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]

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.[12]

In popular culture

In 2005 and 2006, a fictionalized version of The Tanglewood Boys was featured on CSI: NY, in episode 1.13 "Tanglewood"[13] and in episode 2.20 "Run Silent, Run Deep".[14]


  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. 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. ^ Weiser, Benjamin (February 12, 2003). "Metro Briefing New York: Manhattan: Sentencing In 1995 Murder". The New York Times. Retrieved October 17, 2012. 
  13. ^ Huntley, Kristine (January 27, 2005). "CSI: New York–'Tanglewood' review". CSI Files. Retrieved October 29, 2012.
  14. ^ 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