Geraldo Bellino, the "managing director" of the Bellino syndicate was sent to jail for seven years in 1991, a member of the family is in the dock as the alleged mastermind of a crime gang. Todd Sean Filippa, 44, the son of Tony Bellino, a senior member of the 1980s syndicate and a prominent figure in the Fitzgerald inquiry who was never charged, has pleaded guilty in relation to a massive drug operation producing and supplying amphetamines, as well as cocaine, throughout Queensland and interstate. The burly, pony-tailed Filippa, who adopted his mother's maiden name because of the notoriety of the Bellinos after the Fitzgerald inquiry, was arrested with 18 other people in 2004 following simultaneous raids on 27 premises in a joint investigation, led by Queensland's Crime and Misconduct Commission and involving the Queensland police and the Australian Crime Commission.
Filippa was arrested at a drug lab in Miles, in southwestern Queensland, where investigators found a pill press and 200 litres of pseudoephedrine, used in the production of the street drug ice. He is alleged to have run the drug gang for more than eight years, at the same time he had moved into the Bellinos' more traditional business of nightclubs. A father of two, Filippa owned and operated two nightclubs, Scores and Rockafellas Bar and Restaurant, in Fortitude Valley - the inner-city backdrop to the crime and corruption that was aired at the Fitzgerald inquiry.
In the back rooms of the two clubs - since sold, with the profits being pursued through a $1 million-plus claim under the Proceeds of Crime Act - Filippa is alleged to have run the drug business. Over the past week, prosecutors have been laying out a case that Filippa was the mastermind of the organised crime gang, playing hours of secretly taken videos of him doing business with his underworld associates. In the tapes, Filippa is a hard man, littering almost every sentence with a profanity or tale of adventure that seems straight out of a scene from television's The Sopranos. But it is largely bluff, according to his lawyers. While Filippa has pleaded guilty to trafficking, possession and drug production charges, he has denied allegations that he was the gang's mastermind.Instead, he claims, he was just a cog in the network. A contested sentencing hearing before a judge is attempting to determine the extent of his involvement. But it is likely Filippa will have to serve years in jail. Two of his more senior associates were last year sentenced to 10 and 11 years' jail for their involvement in the drugs operation. Eight other people have been sentenced to jail terms, ranging from four to eight years, for their role in the network. Prosecutors want him to go to jail for 15 years. He is already in prison, after initially being granted bail then being caught attempting to obtain a passport under a false identity.