Carmine "Baby Carmine" Russo, surveillance photo selling fireworks on Mulberry St in 1995.

Carmine "Baby Carmine" Russo (born 1945) is a New York City mobster and a member of the Genovese crime family crew once lead by Alphonse "Allie Shades" Malangone. Carmine was born in Little Italy to Italian immigrants from Sicily. He earned his nickname due to being the grandson of late Genovese Boss, Carmine "Sonny" Russo, who had a part in the family affairs at Fulton Fish Market along with Genovese mobsters, Carmine Romano, Vincent Romano, Peter Romano, Augie Cataldo and Pete Cataldo, whom were all blood relatives of his.

Criminal Activity

Carmine, despite his known activity down at the fish market, was also well known for his role in selling illegal fireworks on Mulberry street. In the early 1990s, he and his associate Elio Albanese became familiar figures in the Fulton Fish Market who for a long time had run parking and loading businesses important to the market's smooth operations. Until 1995, when the city evicted them. Prior to that his family had been in the market for almost 50 years. But Albanese and Russo admitted in Federal Court that they had other occupations: conspiring to rob banks and illegal trafficking in explosives and fireworks.

Both men pleaded guilty in Federal District Court in Manhattan in December 1995 to charges that they were part of a 13-member ring that prosecutors say was linked to the Mafia and that robbed or conspired to rob four banks in New York City and an armored-truck depot in Highland, Dutchess County, in 1993 and 1994. Two of the banks were robbed of about $1.5 million. Russo and Albanese, who was known as "Chinatown", also pleaded guilty to charges of transporting and selling thousands of pounds of fireworks and explosives that were as powerful as dynamite. Upon conviction the two men faced maximum prison sentences of 10 years each, but stood to only receive about three years each as part of plea bargains with the United States Attorney's office in Manhattan. By this time law enforcement officials had already identified Russo as a soldier in the Genovese family, and were aware that the Genovese and Bonanno crime families had run rackets and extorted kickbacks from Fulton Market merchants since the 1930s. Albanese and Russo were the first prominent businessmen at the Fulton Market to be convicted of Mafia-related crimes since the city began a crackdown to rid the market of organized-crime influence and corruption.

In or around 2003, Russo became involved in a plot to rob a workers’ credit union branch at the New York Times printing plant in Queens. The plot was caught on a listening device worn by an undercover agent known as "Big Frankie". Russo and Elio "Chinatown" Albanese were implicated on tape by Genovese associate Nicky Fiorello, who identified them as being robbery specialists. He also stated that Russo and Albanese would take care of the guns. Russo pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 57 months in federal prison. He was released on January 23, 2006.

Russo lived with his mother at the foot of Mulberry Street until she died. According to investigators who tracked him over the years, he often seemed down on his luck. As a rule, he quickly burned through his money and often found himself hustling and lounging along Mulberry Street.

He found ways to scrape by. In the weeks leading up to the Fourth of July, he could be seen from the windows in the rear of the criminal court building in Lower Manhattan, selling fireworks by the case to people in cars who pulled up on Mulberry below Canal Street.

Following his release from prison in 2006, a person who knew him said he had been selling plastic bags at the Fulton Fish Market before it moved and was hoping to open a small business in his Chinatown neighborhood. His sentence included a $7,500 fine, which he had been paying it off in monthly increments of $50 or $60.

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