Federal, local agents seek possible 'assassination van' targets

Federal agents try to unravel the mystery behind what's been described as an 'assassination van' found in Metairie.

Dominick Gullo, 72, and Joseph Gagliano, 55, remain behind bars after they were arrested in a quiet area of Old Metairie two months ago. An officer located the two in a van with a stolen license plate.

The initial Jefferson Parish report said the van was reported by an unnamed source. FOX 8 has now learned that source was a camera programmed to spot stolen plates. Jefferson Parish deputies say they have nearly 100 such cameras looking for stolen cars.

Former FBI special agent James Bernazzani says the apparent effort to conceal ownership seems to have backfired.

"The 'clean' vehicle is an Achilles heel, because even though it's clean, you run the gamut to engage yourself with law enforcement," said Bernazzani.

That's exactly what happened the night of May 7. An alert deputy received reports of the vehicle with the stolen plate spotted on Metairie Road. Hours later, he saw it as it approached east William David Pkwy., and followed it where the deputy pulled it over. Police say Gullo and Gagliano emerge.

As deputies searched the van, they discovered two sawed off kitchen chairs positioned in front of two cut out sliding windows. They also found a ruger .22 semi automatic rifle, a silencer inside the door, and an 8-foot length of cannon fuse. In the rifle was a ten round magazine, containing eight live rounds.

"When you look at the silencer, the .22 is an assassin's weapon of choice," Bernazzani said.

"[It's] not selling snowballs, this is a classic unsophisticated vehicle that can be used for assassination," he added.

But where did the van come from? A police report quotes Gullo saying he bought the van for $300 from a women he met at a coffee shop. Gullo said she promised to deliver paperwork the next day.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms was initially called out to investigate possible bomb activity due to the discovery of the bomb fuse.

ATF special agent Kevin Moran now confirms that "the ATF, and the JPSO, are actively investigating the case to see if there were any intended targets."

The ATF also says Gullo is being charged with possession of an unlicensed silencer.

Gagliano is being charged with being a felon in possession of a gun and a silencer after being convicted in the 1996 worldwide gaming case, which found alleged mob influence in the Louisiana video poker industry.

"The mafia was very strong, then the FBI got a tool called RICO," said Bernazzani.

That racketeering tool was used to convict Gagliano and others in the worldwide gaming scheme. Now, both he and Gullo are being held in federal custody without bond, awaiting an August trial date.

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