NATION : DEA Smashes Mafia Drug Ring

<i> From Times Wire Services </i>

Federal agents today smashed a Mafia drug ring they said committed as many as seven murders and arrested about 25 people, including a reputed mobster known as “Tommy Karate” with “a reputation for chopping people up.”

Drug Enforcement Administration agents arrested Thomas (Tommy Karate) Pitera, a reputed member of the Bonanno crime family who they charged headed the ring, and more than 25 others named in the cocaine and heroin conspiracy indictment.

Law enforcement officials said Pitera has killed as many as 30 people, including a Gambino crime family associate who was believed to be an FBI informant and was slain as a favor to reputed Gambino crime family boss John Gotti.