The young buck on his hip could be joining Philadelphia mob boss Joseph (Skinny Joey) Merlino in prison. Peter Tuccio, the 25-year old Gambino crime family wiseguy spotted driving and accompanying Merlino on recent trips to court in New York and visits to South Philly, was indicted by the feds this week for extortion and arson related to a car torching in Brooklyn three years ago.

The 56-year old mafia slickster Merlino is headed to federal prison next month to serve a two-year term for a gambling conviction out of New York. He’s made his home base in Boca Raton, Florida since 2011 and his release from a prior federal prison term. Merlino pleaded guilty in the so-called “East Coast LCN Enterprise” conspiracy earlier this fall after the jury hung at a trial last winter. The baby-faced Tuccio appeared in television news clips reporting on Merlino’s court dates and photos posted to social media accounts during the proceedings.

On December 3, 2015, Tuccio and two other Gambino affiliates (Gino Gabrielli & Jonny Gurino) accosted an unnamed businessman who had stopped paying shakedown money to an unnamed Gambino capo outside a Queens pizza parlor and Tuccio specifically asked the businessman about the debt and the Mercedes he was driving. Hours later, the Mercedes was set ablaze outside his Howard Beach home. Security video showed an individual matching Gabrielli’s description pouring accelerant on the vehicle in the pizza joint’s parking lot and throwing a match to ignite the fire.

Gabrielli, flanked by Tuccio, sought treatment at a local hospital for third-degree burns in the early hours of December 4 — he eventually pleaded guilty to arson charges. Tuccio and Gurino both pleaded not guilty to the indictment back on Friday. If Tuccio and Gurino are convicted, they are looking at 15 years in prison apiece. Despite prosecutors seeking to keep them locked up pending trial, they were released by their judge on a $700,000 bond.

Merlino was indicted alongside Genovese crime family captains Patsy Parrello and Eugene (Rooster) Onofrio in August 2016 on a racketeering conspiracy. The three celebrated the holidays together at a 2015 Christmas party in the Bronx. Like Merlino, Parrello and Onofrio copped pleas. One of Parrello’s guys, John (J.R.) Rubeo was wearing a wire on Merlino and others. Merlino is known to be close to the Perna crew in the Lucchese crime family as well.

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