In this episode of FBI Retired Case File Review, former task force officer (TFO) Giovanni Rocco and retired agent Anthony Zampogna and review Operation Charlie Horse, their long term undercover operation (UCO) investigating mafia capo Charlie Stango and the New Jersey DeCavalcante mob family, known as “the real Sopranos.” Giovanni, a New Jersey police officer, using his undercover name “Giovanni Gatto,” infiltrated the crime family and the Newark Division’s Organized Crime Task Force, supervised by Anthony, ultimately charged and convicted ten members and associates.
Task Force Officer (Former)
“When I met Charlie Stango, it was very mob-esque. That’s when I became intimidated. I just had that gut feeling this was going to go down a rabbit hole.”—Former TFO Giovanni Rocco
Giovanni Rocco served over twenty-six years working in law enforcement alongside other local, state, and federal agencies. He was assigned as a federal task force agent (TFO) for over twenty years with both the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), where he held a top-secret security clearance. As such, he has conducted and managed extremely sensitive and complex investigations domestically and throughout the world, usually involving his undercover infiltration of targeted criminal organizations. Giovanni has also been involved in highly specialized and sensitive covert operation training for the FBI, US military, and intelligence agencies.
As a security consultant and covert operations expert, he continues to travel throughout the world as a trainer and guest speaker, sharing his expertise and life experience as it pertains to his personal and professional life. His insight has been invaluable in helping police psychologists understand and identify symptoms and stressors of law enforcement officers, investigators and covert operatives, as well as the impact they have on an officer’s family and friends. He is dedicated to helping law enforcement and other first responders develop resilience and improve their physical and mental health.
Giovanni is the author of Giovanni’s Ring – My Life Inside the Real Sopranos detailing his infiltration of the DeCavalcante mob family, on which the hit HBO series, “The Sopranos”, is based.
Special Agent (Retired)
04/1996 – 10/2018
Retired agent Anthony Zampogna served 22 years with the FBI. He began his Bureau career in the New York Office where he was assigned to the FBI’s first squad solely dedicated to investigations of Securities Fraud. After obtaining a conviction in the largest Ponzi Scheme case as of 1999, Anthony transferred to an Organized Crime Squad. He participated in highly successful investigations targeting the Bonanno and DeCavalcante Crime Families, as well as transnational investigations of the Sicilian Mafia. In 2007, Zampogna was promoted to a supervisory position at FBI Headquarters, collaborating with the CIA to disrupt the financial funding of international terrorism. He was promoted again in 2009 to the position of Unit Chief, leading the inspection program for human source operations supporting counterterrorism investigations. In 2012, he requested a field assignment at the Newark Division to supervisor the Organized Crime Taskforce. In this assignment he oversaw the undercover investigation, Operation Charlie Horse. Zampogna accepted his last assignment for the FBI in 2016, supervising Newark’s Public Corruption Squad. He retired in 2018, and is currently the Director of Fraud & Program Integrity for Pfizer, Inc.
The following are links to articles about the take down of Operation Charlie Horse and the DeCavalcante Mob Family:
New York Post – 3/12/2015: 10 reputed ‘Sopranos’ mobsters busted in undercover operation
Las Vegas Review Journal – 3/13/2015: New Jersey mobster arrested in Henderson just couldn’t stay low-key
NorthJersey.com – 3/13/2015: Mob bust hits family that inspired ‘The Sopranos’
NorthJersey.com – 12/7/2016: Mob captain for gang that inspired ‘The Sopranos’ admits to murder plot