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Feds search for human remains at NY home connected to notorious mobster

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By Chris Boyette and Jason Carroll

NEW YORK (CNN) -- FBI agents are looking for human remains at a home in Queens linked to gangster James "Jimmy the Gent" Burke, according to a law enforcement source.

"We're conducting a search at a home in Queens in connection to an investigation," said Jim Margolin, a spokesman for the FBI's New York office, without elaborating.

According to public records, the house is owned by Burke's daughter, Catherine Burke, who declined to comment to CNN.

James Burke died in 1996. According to his obituary in the New York Times, he was serving a 20-years-to-life sentence in a New York prison when he fell ill with cancer.

A law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation tells CNN that investigators at the Ozone Park, Queens, location are searching for possible unidentified human remains. The source says investigators are looking into a case that occurred before 1996.

Robert De Niro played Burke as Jimmy Conway in the 1990 Martin Scorsese classic mafia film "Goodfellas," and Burke is likely best known as the alleged mastermind of the 1978 Lufthansa heist, an $8 million robbery at John F. Kennedy Airport, which was the largest robbery in history at the time.

But the law enforcement source said that Burke and his cohorts, closely associated with top members of the Lucchese crime family, were also allegedly involved in a number of other activities -- so the search in Queens may not be related to the Lufthansa heist.

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