Gene Gotti, a member of the notorious Gotti crime family, is set to be released from jail by the end of September after serving a 29-year sentence.
Gotti is scheduled to be released from the Federal Correctional Institution in Pollock, Louisiana, on Sept. 15, according to The New York Daily News. He will be 71 years old.
Gotti has been in prison since 1989 after he was convicted of racketeering pertaining to a heroin-dealing ring he was accused of running, according to The New York Daily News. Before he was convicted, two mistrials had been declared: the first because Gotti allegedly had intimidated witnesses, the second as a result of a hung jury.
At the time of his sentencing, Assistant United States Attorney Robert P. LaRusso said that the sentences were ''certainly an example'' to mob figures.
The Gottis ''embody and personify the two worst evils in our country today: drugs and organized crime," LaRusso had said at the conclusion of the trial, according to The New York Times.
The FBI had recorded discussions Gotti held about drug dealing, hiding illegal cash, and assorted mob dealings, leading to his arrest. It was Gene's capture that catalyzed the fall of the prominent crime syndicate he participated in.
Angel Gotti, a niece of Gene's, assured The New York Daily News that he would use his newfound freedom to bond with his family.
“My uncle has been away 29 years so I'm sure he will be spending all his time with his wife, kids and grandchildren,” Angel said.
The extent to which Gotti could even return to mafia life should he choose to also remains a question. Some experts on the subject see a decline in the mafia's popularity.
“The American Mafia has a recruitment problem: Who the hell wants to be a member?” Howard Abadinsky, professor of criminal justice at St. John’s, told The New York Daily News.
Those involved with mafia dealings are people “who have either seen too many Mafia movies or losers who do not have the smarts or ambition for legitimate opportunity,” said Abadinsky.
Bruce Mouw, a former FBI agent tasked with monitoring the mafia, wondered about Gotti's future.
“He was a bona-fide wiseguy,” said Mouw to The New York Daily News. "Are you going to retire and enjoy your grandchildren? Or are you going to get active, and return to jail?"
[Photo: Gene Gotti by Jack Sotomayor / Getty Images]