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The Tanglewood Boys

The Tanglewood Boys
Founding locationYonkers, New York
Years active1990s
TerritoryWestchester, The Bronx, Upper West Side
Membership (est.)Unknown
Criminal activitiesmurder, assault, armed robbery, arson, bookmaking, racketeering and drug trafficking
AlliesLucchese crime family

The Tanglewood Boys was an Italian-American recruitment gang or "farm team" for the American Mafia, specifically the Lucchese crime family.[1] The gang frequently operated from the Tanglewood Shopping Center in Yonkers, New York.[2]


Crimes committed

In the 1990s, the gang began to rise in the public eye as a "farm team" led by Anthony Santorelli for the Lucchese crime family.[3] Many members of the gang were sons of made men, who grew up north of New York City.[1] The gang was involved in murders, assaults, armed robbery, arsons, and bookmaking operations in Westchester, the Bronx and the Upper West Side of Manhattan.[4]

On March 6, 1992, two members, Darin Mazzarella and Joseph Petrucelli got into a racial argument and shot Kasiem Merchant, a 16-year-old to death in New Rochelle.[5] Joseph Petrucelli received a life sentence for the murder.[5]

On February 4, 1994, the Tanglewood Boys murdered Louis Balancio, a 21-year-old Mercy College student outside the Strike Zone Bar.[4] The same day, an FBI agent observed Anthony Santorelli dumping something into a garbage can, which turned out to be clothes covered in blood.[6] A DNA check was conducted on the clothes and the blood belonged to Louis Balancio.[6] Anthony DiSimone, the son of Lucchese family capo Salvatore DiSimone went into hiding after the murder of Balancio.[4]

In 1994, Joseph Lubrano was wrongfully sent to prison for beating a black police officer and was released four years later.[7] During the trial, it was alleged that Lubrano was a member of the Tanglewood Boys.[7]

In May 1995, Alfred Santorelli and Darin Mazzarelli had a sit-down with brothers Joseph and Adam Consentino over bookmaking operations in the Bronx.[8] The sit-down took place in a Pelham Parkway bar that was owned by Bonanno crime family soldier Vincent Basciano.[8] After drinking, Santorelli and Mazzarelli began hitting the brothers with bottles and shot at them as they escaped.[5]

In June 1995, Darin Mazzarelli and John Petrucelli got into an argument with Gene Gallo in Loreto Park. Gallo left and got his friend Michael "Mike" Zanfardino, a hitman who worked for Genovese crime family capo Barney Bellomo's crew in Pelham Bay.[8] Zanfardino pulled out a gun and shot Mazzarelli and pointed the gun at Santorelli before leaving the scene.[8] Petrucelli and others came back that night and stabbed Paul Cicero, Gallo's cousin to death.[8]

In December 1996, Darin Mazzarella was charged with the 1994 murder of Louis Balancio and Anthony Santorelli was charged with throwing the bloody clothes into the dumpster.[9]


After his imprisonment, Darin Mazzarella agreed to become a government witness in 1997.[10] He provided information that is credited with leading to significant disruption of the Tanglewood Boys and the Lucchese family.[4] Mazzarella gave information for investigators and prosecutors on the Lubrano assault; he admitted participating in the assault with Alfred Santorelli, the son of Anthony Santorelli, and asserted that Lubrano was not a Tanglewood member.[7]

In 1999, Anthony DiSimone turned himself in to the police and was sentenced in 2000 to 25 years to life for the murder of Louis Balancio.[11] Anthony DiSimone served seven years in prison before the conviction was overturned, the defense never reviewed the evidence, he later pleaded guilty to manslaughter in 2010, and served no additional time.[12]

In October 2002, Darin Mazzarella testified against John Petrucelli, in the murder trial of Paul Cicero.[10] Petrucelli had murdered Cicero in retaliation for Mazzarella being shot early by Cicero's cousin Gene Gallo, a Genovese crime family associate.[10] In February 2003, John Petrucelli was sentenced to life in prison for the 1995 murder of Paul Cicero.[13]

In popular culture

In 2005 and 2006, a fictionalized version of The Tanglewood Boys was featured on CSI: NY, in episode 1.13 "Tanglewood"[14] and in episode 2.20 "Run Silent, Run Deep".[15]


  1. ^ a b Garcia, p. 220
  2. ^ Abadinsky, p.29
  3. ^ McCalary, Mike (June 23, 1995). "Tangled Web of Gangsters in The Bronx". Daily News. Retrieved October 10, 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d McAlary, Mike (April 13, 1998). "Breaking the Code". New York. Archived from the original on January 9, 2009. Retrieved October 10, 2012.
  5. ^ a b c McAlary, Mike (July 3, 1995). "Sour Fruit Falls From Mob Trees". Daily News. Retrieved October 8, 2012.
  6. ^ a b McAlary, Mike (March 13, 1998). "A Case of Dumb and Dumpster". Daily News. Retrieved October 10, 2012.
  7. ^ a b c McAlary, Mike (May 22, 1998). "The wrong guy got jail in 1994 attack". Daily News. Retrieved April 15, 2012.
  8. ^ a b c d e McAlary, Mike (July 5, 1995). "Write Cross Hits Thugs Mob Pen Pals Aid Cops". Daily News. Retrieved October 16, 2012.
  9. ^ Berger, Joseph (December 10, 1996). "After 3 Years of Witnesses' Silence, Man Is Charged in a College Student's Killing". The New York Times. Retrieved October 11, 2012.
  10. ^ a b c Gearty, Robert (October 24, 2002). "Ex-tanglewood Boy Accuses Mate In Teen's Killing". Daily News. Retrieved October 17, 2012.
  11. ^ O'Connor, Timothy (July 3, 2008). "Wife blames Pirro for murder case against DiSimone". The Journal News. Retrieved October 16, 2012.
  12. ^ Fitz-Gibbon, Jorge; Bandler, Jonathan (March 28, 2018). "Mobbed up: Lower Hudson Valley's historical ties to La Cosa Nostra". Journal News. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  13. ^ Weiser, Benjamin (February 12, 2003). "Metro Briefing New York: Manhattan: Sentencing In 1995 Murder". The New York Times. Retrieved October 17, 2012.
  14. ^ Huntley, Kristine (January 27, 2005). "CSI: New York–'Tanglewood' review". CSI Files. Retrieved October 29, 2012.
  15. ^ Huntley, Kristine (April 20, 2006). "CSI: New York–'Run Silent, Run Deep' review". CSI Files. Retrieved October 29, 2012.


  • Garcia, Joaquin and Levin, Michael. Making Jack Falcone: An Undercover FBI Agent Takes Down a Mafia Family. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2009. ISBN 1439149917.
  • Abadinsky, Howard. Organized Crime. Cengage Learning, 2010. ISBN 9780495599661.

External links