The Tanglewood Boys were an Italian-American recruitment gang or "farm team" for the American Mafia, specifically the Lucchese crime family. The gang frequently operated from the Tanglewood Shopping Center in Yonkers, New York.
In the 1990s, the gang began to rise in the public eye as a "farm team" led by Anthony Santorelli for the Lucchese crime family. Many members of the gang were sons of made men, who grew up north of New York City. The gang was involved in murders, assaults, armed robbery, arsons, and bookmaking operations in Westchester, the Bronx and the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
The group consisted of: Darin Mazzarella, Anthony DiSimone, Alfred "Freddy Boy" Santorelli, "Johnnie Boy" Petrucelli, Steven Crea Jr., Craig DePalma, the son of a Gambino capo; Greg DePalma and Pasquale Parrello, the son of Genovese soldier, Patsy Parrello.
They would hang out at the Tanglewood Mall before they went to the clubs, listening to music. They liked everything from Springsteen and Billy Joel to Neil Diamond and even black gangsta rap and disliked Metallica. They used to go to clubs all over Westchester and the Bronx and beat the shit out of people. They apparently intimidated the old wiseguys. They got free drinks, and if they started a fight, the other guys got thrown out. They dressed like clean-cut college kids, and mostly wore Gap clothes and Nike outfits. They played softball and football, and when guys owed them money, they would take their motorcycles.
Darin Mazzarella stated that Freddy Santorelli once took a guy’s girlfriend. He just called the guy down to Tanglewood and told him, ‘If you see her again, I’ll break your legs.’ Freddy even got engaged to the stolen girl. Mazzarella said that the group didn’t really care about wiseguys, but respected them because they were older. They had fathers to protect them, so they did whatever they wanted.
On February 2, 1992, the Mazzarella brothers Darin and Nick went to a friend’s house for a party in Tuckahoe. An older Gambino associate was snorting coke in the bathroom all night and teasing Nick Mazzarella, who then grabbed the guy by the throat and choked him. He fell to the floor, unconscious. Another Tanglewood Boy ran into the kitchen and stabbed him in the neck with a kitchen knife. They wrapped his body in a handmade quilt, and Darin drove his van with the body to Manhattan and left it on the Upper East Side. The case went unsolved until Darin and Nick, who were both wired by the FBI, ratted out their friends. Nick pleaded guilty to the murder in 1998 and Darin admitted dumping the body. Just over a month later, on March 6, Darin Mazzarella and Joseph Petrucelli got into a racial argument and shot Kasiem Merchant, a 16-year-old to death in New Rochelle. Joseph Petrucelli received a life sentence for the murder.
On February 4, 1994, the Tanglewood Boys also murdered Louis Balancio, a 21-year-old Mercy College student outside the Strike Zone Bar. The same day, an FBI agent observed Anthony Santorelli dumping something into a garbage can, which turned out to be clothes covered in blood. A DNA check was conducted on the clothes and it was discovered that the blood belonged to Louis Balancio. Anthony DiSimone, the son of Lucchese family capo Salvatore DiSimone went into hiding after the murder.
In 1994, Joseph Lubrano was wrongfully sent to prison for beating a black police officer and was released four years later. During the trial, it was alleged that Lubrano was a member of the Tanglewood Boys. Darin Mazzarella later gave information to investigators and prosecutors on the Lubrano assault; he admitted participating in the assault with Alfred Santorelli, the son of Anthony Santorelli, and asserted that Lubrano was not a Tanglewood member.
In May 1995, Alfred Santorelli and Darin Mazzarella had a sit-down with brothers Joseph and Adam Consentino over bookmaking operations in the Bronx. The sit-down took place in a Pelham Parkway bar that was owned by Bonanno crime family soldier Vincent Basciano. After drinking, Santorelli and Mazzarella began hitting the brothers with bottles and shot at them as they escaped.
In June 1995, Darin Mazzarella and John Petrucelli got into an argument with Gene Gallo in Loreto Park. Gallo left and got his friend Michael "Mike" Zanfardino, a hitman who worked for Genovese crime family capo Barney Bellomo in Pelham Bay. Zanfardino pulled out a gun and shot Mazzarella and pointed the gun at Santorelli before leaving the scene. Petrucelli and others came back that night and stabbed Paul Cicero, Gallo's cousin, to death. In October 2002, Mazzarella testified against John Petrucelli, in the murder trial of Paul Cicero. In February 2003, John Petrucelli was sentenced to life in prison for the murder.
In December 1996, Darin Mazzarella was charged with the 1994 murder of Louis Balancio and Anthony Santorelli was charged with throwing the bloody clothes into the dumpster. After his imprisonment, Darin Mazzarella agreed to become a government witness. He provided information that is credited with leading to significant disruption of the Tanglewood Boys and the Lucchese family.
In 1999, Anthony DiSimone turned himself in to the police and was sentenced in 2000 to 25 years to life for the murder of Louis Balancio. Anthony DiSimone served seven years in prison before the conviction was overturned because the defense never reviewed the evidence, he later pleaded guilty to manslaughter in 2010, and served no additional time.