For Immediate Release - April 24, 2012

Winthrop Man Pleads Guilty, Sentenced to Seven Years in State Prison in Connection with Extortion

Defendant Connected to Highly Organized and Violent Criminal Enterprise throughout Eastern Massachusetts

BOSTON – A Winthrop man has pleaded guilty and been sentenced to seven years in State Prison in connection with attempted extortion, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today. 

Darin Bufalino, age 51, of Winthrop pleaded guilty today in Suffolk Superior Court on charges of Attempted Extortion and Conspiracy to Commit Attempted Extortion.  After the plea was entered, Suffolk Superior Court Judge Linda Giles sentenced Bufalino to seven years to seven years and one day in State Prison, to run concurrent with a seven year Armed Robbery sentence in Essex Superior Court.  Judge Giles also ordered Bufalino to serve five years of probation to begin upon his release from incarceration, with a stay away order with respect to the victim of the extortion.

“This defendant was involved in an extensive and violent criminal enterprise operating in the Commonwealth, portions of which operated for decades,” AG Coakley said.  “This outcome is the result of a collaborative investigation and we will continue to work with our local and law enforcement partners to identify, investigate and prosecute these matters to ensure public safety throughout the Commonwealth.”

Today’s sentence is the result of a multi-agency targeted investigation intoa highly organized and violent criminal enterprise that operated throughout eastern Massachusetts.  The investigation, conducted jointly by the Attorney General’s Office, Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett’s Office, and the Massachusetts State Police Special Service Section, resulted in the arrest and indictment of multiple individuals involved in extortion, drug trafficking, robberies, assaults and other crimes.  In October 2010, AG Coakley, DA Blodgett, and Colonel Marian J. McGovern, superintendent of the State Police, announced the indictments of 31 individuals in connection with this highly organized and violent criminal enterprise.  Many of these cases are still being prosecuted.

In late 2009, a joint investigation began into a criminal network in eastern Massachusetts involving the trafficking of drugs, extortionate activity, money laundering, loan sharking (criminal usury), armed home invasion, kidnapping, armed robbery, illegal possession of loaded firearms, the illegal possession of a pipe bomb, assault and battery, witness intimidation, bookmaking (unlawful gaming), conspiracy, and perjury, among other crimes. 

Throughout the course of the investigation, authorities executed 30 search warrants on several locations and seized $1.3 million in cash associated with illegal gaming and loan sharking, $120,000 in drug money, over a kilo of heroin, 200 pounds of marijuana, 9 scales, a heroin press, a police scanner, two bullet proof vests, a pipe bomb, a replica Uzi machine gun, a rifle, a loaded handgun and five motor vehicles.

The suspected leader of the criminal network, Mark Rossetti, age 52, of East Boston, was indicted in October 2010 by a Statewide Grand Jury in connection with organizing this criminal network involved in extortion, drug trafficking, robberies, assaults and other crimes.  Utilizing state-of-the art investigative techniques, investigators and prosecutors developed evidence against Rossetti and other individuals associated with the criminal organization and identified Bufalino as Rossetti’s right-hand man. Investigation revealed that Rossetti used Darin Bufalino to forcefully collect a debt. 

The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Dean Mazzone, Chief of AG Coakley’s Enterprise and Major Crimes Division, Assistant Attorney General Patrick Hanley, also of AG Coakley’s Enterprise and Major Crimes Division, and Essex First Assistant District Attorney (and Special Assistant Attorney General) John Dawley.  It was investigated by the Special Service Section of the Massachusetts State Police, the Essex District Attorney’s Office and Massachusetts State Police detectives assigned to the Essex District Attorney’s Office, with assistance from various local police departments.

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