'Abscam' hits upon underworld links
US Department of Justice sources have disclosed to the Monitor that investigators in the FBI's "Abscam" political bribery probe and in a two-year Justice Department investigation of racketeering and other organized crime activities on the East Coast, found links between the political and "mob" elements.
The federal sources say that Alexander Alexandro, arraigned Feb. 4 in US District Court in Brooklyn for his alleged part in the Abscam scandal, is also the target of an investigation by the US attorney's office in New York in connection with organized crime's alleged power over the International Longshoreman's Association (ILA). Anthony Scotto, a top leader in the ILA, was recently convicted on racketeering charges and sentenced to five years in prison.
The federal agents involved in the two investigations have coordinated their activities from the beginning, the sources says.
Justice Department officials interviewed by this newspaper point out that the new developments in the probe by the Federal Bureau of Investigation of political bribery are not isolated findings, but are tied to ongoing organized crime investigations on the waterfront and in casino gambling in Atlantic City, N.J.
The following links, according to Justice Department and other law-enforcement officials, are developing:
* US Sen. Harrison A. Williams (D) of New Jersey is under investigation in connection with his involvement with an applicant for an Atlantic City casino license. This probe grew out of a large one involving organized crime in the casino business. The sources indicated that no organized crime link to Senator Williams has been discovered, but that such links have been found in the case of a state senator who has also been a target of the Abscam probe.
* The indictment of Alexander Alexandro in Brooklyn Federal District Court on charges of bribery in connection with Abscam is very possibly linked to waterfront labor racketeering, say law enforcement sources. The US waterfront, from New York to the Gulf coast, has been the subject of a separate investigation into organized crime, and several reputed crime bosses recently have been convicted of racketeering.
In the Abscam scandal Mr. Alexandro, an Immigration Service investigator, is charged with bribery as a result of the FBI's undercover investigation. What has not been known publicly up to now is that he is also under investigation by the US attorney's office here for "essentially" the same thing, federal soruces say.
Also, there is a joint investigation going on with the US attorney's office working in tandem with the FBI on Abscam and waterfront racketeering.
Meanwhile, the New York Times reported Feb. 6 that Sen. Howard D. Cannon (D) of Nevada was the target of an FBI probe involving trucking deregulation legislation, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and a Nevada land deal.
Senator Cannon, Feb. 6, denied any wrongdoing.