Police Raid Circulation Offices of NYC Newspapers; Seek Evidence in Union Probe

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Manhattan BridgeThe editorial offices of a daily newspaper aren't exactly pickings for the Mafia, but the same can't necessarily be said of the people who operate the print shops and the delivery trucks. Early this afternoon, a spokesman for the New York City Police Department announced that officers raided the circulation plants of four of the city's largest daily papers. It's part of an investigation into corruption at the Newspaper and Mail Deliverers, a Teamsters-affiliated union that packages and delivers newspapers throughout the New York City region. Affected are circulation offices for the New York Times (Queens), the New York Daily News (Manhattan), the New York Post and El Diario (Brooklyn). It's not the first time this union has been the subject of a mob probe. 

The Newspaper and Mail Deliverers, with some 1,600 members, has real power over the newspaper industry in the New York area. Their packagers and drivers make possible the delivery of hundreds of thousands of daily newspapers. Without union cooperation, management might find delivery of its papers suddenly difficult. Union enforcers stand ready to make sure of this. Back in 1992, police raided circulation offices at the Post and the Daily News. A probe by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office led to criminal charges against several union members, including then-President Douglas LaChance, a suspected member of the Lucchese crime family. Though acquitted in 1995 of extorting Post management into switching delivery companies, the union has remained tainted. The latest raid justifies the reputation.

An NYPD official, speaking to the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity, stated that his department is conducting a thorough investigation of the local. Attempts to reach the union by phone were unsuccessful. The parent labor organization, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, referred all inquires to the local union. This game of hot potato, however, will work only for so long if evidence indicates an alliance between the local union and the Mafia. This city never sleeps.