Friday, July 02, 2010

TOP STORY>>Mob trial will start in fall

Leader staff writer

The Cabot man indicted in Arkansas for illegal gambling and public corruption and later in Massachusetts for drug trafficking and supplying guns to the Mafia’s Columbo family, was scheduled for trial in federal court this week, but the trial date has been changed to Oct. 18.

George Wiley Thompson, 64, is at the center of Arkansas’ first case with ties to one of the big crime families, U. S. Attorney Jane Duke said when Thompson was indicted in Massachusetts late in 2009 for allegedly selling guns to alleged Colombo

Family street boss Ralph Francis Deleo, 64, who was indicted at the same time.

So far federal investigators have built cases against six men with connections to Thompson’s alleged illegal activities. In addition to Deleo, Edmond Kulesza, 56, and Ranklin M. Goldman, 66, were indicted in Massachusetts.

In Arkansas, North Little Rock aldermen Cary Gaines, 63, and Samuel Gaylon Baggett, 58, were indicted.

Gaines is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud in a kickback scheme involving contracts and projects for the city of North Little Rock. The profit from the scheme was allegedly intended to pay gambling debts owed to Thompson.

Gaines also is charged with making a false statement to FBI agents regarding conversations he had with Thompson concerning the preparation of Thompson’s tax returns.

The charges against Baggett relate to his role as a federally licensed firearms dealer. The indictment alleges that Baggett sold weapons to Thompson even knowing that he was a previously convicted felon, that he didn’t keep accurate records as required and that he made false statements to agents with the FBI and Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms investigating the case.

The latest indictment, in April, is against Thompson’s son, George Allen Thompson, 41, of Jacksonville, on firearms and drug distribution charges.

Specifically, the indictment charges one count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana, one count of felon in possession of a firearm and two counts of felon in possession of ammunition.

The younger Thompson was also charged with one count of acting as an accessory after the fact by helping his father avoid apprehension, trial and punishment by sending his father’s prescription medication to an individual who was to carry the medication to his father in Thailand where he went to evade federal authorities after a search warrant was executed at his home resulting in a seizure of more than 140 firearms, and 80,000 rounds of ammunition, which, as a felon, he illegally possessed.

George Wiley Thompson was arrested in Bangkok, Thailand, in November 2009 about a month after he was indicted on a multitude of federal charges including bookmaking, distribution of illegal drugs and conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with an alleged kickback scheme.

Thompson lived in the modest Oak Meadows subdivision in the central part of the city.

In addition to the Oct. 18 trial with Daleo, Thompson is scheduled for trial with Gaines on Aug. 14 and with Baggett on Dec. 7.