December 8, 2019 — The Latin Counts and the Springfield (MA) mafia have a working relationship. Over 60 Latin Counts in Massachusetts were indicted by the feds last week for racketeering in an investigation known as “Operation Throne Down”, led by the organization’s east coast boss Michael (King Merlin) Cecchetelli, who is Italian and has ties to the Springfield mob crew, a satellite wing of New York’s Genovese crime family.
The majority of Latin Counts are Latino in heritage. According to Friday’s indictment, Cecchetelli, 40, reports to Latin Counts national leaders in Chicago and holds meetings at a pair of Italian mob social clubs in Western Massachusetts, including the infamous Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Society Social Club in the South End, the longtime base of “La Cosa Nostra” operations in Springfield. He is accused of, among other things, attempted murder of two rival gangsters and of expanding Latin Counts influence across the eastern seaboard all the way down to Florida by leveraging his links to other crime factions.
Also arrested on Friday was Springfield wiseguy Dave (Fat Chickie) Cecchetelli, but on separate charges of possession of ammunition. The 53-year old Fat Chickie is King Merlin’s uncle and roommate and through the late 1990s and first half of the 2000s, was one of the area’s biggest mob bookies. Both Cecchetellis did prison time for federal felony convictions in the late 2000s and returned to their old Springfield stomping grounds.
Fat Chickie worked for former Springfield mob capos Adolfo (Big Al) Bruno and Anthony (Bingy) Arillotta before he was sent away to prison. Arillotta assumed power in the crew after being part of a conspiracy to assassinate Bruno. On November 24, 2003, Bruno was gunned down in the parking lot of the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Society Social Club on orders from New York for ruffling feathers with Genovese bosses. In 2010, Arillotta turned witness against the Genovese hierarchy. Arillotta and Fat Chickie were indicted together in 2006.
Today, the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Society Social Club is alleged to be lorded over by reputed Springfield mob crew chief Albert (The Animal) Calvanese, a loanshark in the old Bruno and Arillotta crews of the past. Big Chickie has recently been part of a reality television show pitch.
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