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Federal Jail in NYC a Mob Social Club?

Reputed Mafia mobsters reportedly turned Brooklyn's Federal Metropolitan Detention Center (M.D.C.) into a cozy social club -- with the help of corrupt guards. Detainees hosted visiting business associates and dined in high style with smuggled in meatballs, manicotti and chicken cutlets, washed down with vodka and wine, according to federal investigators.

In May, 1997, federal authorities announced the arrest of eleven M.D.C. guards and nine civilians in what one official called the worst corruption case in U.S. prison history. The arrest culminated a 10-month sting operation dubbed "Operation Badfellas."

Court papers described how a Bureau of Prisons (BOP) guard allowed a prisoner cooperating with the sting operation to retrieve from a computer at the jail "the names and locations of all persons involved in his case." The prisoner, who in this instance would certainly be characterized by his fellow detainees as a "rat," had told the guard "he was looking for the name and location of the 'rat' in his case."

One of the arrested guards reportedly collected $500 a week in bribes to arrange "special visits by organized crime associates," the purpose of which was "to facilitate the conducting of organized crime business" at the M.D.C.

Among those arrested was Raymond Cotton, head of Local 2055 of the American Federation of Government Employees. Court papers said Cotton gave the reputed mob detainees warnings about impending searches and helped them hide contraband he had brought them. In one instance, Cotton was accused of hiding 10 Italian hero sandwiches, 20 pounds of pasta, a gallon of olive oil and a box of garlic in his office.

New York Times

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