***
I have one more source to check out, a book titled Assassination of Marilyn Monroe, before I make the final entry in this three part post on how Marilyn Monroe really died.

Check out these websites for more information: http://zoey24.hubpages.com/hub/The-Death-of-Marilyn-Monroe and a very interesting blog on the topic: http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=3716&st=60-.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Henry Hill on Crime Beat Radio

CRIME BEAT RADIO SHOW’S UPCOMING OCTOBER 13, 2011, PROGRAM FEATURES HENRY HILL, LEGENDARY FORMER WISE GUY AND GOODFELLA

Henry Hill with actor Ray Liotta


October, 2011--This year marks the 25th anniversary of Wise Guy, Nicholas Pileggi’s true crime masterpiece and a book that has been described as “the best book on organized crime ever written.” Wise Guy chronicles the life of legendary former gangster Henry Hill, the working-class Brooklyn kid who grew up to live the highs and lows of the gangster’s life. Hill’s story became the basis for GoodFellas, Martin Scorsese’s film masterpiece. In Goodfellas, Henry Hill, the narrator, famously says, “As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.”

CRIME BEAT: ISSUES, CONTROVERSIES AND PERSONALITIES FROM THE DARKSIDE on the Artist First World Radio Network is pleased to announce that on October 6 at 8 pm. EST, Henry Hill will be a special featured guest. Mr. Hill will discuss his former life inside the Mob, the book and the film, as well his current life and activities.

Crime Beat is a weekly hour-long radio program and airs every Thursday from 9 and 10 EST. Beginning with the May 5 program the show moves to the 8pm-9pm EST time slot on the Artist First World radio Network. Crime Beat presents fascinating topics that bring listeners closer to the dynamic underbelly of the world of crime. Guests have included ex-mobsters, undercover law enforcement agents, sports officials, informants, prisoners, drug dealers and investigative journalists, who have provided insights and fresh information about the world’s most fascinating subject: crime.

Crime Beat is hosted by award-winning crime writer Ron Chepesiuk (www.ronchepesiuk.com) and broadcast journalist and freelance writer Willie Hryb.

"Your radio format is great,” write Mark Christopoulus of northern California.

“Crime Beat is over the top, gentlemen! The show is on late in the afternoon out here, and me and my buddies from work get a chance to listen to it over a beer at our favorite watering hole before heading home."

Ivo DeLorenzi of Thunder Bay, Canada, writes:  "I love your show... you guys manage to get top-calibre guests every week ... fascinating and remarkable, all rolled into one".
 


For more information or to listen to the archives of Crime Beat, go to the Artist First Worldwide Radio Network at www.artistfirst.com.
To contact the Crime Beat radio program for interviews, e-mail crimebeat123@yahoo.com or call 803-366-5440.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

"The Most Potent Voice of the Streets"


Seth Ferranti, author & Gorilla Convict creator

Gorilla Convict has been called "the most potent voice of the streets." This website, which features stories on prison life, street legends, street and prison gangs, the Mafia and street lit and true crime writers is a fusion of the ghetto, criminal and prison cultures that is vividly expressed in the lyrics of gangsta rap and hip-hop artists rhymes, in graffiti and tattooing, and in the worlds of drug dealers, gangbangers and organized crime. At Gorilla Convict we focus on the urban core and beyond.

There is something deep within the human psyche that intrigues and fascinates us with all thing dangerous, powerful, mysterious and extreme. Gorilla Convict is tailor-made for anyone who worships Brian De Palma's Scarface or any of the other litany of gangster movies like Goodfellas, New Jack City, Belly or the King of New York. Gorilla Convict juxtaposes the outlaw realness of Iceberg Slim with such critically acclaimed shows like Oz, The Wire and The Sopranos.

Gorilla Convict immortalizes the modern day urban outlaws such as those featured on BET'S American Gangster series, and in street magazines like Don Diva, F.E.D.S. and As Is. We tell the tales the mainstream media can't get because we are in prison with the people we interview. We talk to the giants among men that awe us with their immense self-certainty and utter ruthless- ness. They made their own law and are now paying the consequences. The blood they drew from each other reflects their great male courage and the intensity with which they lived their dangerous lives.

Check out the redesigned gorillaconvict.com and tell your readers and friends about it. You can order Gorilla Convict's STREET LEGENDS series from the site.

The ebooks can be bought and downloaded right on the site. Read the stories and get the 411 on prison gangs, the mafia, life in the belly of the beast and the legends from hip-hop's lyrical lore. See the photos and ride shotgun with a hood icon.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Amanda Knox Murder Trial


Strategic Media Books
803-366-5440
strategicmediabooks@gmail.com
www.strategicmediabooks.com

Crime Beat Radio Show
www.artistfirst.com
crimebeat123@yahoo.com

Crime Beat Radio Show’s Upcoming September 29 program to feature Nina Burleigh and her best-selling  book on the sensational Amanda knox murder trial
September 2011—After a high profile trial in December 2009 in Perugia, Italy, American Amanda Knox was sentenced to 26 years in jail for the brutal murder of British student Meredith Kercher. Since then, Knox’s lawyers have appealed Knox’s conviction and her case has attracted international attention. Now Amanda Knox is just a few weeks, perhaps days, from learning if her conviction will be overturned.

Crime Beat: Issues, Controversies and Personalities from the Darkside on the Artist First World Radio Network is pleased to announce that on September 29 at 8 pm. EST, noted journalist Nina Burleigh will be a special guest. In the timely program, Ms. Burleigh will discuss her best-selling book, The Fatal Gift of Beauty: The Italian Trials of Amanda Knox, which provides a close up and fascinating look at the Amanda Knox murder conviction and appeal.

In reviewing The Fatal Gift of Beauty, Publishers Weekly gave it a starred review and wrote: "[In] this powerful example of narrative non-fiction. Burleigh, who parses how the Knox trial was perhaps tainted, still presents a fair and unbiased portrait of a girl adrift in a foreign legal system and a culture rife with preconceptions about young American women." The Kirkus Reviews praised Fatal Beauty as a “standout among recent true-crime titles.

Ms. Burleigh is also an award-winning author of four books and has been published in the New Yorker, Time, New York and People, among many other publications.

Crime Beat is a weekly hour-long radio program and airs every Thursday from 9 and 10 EST. Beginning with the May 5 program the show moves to the 8pm-9pm EST time slot on the Artist First World radio Network. Crime Beat presents fascinating topics that bring listeners closer to the dynamic underbelly of the world of crime. Guests have included ex-mobsters, undercover law enforcement agents, sports officials, informants, prisoners, drug dealers and investigative journalists, who have provided insights and fresh information about the world’s most fascinating subject: crime.

Crime Beat is hosted by award-winning crime writer Ron Chepesiuk (www.ronchepesiuk.com) and broadcast journalist and freelance writer Willie Hryb.

"Your radio format is great,” write Mark Christopoulus of northern California.

“Crime Beat is over the top, gentlemen! The show is on late in the afternoon out here, and me and my buddies from work get a chance to listen to it over a beer at our favorite watering hole before heading home."

Ivo DeLorenzi of Thunder Bay, Canada, writes:  "I love your show... you guys manage to get top-calibre guests every week ... fascinating and remarkable, all rolled into one".

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Drug kingpins, entertainers, hit men, corrupt cops and more in: Straight from the Hood

Award winning investigative journalist, documentary film producer and true crime author, Ron Chepesiuk, partners with Scott Wilson, a former New York state corrections officer, in Straight from the Hood: Amazing but True Gangster Tales. The 36 stories are sure to entertain and enlighten true crime aficionados.

Straight from the Hood reveals fascinating facts regarding such international luminaries as Al Capone, Dutch Schultz, Frank Lucas, Frank Matthews and even Denzel Washington.

Recently, I had a chance to talk with the authors:

MS: Ron, you’ve written several Black Gangster books including Black Gangsters of Chicago, Gangsters of Harlem and Sergeant Smack. What drew you to the Black Gangster writing niche?

RC: I had done a book titled Drug Lords, which was about Colombia’s Cali drug Cartel, and I was looking for a subject for my next book. I was watching the film Superfly, one of the so called blaxploitation movies of the 1970s. I really loved those movies, many of which were set in Harlem, and I wanted to know a little more about the background to the movies. But I couldn’t find a book. So I wrote Gangsters of Harlem. This led to Black Gangsters of Chicago because all we read about is Al Capone and The Outfit. I am interested in crime history, and there is lot of history still to be written about black organized crime.

MS: What prompted you to write this book?

SW:  Ron Chepesiuk told me about the idea and asked me to be a part of it. I was an admirer of Ron’s work and I thought it would be a great opportunity for me. I’ve always had a fascination with organized crime and the underworld, so it wasn’t hard to be enthusiastic about a project like this. I also thought that I could learn a lot from someone with Ron’s expertise and experience.

MS: How did you decide who to include and who to leave out of your book Straight from the Hood? Was it based on what information was available or other criteria?

SW:  We tried our best to include stories that aren’t very well known by the general public. This presented a real challenge, as there is scant information available regarding some of the people and events that we wanted to cover. In those cases we simply had to work with what we had, and lay out the story in the most objective and interesting way possible. We did include a few stories that have a bit of mainstream notoriety, but even then we tried to include details and points of view that are rarely discussed. The popular versions of many crime stories leave out vital details that can drastically affect how the reader/viewer perceives them. Overall, we tried to offer a good balance between the well-known and the obscure. 

MS: In your book, you quote a former Cuban heroin dealer talking about Frank Matthews, one of the few drug lords to remain at large for almost 40 years. “He was charismatic, articulate and self-assured. He was certainly the biggest Black gangster of that period, much bigger than Frank Lucas or Nicky Barnes, who have gotten all the attention recently.”

Retired DEA agent Lew Rice had this to say about Frank Matthews, “He’s smart enough to hide and maintain a very low profile, and he went out of his way not to draw attention to himself. That combination will bring you a certain degree of loyalty and anonymity.”

It seems that if you amass the kind of fortune Matthews allegedly has acquired through his drug dealings, he would naturally want to lead a life of excess and flaunt his wealth. Yet to do so would make him an easy mark for the authorities. Do you think he’s alive and leading the high life somewhere?

RC: Well, what happened to Frank Matthews is organized crime’s biggest mystery. He jumped bail in 1974, reportedly with $15 million and has never been seen again. As a U.S. Marshal explained to me, he vanished off the face of the Earth. There hasn’t been one credible citing of him. There are rumors in the Underworld about Matthews getting whacked. Matthews would be 67 today, if alive. So I would think that, if Matthews is alive, he has managed to be disciplined and has kept a low profile.

MS: The chapter titled “Frank Lucas—American Gangster or American Fraud?” stands out from the rest of the book. It carries a none-too-positive judgmental tone, whereas you maintain neutrality—that of mainly recounting history—in the other chapters. What was the purpose of writing the Lucas chapter the way you did?

RC: The chapter is the distillation of my research on one of the bogus stories in organized crime history: the life of Frank Lucas. There is no other way to write a chapter about Lucas because Lucas’s story is so full of holes—that is, unless you are willing to be a stenographer and not a journalist and write a chapter the way Hollywood scripted it. For a fuller picture of Lucas’ life and claims people can go to my book, Sergeant Smack.

MS: In the same chapter on Frank Lucas you describe how Bumpy Johnson’s widow wrote an autobiography calling Lucas a liar and saying that her husband never trusted Lucas. Based on your research, what kind of relationship did Bumpy Johnson and Frank Lucas have?

RC: It was certainly not the kind of relationship portrayed by Lucas. He probably worked for Bumpy but in a very flunky sort of way. I interviewed a couple of police officers from that era who knew Bumpy well. They do not remember Frank Lucas.

MS: Loved the chapter titled “The Charles and Griselda Story: New Jack City Meets Scarface.” In the humble opinion of the interviewer this chapter is worth the price of the book. Where did you find out about this duo?

RC: Thank you for your kind comment. I interviewed Billy Corben, a noted documentary filmmaker who discovered the story and chronicled it in his documentary, Cocaine Cowboys 11. I knew after interviewing Corben that the story was a true one. The story, thanks to Cosby’s promotion, has since become well known.

MS: Charles Cosby spoke of how black gangsters were traditionally locked out of the ranks of other ethnic mafias. Are there some noted exceptions?

RC: I wouldn’t use the words “locked out.” It has been customary for gangsters to stick with their own people—people they know and people they can trust. That’s true whether we are talking about the Italians, the Colombians or the Chinese, or any other ethnic group. So you are not going to see a Dominican at the head of the Triads or an African American in higher echelons of the La Cosa Nostra. But greed is the primary factor in criminality so ethnic groups work with each other.

MS: It’s rather good timing on your part to include some interesting tidbits about Libyan leader, Moammar Khadafi, considering the current state of affairs in Libya, i.e., the rebels seizing control of the country. What do you think readers will learn about Khadafi from reading your book?

RC: They will probably learn that back in the 1980s Khadafi was a very dangerous individual when it came to U.S. interests and he would do anything to get back at the U.S. after it had killed his daughter in a bombing raid of Khadafi’s compound. He was also quite reckless in the sense that he was willing to risk facing the wrath of Uncle Sam to get involved with a street gang from Chicago.

MS: As the first African American to launch a Broadway show, convicted drug kingpin Michael Harris gave Denzel Washington his start on Broadway. Harris went on to put up $1.5 million for the rap label, Death Row Records. Since his attempted murder charge has been recanted, he’s now serving a 28-year sentence in San Quentin for narcotics distribution. It seems his foray into the entertainment business came a little late. Then there was a rapper with the moniker “X-Raided” who incriminated himself through his music. A number of hoods appear to have plenty of talent and then blow it. Any comments?

SW: I think in some cases, the hoods in question are bred in an environment that doesn’t nurture their talents or teach them how to properly apply them in the straight world. They may have been in a situation where a life of crime seemed like a viable career option. Maybe becoming an entertainer or entrepreneur didn’t seem like a realistic life choice. That’s why it’s important to make sure that the same opportunities are available to everyone. When resources and opportunities are exclusive to the rich and powerful, lots of otherwise smart and talented people end up making bad decisions.  

MS: You said, “Every criminal thinks they can avoid the mistakes made by others. They think they will be the one that will last and ultimately ride off into the sunset having fooled the authorities. In reality, even the smartest and most cautious crook is only biding his time.” What about Frank Matthews and possibly others?

SW: I think someone like Frank Matthews is the exception to the rule. Remember, the authorities eventually managed to catch up to him as well. He managed to slip through their fingers and escape, but the point is that he almost got caught. That was 38 years ago.  Government and Law enforcement agencies are now more technologically advanced and have many more tools at their disposal. They can change laws to suit their needs. Criminals these days are also a lot quicker to inform on their peers. People think that a smart and cunning crook can outsmart the law. I believe that’s a fallacy. Intelligence alone cannot overcome the judicial system. The game is pretty much rigged. The odds are automatically against anyone that decides to make a living by an illegal means. 

MS: Dirty cops are fodder for endless movie plots. Dealing with the criminal element exposes police to many opportunities too good to pass up. You point out that “drug dealers can’t go to cops for protection and that makes them ripe for robbery and extortion.” Do you think cops being “on the take” or succumbing to other forms of corruption is increasing due to the prevalence of illegal drugs?

SW: I definitely think that the prevalence of illegal drugs has increased the number of cops who are “on the take.” The Crack Cocaine epidemic spawned an underworld version of yuppie culture.  It made a smokable version of cocaine widely available to people who probably could not afford the powder form of the drug. In a sense, that opened up a whole new clientele. It generated a lot of cash for those who were willing to cater to that particular vice.

MS: You devote a chapter to a British guy named Curtis “Cocky” Warren who thought he could outsmart authorities by talking in code and keeping all information in his head. He didn’t partake in any of the usual vices like drinking and doing drugs. And Cocky organized mammoth shipments of cocaine hidden inside lead ingots. How did they finally catch him?

RC: Warren was an example of a gangster who didn’t know when to get out of the drug game and thought he was too smart for his own good. He was too visible and he flaunted his freedom and criminal success in law enforcement’s face. He thought he could just move from England to another country and escape the law. He did not care that the police monitored his calls. He thought he could outsmart Johnny law by simply talking in code. He was smart but not smart enough and allowed law enforcement to build a case against him.

MS: When referring to the era where Miami’s fabled Cocaine Cowboys infested Atlanta around 1986, you stated that it was rare for an out-of-town crew to invade another territory. Apparently, the influx of Blacks who migrated from the North presented a huge source of recruits for moving drugs? 

SW: It’s not so easy to move into an established market and simply take it over. The locals who’ve built up and maintained that market likely will not roll over for an invading army. During the crack era, a lot of New York dealers began migrating to other areas of the country as the New York market became oversaturated. When they would relocate to another area and set up shop, they often made the mistake of thinking that the locals weren’t savvy or fearsome enough to fight them off. This lead to a lot of New York dealers getting killed and extorted in places like Washington D.C. Established kingpins in other cities do not take kindly to arrogant transplants trying to take over

MS: You stated further that “no American city was safe from the extreme violence that the crack trade inspired…” and that “their brazen methods provided inspiration for a new generation of hustlers and gang members that hoped to make a reputation for themselves through their willingness to shoot first and ask questions later.” In your opinion, has the drug scene changed markedly in recent years? And what does the current profile of drug trafficking look like in the United States? 

SW: The drug trade is no longer as lucrative as it was in the 80’s and 90’s, at least not for the Black organizations. The dynamics of the drug game have changed over the last decade. From what I understand, the Mexican cartels continue to effectively shut Black dealers out of the picture in places like California and Texas. Many of them are not willing sell wholesale amounts of drugs to black organizations. They won’t sell to the competition. This has created a situation out west where a lot of criminals are now turning to robberies and the like in order to make money. 

RC: I think the drug trade is much more fragmented. You have so many players today. Practically every ethnic group has become a player in the drug trade. Compare that to the 1960s when in the heroin trade there was mainly the French connection and it was controlled by La Cosa Nostra. The drug trade had reflected the globalization trend and today practically every country in the world is involved. There are also many more illegal drugs today and that has helped to diversify the drug trade.

Mob Speak wishes to thank you guys for a thought-provoking interview. To learn more about Straight from the Hood and its authors, go to www.strategicmediabooks.com.

Monday, September 5, 2011

PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
Strategic Media Books
803-366-5440
strategicmediabooks@gmail.com
www.strategicmediabooks.com
Crime Beat Radio Show
www.artistfirst.com
crimebeat123@yahoo.com


THE CRIME BEAT RADIO SHOW’S UPCOMING SCHEDULE FEATURES PROGRAMS ON 9-11, D.B. COOPER, HENRY HILL, AMANDA KNOX, THE FBI’S SECRETS, AND MORE

August, 2011— CRIME BEAT: ISSUES, CONTROVERSIES AND PERSONALITIES FROM THE DARKSIDE has been programming since January 28 of this year and is currently averaging 80,000 listeners plus each week, and the figure is growing.

Crime Beat is now pleased to announce its forthcoming schedule for the period from September 8 to October 27, 2011:Topics covered include , 9-11, the FBI, Henry Hill, D.B Cooper, Amanda Knox, Domestic Terrorism, DEA undercover work, Crime documentaries, DEA, among others. Here is the lineup.

  • September 8—Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan, authors of the Eleventh Day, talk about their 9-11 investigation, including the response of President Bush and the U.S. military that day, and the failure to intercept the hijacked airliners. They also reveal the untruths told afterward by U.S. officials and, as a counterpoint, assess the contentions of the “9/11 truth” movement. See randomhouse.com.
  • September 15—Geoffrey Gray, author of the best-seller, Skyjack, talks about his best-selling investigation of the D.B. Cooper mystery, one of the most astonishing whodunits in the history of American true crime. One man extorted $200,000 from an airline, then parachuted into the wilds of the Pacific Northwest and into oblivion. See huntfordbcooper.com.
  • September 22—Rich Gold and Tom Freeman, two documentary film makers look at crime and talk about their gangster documentaries. A fascinating look at legendary bank robber Willie Sutton and drug dealer Lucas Torres.
  • September 29—Nina Burleigh, author of the best-seller Fatal Gift of Beauty, discusses her mesmerizing literary investigation of the murder, the controversial prosecution, the conviction and twenty-six-year sentence of American Amanda Knox, as well as the machinations of Italian justice, and the underground depravity and clash of cultures in one of central -Italy’s most beloved cities. See ninaburleigh.com.
  • October 6—Ron Kessler, New York Times best-selling author of The Secrets of the FBI by New York Times, reveals the FBI’s most closely guarded secrets and the secrets of celebrities, politicians, and movie stars uncovered by agents during their investigations. See ronaldkessler.com.
  • October 13—Henry Hill is the legendary former American mobster, Lucchese crime family associate, and FBI informant whose life was immortalized in the book Wiseguy, written by crime reporter Nicholas Pileggi, and the 1990 Martin Scorsese film Goodfellas, in which Hill was played by Ray Liotta. See goodfellahenry.com.
  • October 20—In a command performance, Louis Diaz, author of Dancing with the Devil and retired DEA agent, takes us inside some of his biggest undercover operations, including that of Nicky Barnes, the so-called “Mr. Untouchable.” See books.simonandschuster.com.
  • October 27—Dick Lehr, co-author of the Edgar award winning, Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob talks about the life and legacy of White Bulger and impact of organized crime in Boston.
  • November 3—Gary Free Director of START, the country’s leading consortium for the study of terrorism and responses to terrorism, provides an assessment of the domestic terrorism threat and discusses other terrorism-related issues. How safe are we? See start.umd.edu.




Crime Beat is a weekly hour-long radio program and airs every Thursday from 9 and 10 EST. Beginning with the May 5 program the show moves to the 8pm-9pm EST time slot on the Artist First World radio Network. Crime Beat presents fascinating topics that bring listeners closer to the dynamic underbelly of the world of crime. Guests have included ex-mobsters, undercover law enforcement agents, sports officials, informants, prisoners, drug dealers and investigative journalists, who have provided insights and fresh information about the world’s most fascinating subject: crime.

Crime Beat is hosted by award-winning crime writer
Ron Chepesiuk (www.ronchepesiuk.com) and broadcast journalist and freelance writer Willie Hryb.

"Your radio format is great,” write Mark Christopoulus of northern California.

“Crime Beat is over the top, gentlemen! The show is on late in the afternoon out here, and me and my buddies from work get a chance to listen to it over a beer at our favorite watering hole before heading home."

Ivo DeLorenzi of Thunder Bay, Canada, writes: "I love your show... you guys manage to get top-calibre guests every week ... fascinating and remarkable, all rolled into one".




For more information, go to the Artist First Worldwide Radio Network at www.artistfirst.com. To contact the Crime Beat radio program, e-mail crimebeat123@yahoo.com.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Bellagio Bandit Gets 3-11 Years Behind Bars

Carleo holding up the Bellagio
The son of a former Las Vegas judge, Anthony Michael Carleo, couldn't parlay his political connections into a shorter sentence. The so-called Bellagio Bandit wore a motorcycle helmit as he carried out a Hollywood movie-style holdup at the Bellagio casino late last year.
Carleo in court

Read the facts surrounding the heist and several others that Carleo perpitrated in order to feed his drug addiction to painkellers. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/23/anthony-michael-carleo-bellagio-bandit-3-to-11_n_934340.html and http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2011/aug/23/bellagio-bandit-gets-3-11-years-15-million-chip-he/

Monday, August 15, 2011

How Did Marilyn Monroe Really Die? Part I

How did this Sex bomb...

...wind up like this?

There has been a wealth of misinformation flooding the Internet and other sources ever since Marilyn Monroe died under most suspicious circumstances in 1962. Various theories still float around regarding exactly how the megawattage star actually met her end.

During a live interview on a True Crime Uncensored radio show., July 16, 2011, which is archived at http://outlawcrime.com, I was asked by the host if I could shed any light on the death since Slick Hanner talks about it in our book Thief.

In a coming post I'm going to reveal what I told the interviewers, Burl Barer & Howard Lapides, based on Slick's best friend's testimony, and the FBI files that are now in the public domain.

Stay tuned. 


Friday, July 22, 2011

Straight from the Hood - Amazing but True Gangster Tales

A new true crime book answers these questions:
  • What impact did Al "Scarface" Capone have on Chicago's African community?
  • What does Alcatraz have to do with harlem's most famous godfather?
  • Why is Denzel Washington in this book? Who is a modern day desperado who died by the fun but managed to live on through rap music?
  • How did a stick-up artist from Brooklyn become Hip-Hop's answer to Lee Harvey Oswald?
Authors Ron Chepesiuk and Scott Wilson reveal "an underworld that is more varied and mythic than outsiders could possibly imagine...it makes for an entertaining and informative read that true crime aficionados should not miss."

To order, contact strategicmediabooks@gmail.com or call 803-366-5440.
Paperback: $16.95
E-book: $9.99

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Mob Writer Interviewed on True Crime Uncensored Radio

Yours truly looks forward to a fun interview on True Crime Uncensored radio show., this Saturday, July 16 at 5:00 p.m. ET. Check out details and how to log on: http://outlawcrime.com.

True Crime Radio says "We smoke, we drink, we interrupt." Sounds like my kind of folks!

Whitey Bulger


1994

If you're fascinated by the capture of this notorious mobster, here are 3 good sources for info:
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/07/06/national/main20077250.shtml
http://www.biography.com/articles/john-bulger-328770
http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2011/06/how-fbi-feds-captured-whitey-bulger/39160/



Monday, June 6, 2011

NY Mobster gets life instead of death penalty

Thanks to the NY Daily News this item:   

Mob boss Vincent (Vinny Gorgeous) Basciano dodges death penalty, sentenced to life in prison

Originally Published:Wednesday, June 1st 2011, 6:00 PM
Updated: Wednesday, June 1st 2011, 7:39 PM

Murderous mob boss Vincent (Vinny Gorgeous) Basciano will live to preen again. The former Bronx  hair salon owner was spared the death penalty Wednesday by a federal jury that found his crimes less heinous than those of turncoat witness Joseph Massino - killer of a dozen people.

"There are other members of organized crime that have admitted to an equal or greater number of crimes that are not facing the death penalty," read a note from 10 of the jurors who gave Basciano life in prison.

The 51-year-old was outwardly confident when the jury began its deliberations at 3:50 p.m., blowing a kiss to his wife and sons insideBrooklyn Federal Court.

"Don't worry about me," the cocky gangster crowed. "I feel good, ya hear?"

When the verdict was read less than two hours later, a relieved Basciano poured a glass of water. He nodded and smiled at the dozen anonymous people who saved his life as they exited the jury box.
His bid to thank them personally was quickly rejected by Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis. 

"There's no chance in the world," the judge declared.

The one-time Bonanno family boss was convicted last month of capital murder for ordering the November 2004 execution of mob associate Randolph Pizzolo.

The testimony of his Bonanno predecessor, mob boss turned mob rat Massino, and five other cooperating witnesses crushed Basciano's hopes of acquittal for racketeering, murder and conspiracy.

"Tell Joe Massino he's a b--- j--," said Basciano's son Stephen, delivering a hard to swallow insult outside the courthouse.

Massino became the highest-ranking Mafiosi to ever flip when he wore a wire to meetings with Basciano inside the Metropolitan Correctional Center. Once sentenced this summer, Basciano will head to the notorious Cell Block H of the supermaximum security federal penitentiary in Florence, Colo.

Basciano lived up to his nickname during the trial, keeping his hair meticulously groomed and wearing a suit to court each day.

He was already serving a life sentence for the 2001 murder of Bronx junkie Frank Santoro before his conviction for Pizzolo's slaying on a deserted Brooklyn street.

Basciano sanctioned the killing to deliver a "wakeup call" to his crime family, which was beset by defections in its upper echelon.

The jury reached its decision despite Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicole Argentieri's contention that the brutal Basciano deserved a lethal injection.

"Even though his body is in prison, his mind will be in the street with his power and his money," the prosecutor told the jury. "The defendant has earned the ultimate punishment."

The government spent nearly $5 million in taxpayer money for Basciano's court-appointed team of lawyers.

Defense lawyer Richard Jasper had implored the jurors to let Basciano die "in God's time, not man's."

***
Also in the news:


  
Sergeant Smack Garners
Several Book Awards 


Rock Hill, North Carolina—It is a book award season and Strategic Media Books’ Sergeant Smack: The Legendary Lives and Times of Ike Atkinson, Kingpin, and his Band of Brothers has won or been nominated for nine awards.  The categories include True Crime, African American and Non Fiction. The awards recognize excellence in writing and story telling. In winning the gold medal in the true crime category of the eLIt Awards. Sergeant Smack was lauded for “illuminating digital publishing excellence.”

Other book awards include:
  • Next Generation Indie Book Awards, Winner, 2010, African American category, 2010 Book of the Year
  • International Books Awards, 2011, True Crime Book of the Year
  • New England Book Festival—Finalist, 2010 True Crime Book of the Year
  • Books and Authors Net—Winner, 2010 True Crime Book of the Year
  • Independent Book Publishers Awards (IPPY awards), Bronze Medal, 2010 True Crime Book of the Year
  • USA Book News “National Best Books Awards”, Finalist, 2010 True Crime Book of the Year
  • The National Indie Excellence Awards, 2011 True Crime Book of the Year
  • Crime Magazine’s Choice of True Crime Books, 2010
  • Foreword Magazine, Finalist, 2010 True Crime Book of the Year (Winner to be announced on June 25, 2011)

“We are delighted that several awards committees deemed Sergeant Smack worthy of recognition,” Chepesiuk said. “It reflects the positive feedback we have been receiving from reading public.
” Chepesiuk revealed that Sergeant Smack has been optioned for a film, which is currently in development.

"Sergeant Smack: The Legendary Lives and Times of Ike Atkinson, Kingpin, and his Band of Brothers, which hit the bookshelves in June 2010, details the true legend of Ike Atkinson, the biggest African America drug traffickers in U.S. history. Atkinson's notorious enterprise was so complex and profitable; it easily rivaled that of popular modern day hoodlums, the Black Mafia Family.

Atkinson, who operated in the 1970s, never carried a gun, never committed murder and never bowed down to the infamous Italian La Cosa Nostra. As a U.S. Army Master Sergeant, he utilized his intellect and charm to, by conservative estimates, smuggle more than 1000 pounds of heroin worth $400 million annually from Bangkok, Thailand, through U.S. military bases into the United States.  Atkinson pioneered some of the most innovative methods used in international drug smuggling. They ranged from duffle and AWOL bags, to the U.S. Army Postal System to the use of unsuspecting crew chiefs who operated military aircraft to teakwood furniture.

Now 85-years old, Atkinson was released from federal prison in April 2007 after serving a 32-year prison term. ”We worked hard on putting the book together” Ike Atkinson said. “It’s gratifying to get some recognition for our effort.”

Chepesiuk has penned some 28 books, including "Gangsters of Miami," "Drug Lords, the Rise and  Fall of the Cali Cartel," "Gangsters of Harlem" and "Gangsters of Chicago," and more than 4000 articles. In all, Chepesiuk’s books have won more than twenty awards.

Join Ike Atkinson on Facebook.  See and hear from Ike Atkinson himself at youtube.com and read about him at IkeAtkinsonKingpin.com. For more information about Ron Chepesiuk, go to ronchepesiuk.com. Information about the publisher, Strategic Media Books, can be found at www.strategicmediabooks.com

And pick up the "Sergeant Smack: The Legendary Lives and Times of Ike Atkinson, Kingpin, and his Band of Brothers" online or at a bookstore near you! 


For further information: http://www.strategicmediabooks.com 
For interviews or to request copy of the book e-mail:   
strategicmediabooks@gmail.com or phone: 803-366-5440