NEW YORK (Reuters) - Federal agents in New York on Wednesday arrested 19 accused members of the Lucchese crime family, an alleged network of criminals who were the source of inspiration for the acclaimed mobster film "Goodfellas."
Defendants with nicknames including "Paulie Roast Beef" and "Joey Glasses" were among those arrested on charges ranging from murder to the illegal sale of cigarettes, according to court papers.
The crimes were committed in connection to a larger racketeering scheme run out of New York and dating back at least 17 years, prosecutors said.
The Lucchese family is considered to be one of five long-established Mafia organizations that operate in New York City and New Jersey.
The group was suspected of pulling off the notorious 1978 airport heist that inspired Martin Scorsese's 1990 Academy Award-winning film "Goodfellas." That $6 million heist remains one of the most infamous unsolved crimes in the United States.
A spokeswoman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation's New York office said agents had arrested about 20 people on Wednesday in an organized crime bust. More details about the charges and arrests would be released later in the day, the FBI wrote on Twitter.
The defendants are expected to appear in federal court in White Plains on Wednesday.
(Reporting by Laila Kearney; Additional reporting by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Scott Malone and Alistair Bell)