Mobster Mark Rossetti is sentenced to 12 years in prison

BOSTON, MA. 03/ 15 /13: Mark Rossetti is expected to plead guilty to the remainder of the charges against him in Suffolk (Extortion, Conspiracy to Commit Extortion, Criminal Usury) today at 12 noon in Suffolk Superior Court courtroom 906 ( David L Ryan/Globe Staff Photo ) SECTION: METRO TOPIC
Mark Rossetti was sentenced to 12 years for running a violent criminal enterprise.Credit: David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

Mark Rossetti, once a powerful and feared captain of the New England Mafia, appeared today before a Suffolk Superior Court judge in jogging pants and handcuffs, and was sentenced to 12 years in prison for running a violent criminal enterprise across Eastern Massachusetts.

Rossetti, now 53 and silver-haired, who had a secret, controversial relationship with the FBI, had pleaded guilty to usury and extortion — for lending money at exorbitant interest rates to a gambler and for using threats to collect gambling debts for bookies.

He will serve the sentence simultaneously with previous punishments for selling heroin and for breaking and entering to steal from a rival drug dealer.

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With the sentence, Rossetti is sure to remain in prison until he is in his 60s, the latest blow to La Cosa Nostra in New England.

“Mark Rossetti was the leader of an extensive and violent criminal enterprise that for decades threatened the safety of our community,” said Attorney General Martha Coakley, whose office indicted Rossetti and about 30 other Mafia members and associates in October 2010 for running a vast enterprise known as the Rossetti organization.

“This sentence today is an important step in our efforts to combat organized crime,” Coakley said, adding that “Rossetti and many of his associates have been taken off our streets and are no longer threats to public safety.”

Rossetti, telling Superior Court Judge Jeffrey A. Locke that he worked in construction and never went past the ninth grade, said he understood the charges against him and his decision to plead guilty.

His attorney, Michael Doolin, said outside the courtroom that his client was glad to resolve the case and “looks forward to putting these issues behind him and getting on in his life.”

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