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Alleged head of Lucchese crime family's online gambling operation detained

The New Jersey Attorney General's office has confirmed a key arrest in an ongoing investigation into the Lucchese crime family interests in internet sports betting. NJ.com reports that Brian R. Cohen (61), who is thought to be the head of the Lucchese family's online gambling operation, was arrested at Buffalo International Airport as he arrived in the United States from Costa Rica on May 16. This week the man appeared on money laundering and gambling promotion charges.

The charges stem from Operation Heat, a New Jersey-based investigation that has led to the indictment of members and associates of the New York-based Lucchese crime family - including two high-ranking leaders.

Officials said the gaming operation, which processed wagers of $2.2 billion in a 15-month period, routed bets through a "wire room" in Costa Rica, where Cohen lives. Earlier this month, two days before Cohen was arrested, officials unveiled a 34-count indictment against 34 alleged Lucchese members and associates.

"(Cohen's) arrest represents another significant milestone in our major prosecution of this New York-based crime family," said Stephen Taylor, director of New Jersey's Division of Criminal Justice in a statement.

"We have indicted the top echelon of this criminal organization in both New York and New Jersey, and we continue to charge key players in their multibillion-dollar gambling operation."

Cohen was transferred to New Jersey Wednesday night and made his first appearance in Superior Court in Morris County on Thursday. He posted $100,000 bail, and was ordered to surrender his passport, officials said.

Source: InfoPowa News

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