To Catch a Falling Star

At first they called it Operation Star Quest. But when a federal grand jury last week indicted alleged Mob Boss Carmine ("the Snake") Persico, 51, and ten other members of the Colombo clan, one of New York's five major Mafia families, federal agents triumphantly renamed their probe Star Struck. Those involved were said to control seven union locals in New York City's restaurant, trucking and construction businesses, extorting large payments from restaurateurs and contractors.

Star Quest took more than three years to complete. In one elaborate sting, an FBI agent entertained hoodlums on a luxury yacht while posing as a high-rolling...

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