(Reuters) - Ten reputed members and associates of a New Jersey crime family thought to be the inspiration for the hit show "The Sopranos" were arrested on Thursday and charged with plotting to commit murder, sell drugs and run a high-end prostitution ring, officials said.
The murder plot involved a reputed DeCavalcante organized crime family captain who sought permission from other members to hire an outlaw biker gang to kill a rival, according to the office of U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman.
Members of the DeCavalcante crime family also plotted to deal cocaine and operate a high-end escort service targeting businessmen and professionals in southern New Jersey, he said in a statement.
“Though its ranks have been thinned by countless convictions and its own internal bloodletting, traditional organized crime remains a real problem,” Fishman said.
The DeCavalcante crime family has widely been considered to be the inspiration for "The Sopranos," a series about a fictitious organized crime family based in New Jersey that ran on HBO from 1999 to 2007.
Several "Sopranos" plot lines closely resembled crimes attributed to the DeCavalcante family, and some characters in the series were similar to actual members of the family.
"Sopranos" creator David Chase said he often got story ideas from crime stories in local New Jersey newspapers.
Reporting by Ellen Wulfhorst in New York; Editing by Mohammad Zargham