The Violent Rise and Comic Fall of Yo Pesci, Auteur Gangsta

And so farewell to the plus-sized North Shore thug known on the internet as “Yo Pesci.”

His real name is Ernest Johnson, age 34, and for a while he was what you might call an underworld “influencer.”


But on Thursday, he will be sentenced in federal court here in Boston after pleading guilty to one count of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition.

Yo Pesci will be saying farewell to Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook. He will be saying hello to the Bureau of Prisons.


You might say Yo Pesci’s next movie is, “Ernest Goes to Prison for 120 Months.”

Before his incarceration, though, he was a gangstah pioneer of sorts.

As a member of what the feds called the Caruso Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO), he developed a “rather unique role as an internet spokesman for the DTO and its activities,” as the feds put it in their pre-sentencing report to the judge.


Yo Pesci was a bad actor on the streets – and in jail. In addition to the usual gun violence associated with drug dealing, he once threatened to “shoot up” an emergency shelter his girlfriend had fled to. He repeatedly threw urine on guards at the Worcester County House of Correction.

To be clear, Yo Pesci is a terrible human being. But he also served as the comic consigliore for Vincent “Fatz” Caruso, the 28-year-old boss of the gang. Fatz now finds himself imprisoned at Whitey Bulger’s final pen in Hazelton WV.


Caruso – BOP #52897-509 – is so evil that he isn’t scheduled for release until 2039. The Caruso DTO was peddling huge amounts of fentanyl, which during the crew’s 2018-22 heyday killed over 1000 people in their home base of Essex County alone.

They machine-gunned other gangstahs as they pocketed millions in their deadly criminal enterprises. They gambled $400,000 at a single casino in New Hampshire over a four-month period in 2021.

But the Caruso DTO didn’t just run the mean streets of Lynn and Revere, they had an… Internet presence.

And the impresario, the name above the title as it were, was Yo Pesci. This is his review from the US attorney:

“He live-streamed videos that threatened rival drug dealers, accused people of being informants for law enforcement, showcased the DTO’s arsenal of firearms… In short, after trading in death and misery, the Defendant would then take to the Internet to brag about his exploits.”

Yes, Your Honor, but Yo Pesci always delivered a laff riot. Even the feds concede as much.


“Underneath the veneer of comedy and entertainment and the gratuitous use of the word ‘allegedly,’ the Defendant’s videos did not leave much to the imagination. The ‘Yo Pesci’ show was not merely entertainment.”

Citing one of Yo Pesci’s greatest hits, the feds mention the video he posted after returning from an evening of relaxation at the world-renowned Squire Lounge in Revere. He livestreamed himself tossing assorted firearms into the air while yelling at the camera, “We got plenty of them thangs!” and “We ready to go to war!”


Like his boss Fatz Caruso, Yo Pesci never wasted much time at the salad bar, nor working out. And he seldom wore shirts, which only added to his comic persona. Think man boobs.

In one video posted by the feds, he uncharitably expresses his glee over some woman being hospitalized and then does a cartwheel – rather impressive for a guy who goes three bills easy.

Then he tries a second cartwheel… and falls over. That’s what I mean about the slapstick comedy. It’s good stuff, and the feds know it.

On the court website they’ve posted 29 of his top thangs, er, videos. In a college film-studies class, the professors would call this an homage to Yo Pesci’s oeuvre, perhaps worthy of a monograph in some modern version of Cahiers du Cinema.

My personal favorite is “Yo Pesci in Cuffs,” almost nine minutes recorded in the backseat of a police cruiser in Atlanta. Yo Pesci seems to have “fallen asleep” at the wheel of a rented car and then crashed into a parked armored truck. Bad things happen to bad people, I suppose.

As the scene begins, he’s somehow turned around his smartphone and is recording himself begging the cop who’s arrested him to cut him loose. Addressing the cop as both “bro” and “dawg,” Yo Pesci apologizes for lying to him about having a New Hampshire driver’s license.

“I do Facebook comedy,” he says, which is in fact true.

Yo Pesci tells dawg that he’s in pain, but bro points out that he didn’t ask for any medical assistance at the scene.

“You don’t see nothing wrong with me,” Yo Pesci tells him, “’cause God’s on my bleepin’ side, bro!”

Then Yo Pesci begins talking both to the cop and to himself, simultaneously. It’s a monologue reminiscent of Dutch Schultz’s deathbed ravings after he and Abbadabba Berman were gunned down at the Palace Chop House in Newark in 1935.

“All I ask is a little leeway ‘stead-a locking me up. This is crazy dawg I’m not even from here bro…. Back in jail (n-word) once a-bleepin’-gain…. The airbag jumped in my face! … You thought I was gonna sit and lose my mother-bleepin’ life bleep bleep, stick a fork in that bleep ‘cause it’s done with, my life is way more important than that bleep…. What happened to BLM? You with that movement? … I’m not sit here and jive you bro, I did lie about the license man but I’m in pain… I tole you, do a Breathalyzer!”

What a tour de force! Hooray for Hollywood. But now the feds are asking the judge to give Yo Pesci the hook, once and for all.

“The Defendant must find other outlets for his talents besides shooting at rival drug dealers home and bragging about it online… polluting the internet with threats and claims of violence.”

The G-men are asking for a 10-year bit. Yo Pesci, what can your fans say except, that’s show biz.





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