Former N.J. dockworkers, Local VP plead guilty in union probe

    Two former New Jersey dock workers have pleaded guilty to conspiring to extort Christmas tributes from members of a local branch of the International Longshoremen’s Association.

    Federal prosecutors say 71-year-old Rocco Ferrandino of Lakewood and 78-year-old Michael Trueba of Kearny entered their guilty pleas Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Newark.

    Ferrandino is the former head timekeeper at Maher Terminals, and Trueba is a former vice president of ILA Local 1235. Prosecutors say the two compelled ILA union members to hand over year-end bonuses under threat.

    Prosecutors say 78-year-old Richard Dehmer of Springfield, who is charged in the same case, also pleaded guilty Wednesday to running an illegal sports betting operation. Prosecutors say Dehmer is an associate of the Genovese organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.