FCI Fort Dix, in Burlington County, New Jersey, has reported 217 out of 230 prisoners in one unit tested positive for the virus on November 5.
That number brings the prison’s cases to 232, which is higher than any other federal prison in the US.
According to the New York Daily News, among those sickened are Bonnano family member Daniel Mongelli, Bonnanno soldier Michael Padavona, Genovese family member Ernest Montevecchi, 75, Lucchese capo John Castellucci and Colombo associate Michael Spataro.
More than 200 inmates, including five New York City mobsters, in a single unit have been infected with COVID-19 at Fort Dix. Bonnano family member Daniel Mongelli (second from right) is one of them. Mongelli was given a compassionate release from prison on November 5
Bonnanno soldier Michael Padavona (right) and Lucchese capo John Castellucci (left) have also been infected with the virus at the Fort Dix prison
The outbreak at the prison renewed calls from inmates for a compassionate release and Mongelli was among those who received one.
Mongelli, 54, who underwent radiation treatment for prostate cancer while serving his 24-year sentence, was ordered released by a Brooklyn federal judge on November 5.
The former acting captain in the Bonanno crime family was convicted of racketeering and his role in luring fellow mobster Louis Tuzzio to his death in Brooklyn in 1990.
Partly due to his battle with cancer, Brooklyn Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis previously granted Mongelli’s release after denying his first one over the summer.
Garaufis said he changed his mind earlier this month ‘in light of Mr Mongelli’s serious underlying health condition, his recent COVID-19 infection, and the failure of the Bureau of Prisons to prevent and control a COVID-19 outbreak at FCI Fort Dix’.
According to the Daily News, Padavona’s lawyer also filed for a request for release on November 4.
‘He is currently alone in his cell with a fever and an extremely irregular blood pressure,’ the lawyers wrote in the filing.
In opposition, government officials responded that Padavona’s minor symptoms, fever, body aches, loss of smell, headaches and coughs do not merit compassionate release.
FCI Fort Dix (file image), in Burlington County, New Jersey, has reported 217 out of 230 prisoners in one unit tested positive for the virus on November 5. That number brings the prison’s cases to 232, which is higher than any other federal prison in the US
Due to his age, Montevecchi falls into the high risk category for COVID-19. It’s unclear if his lawyers have filed for a compassionate release.
A judge denied Castellucci’s request for a compassionate release in May 2020. It’s unclear if his lawyers filed again.
Spataro was convicted on charges of conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering, assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering, and using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence in 2006.
It’s unclear if his lawyers have filed a request for a compassionate release.
The outbreak reportedly began after groups of men were transferred to Fort Dix from the minimum-security federal prison in Elkton, Ohio.
‘It’s clearly a huge outbreak and it’s clear it happened because BOP screwed up and transferred people from another facility that had a huge outbreak — from Elkton,’ David Patton, attorney-in-chief of the Federal Defenders in Manhattan, told the newspaper.
Other inmates described their COVID-19 symptoms in emails.
‘I woke up at 3:00a.m. Friday morning, drenched in sweat, unable to breath, I vomited for two hours, my entire body ached,’ Felix Morales in an email dated for November 10.
‘Twenty minutes my breathing was constricted in little gasp, it felt like I was being suffocated.’
Another inmate told the Daily News that he’s been ‘bedridden since I first got my symptoms on Monday’.
‘I don’t see them [staff] doing anything but temperature checks,’ the inmate added.