'Greek Mob' Figure Surrenders To Fbi

Posted: January 04, 1989

An alleged leader of the so-called "Greek Mob" surrendered to the FBI yesterday at Philadelphia International Airport after spending 16 months as a fugitive writing his memoirs in Greece.

As part of a negotiated agreement for his return, George Botsaris, 37, will plead guilty to conspiracy to distribute cocaine and distribution of cocaine, said prosecutor Michael Seigel of the U.S. Organized Crime Strike Force.

Seigel said the guilty plea could be made before a judge today.

The charges, filed in August 1987, stemmed from a two-year FBI investigation into cocaine trafficking by members of what the Pennsylvania Crime Commission has called "the Greek Mob" in Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington.

A federal grand jury in September 1987 charged 15 people with being part of the lucrative cocaine ring. Botsaris was charged earlier in a separate action. Eight of the 15 eventually were convicted and sentenced to long prison terms, including Botsaris' alleged partner in the drug business, Athanasios Theodoropoulos, 41, who is doing up to 25 years in jail.

During Theodoropoulos' sentencing hearing last year, Seigel said the mob's estimated income from cocaine sales over an 18-month period exceeded $1 million.

Botsaris' lawyer, Joshua Briskin, said his client, a naturalized American, decided to return to the United States because he "wanted to come home. He wants to live here after he pays his debt to society."

Briskin said Botsaris has spent his time writing a book about his life of crime. The lawyer said the book is in the hands of a New York publisher, and negotiations are under way for television and movie rights.

The Pennsylvania Crime Commission, in its 1980 report, identified Botsaris and Chelsais "Steve" Bouras as Greek mob members who acted as liaisons with the Riccobene faction of La Cosa Nostra, or the Italian mob. Bouras was shot to death in 1981 in a South Philadelphia restaurant.

The Crime Commission report said Botsaris was active in narcotics trafficking, arson, smuggling, loan-sharking and illegal gambling.

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