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Gangland Wire

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History
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A Crimes Stories Podcast

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A Crimes Stories Podcast

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223 Ratings
Average Ratings
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Great Podcast!

By mafialady123 - Jan 18 2020
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Love you Gary! We need more movie reviews!

Good stuff

By 603 listene - Jan 18 2020
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Good stuff, New York delicatessen and cemetery business 71

iTunes Ratings

223 Ratings
Average Ratings
186
20
10
4
3

Great Podcast!

By mafialady123 - Jan 18 2020
Read more
Love you Gary! We need more movie reviews!

Good stuff

By 603 listene - Jan 18 2020
Read more
Good stuff, New York delicatessen and cemetery business 71
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Gangland Wire

Latest release on Apr 06, 2020

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A Crimes Stories Podcast

Rank #1: Episode 1 Civella versus Spero

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In this exciting podcast, I will describe how the origins of the Civella/Spero war began. The murder of Nick Spero followed by revenge from his brothers.

The post Episode 1 Civella versus Spero appeared first on Gangland Wire.

Apr 03 2015

42mins

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Rank #2: Frank Cullotta and Tony Spilotro Part 1

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In this first of a 2 part interview of Frank Cullotta, we talk to a guy who was a career criminal from his teenage years and rose though the ranks of the Chicago Outfit from being an associate who made money as a burglar to being a “Mustache” or a “guy” in Tony Spilotro’s crew. If Spilotro was the boss of the Chicago Outfit in Las Vegas, then Frank was his Underboss. Frank came up on the west side of Chicago and first met Tony when they were 12 years old. Joey Aiuppa sent Tony Spilotro out to Las Vegas to monitor Lefty Rosenthal’s activities, when he needed a backup, he called Frank Cullotta.

Spilotro, Culotta and others at the Upper Crust

Frank tells how the Chicago outfit placed Tony Spilotro with the vicious Outfit Associate, Mad Sam DisteFano to learn the loan sharking business and to keep an eye on Outfit money invested with Mad Sam. When I mentioned that I heard that Spilotro and Mad Sam’s brother killed Mad Sam, Frank hints that he will reveal the details of Mad Sam’s murder in his new book. Tony Spilotro made Frank the boss of his “Hole in the Wall Gang.” This was a crew of professional criminals who participated in many “high end” home and business burglaries in southern Nevada and Arizona. Frank shares the story of his relationship with Spilotro and some of the crimes that Spilotro committed.

Frank reveals the real story behind the famous torture scene in the film, Casino, where the Joe Pesci character is tightening a vise on a man’s head.

He has co-authored 3 books with famous mob author, Dennis Griffin. His most recent is The Rise and Fall of a Casino Mobster.

To learn more about Frank’s Las Vegas tour click here.

Don’t forget to listen to Aaron on the Big Dumb Fun Show, live on Monday nights.

To go to the store click here

To rent Gangland Wire, the documentary, click here

To subscribe on iTunes click here, give me a review and I will send you a link to see the film for free.

The post Frank Cullotta and Tony Spilotro Part 1 appeared first on Gangland Wire.

Jun 19 2017

31mins

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Rank #3: Mad Sam DeStefano Chicago Outfit Part 1

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Sam “Mad Sam” DeStefano will become the Chicago Outfit’s most notorious loan shark and sociopathic killer. No less an authority than FBI agent and mob fighter, William F. Roemer, Jr., considered DeStefano to be the worst torture-murderer in the history of the United States.

Samuel DeStefano, Jr. was born on September 13, 1909 in Streator, Illinois. Samuel DeStefano, Sr. was a laborer and later had a produce market. He and his wife Rosalie DeStefano (née Brasco), immigrated from Italy to the United States in 1903. Destefano, Sr., would rise in status and later a real estate salesman. Mad Sam’s father was not an Outfit member and would die of natural causes, in 1942, at age 77. His mother, Rosalie, was a housewife, who throughout her life was supported by the contributions of her children. She died in October 1960. In all, the DeStefanos had six children, four sons and two daughters. In the early 1900s the DeStefano family moved to Herrin, Illinois, where Sam Sr. worked in the local coal mine. After the labor-related turmoil surrounding the Herrin Massacre,(this was a coal mine strike and union members killed several strikebreakers), the DeStefano family moved north to Chicago’s Little Italy.

By the age of 17, on September 12, 1926, Sam Jr. was arrested in Chicago as a fugitive for breaking out of jail. He became involved in gang activity and in July, 1927, several hundred Westside gang members showed up threatening violence against a police sergeant for arresting DeStefano and shooting DeStefano’s associate Harry Casgrovi. In November 1927, Chicago police arrested DeStefano and another gang member Ralph Orlando on charges of kidnapping and the rape of a 17-year-old girl. DeStefano was found guilty of rape but was sentenced to only three years because the police arrived before DeStefano had actually raped the girl. In 1930, DeStefano joined the infamous Forty-Two Gang. This gang became a conduit for Sam and fellow gang members like future Outfit boss, Salvatore “Sam” Giancana to move up into Al Capone’s Chicago Outfit. The Outfit would hire gang members as beer runners or truck drivers and help fence their booty from various robberies and burglaries.

Sam “Momo” Giancana had built a reputation as a skilled wheel man and became the first Forty-Two member to join the Outfit. He eventually became a protégé of Tony “Joe Batters” Accardo and Paul “The Waiter” Ricca. With his induction, Giancana was able to eventually bring a number of his fellow gang members like Mad Sam into the Outfit. Many former Forty-Two members like Joey Aiuppa would go on to rule the Outfit well into the 1970s.

Al Capone’s bootlegging and gambling operations brought Mad Sam into the Outfit. In 1932, a policeman shot and wounded him during a grocery store robbery. DeStefano appeared at a hospital on Chicago’s West Side with bullet wounds, which he refused to explain. In 1933, DeStefano got his first taste of the big time when he was was convicted of a Wisconsin bank robbery. The judge sentenced him to 40 years in prison. But after 11 years, the Wisconsin Governor released in him in December 1944. DeStefano got a job in a printing plant but he was soon returning to prison for possessing counterfeit sugar ration stamps.

This was an opportune sentence, because while in the Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary, DeStefano became close to Outfit members Paul Ricca and Louis Campagna. DeStefano was released in 1947 and the Outfit helped him obtain a civil service job in Chicago as a garbage dump foreman. By the 1950s, DeStefano became one of the most well known loan shark operators in Chicago. he had cash left over from his Wisconsin bank robbery and he began investing in Chicago real estate. He bought a 24-suite apartment building and used the rent money as legitimate income to bribe local aldermen and other politicians.

DeStefano soon became known as the most successful fixer in Chicago as he bribed city officials, prominent judges, and law enforcement officers. DeStefano often bragged “there wasn’t any case he couldn’t fix. Since that time law enforcement learned that Mad Sam’s fees ranged from $800 for fixing a robbery case to $1,500 for an assault case. Allegedly, DeStefano once fixed a murder case for $20,000. In Chicago where the corruption was so open and notorious, police officers often took arrests directly to mad Sam’s house for their bribe. When they received the bribe and released their suspects, that person would be “put on the juice” to DeStefano in exchange for his assistance.

The political corruption business created the loan sharking business for mad Sam. By the 1960s, DeStefano was a leading Outfit loan shark. His victims included politicians, lawyers and small-time criminals. DeStefano charged 20% to 25% a week in “vig” or interest. These high-risk debtors, such as drug addicts or business men who had already defaulted on previous debts, were often delinquent in making payments. DeStefano reportedly looked forward to dealing with his delinquents. He would bring them to the sound-proof torture chamber he had built in his basement. Other gangsters said the sadistic DeStefano would actually foam at the mouth while torturing his victims. From time to time, DeStefano would also kill debtors who owed him small sums just to scare other debtors into paying their bigger debts.

DeStefano had an unusual practice. In order to provide evidence that his customers/victims were really just friends and not loan shark victims, he would give his loan shark victims presents, such as a gold watch with his name engraved on the back. Then if they ever complained to the police or he had to murder them, he could use the watch as proof of how close he was to the victim and why he could never have harmed him. Under normal circumstances, the Outfit would have distanced itself from DeStefano due to his sadistic, irrational behavior. However, the bosses tolerated DeStefano because he earned them a great deal of money. DeStefano was such a successful earner, most Outfit bosses like Giancana and Tony Accardo invested some of their own money in DeStefano’s loansharking operations.

To go to the store click here

To rent Gangland Wire, the documentary, click here

To subscribe on iTunes click here, give me a review and I will send you a link to see the film for free.

The post Mad Sam DeStefano Chicago Outfit Part 1 appeared first on Gangland Wire.

Mar 13 2017

43mins

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Rank #4: The Utica New York Crime Family

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Cam and I discuss a little known mafia family in upstate New York. From 1970 to 1992, Salvatore and Joseph Falcone led organized crime in Utica, NY. This family went back to the late 1930s. They were a powerful crew of the Buffalo, NY Maggadino Family, also known as The Arm. The New York State troopers arrested both men at the Apalachin Meeting in 1957. This crew was made up of approximately 15-20 “made” members.  the famous witness, Joseph Valachi, claimed they were a separate family but it is more likely they were a powerful autonomous crew under Stefano Magaddino.
In 1972 the older brother Salvatore Falcone died in Miami and in 1974 Buffalo boss Stefano Magaddino died. The younger Falcone brother, Joseph is aging and to outsiders there appeared to be a leadership vacuum. Carmine Persico ordered members of the Colombo Family to move into the area. Tony Falange, a top lieutenant of Falcone begins making moves, showing disrespect to Falcone. For example, he often failed to attend meetings or ask permission to expand the business. Someone robbed Falcone’s safe of $54,000.

By September of 1976 Albert Marrone, a young Turk, was released from prison after using violence to collect on a loan. He immediately began making threats against everyone and expressed his intention to take over Utica’s rackets. Marrone had a history of violence and had been implicated in two murders in the early 1970s.

By October 1076, things got crazy. Albert Marrone and his girlfriend were at dinner with local mob attorney Louis Brindisi and his wife. Brindisi excused himself, after which, Marrone became very nervous. Later that evening, Marrone walked toward his apartment when he was shot. He shielded his girlfriend, but he was killed. There are conflicting reports as to who was responsible. But it is believed that Donato “Danny” Nappi and Jack “Jake” Minicone were two of the shooters. They were working for the Colombo Family. Marrone is known to have threatened Colombo Family representatives. On the other hand, a Falange Lieutenant named Angelo Conte was reported to have wanted Marrone dead. The strongest supposition was that the Colombo family members acted without permission, despite being advised that Marrone’s actions could be dealt with in a sit-down. This unilateral action by the Colombo family—a sign of disrespect—is believed to have sparked further conflict in Utica.

This all sets the scene for a long and protracted bloody mob war for the Utica New York rackets. The Colombos move in and start to extract a street tax on the bookies and they are met with much resistance.

To go to the store or make a donation click here

To rent Brothers against Brothers, the documentary, click here. 

To rent Gangland Wire, the documentary, click here

To subscribe on iTunes click here, please give me a review and help others find the podcast.

The post The Utica New York Crime Family appeared first on Gangland Wire.

Mar 16 2020

31mins

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Rank #5: Frank Calabrese Jr. Part 1

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Aaron and I interview Frank Calabrese Jr. and learn the inside story of what it is like to grow up in an Outfit family and then go into the family business. Frank Calabrese Sr. separated his work life from his family until he realized his namesake son, Frank Calabrese Jr., had the brains and fortitude to into his father’s business, loansharking, extortion and gambling.  Frank Jr.’s first inkling that his father was different came when he had to do a school report about what his father did for a living. He asked Frank Sr. and the reply was to tell them that “I am an engineer.” Frank Jr. said, “You don’t drive a train” and his father said that he was an operating engineer. The Calabrese family started in the old Sicilian neighborhood known as the Patch and later moved to Elmwood Park, another Sicilian neighborhood, where many other Outfit families lived. Frank Senior moved much of extended family into a 3 story home. In the “Compound” Frank Senior’s word was the law. Frank Junior did all the normal high school activities and was a great football player but the lure of the streets got in the way. Frank tells how his father was “whistled in” and became a member of the Chinatown crew headed by Angelo “The Hook” LaPrietra.

Aaron and I have spoken with other men who lived the life, but Frank is one of the more introspective we have interviewed. He shares fascinating insights into the Outfit and the mind set of Outfit members.

Once Frank made the decision to get out, he had to make a terrible decision, he had to come to the “other side” if he wanted to live. Frank would in fact “wear a wire” and testify against his own father. He will eventually collaborate with another author and write his life story in the book Operation Family Secrets: How a Mobster’s son and the FBI brought down Chicago’s Murderous Crime Family.

Bella Luna

Frank tells how he did not go into the Witness Protection program but did move to the Southwest part of the United States and stayed out of the public view for almost 10 years. At the present time he feels comfortable enough to return to Chicago since his father has died and the rest of the folks he testified about are either dead or almost dead and in prison. Frank currently manages the Bella Luna restaurant and conducts the Family Secret Outfit Tours of well known crime scenes and other Outfit connected locations. Call him at 847-261-4435 or stop by the Bella Luna at 731 North Dearbon, Chicago, IL. the tour ends at the Bella Luna for dinner and more questions to Frank.

Don’t forget to listen to Aaron on the Big Dumb Fun Show, live on Monday nights.

To go to the store click here

To rent Gangland Wire, the documentary, click here

To subscribe on iTunes click here, give me a review and I will send you a link to see the film for free.

The post Frank Calabrese Jr. Part 1 appeared first on Gangland Wire.

Jan 22 2018

58mins

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Rank #6: Frank Cullotta and Tony Spilotro Part 2

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Hole in the Wall Gang after the Bertha’s bust

In Part 2, Frank goes into more depth about his work with the Hole in the Wall Gang. Spilotro obtained inside information that the owners of Bertha’s jewelry story in Las Vegas kept as much as a million dollars in jewelry and cash inside the safe. They planned to commit this burglary on the long weekend of the 4th of July, 1981.

It was late June or early July in Las Vegas, Nevada. Frank Cullotta and the Hole in the Wall Gang members, Ernie Davino, Leo Guardino, Joe Blasko, and Larry Neumann were planning the hit on Bertha’s Gifts and Home Furnishings on 896 E Sahara Ave, Las Vegas. It was an exclusive resale shop

Bertha’s Location today

for the finer connoisseur of home furnishings and jewelry. This was going to be at least a million dollar score for the Hole in the Wall Gang with a nice kick up to Tony Spilotro and the Chicago Outfit. This was not going to be easy, not even for the Hole in the Wall Gang.

The Hole in the Wall Gang got their name from the media. When they reported on burglaries in Las Vegas the reporters noticed the perpetrators gained access by breaking through the wall or roof of their target buildings. They did this to avoid being detected by alarm systems. Back then, alarms were wired around windows and doors, and it was very rare that an expensive motion detectors are used. The newspapers reported on these robberies and called them the Hole in the Wall Gang. However in the case of Bertha’s, they did have the expensive motion detectors. Frank has gone into Bertha’s a couple of times to case the joint out. He found they had motion detectors and so he determined the way to get into Bertha’s was to go through the roof over the safe and drill through the ceiling of the safe. He knew they did not have a motion detector inside the safe.

What he did not know was they had an informant inside their crew. Frank suspected that one crew member could be a snitch. He tells how he was contacted in Las Vegas by two Chicago cops and they told him about a mutual acquaintance named Sal Romano. It seems that the Chicago PD had a case on Romano and the FBI had taken the case away and it seemed to disappear. Frank knew this meant trouble for anyone connected to Romano. He informed Spilotro and he refused to believe that Romano was working with the Feds. You have to listen to the exciting conclusion of this story and the story of his encounter with Spilotro’s widow recently.

Tony S.

Thanks to Paul Scharff and his Murder in McHenry, 1981 for info for this article.

Thanks to Casey McBride for the track music.

To learn more about Frank’s Las Vegas tour click here.

Don’t forget to listen to Aaron on the Big Dumb Fun Show, live on Monday nights.

To go to the store click here

To rent Gangland Wire, the documentary, click here

To subscribe on iTunes click here, give me a review and I will send you a link to see the film for free.

The post Frank Cullotta and Tony Spilotro Part 2 appeared first on Gangland Wire.

Jun 26 2017

52mins

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Rank #7: Gotti and Prison

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Our friend from the federal prison at Marion, former guard David, continues in this episode telling about his experiences with New York City crime boss, John Gotti. We learn that when Gotti arrived at the Reception and Diagnostic Unit, he was greeted like royalty by other prisoners. David tells about the day to day life of the famous mob boss was like inside the walls of Marion. Learn more about his relationship with the feared prison gang, the Aryan Brotherhood.

David was the second guard to arrive on the scene when Walter Johnson was beating Gotti down. We get an insiders version of both the events leading up to the beating and the aftermath. Gotti will die in prison and Walter Johnson will be released. Johnson does not stay out long until he is convicted of killing a Washington DC police officer.

Don’t forget to listen to Aaron on the Big Dumb Fun Show, live on Monday nights.

To go to the store click here

To rent Gangland Wire, the documentary, click here

To subscribe on iTunes click here, give me a review and I will send you a link to see the film for free.

The post Gotti and Prison appeared first on Gangland Wire.

May 07 2018

1hr 14mins

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Rank #8: Anthony DeStefano on the Lufthansa heist

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Anthony DeStefano is veteran reporter who covered the Five Families in New York City for over three decades. He recently sat though the trial of New York mob boss Vincent Asaros who was charged with conspiracy in the famous 6 Million dollar cash and jewelry robbery from a Lufthansa Air cargo warehouse. He is currently a reporter for Newsday in New York City, specializing in criminal justice and legal affairs. Anthony has covered all of the important criminal trials in NYC. He reported on The Happy Land Social Club Fire, the trial of Gambino crime boss Peter Gotti, former Bonanno crime boss Joseph Massino and the so called “Mafia Cops” He also covered the case against Wall Street Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff from 2008 through 2014.

He has written several true crime books on the New York crime families including, The Last Godfather: Joseph Massino and The Fall of The Bonanno Crime Family” (Citadel Press), Mob Killer: The Bloody Rampage of Charlie Carneglia, Mafia Hit Man, Vinny Gorgeous: The Ugly Rise And Fall Of A New York Mobster, The War On Human TraffickingGangland New York, and most recently The Big Heist: The Real Story of the Lufthansa Heist, the Mafia, and Murder.

In this interview Anthony DeStefano talks about the Vincent Asaro trial and the listener will learn new details on the heist.


Don’t forget to listen to Aaron on the Big Dumb Fun Show, live on Monday nights.

To go to the store click here

To rent Gangland Wire, the documentary, click here

To subscribe on iTunes click here, give me a review and I will send you a link to see the film for free.

The post Anthony DeStefano on the Lufthansa heist appeared first on Gangland Wire.

Oct 30 2017

46mins

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Rank #9: John Gotti and the Informant Part 1

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This case starts with the FBI taping members of Gambino Capo John Gottis’s Bergen Hunt and Fish Club crew.  This included his brother Gene Gotti and his good friend Angelo Ruggerio along with John Carneglia. Ruggerio was the main target and the Bureau uncovered their multi-million dollar a year heroin distribution ring. Additionally, Ruggerio was a big mouth who talked incessantly about everything. He even bad-mouthed his friend and boss, John Gotti. Even though when Ruggerio was with John Gotti, he was constantly stroking his ego and complimenting him. These tapes would be used as a big part of a probable cause affidavit to get a listening device placed inside big Paul Castellano’s home. Ruggerio and Carneglia were John Gotti’s closest allies in his crew and both participated in the murder of John Favera who was the man who accidentally hit and killed Gotti’s kid in an accident.

In 1985, both men would help John Gotti murder his boss, Paul Castellano. Both had their own reasons for wanting Castellano dead because by the time of this murder in the FBI was moving on them for the heroin case and Paul Castellano had ordered the murder of the last member of the Gambino family caught dealing drugs. Plus, Castellano knew about the tapes made by the FBI because they were part of the evidence against him and he demanded that Ruggerio give them up to his lawyer. Ruggerio refused and appealed to his uncle, long-time Gambino underboss Aniello Dellacroce. He kept Castellano fended off until he died in 1985. Shortly after Dellacroce died, Gotti and his crew moved on Paul Castellano and with that murder, Gotti would ascend to become the boss of the Gambino crime family.

During these years, Angelo Ruggerio would be caught trying to bribe a telephone man to find out about FBI wiretaps and he would have two mistrials because of jury tampering. He hired a couple of different private investigators to watch the courthouse and catch jurors entering cars to get their car registration names. He then sent someone out to attempt to bribe them. In the end, both Gene Gotti and John Carneglia were convicted and given 50-year sentences. Gene was released in 2015 after serving 29 years in prison.

During all the is time there is a New York City police officer working in the Public Morals squad which is the Vice squad. They worked prostitution, illegal casinos, bars that violated liquor laws and all in all a fertile ground for bribes. On December 3, 1984, he is taking his wife and mother in law to a celebration at St. Barbara’s Greek Orthodox church in Manhattan. He was driving across the Manhattan Bridge when his car stalled and stopped. It was raining and low visibility. As traffic backed up and horns were blasting, a speeding car hit the officer pinning him against his car. At the hospital, doctors had to amputate his left foot at his ankle that day and over the next few months, they would take off more of his leg up to his thing. Intelligence Unit.”

Once he was back to duty in 1986, The NYPD turned down the officer’s application for an on-duty disability. He did get a 1.4 million settlement from the driver’s insurance. The NYPD assigned this man as an Intelligence Unit analyst where he had access to sensitive information on organized-crime cases. Remember this was during the time that Gotti’s was taking over the Gambino family.  He was able to obtain confidential information like the locations of electronic listening devices (wiretaps and bugs), the identity of confidential sources of information and cooperating witnesses, and the timing of prospective indictments.

It was during this time that the feds figured out john Gotti had paid an old lady to vacate her apartment and he could access her apartment from inside the Ravenite Social Club. It was a tape from that microphone planted inside a VCR and wired directly to a telephone line that was a leased line monitored from the Manhattan FBI office. A Gotti Capo named Joe Butch Corrao and a guy Gotti liked to call the Grim Reaper who was George Helbig came to this apartment and told Gotti and Sammy the Bull Gravano that they had a guy who told them that the state, not the feds, had planted mikes inside Gravano’s Brooklyn club and his construction company office.

The next day the US Attorney Bruce Mouw was reading the 100-page transcript when he saw this conversation. He called in FBI Agent Andy Kurins and together they found had 4 clues. The guy was either a golfer, a lawyer, a cop or somebody’s cousin. They did not know which clue or clues were pertinent.  Gotti instructed the Grim Reaper, Geroge Heibig to give the guy enough money to buy some new golf clubs. The agent knew that John Gotti played at the Westchester County Club and Sammy Gravano’s construction company had a contract to do work there so he pulled the membership list but this did not reveal any suspects. Gotti said something about “every cop he knows there. But that’s good, You know why? He’s a legitimate lawyer so its beautiful.” So they thought he was a lawyer and which meant he was a prosecutor.

Gotti did not like Hiebig and after he left, he exclaimed, “They all got a cop that’s a first cousin or an uncle or a fucking nephew. Gravano replied, “I know this guy he’s talking about, Pete! Gotti replied, “Yeah, That’s his first cousin?” They still could not figure out if Gotti meant that this was Hieibg’s first cousin or this Pete’s first cousin. He put pin registers on all of Hiebig’s telephones and cloned his beeper to no avail. Hiebig’s beeper did show a lot of calls from a payphone in Brooklyn. Agent Kurins went to the payphone and took photos of Heibig and Pete Mavis around and quickly found a doorman who knew Pete Mavis. He asked the agent if he was checking on the parties they had at this building. He learned this was a party pad rented to one of Heibig’s companies. This apartment had a phone and he pulled the phone records and found a lot of calls to a phone owned by a Constance Piest, but that meant nothing and he thought it might be a party girl. He visited Pete Mavis’s in-laws because they held the mortgage on a house used as a business by Heibig. As he talked, he figured they knew nothing but he happened to ask if they knew a Constance Peist. The wife replied, “Yes that’s Pete’s cousin, maybe you know her husband Billy who is a detective. The one who works in Intelligence and lost his leg in an accident.”

Andy Kurins could not get out of there fast enough and made a beeline back to the US Attorney’s office with this information.

Together they pieced together that Det. William Priest was a very active analyst and he was constantly checking with the prosecutor’s office, the FBI and other investigators gathering information on the New York mob. He got Priest’s phone records and work logs and they found that on the day that Corrao and Heibig told Gravano and Gotti about the bugs in Gravano’s office, Peter Mavis had called Priest’s phone that same day.

Please listen to next week’s episode to hear an interview with a man who spent time inside the joint with former Detective Willaim Priest.
To go to the store or make a donation click here

To rent Gangland Wire, the documentary, click here

To subscribe on iTunes click here, please give me a review and help others find the podcast.

The post John Gotti and the Informant Part 1 appeared first on Gangland Wire.

Dec 25 2019

41mins

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Rank #10: Bob Berdella Serial Killer – Part 2

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In episode 2, Troy Cole tells about the search of this chamber of horrors. The house was in complete disarray, kind of like a teenage kid’s room. When Bob got done with something, he just threw it down. Except for the torture logs which were found on the second floor.

An interview of Christopher Bryson revealed he had been kept captive and injected with several unknown substances that created burning and stinging sensations. As the officers searched the second floor they found a room exactly as the room described by Bryson. The bed had tethers on the headboard and they had been burned through exactly as Bryson had described how he made his escape.

In another bedroom, under a mattress, a searching detective found an envelope containing a couple of hundred Polaroid photographs.In these photos, Cole found images of several other young men. To his horror, these men seemed to be tethered to the same bed and were being tortured. Other detectives find a skull on the first floor and in close proximity they found a bag of loose teeth.

At this time, Cole heads home to watch the NCAA. shortly after, he is called back to the scene because the searchers were finding more evidence that this was a homicide scene. One of the Polaroids contained human body hanging from a basement rafter that had be be dead. Cole explains that this body showed signs of liver in the lower extremities.

More homicide detectives are called in and subjected to the inch by inch search of a filthy, stinky, gross chamber of horrors. These detectives worked until 2:00 AM Easter Sunday morning. A forensic pathologist is called out and he examines the skull and loose teeth. The pathologist concludes this skull is not an old artifact or fake and is probably a recent death.

The next morning Cole and CSI Captain Ron Canady examine the yard as other detectives return to searching the interior. Capt. Canady notes there is a place in the yard with the ground disturbed. this plot is about the size of a grave. He calls in a back hoe and the second shovelful reveals a human skull with the hair still attached. At that time, Cole thinks that all those young men he had seen in the Polaroids were dead and buried in the back yard.

Troy Cole realizes he is now into one of the biggest criminal cases he has ever worked. The Crime Lab Supervisor, Gary Howell, takes over the crime scene. He calls in a group of recruits from the academy to dig the yard up with hand shovels.

To go to the store click here

To rent Gangland Wire, the documentary, click here

To subscribe on iTunes click here, give me a review and I will send you a link to see the film for free.

The post Bob Berdella Serial Killer – Part 2 appeared first on Gangland Wire.

Jan 07 2017

37mins

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Rank #11: Ken Eto and the Chicago Outfit

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Ken Eto or Tokyo Joe was an unusual dude in the world of the Sicilian Chicago Outfit. The only Japanese American to be in any position of trust with the Chicago Outfit or any other family. He was Japanese-American born in 1919. In 1942 the feds placed his entire family in a Japanese Internment Camp. At the end of the war Tokyo Joe worked at different jobs and in 1949, he appears in Chicago.

Chicago authorities first notice him during an investigation into the Numbers racket. At this time, nobody runs this kind of operation without the Outfit’s approval. Toyko Joe helped the Outfit take over African-American and Puerto Rican Numbers operations. It was thought he even helped set up hits on his competition.

By the 1980s, the Tokyo Joe is doing as much as $200,000.00 a

Ken Eto

week in total business. Of the most interest to the F.B.I. is the fact he is making payments to corrupt Chicago cops.

The Bureau soon learns that Tokyo Joe’s boss in the Outfit is Vincent Solano. Solano was a capo or captain over the Rush Street Crew and covered most of Northern Chicago and the adjoining suburbs. Solano was also the elected union president of the Local 1 of the Laborers’ International Union of North America.

Vincent Solano

F.B.I. agents focus on Tokyo Joe and his operation and soon he is indicted for running a gambling racket. Tokyo Joe was convicted of running the numbers gambling racket. His capo, Vincent Solano invited him to a meeting and asked for assurances that he would keep him mouth shut and do his time. Tokyo Joe claimed he asserted to his boss Solano that he would not talk and do his time.

Tokyo Joe was invited to a dinner on February 10, 1983, a few weeks before his sentencing. He was nervous and actually thought he might be killed because he dressed himself in his best suit before leaving. Same thing with the Spilotro brothers, Tony left his jewelry and billfold at home before he went to his last meeting.

Toyko Joe was sitting in his car when two men approached. They fired several times, shooting into his torso and head and leaving him for dead. He crawled out of the car and into a nearby Pharmacy. He was able to call 911. The call-taker told him to drive himself to a hospital. Eventually, the call taker was convinced and an ambulance was dispatched. Toyko Joe would survive this hit because the hit team, trying to be too careful, had loaded their own bullets. When they loaded the shells with black powder, they failed to load enough and the lead bullets failed to do enough body damage to kill Joe.

The FBI would quickly visit Joe and offer him a deal. He agreed and agents moved him to another hospital under another name. They started the paperwork to place Eto into the witness protection program. He would name Jasper Campise and John Gattuso as the unsuccessful hit men. The FBI immediately contacted both these Outfit mobsters and offered a deal in exchange for implicating Solano and other higher-ups.

As was well known with the Chicago Outfit, they were now at risk. A few months later, July 14, 1983, they were both found dead in the trunk of a car in  the Chicago suburb of Naperville, Illinois. Both had been strangled.

Ken Eto or Toyko Joe would testify against many other Chicago Outfit mobsters. Eto’s testimony convicted 15 of them and they were sent to prison for various activities related to the numbers operation. This number included several corrupt Chicago cops.

Vincent Solano would live out his life and die at the age of 72 in 1992.

After he went into Witness Protection the FBI took Toyko Joe around to different mob trials that involved the Chicago Outfit as an expert on that family. He would eventually die at age 84 in 2004, under the name Joe Tanaka. He had been relocated to a small town called Norcross close to Atlanta Georgia.

Photo credit      Thanks to Wikipedia, Breakshot Blog and the Chicago Syndicate.

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Mar 05 2017

1hr 2mins

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Rank #12: Hole in the Wall Gang Part 1

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I am adding a new method of supporting the podcast. If you have the venmo app, how about donating an average of fifty cents an episode or just hit me up for a buck every time you think of it. Now on with the show. This is the first of a 3 part series telling the story of the Tony Spilotro Hole in the Wall Gang. In this first episode, your hosts tell about the early beginnings and the Las Vegas background that allowed such a gang to start. We use a few dramatic depictions of interviews with the participants who are not available. Plus we use interviews of a few of the actual people involved like Frank Cullotta and FBI agent Emmet Michaels, former Las Vegas Metro Commander Kent Clifford and Mob historian Michael Green. If we can’t get an original participant in these events because they are dead of impossible to find, we are using actors, lets give credit to our actors, Ben Ellickson of Chicago, the comedian Cojac of Kansas City and the man of a thousand voices, Alex Virgo of Kansas City.

Every good thief wants that one big score. How many movies have there been made about the big score or the last score before a master thief retires. My first one I remember was probably the Thomas Crown Affair, but there have been plenty like Heat, Heist, Oceans 11, 12 and Oceans 8 with an all-female cast. What is your favorite caper film?  Personally, mine is Heat with Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino.

In this first episode we look at the Hole in the Wall gang that starts stealing fro Sears stores and from drug dealers and ends with the last big score, the 1981 burglary at Bertha’s Gifts and Home Furnishings at 896 East Sahara Street in Las Vegas.

The Bertha’s store was started by Bertha Ragland who came to Vegas right after WW II and opened a fine china and home furnishings store. She would eventually add a high-end jewelry store inside the home furnishing store.  Bertha Ragland was a colorful and well-known successful Las Vegas business woman. Remember this was over 30 years ago and while credit cards were being  used, in Las Vegas most still dealt in a lot of cash. The cash transaction report, or CTR, was in use but widely ignored by many financial institutions until the later 1980s when the DEA got very tough on money laundering. It was a well-known fact to her employees that she did not trust banks and kept large amounts of cash and jewelry inside a safe in the store.

To take you back to the late 1970s and early 1980s, remember Jane Byrne, she was mayor of Chicago and in 1981 she moved her family into the Cabrini Green high-rise housing project for 3 weeks. In 1981 The ground-breaking cop show, Hill Street Blues based on the Chicago PD was released. I was watching the Kansas City mob boys as they tried to regain some organization after the skimming search warrants were served in 1979 and Joe Agosto turned government witness.

In 1981, Anthony Accardo was the real power behind the throne of the Chicago outfit while Joey Doves Aiuppa was the boss to all outside observers. The FBI was conducting a multi prong attack on the Outfit and their connections to the Teamster’s union and Las Vegas casinos in Operation Strawman 1 and 2. In Operation Penfdorf the FBI taped Teamster’s official Allen Dorfman plotting to skim Teamster money with Outfit Capo Joey the Clown Lombardo and others. Operation Greylord and Operation Gambet was uncovering and identifying the Outift’s penetration of the Cook county Circuit court and other Chicago government entities. 1981 will be the last good year for the Chicago Outfit. A burglary in the Las Vegas store named Bertha’s Gifts and Furnishings will provide one of the most important witnesses to come forward in the Outfit’s history.

First, we will examine another event that starts a relationship that ends at the big score at Bertha’s. We look back to the early 1960s in Chicago, a young thief named Frank Cullotta had become friends with Tony Spilotro. Their relationship was cemented when 23-year-old Frank Cullotta used his friendship with a fall partner, a young thief named Billy McCarthy. As a favor for the Outfit, Frank lured McCarthy into a spot where he was kidnapped and handed over for Spilotro to torture and murder. Also, during the 1960s, Tony and Frank partnered on several successful burglary scores. For example, a 1957 bank job where they broke through the wall of a basement into the basement of a bank. In their first big score Tony and Frank used sledge hammers, acetylene torches and other heavy equipment tools and started on a weekend so they had plenty of time to complete the job and get away before the bank reopened for business. Frank netted $50,000.00 for his end of that score. A lot of money in 1957. Frank Cullotta and Tony Spilotro would use these same techniques until their last burglary together in 1981.

So how did these 2 Chicago thieves and Outfit members end up burglarizing a Gift shop in 1981 Las Vegas? First we have to understand why Chicago, Kansas City, Milwaukee and Cleveland  mobsters were in Las Vegas. During the 1970s, the Outfit moved into the Las Vegas casino business after an agreement with the East Coast Families to take over all rackets in Atlantic City. Chicago, being the leader of this Midwest cabal of crime families led the way into Vegas. In preparation, in 1971, an Outfit associate and well-known gambler named Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal moved  from Florida to Vegas and got a job at the Stardust. Later in 1971, 33-year-old Chicago Outfit member Anthony “Tony” Spilotro moved to Las Vegas. Aiuppa wanted an Outfit member to watch Rosenthal’s back and to take care of any problems that might threaten the skim.

In 1962, a 22-year-old Tony Spilotro earned his place in the Outfit from the torture and murder of two men who had angered the bosses, Billy McCarthy and Jimmy Miraglia. The opening scene of Casino was a depiction of the Spilotro’s torture and murder of Billy MCcarthy using a vice. Tony Spilotro and his wife, Nancy, move to Las Vegas and Frank and Geri Reosenthal are observed meeting them and help them get settled. The Outfit through the Teamsters has set up a deal at the Circus Circus casino and Tony opens a gift shop as a front business. An interesting side bar on the Circus Circus us that it has an actual circus inside. This became the first casino developed to attract families.

In 1974, the Chicago Outfit, the Kansas City Crime Family, the Milwaukee family and the Cleveland mob organizations pooled their Teamster’s Union contacts and paved the way for a 32-year-old mild mannered, bald, former Vietnam helicopter pilot turned real estate developer named Allen Glick to obtain a 62-million-dollar loan. Glick created the Argent Corporation and purchased the Stardust, Fremont, Hacienda and Marina casino/hotels. In return he was advised to promote a current Stardust employee named Frank Lefty Rosenthal to a high-level job in his organization.

We all remember the Robert DeNiro character Ace Rothstein in the Scorsese film Casino. Well that was the screenwriter Nicholas Pillegi’s depiction of Frank Lefty Rosenthal. The fictional Ace Rothstein was a very accurate depiction of the real Lefty who described as arrogant, egotistical, ostentatious, flamboyant, and conspicuous gambler. That was in 1974 and for the next few years things were going unimpeded for this cabal of Midwest mob families. Lefty was able to hire several corrupt employees and start a regular flow of money skimmed from the four casinos owned by Argent. This money was divided between Chicago, Milwaukee, Cleveland and Kansas City.  Lets listen to what retired Gaming Board investigator Jack Miller has to say about this skimming.

The Outfit boss at the time was Joey Aiuppa and he wanted a guy who was loyal to Chicago to watch Lefty and back him up with any problems. Chicago Outfit mob associate would later say that Lefty did not make this easy. The Chicago Outfit does not pay Spilotro a salary for watching Lefty’s back or for helping Lefty with any strong-arm tactics he needed to run the casinos. In return for his work, the Outfit granted Spilotro a license to steal in Las Vegas. Working with the Outfit is not like a normal job, it is more like the Outfit grants a member like Spilotro a franchise to display a sign that they are a well-connected guy, and in return, Spilotro or the franchisee agrees to pay a street tax of a percentage of each score they earn from any illicit activity they conduct.

By 1979 Spilotro friend and professional burglar Frank Cullotta was fed up with Chicago. He would later relate that crooked Chicago law enforcement wanted to take a chunk of his money and the good cops wanted to put him in jail. He accepted Spilotro’s invitation to join a crew in Las Vegas. When Frank arrived Spilotro told him he wanted Frank to put a crew of Chicago guys together and start doing jobs and to be his inside man at the Casinos because the Nevada Gaming Control Board had learned enough about Spilotro that he was placed in the Black Book.

During the early 1970s, Las Vegas law enforcement including Gaming Control enforcement was not the most professional in the world. All gaming background investigations were conducted by the Clark County Sheriff’s office. The sheriff was Ralph lamb. He was an old school western style lawman who ran a large family ranch as well as serving as the sheriff. He was known to meet the lower level mobsters at the airport, rough them up a bit and tell them to go back home. He claimed he once grabbed Chicago Outfit mobster Johnny Roselli and “slapped the cologne” off of him. Lamb’s department once stopped a large group of Hell’s Angels and destroyed several motorcycles and gave the bikers haircuts before turning them loose. On the other hand, Ralph Lamb wrote a character reference letter attesting to the good character of Lefty Rosenthal in support of Lefty getting a license to be involved in the Florida racetrack industry. Being responsible for background investigations for gaming licenses was huge responsibility and opened the sheriff’s office to potential corruption. The FBI started looking into Outfit corruption in the gaming industry but they got little cooperation from local law enforcement. All local and state Nevada officials resented any intrusion on their jurisdiction. It was not that this was institutional corruption but more like a libertarian attitude against anything to do with the central government.

In the middle 1970s, Nevada was changing and they were realizing that Chicago and other eastern organized crime families were infiltrating their casino business. Informants were telling about the loss of thousands of dollars in tax revenue because of skimming. If the money is skimmed before the official count, the state cannot tax the entire amount of casino revenue. Ralph Lamb was charged with personal income tax evasion but would eventually be found not guilty. The bad publicity cost him the election in 1979. The Las Vegas city police Department and the Clark County Sheriff’s office had merged by this time and were known as the Las Vegas Metro PD. A former Las Vegas PD sergeant named John McCarthy beat Ralph Lamb and became sheriff.

During this time just before John McCarthy was elected, the Metro Vice and Narcotics Unit had been neglected and was infested with corruption. McCarthy will promote former vice officer who was known to be incorruptible in a sea of corruption. When Kent Clifford was promoted to command the Metro Intelligence Unit, this Eliot Ness will find that most of his officers were either a little bit corrupt taking many favors from strip casinos to actually informing Tony Spilotro about any law enforcement activities that were investigating Spilotro or his friends. Clifford made an impression when on one of his first days in the Unit’s office he found  30-40 cases of booze. He asked what was this and he was told that the Strip casinos donate that to give to the officers as Christmas presents every year. he ordered his men to remove the cases of alcohol and told them he would not allow anyone to take any favor from any casino again. Commander Clifford will soon transfer all the existing officers out and replace them with men he could trust. By this time, the National Law Enforcement Intelligence Unit organization refused to share any information with the Vegas police department. The FBI refused to work with them in any manner.  About this same time the local FBI office had indicted a unit member named Joe Blasko. He will be fired and eventually work directly for Spilotro and become a member of the Hole in the Wall gang. FBI agents overheard Joe Blasko and another vice and narcotics officer giving Tony Spilotro information on FBI investigations.

The FBI started transferring in agent who had experience working organized crime cases back east. Agent Emment Michaels was a blunt, straightforward hard charging FBI agent. He was assigned to head up the surveillance squad and they focused their efforts on Spiloto. He soon noticed the changes in the LV Metro Intelligence and forged a friendship with Commander Kent Clifford.

By 1979, Frank Cullotta is putting together several of his old Outfit comrades into a burglary gang. The press will name The Hole in the Wall gang because they often knock a hole in a wall of a business to avoid alarms on doors and windows. They will hit houses and businesses all over the southwest. They set up their own scores and hit scores set up by Tony Spilotro. Frank Cullotta runs the day to day operations of this gang and makes sure a piece of every score is given to Spilotro in the usual Outfit protocol. During this time Tony Spilotro orders Frank Culotta to murder a Las Vegas resident named Jerry Lisner because he thinks Lisner is an informant. Cullotta will take another member of the Hole in the Wall Gang, Wayne Matecki as a back up on this hit. Frank and Mateki went to Lisner’s house and Frank shot him, but Lisner  ran away and refused to go down. Frank chased him down shooting until he ran out of bullets and Mateki brought more in so Frank could reload.  He finally got Jerry Lisner killed. This scene was depicted in the Scorsese film, Casino. During the filming of this scene, Scorsese will complain that it did not feel right. Frank Cullotta was on the  set as a technical consultant. he overheard Scorsese complaining and he told him that they were not doing it right. Scorsese replied, “Who are you” and Frank replied, “I am the guy who done it.”

During this time, the Hole in the Wall gang is hanging out at the Upper Crust Pizza restaurant and bar owned by Culotta. Las Vegas Metro Intelligence Unit led by an incorruptible new Commander who transfers in young aggressive police officers and create a partnership with the Emment Michaels and the Las Vegas FBI and join and form a task force. The Spilotro task force will soon focus their attentions on the Upper Crust.  This focus on the Upper Crust will lead to disastrous consequences for one Chicago Outfit hanger-on and a confrontation between Kent Clifford and the entire hierarchy of the Chicago Outfit

National newspapers take notice of the presence of Tony Spiloto. The Wall Street journal even name Aiuppa and Spilotro as the men behind a strong move West by the Chicago Outfit.  Tony Spilotro has given up his gift shop in Circus Circus after the Gaming Control Board discovered Spilotro’s ties to the Chicago Outfit. Spilotro opens a jewelry store called the Gold Rush a block off the strip. He will use this front to fence stolen goods obtained by the Hole in the Wall Gang.  As police intelligence units in Milwaukee, Chicago, Cleveland and Kansas City serve search warrants on mob leaders to uncover evidence of Vegas skimming activities, The FBI and Las Vegas metro police start to tighten the noose on Tony Spilotro and his Hole in the Wall Gang with heavy surveillance of the Gold Rush and Cullotta’s Upper Crust restaurant. The gang is making money and attracting law enforcement heat. The next year will not be without incident. We will hear about successes, failures and WTF situations.  All the time Spilotro and his Hole in the Wall gang are doing burglaries and loansharking, the upper echelon in Chicago, Kansas City are quietly taking millions out of the casinos.
Don’t forget to listen to Aaron on the Big Dumb Fun Show.

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The post Hole in the Wall Gang Part 1 appeared first on Gangland Wire.

Jan 14 2019

1hr 15mins

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Rank #13: Bob Berdella Serial Killer Part 4

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L-R Aaron, Gary and Troy

In this fourth and final episode of our interview with Troy Cole, we learn about Berdella’s frantic efforts to avoid the death penalty. First, he tries to plead guilty to one count of murder. The father of one victim attacks Berdella at a hearing. The prosecutor quickly moved and avoid Berdella from controlling any of the court procedures. He makes a last ditch attempt to save his house from state confiscation. Finally, a deal is struck and in exchange for the prosecutor not asking for the death penalty, Berdella agrees to cooperate and tell the authorities the names of all his victims reveal what he did with the bodies.

Troy Cole and his main detective along with the Chief Prosecutor and trial prosecutor meet for hours with Berdella. He reveals in gleeful detail exactly what happened inside his house of horrors. he will explain all the codes in the torture logs he kept.

In the end, Berdella goes to the Missouir State Pen for several life terms. In a few years, after creating as much administrative haqvoc as possible, Berdella dies from a heart attack in 1992. the ironic fact about his death was he had written to a Kansas City minister and complained many times about how the Prison authorities withheld his heart medicine. He was taken back to his home town of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio and buried with his father. Click here to see gravesite. 

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The post Bob Berdella Serial Killer Part 4 appeared first on Gangland Wire.

Jan 23 2017

1hr 10mins

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Rank #14: Bob Berdella Serial Killer – Part 3

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In Part 3, Troy Cole relates how his detectives encountered problems trying to identify the young men in the photos found in the home of Bob Berdella. Most of these men had lived lives estranged from long time friends and even family.

By the end of the first week into this investigation, a whole special squad was formed with detectives from Homicide, Sex Crimes and Vice. They set up a command post inside the show-up room. The word got around that this was a very high profile case with lurid details. Cops, having a morbid curiosity like most folks, wanted to learn all the gory details. Troy soon found that from high level commanders down to the newest rookie all had a desire to see the torture photographs the detectives found. Troy consulted with his commander, Lt. Col. Bob Jenkins, and they decided to move the command post to a secret location to keep away the distraction of the curious.  They found a large room at a little used police building. Once some phone lines were installed, the entire squad moved.

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The post Bob Berdella Serial Killer – Part 3 appeared first on Gangland Wire.

Jan 17 2017

40mins

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Rank #15: Westies Part 1 from Owney Madden to Mickey Spillane

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The Irish Mob, thanks to Dean from Ireland in the next two episodes we will examine the Irish Mob or the Westies.

The Hell’s Kitchen area of NYC is from about Central Park on the west side of Midtown Manhattan west of Broadway to the Hudson River from Battery Park street to 59th street. This is sometimes referred to as the 5 Points area of NYC. Many Irish immigrants settled in this area find work on the Hudson River docks. Martin Scorsese produced the film The Gangs of New York and it tells the story of the early Irish gangs fighting the Protestant gangs. Since it is on the west side of Manhattan, it was natural to call the Irish gang The Westies.

The name Hells Kitchen purportedly came from 2 cops watching a small riot between rival Irish gangs and one sad this place is like Hell and the older cop said no this place is so hot it is more like Hell’s Kitchen.

As the new century arrived, in 1901 an Irish woman named Mary Madden left a drunken petty criminal husband, Francis and her 2 sons in England and came to new York looking for work. By 1902 she was able to bring her sons, Owney and Martin Madden over.  The father never made it to the US. The family found a new home in New York’s Irish community in Hells Kitchen and this will shape Madden’s life permanently. The thousands of other Irish emigrant families will become Madden’s loyal.

Settling in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen, little Owney Madden joined the Gopher Gang. He was known as “The Killer” after gunning down an Italian gang member in the streets, after which he shouted, “I’m Owney Madden, 10th Avenue!” No witnesses came forward linking Madden to the crime. By age 18, Madden had become a prominent member of the Gophers and was suspected in the deaths of five rival gang members. He was earning as much as $200 (like $2000.00 today) a day from the Gophers’ criminal activities, such as the gang’s protection racket which forced local businessmen to pay in the face of firebomb threats.

Madden’s movie star looks and his wealth from his rackets made him a prince of Hells Kitchen. He was violently jealous and he once shot and killed a store clerk named William Henshaw, who had asked out one of Madden’s girl. Henshaw died of his wounds and Madden police was arrested. The case had to be dismissed after no corroborating witnesses came forward. Over the next three years, the Gophers reached the height of their power. The Hudson Dusters were threatened by Madden’s power and they ambushed him outside a 52nd Street dance hall on November 6, 1912. Madden refused to identify his attackers to police, stating “My boys will get ’em. It’s nobody’s business but mine who put these slugs in me!” Shortly after several members of the Dusters were  killed.

In 1914, Madden became involved in a dispute with Little Patsy Doyle, a prominent member of the Dusters, over a woman named Freda Horner. Doyle informed police of Madden’s operations. Madden sent a message to Doyle through one of his girl friends, a  Margaret Everdeane, to ask Doyle to meet Madden and hash out a peace agreement. As Doyle arrived at this meeting on November 28, 1914, Madden ambushed Doyle and killed him. The police questioned the woman and she confessed to her role in the killing and named Madden. Madden was eventually sentenced to 20 years at Sing Sing Prison in Ossining, New York.

After serving nine years of his sentence, Madden was released on parole in 1923, 3 years after the start of prohibition.  The Gopher gang had broken up, and many members of his own faction were either in Sing Sing or working for other bootlegging gangs.

Upon his release, he was given a job by a former member of Madden’s street gang, Larry Fay who had a taxi cab company as a cover for his bootlegging activities. He needed Madden’s killer reputation to maintain control of his territory. Fay employed Madden to boss a gang of strong-arm men to help him gain control of the most profitable cab-stands along Broadway. Owney Madden learned quickly about this new business and soon moved on to form his own organization. During this time, Madden employed a young friend as a personal driver. The driver, George Raft, later became a film star noted for his authentic portrayals of gangland figures.

Madden soon became heavily involved in bootlegging, establishing a territory in the Hells Kitchen area. In 1924 the Madden gang began highjacking liquor shipments belonging to Big Bill Dwyer (another established bootlegger) but rather than go to war, Dwyer took Madden on as a partner when Dwyer decided he needed to beef up the enforcement side of his own operations.

Madden and a former gang rival turned partner, George “Big Frenchy” De Mange began to open or acquire some of the flashiest speakeasies and nightclubs of the era, most notably the legendary Cotton Club in Harlem.

Owney Madden

Nightclub patrons flooded into Harlem from downtown Manhattan to catch performers such as Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Lena Horne, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson and the Nicholas Brothers. Madden and his partner, Big Frenchy, also muscled their way into a piece of the exclusive Stork Club, where the influential gossip columnist Walter Winchell held court and everyone who was anyone wanted to see and be seen. As a celebrity nightclub owner with ownership in more than twenty clubs, Madden became well-known and glamorized for his Prohibition-era activities. He also gained recognition for his revenge tactics and payoffs of City Hall.

In 1931, shortly before the end of Prohibition, Madden got out of bootlegging and entered into the professional boxing business with his club partners “Broadway” Bill Duffy and “Big Frenchie” DeMange. Between them, they controlled the careers of several boxing champions including Max Baer and Primo Carnera. As Carnera’s manager, Madden arranged fixed fights which led eventually to Carnera’s winning the World Heavyweight Championship, in 1933. Carnera held onto the title for nearly a year, until reporters’ suspicions about fixed fights led Madden to desert the Italian strongman, setting up Carnera’s famous defeat at the hands of Baer on June 14, 1934.

Exile in Hot Springs

In 1932, Madden was involved in the murder of Vincent “Mad Dog” Coll, who had been extorting money from several mobsters, including DeMange and Madden.  After being arrested for a parole violation that same year, Madden began facing greater harassment from police and encroachment on his territory by Italian Mafia families, until he finally left Manhattan, New York City in 1935.

Southern Club

He settled in Hot Springs Arkansas, a city known to be wide open to mobsters on the run. A city with a corrupt police force and city officials that overlooked illegal casino gambling and had a well known race track. He would open a nightclub, the Southern Club and it became a popular nightspot for vacationing mobsters. Charles Luciano was apprehended there in 1935. Madden became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1943, and eventually married the daughter of the city postmaster. He lived in Hot Springs until his death in 1965.

The Irish rackets did not resist the La Cosa nostra families and by the 1950s a man named Hugh Mulligan was seen a boss in Hells Kitchen. Tow of his most famous proteges were Jimmy Burke and Mickey Spillane. Burke would go on to lead a hijacking crew working for the Paul Vario of the Lucchese family. He would be made famous by Henry Hill in the Scorsese film, GoodFellas. He was played by Robert DeNiro.

The one I want to talk about is Michael J. Spillane, better known as Mickey Spillane because he stayed true to his Irish roots and became the boss of the organization that became known as The Westies. He  was born on July 13, 1933. Mickey no connection to the fictional private eye Mickey Spillane, was an Irish-American mobster from Hell’s Kitchen, New York City. He was often called the “last of the gentleman gangsters” because his style or doing criminal business was more businesslike than the violent Westies mob members who succeeded him in Hell’s Kitchen.

With movie star good looking, Spillane started as a numbers runner for various organized crime figures in Hell’s Kitchen. In 1960, Mickey took over the bookmaking and loansharking rackets left to him by his predecessor Hughie Mulligan. He married Maureen McManus, the daughter of the Democratic district leader Eugene McManus. Mickey was known to hand out turkeys to poor families on thanksgiving and visit elderly widows in the neighborhood.

Though Italian mobsters dominated organized crime in the city, the Italian mob stayed out of Hell’s Kitchen while Spillane was the Westies’ boss. Often, Spillane would kidnap members of the Italian Mafia and hold them for ransom to raise money for his operations. Although he ran the rackets such as gambling and loansharking, he never allowed the sale of drugs.

It was Spillane’s refusal to allow the Italian mobsters to participate in the Hell’s Kitchen rackets that led to his downfall. The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center was being built on Spillane’s westside. The amount of money the new convention center, Madison Square Garden, the waterfront and the unions were generating for Spillane was enormous, and the Italians were desperate for a piece of the action. Spillane refused to allow the Italian mob to participate, and the New York – Irish – Italian Mob War began.

During the mid-1960s, the Genovese crime family sought control over any rackets associated with the soon to be built Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. From construction contracts, to union

Mickey Spillane

activity to kickbacks and other fees associated with the running of a large convention center. Harking back to the old days when certain gangs controlled a geographical territory in NYC and the convention center was located in Spillane’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood, Spillane refused to allow any involvement by the Italians. Although the Italian gangsters greatly outnumbered the members of the Irish mob, Spillane was successful in keeping control of the convention center construction. The Genovese family were frustrated and embarrassed by Spillane and his Irish gangsters. They responded by hiring a rogue Irish-American hitman named Joseph “Mad Dog” Sullivan to assassinate three of Spillane’s lieutenants, Tom Devaney, Eddie “the Butcher” Cummiskey, and Tom “the Greek” Kapatos, lieutenants. By the mid-1970s, Spillane had moved his family out of Hell’s Kitchen to Woodside, Queens, because of threats of violence against his children.

In 1966, a young upstart named Jimmy Coonan attempted to take the Westies from Spillane, muscling in on his territory and murdering a Spillane underling. Ultimately, Coonan was sent to prison in 1967. When he was released from prison, Coonan sought to align himself with the Gambino crime family through an up-and-coming mobster from Brooklyn, named Roy DeMeo, a prolific killer himself. This would mark the beginning of the end for the Irish mob, as Coonan would eventually work for the Gambinos.

On May 13, 1977, Spillane was watching Tv with his three sons when his phone rang. He answered and shortly after, the family heard A HONK OUTSIDE. Mickey told the boys he had to run out in front and talk to somebody. He left and never returned. As he approached a car idling in front of his apartment building, shots rang out and Mickey Spillane was killed outside his apartment in Queens. It has long been rumored that Roy DeMeo murdered Spillane as a favor to Coonan, who subsequently took over as the boss of the Hell’s Kitchen Irish Mob. Spillane is buried in Calvary Cemetery in Queens, New York.

The Spillane family still owns a bar in Hell’s Kitchen called “Mickey Spillane’s Hells Kitchen” on 49th Street and 9th Avenue

Next we go on to the Jimmy Coonan era during the 1980s. the violence and murder of the Coonan gang would be unparalleled in modern mob history. It was during this time that the Irish mob became known as “The Westies”

Don’t forget to listen to Aaron on the Big Dumb Fun Show, live on Monday nights.

To go to the store click here

To rent Gangland Wire, the documentary, click here

To subscribe on iTunes click here, give me a review and I will send you a link to see the film for free.

The post Westies Part 1 from Owney Madden to Mickey Spillane appeared first on Gangland Wire.

Aug 28 2017

47mins

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Rank #16: Freddy Geas killed Whitey Bulger

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In this podcast, Aaron and I interview our friend who is a former prison guard at the maximum security federal prison at Marion, Illinois. He will talk about the procedures in handling high profile prisoners and special circumstances like dealing with former informants inside the system.

Breaking news, a known Springfield, Massachusetts area mob member and others entered the cell of Boston gangster and former FBI Top Echelon informant James “Whitey” Bulger and beat him to death with padlocks deposited in socks or “Slocks.”  This murder happened within hours of his arrival at this federal prison in West Virginia. Additionally, authorities report, the assailants gouged out Bulger’s eyes and tried to cut out his tongue. For certain, these killers sent a message to other mobsters who might think about cooperating with the government.

So far prison authorities believe that Fotios “Freddy” Geas, a West Springfield Massachusetts Mafia hit man serving a life sentence for the 2003 slaying of the leader of the Genovese crime family, is the prime suspect. They have video surveillance of several men entering Bulger’s cell around 6 a.m., according to authorities.

Freddy Geas, his younger brother, Ty Geas and onetime Genovese crime family boss named Arthur Nigro were convicted in 2011 by a federal jury after being charged with several violent crimes dating back to 2003. One of those crimes was the murder of Springfield mob boss Adolfo “Big Al” Bruno. At that time, the Geas brothers were feared enforcers for Anthony Arillotta, the boss of a mafia family in Springfield.

Freddy Geas had a particularly good reason to hate informants or government witnesses because in the Bruno murder, his old boss Anthony Arillotta turned on him and became an FBI informant after all three were charged with Bruno’s murder. Arillotta testified that Geas and a man named Gary D. Westerman committed several murders and that he and Geas killed Westerman. Geas is doing life for these crimes.

To learn more about life behind the walls of a federal prison, go to our guests’s You Tube page As the Key Turns by clicking here.

Don’t forget to listen to Aaron on the Big Dumb Fun Show.

To go to the our store click here

To rent Gangland Wire, the documentary, click here

To subscribe on iTunes click here, give me a review and I will send you a link to see the film for free.

The post Freddy Geas killed Whitey Bulger appeared first on Gangland Wire.

Nov 02 2018

1hr 3mins

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Rank #17: 51st Street Crips – Segment 1

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The 51st Street Crips is the first of a 3 episode series about a Kansas City street gang. In the 1980s as crack cocaine started devastating African American neighborhoods, I was part of the L.A. Boys Task Force. We investigated and uncovered the first Bloods and Crips gangs in Kansas City. We found LA Bloods and Crips graffiti in KC neighborhoods. We found local cocaine dealers willing to complain about the interlopers from Los Angeles. We made the largest drug seizure to date when we intercepted a Rolling 60 Crips gang leader arriving on the Amtrak, Super Chief, from Los Angeles. So much for the romance of train travel.

www.ganglandwire.com

The post 51st Street Crips – Segment 1 appeared first on Gangland Wire.

Mar 27 2016

28mins

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Rank #18: Roy DeMeo

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After a life devoted to crime in his teens and early 20s, Roy Demeo would eventually become a made man of the Gambino crime family Additionally, he became a proficient killer who will live on in mob lore for the deeds of “DeMeo crew” and his two most feared crew members, the Gemini Twins. DeMeo owned a Brooklyn joint at 4021 Flatlands Ave. in Brooklyn. The building is still there and in an ironic twist, it is now the Purpose Life church. Some mob historians claim the Gemini Lounge was more like the killing floor in a slaughterhouse except they killed and butchered humans instead of pigs. I remember a Sopranos’ episode where they cut up Richie Aprile’s body in Satriale’s Pork Store using the utensils normally used for the pork. The FBI claimed the DeMeo crew was responsible for as many as 200-300 murders from the mid-1970s to the early 1980s. The Demeo crew was described by law enforcement as the deadliest and most feared Mafia crew of the 5 Families in New York. They were described as “sadistic homicidal maniacs”, “the crazy killers”, “ice cold murderous maniacs”, “lethal animals”, “barbaric psychopaths”, and “brutal psychopathic killers.” Law Enforcement at the time estimated the DeMeo crew contained over 40 men who were each trying to outdo each other as vicious, ruthless, bloodthirsty psychopathic killers.

Anthony “Nino” Gaggi took notice of young Roy DeMeo and recruited him as an associate of the Gambino family. Gaggi encouraged DeMeo to expand the loansharking outside of his high school and gave him more money to put on the street. DeMeo recruited more young men and he branched out into car theft and drug trafficking. DeMeo’s recruited his first member of the Demeo crew Chris Rosenberg,  who was a high school friend. Rosenberg was hanging out at a popular Canarsie gas station where he was basically a street dealer. Roy had connections and money that allowed Rosenberg to deal narcotics in larger amounts and make himself a narcotic wholesaler with street dealers working for him. In the early 1970s, Chris introduced some of his friends to Roy and if they seemed like they had what it takes to work with Roy, they became part of his crew. Soon the core members of this crew were Joseph “Dracula” Guglielmo Joseph TestaAnthony Senter and Joseph’s younger brother Patrick Testa.

In one of his first more sophisticated operations, Roy joined the Borough of Brooklyn Credit Union and using his Gambino influence he was soon able to gain a position on the board of directors. This credit union became a valuable connection helping DeMeo launder his illegal profits from loansharking and drug dealing as well as other rackets. He became the money launderer for many New York drug dealers. This guy never missed a chance to make some money. Once he got himself onto the board, he utilized his position to launder money he had earned through his illegal ventures. He also influenced employees at the Credit Union to help other drug dealers launder money. DeMeo was able to utilize Credit Union money to supplement his money available to loan out in his loansharking business. He maintained a cover job as a salesman for a Brooklyn company named S & C Sportswear Corporation. He claimed he owned a variety of business and was in construction, owned a restaurant and was in the used car business.

During these formative years as a young associate in Gambino family, Roy DeMeo quickly and easily bought into the mafia tradition of Omerta and adopted his own personal code. He would never cooperate with authorities, he always maintained self-control in the face of adversity (at least on the surface), he was willing to carry out a vendetta to avenge any slight suffered by his crime family and he never forgot any deed he characterized as bad for him and his crime family. He readily bought into the idea that he was part of the Gambino family and eagerly kicked up to Nino Gaggi, his Capo. Some say that this percentage can be as much as an equal share to what the members of the crew got from a particular score.

By age 32, DeMeo was living in an expensive home with his wife and children. This is always one of those things I find fascinating about these mob guys. He leaves his nice home and children where he is Dad and the enforcer of rules and goes into the city for his work. He will soon commit his first murder for the Gambinos. He and his capo, Nino Gaggi are extorting money from a lucrative X-rated film business. Police arrest the owner, Paul Rothenberg, on a porn charge. The mobsters become convinced that Rothenberg will make a deal and give them up to the cops. Roy asks Rothenberg to meet him at a diner. Supposedly this was to talk about how they would pay his legal fees. They arrived at the diner at the same time. Roy produced a silencer-equipped gun and pulled Rothenberg into a nearby alley, shooting him several times in the head. informants would claim that Roy DeMeo said he was surprised how easy this was and how he looked at murder as just business. It was reported that he claimed he felt a sense of power committing the act of murder. He often told his underlings that once you do this, you can do anything. During the next few years, Roy Demeo trained his crew to kill without question whenever he gave the order. In a macabre twist, DeMeo had once been a butcher’s apprentice and he would train his crew members in the art of dismembering a body so they could easily dispose of it.

The Gemini Lounge

Around 1974, DeMeo bought a two-story building in Flatbush that had a bar called Phil’s Lounge. One of his crew members renamed it The Gemini Lounge and this would be the headquarters for all of the DeMeo crew’s future illegal activities. Joey Testa and Anthony Senter became known as the Gemini Twins. They recruited another stone killer named Henry Borelli. Like the Jimmy Burke crew meeting at the Bamboo lounge a short distance away, the DeMeo crew came in almost every day and drank, ate, planned scores, critiqued past scores, gossiped and did all the human activities that a mafia crew might do at their social club.

DeMeo was kind of a gun nut and he collected an impressive arsenal of machineguns, automatic rifles, and silencers in a storeroom at the lounge. He also installed his cousin, crew member Joseph “Dracula” Guglielmo into the adjoining apartment. This is a security procedure prevent the cops and/or FBI from planting listening devices.

1974, the DeMeo crew was stealing cars and selling them to chop shops. They got into a dispute over money with a body shop owner named Andrei Katz. In May 1975, a crooked cop informed Roy that Katz was snitching on them. A month later, Roy Demeo takes care of business, Joseph Testa and Henry Borelli lured Katz to a place where they could snatch him unobserved. Mob Reporter Jerry Capeci will debrief a source and get the following description. Capsci claims that Chris Rosenberg killed Katz by stabbing him several times in the heart with a butcher knife. The DeMeo crew put on butcher aprons and started to dismember the body. Rosenberg wanted to pulverize Katz’s head so he put in in a compacting machine. As the others dismembered a body part, they wrapped it in a green trash bag for disposal. They dumped these bags in a nearby garbage bin to be hauled away. The DeMeo crew dumped the body too early and before the trash truck arrived a homeless man foraging for food found the body and called the police. The crime scene investigators would find eight neatly wrapped packages. It is claimed they never found Katz’s genitals. I don’t know what that means but it scares the shit out me. The authorities turned a witness they charged the Demeo crew with this murder. However, at trial, a skillful defense lawyer completely discredited the witness and the jury returned with a not guilty verdict.

I believe this to be one of the first murders committed by the DeMeo crew and the first one to use dismemberment as a tool to dispose of the evidence. Years later a Bonanno underboss named  Salvatore Vitale claimed that he delivered a dead body to Roy DeMeo and his crew around this same time and he watched as Roy DeMeo and several other members of his Crew dismembered this corpse. The crew learned a lesson from this screwup and afterward, they cut the bodies into 6 parts and dumped each package in a different place. It is said that they used a mountainous garbage dump just across the highway from the housing complex in Starrett City, which is a housing development in Brooklyn. DeMeo was kind of a perfectionist in these grisly tasks. He directed his crew members to form a “disassembly” line of butchers. These men would lure the unsuspecting victim to the Gemini Lounge. Many times they put them at ease by wining and dining them until late in the night. Once the coast was clear in the Gemini, they delivered a fatal blow. The next step was the dis-assembly-line and the victim would soon be neatly wrapped into 5-6 brown butcher paper wrappers then stuffed into garbage bags. Crew members took those body parts to separate places in Brooklyn.

In 1976, when DeMeo was 34, Carlo Gambino died. The new boss of the Gambino family was Big Paul Castellano. The person closest to Castellano was Nino Gaggi who if you remember was DeMeo’s mentor and capo of his crew. He had been earning well for Nino which is a good thing. Big Pauly Castellano despised Roy because his heritage was not from Sicily, his ancestors were from Naples. Big Paul considered Neapolitans as unreliable. But, Nino kept putting in a good word for him.

Demeo had a strong sense of duty and an overachieving “let me show you” attitude. He desired more than all else to become a made man. One of the reasons he became this killing machine, he believed that would help him earn his button. Making money was another way to earn his way into the good graces of the boss. Paul Castellano had heard the stories about DeMeo and his crew and he was very conservative, part of why Gotti wanted him dead. He wanted no “cowboys” in the family, somebody who went off and killed for the hell of it. He told Nino he would never see Roy DeMeo become a made member of the Gambino family.

DeMeo believed all he had to do was be a good soldier, do what he was told and to earn a lot of money for the family, then he would get made. He redoubled his efforts in shylocking and the stolen car racket.  The Irish mob had a leader named Mickey Spillane who was being difficult about the Gambino family operating in Manhattan. DeMeo forged a relationship with an upstart leader of the Westies named Jimmy Coonan. In May 1977, Roy and Edward Grillo murdered Spillane and this allowed his friend Jimmy Coonan and his lieutenant Mickey Featherstone to become the top criminal figures on the westside. Roy informed Anthony Gaggi of the possibilities of a partnership between the Westies and the Gambino Family. They set up a meet with Paul Castellano between Coonan and his second in command Mickey Featherstone. At this meeting, the Westies were told they would now be a de-facto arm of the Gambino crime family and in return, they agreed to share 10 percent of all profits. In exchange, the Westies would be part of some good union deals and they agreed to on murder contracts for the Italians.

DeMeo was finally able to impress Big Paul with his money making and deal-making ability. Paul opened his books up and Nino once again put Roy’s name in for the status of made man. Big Paul refused at first, be son relented and finally, Roy DeMeo got his “button.” He was a member of the Gambino family. He pledged his allegiance to omerta, the Sicilian code, and knew there was no getting out of this alive.

The FBI was starting to pay attention to Roy Demeo. Anytime a guy starts making moves like this, his name will be on the lips of every deep throat or top echelon informant and when the Bureau hears a name enough, they open a case on that guy. Without the knowledge of Paul Castellano, DeMeo continued to deal in drugs and this drew the FBI’s attention. The government had also heard the stories about his killing and how feared he and his crew were by this time. Castellano thought that Roy was acting on his own initiative and had killed two potential government witness that had not been discussed or approved by his superiors. And there would be more.

Remember DeMeo’s childhood friend and drug dealer, Chris Rosenberg? He was one of those guys who always felt less than everybody else in the crew and was always trying to impress Roy. He considered Roy his Godfather and he even introduced himself as Chris DeMeo. He wanted to be Italian in the worst way. He was not the sharpest tool in the DeMeo toolbox. In 1979, Rosenberg tried to scam some Cuban drug dealers and botched the job. They were furious and out for blood. If that wasn’t bad enough he had told them he was Chris DeMeo and that he was Roy Demeo’s son. To scare them, he told the Cubans that his father had once killed three Cubans and 2 jews in a deal that went south. Of course, this just fired the Cubans up for revenge on both Chris and Roy. Chris not only put Roy in danger for no good reason but with Cubans, who had different rules, he put Roy’s family in danger.  DeMeo contacted the Cubans and tried to straighten this mess out. They demanded that DeMeo murder his friend Chris that a notice of his death placed in a newspaper. If this did not happen, they would come after Roy and Chris themselves.

DeMeo went to his boss, Nino Gaggi for guidance. He was told to take care of this mess even if he had to kill Chris. DeMeo tried stalling for time but Nino gave the order again. And I think we know that an order like this should not be given more than once. DeMeo tried staying away and not leaving his house. But he was paranoid the Cubans would come for him and his family. One evening he saw a dark-skinned young guy sitting in a Cadillac in his neighborhood. Roy’s wife, Gladys, told him this was just a vacuum cleaner salesman, but Roy thought that was a ruse. Probably a ruse he had used. DeMeo took into account that the guy did not belong in his neighborhood and that he looked Hispanic and decided this was part of a Cuban hit team. He called a relative to come over and exited his house fully armed.  As DeMeo approached, the man saw an armed man and peeled out at a high rate of speed. Demeo and his cousin hopped in his car and followed into what became a high-speed car chase through the streets of Brooklyn. After several miles, DeMeo caught up and jumped out shooting. He hit this man seven times, killing him. He flew back home and took his wife and three children to a hide-out house.

When they eventually came home, Roy learned what he had done: The “Cuban” outside his house had been an eighteen-year-old college student, Dominick Ragucci, who was legitimately selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door as a way to put himself through college. According to Demeo’s son, Albert, in For the Sins of My Father, he actually wept over the murder of an innocent “civilian.” In DeMeo’s brutish and unforgiving world, he broke the rules in killing this civilian. It was one thing to get approval and kill “soldiers” or to kill informants or people who double-crossed him on a deal, but this broke all the rules. This action actually exacerbated the Chris Rosenberg situation. DeMeo had to act and put this behind him before it got worse.  In true mafia leader fashion, DeMeo called in his crew, except for Chris, and informed them of what he had to do. He might have said that he brought Chris into this life and it was his job to take him out. They all knew this was part of being a made man. Demeo would shoot Chris Rosenberg in the head and his other associates will pump bullets int his body. They dispose of the body on the streets so it will be found and inform the Cubans. This ended the Cuban trouble.

In this life, a guy like Roy DeMeo is not going to go too long without another conflict that will end in someone’s death. In 1979, DeMeo and his boss, Nino Gaggi, are accused of dealing in drugs by one of his Capos, James Eppolito and another Gambino soldier, James Eppolito, Jr. As a matter of interest in connection with the story about Gaspipe Casso, these men were the paternal uncle and cousin of the corrupt New York City Police Department detective, Louis Eppolito. This Eppolito family was mafia all the way, in addition to his uncle and cousin, Det. Eppolito’s father, Ralph, a made member of the Gambino family.

The Eppolitos met with Paul Castellano and accused DeMeo and Gaggi of drug dealing. At that time, to Paul Castellano, this meant a death sentence. And probably his rackets would be split among the Eppolitos. Castellano, sided with Gaggi in the situation. He gave Gaggi a free hand to take the necessary action against his accusers. Shortly afterward, Gaggi and DeMeo killed their accusers. Since they would have been unable to isolate them because of the bad blood, they had to cowboy the shooting. They tried to kill them while they were driving Eppolito Jr.’s 1978 Ford Thunderbird. Therefore, you don’t do these murders in public, a witness alerted a nearby police officer and he arrested Gaggi after a shootout between the two. The cop wounded Gaggi during this arrest and shootout.

DeMeo got away clean. The state charged Gaggi with the Eppolito murder and the attempted murder of a police officer. The family was able to bribe a juror and he was convicted of the assault on the cop and given a 5 to 15-year sentence in prison. According to the code of revenge, DeMeo murdered the witness shortly after Gaggi’s sentencing in March 1980.

Roy Demeo had increased his stolen auto operation to the point where it was paying off as much as $30,000 a week. His crew was paying people to steal cars and they were shipping them overseas where no one checked the VIN. The FBI got onto this and opened a case known as the Empire Boulevard Operation. In the summer of 1980, federal and state agents raided a warehouse serving as DeMeo’s headquarters for the stolen car racket. Authorities arrest DeMeo crew members Henry Borelli and Frederick DiNome. DeMeo was not charged and he ordered Borelli and DiNome to plead guilty to the charges. This would stop any more investigation into this conspiracy as long as they held their water.

Before we hear about DeMeo’s final demise, I must go down the Iceman path. A lot of arguments and supposition about Richard Kuklinski or the Iceman as he became known. Me, I don’t believe much of anything that has been said about “the Iceman.” Richard Kuklinski dropped out of school in the eighth grade. He would become a full-time hoodlum, stealing cars and robbing houses in Jersey City and Hoboken. He claimed he became a serial killer and was a mafia hitman. He claimed he was involved in the kidnapping and murder of Jimmy Hoffa, the murder of Carmine Galente and the murder of Paul Castellano. He claimed he murdered homeless men in the New York City area. Early in his life, the closest he came to organized crime was bootlegging copies of cartoons and X-rated movies at a lab controlled by a member of the Gambino crime family. In the early ’70s, Kuklinski got himself heavily into debt with a Gambino associate who was partners with Roy DeMeo, and DeMeo pistol-whipped him. Kuklinski claimed Demeo was impressed by his that he began giving him jobs. In the end, he will claim that he was the one who killed Roy DeMeo.

In the middle 1980s, the FBI was investigating a large number of missing and murdered persons who were linked to DeMeo. On a hidden microphone in the home of Gambino family soldier Angelo Ruggiero, agents heard Angelo and Gene Gotti, a brother of John Gotti discuss how Paul Castellano had put out a hit on DeMeo and was having difficulty finding someone willing to do the job. Gene Gotti said his brother John believed that DeMeo had an “army of killers” around him. They also agreed that while John Gotti may have killed 10 people, DeMeo had killed more than 38. Finally, Big Paul got his underboss, Frank DeCicco, to take the contract but he couldn’t get to DeMeo. DeCicco then recruited DeMeo’s own men.

In his last days, Roy’s son, Albert DeMeo, claimed Roy was paranoid and anticipated his time was up and he was marked for execution. Albert said his father even considered faking his own death and leaving the country. Roy DeMeo left his home one day, leaving his watch, wallet, and ring in his study. He also left behind a religious pamphlet indicating that Roy had gone to confession before his death.

On his last day, Roy DeMeo went to Patrick Testa’s body shop wearing a leather jacket, with a shotgun concealed underneath. That was January 10, 1983, a few days later on January 18, the feared Roy DeMeo was found murdered in the trunk of his car. The autopsy revealed he had been shot multiple times and he had entry wounds in his hands as if he had thrown up his hands in defense. The government suspected his old mentor and boss, Anthony Gaggi as the man who fired the gun. Other reports reveal that his former crew members Joseph Testa and Anthony Senter were present as well. Gaggi was not charged with this murder. He died of a heart attack during a trial in 1988 at age 62.

Over the few months, the core members of DeMeo’s crew, Henry Borelli, Joseph Testa, and Anthony Senter were imprisoned for life after two trials that saw them convicted of a collective total of 25 murders, in addition to extortion, car theft, and drug trafficking. The convictions were secured in large part by the testimony of former crew members Frederick DiNome and Dominick Montiglio.

The FBI indicted Paul Castellano for ordering the murder of DeMeo, as well as other crimes, but he was killed in December 1985.  As is well known now, John Gotti ordered this murder so he could become the boss of the Gambino family.

Thus ends one of the stories about one of the most feared killers of the entire 5 families in New York City. Roy Albert Demeo rivaled Albert Anastasia and his Murder Incorporated. Like Henry Hill, he started in high school running errands for a mob-associated loan shark. Throughout the 1960s,70s, and 80s, he lived his dream and became a Gambino family associate, made member, and the leader of his own crew. He earned millions for his bosses Carlos Gambino then Paul Castallano and his mentor Nino Gaggi. And in the end, he died a real mobster’s death in a hail of bullets fired by his friends.

I would like to thank the National Crime Syndicate and Gangster Incorporated bloggers for their research. You might be interested to know that Roy Demeo’s son Albert Demeo wrote a book about his father and it received many positive Amazon reviews. The name of the book is For the Sins of My Father: A Mafia Killer, His Son, and the Legacy of a Mob Life
Don’t forget to listen to Aaron on the Big Dumb Fun Show.

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The post Roy DeMeo appeared first on Gangland Wire.

Apr 22 2019

39mins

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Rank #19: Angelo Lonardo – Cleveland Mob – Part 1

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Angelo Lonardo

Angelo Lonardo “Big Ange”

In the 1980s, the FBI recorded Cleveland Mob Underboss, Joey Gallo, “Angelo Lonardo is probably one of the most respected guys in the whole United States.”

Gallo went on to state, “He’s really the kind of guy we needed in this town a long time ago, but you know, nobody ever listened to him because… he don’t express himself… But out of everybody that’s left, this guy commands a lot of respect… I respect him not only because I have to because, I’m telling you, he’s a great guy.”

Even police detectives and F.B.I. agents had a certain respect for Lonardo. “To me, he was almost like the movie version of The Godfather,” a policeman commented. “He was always the gentleman, not a tough street rat. He was someone who recognized us as people in the same general line of work – on an opposing team, of course.”

Like KC Underboss Tuffy DeLuna, Lonardo maintained respect for the police. When detectives would arrive at his home to execute a search or arrest warrant, Lonardo and his wife would treat them like guests even inviting them to sit and have coffee. I was part of a search warrant team at DeLuna’s house and he did the same thing.

In 1982, Lonardo was charged in a major drug ring operated by Joey Gallo and others. Strike Force prosecutor Donna Congeni was impressed with Lonardo’s demeanor in the court room. “He was the epitome of class,” she once remarked. She later said, “Because of his years of careful training in the art of secrecy and insulation, with meetings held in back rooms and decisions made with nods and coded phrases, our case against Angelo Lonardo was difficult to prove.But once drug ring leader and informant Carmen Zagaria testified about Lonardo’s methods, the jury could see his power and control.”

As a result of sentences handed down by U.S. District Court Judge John Manos, Angelo Lonardo, Joe Gallo and several others would be destined to life behind federal bars.

Lonardo survived the most hazardous pitfalls of Mafia involvement – mob bullets and prison. Through a lifetime of earning money from criminal and legitimate enterprises, he had spent only eighteen months incarcerated.

After his incarceration for the narcotics conviction in 1983, F.B.I. agents began visiting Lonardo and offered deals in exchange for his testimony. They promised to get him out of prison on an appeal bond. Lonardo had inside knowledge of the Midwest mob’s skimming operation in Las Vegas. In August of 1983, the government brought Lonardo to Kansas City to testify before the U.S. grand jury investigating this skimming from several Las Vegas casinos. Lonardo refused to testify, despite an offer of immunity and a judicial order.

Soon thereafter, Lonardo must have been weighing his options. He is looking at life in prison, He had an appeal pending but after that was denied, he quietly slipped away to a prison pay phone and called the agent who had visited him. He had made a painfully tormenting decision that would have far-reaching effects throughout the national underworld.

“Are you still there?” he quietly asked. At age 77, the highest ranking Mob boss who ever came over  broke the code of Omerta and became a government witness in the Las Vegas skimming trials.

Senator Nunn: Thank you, Senator Roth. Mr. Lonardo, why don't you proceed.

Mr. Lonardo: My name is Angelo Lonardo. I am 77 years old, and I am a member of the La Cosa Nostra. I am the former underboss of the Cleveland organized crime family. I became a member of La Cosa Nostra in the late 1940's, but have been associated with the organization since the late 1920's. When I was "made" or became a member of La Cosa Nostra, I went through an initiation ceremony. I later learned that to be proposed for membership in La Cosa Nostra, you would have to have killed someone and stood up to the pressure of police scrutiny. Today, you do not have to kill to be a member, but just prove yourself worthy by keeping your mouth shut or by being a "stand-up" guy. However, if you are called upon to kill someone, you have to be prepared to do it. In my case, my father was murdered by Salvatore Todaro in 1927. In revenge, my cousin, Dominic Sospirato, and I killed Todaro. This is one of the reasons that I was proposed for membership in La Cosa Nostra.

Big Aage’s father was Cleveland Mob Boss Joseph Lonardo during the 1930s. He was killed by Salvatore Todaro. Angelo Lodardo killed Todaro in retaliation. Lonardo was eventually forgiven for this killing because the Commission had not approved this in advance.

After a temporary time when the Commission “closed the books” on new members, he was made in a ceremony in the late 1940s.

During the next 20 years Big Ange would live the life of a made guy in Cleveland loansharking, overseeing illegal gambling interests and other mob activities.

During the 1970s, the Cleveland family partnered with Moe Dalitz,

Moe Dalitz

Maurice Kleinman and other Jewish gamblers who had been running illegal casinos in Kentucky. These Jewish gamblers bought into the Desert Inn and the Cleveland family provided protection from other mobsters for a piece of the action. Dalitz would buy into the Stardust with mob money, probably teamster money, and Chicago and Cleveland shared some of the profits from that casino.

In 1976, Cleveland boss, John Scalish dies of natural causes. Lonardo claims that Mashie Rockman called him into a meeting and said Scalish requested that a guy named Jack Licavoli new named the new boss.  This started a mob war because another mobster named John Nardi thought he should be the boss. Licavoli names Lonardo as his Underboss. At that time, Rockman tells Lonardo the details of the Las Vegas skimming operation. Big Ange is pleasantly surprised that he will start receiving a large amount of skimmed cash with his new position.

Danny Greene

By the late 1970s, the Cleveland family becomes involved in a mob war.

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The post Angelo Lonardo – Cleveland Mob – Part 1 appeared first on Gangland Wire.

Nov 01 2016

38mins

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Rank #20: Janitor In a Drum – Part 1

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In our last episode we told a story about how just before Thanksgiving day in 1973, Chicago Outfit associates Samuel Marcello and Joseph Grisafe  parked in front of a fire hydrant at Taylor & Western on the west side of Chicago. They would enter the Korner Sandwich Shop just down the block and never be seen again, until the next summer.

A month later in January , Sam Rantis, the sandwich shop owner, was found in the trunk of his car at O’Hare International Airport, dead.

On a hot July night, 6 months later, Chicago Homicide Detective, Jim Padar and his partner will be assigned to go investigate a body in a drum. In the first of 2 episodes, now retired Det. Padar will tell about how he and his son, Chicago Police Officer Jay Padar, collaborated to tell this and many other real stories of life on the Chicago Police Department. Additionally, Jim will recount his first persons observations of that night and explain how he investigated what he called the Janitor in a Drum case.

Read this story and many other great cop stories from the mouths of the men how lived the job, Jim Padar and his son, Chicago cop Jay Padar by clicking here.

To purchase premium podcast click here.

To rent Gangland Wire, the documentary, click here.

To subscribe on iTunes click here, give me a review and I will send you a link to see the film for free.

The post Janitor In a Drum – Part 1 appeared first on Gangland Wire.

Dec 12 2016

37mins

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Pizza Connection Episode 4 – the Investigation

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In 1972, the Bonanno War is over, Joe and Bill Bonanno are out in Arizona. The Commission appoints Phil “Rusty”Rastelli the new boss of the Bonano crime family. Carmine Galente, the old  Bonanno Consigliore completes a long prison sentence and returns to New York. Carmine Galente was at the original 1957 meeting in Sicily with Joe Bonanno, Lucky Luciano and members of the Sicilian mafia, among who were Gaetano Badalamenti and Tomasso Buscetta. During the 1960s, the Bonanno family and the Gambinos, as well as the Lucchese family, worked with Sicilians to bring heroin into the US via what became known as the French Connection.

After the French Connection heroin pipeline dried up, the Sicilians created clandestine labs in Sicily and imported the raw product from Afganistan, Pakistan and other places in the Middle East. Carmine Galante imported several Sicilians who became known as Zips to the other American mob members. He used two of them, Cesare Bonaventre and Baldassare “Baldo” Amato as his bodyguards. More Sicilians emigrated to the United States and started pizzerias, restaurants, and bakeries in New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan and Illinois. In Brooklyn, Bonavatre and Amto started a high stakes baccarat game at the Café Viale on Knickerbocker Street. Another Sicilian named Salvatore Catalano showed up and opened a bakery. he and these two men were often seen together in long conversations and often used a payphone in that area. They were part of a conspiracy to kill Carmine Galante and Catalano was believed to have taken over the Bonanno Family for a short period of time until the Commission could appoint Joe Messino as the new boss. while Rastelli was still in prison. during this time, undercover FBI agent Joe Pistone will infiltrate a Bonanno crew. he developed a relationship with a mobster named lefty Ruggerio. Lefty once pointed out Catalano and claimed he was granted the concession for heroin for the entire United States. The FBI passed this along to New York City agent Carmine Russo who had already started working on Catalano and others and he suspected narcotics activity.

These three Sicilians would become the objects of the Pizza Connection investigation as the FBI watched them, put pen registers on their payphone and eventually installed wiretaps. This investigation will take many twists and turns but eventually lead to taking down the largest heroin ring in the United States.

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The post Pizza Connection Episode 4 – the Investigation appeared first on Gangland Wire.

Apr 06 2020

1hr 20mins

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Pizza Connection Episode 3 – FBI Retired Agent Leon Flosi

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In this third episode of the Pizza Connection story, I interviewed retired FBI agent Leon Flosi. He was originally assigned to the Kansas City office where I became acquainted with him. He played an important part in the Strawman case in which he and Agent Bill Ouseley started the case that exposed how the mob’s infiltration of the Teamster’s Union led to their scheme to skim millions from Las Vegas casinos. We learn that Agent Flosi was a native-born Italian and the Bureau promoted him to be the assistant legal Attache in Rome Italy as the Strawman case went to trial. He developed a friendship with the famous mafia fighter, Judge Giuseppe Falcone. Together they set up an unprecedented working relationship between the New York City FBI office and Sicilian law enforcement.

Agent Flosi reveals how he even brought Judge Falcone to his home in Chicago and how the judge was able to relax without fear of his mafia stalkers for the first time. Eventually, the Mafia will set up and murder Judge Falcone and we learn how that went down.

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Apr 03 2020

46mins

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Pizza Connection Episode 2 – Tommaso Bruscetta

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Welcome Wiretappers to episode 2 of this Pizza Connection series. In this episode, Cam and I take a look at the famous Sicilian mafia boss Tomasso Buscetta. He is the subject of a documentary available on Amazon Prime called Our Godfather and I inserted the trailer for this film below. He is also the subject of a recently released narrative film titled the Traitor and the preview is inserted below.

Tomasso Bruscetta was a flamboyant mafia kingpin who graduated from being a Sicilian mafia soldier smuggling cigarettes around the Mediterranean Sea to a most-wanted transnational criminal and drug smuggler. We learned that when he was arrested and extradited back to Italy from Brazil, his fellow Mafia bosses in Sicily killed his two sons and other family members to ensure that he would not talk. They calculated wrong and he did talk and he testified.  He became the first Sicilian mafia boss to come in and be a witness and he helped convict over 400 Sicilian mafia members at the largest trial ever conducted in Italy.

Our Godfather Documentary

The Traitor

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Mar 30 2020

43mins

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Pizza Connection Episode 1 – The Beginning

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Welcome Wiretappers, Cam and I welcome you to the first of a 4-part series on the famous Pizza Connection investigation. Because this case was so intertwined with the Sicilian Mafia and the American Mafia, we start with a little history of the Mafia in Sicily. We know this is by no means comprehensive but it is an overview of that legacy. The Pizza Connection case will be a major blow against the Mafia in Sicily

The Sicilian mafia goes back to the 1800s and was formed to protect Sicilians from the central government in Rome and other foreign intruders. The formation of the modern Mafia did not begin until after a period of repression starting in the 1920s under the dictator Mussolini. A story about how and why he started his anti-mafia campaign was in 1924. The story goes that Mussolini visited Sicily in 1924 and passed through the town of Piana dei Greci where he was received by mayor/Mafia boss Francesco Cuccia. In those days, often the top politician would also be a mafia member or even a boss. At some point, Mayor Cuccia, noticing the big military escort, whispered into Mussolini’s ear: “You are with me, you are under my protection. What do you need all these cops for?” Mussolini rejected this offer of protection. Mayor Cuccia felt slighted and humiliated and instructed his constituents to stay home when El Duce made a speech. In turn, Mussolini felt humiliated and swore revenge. Over the next year, Mussolini sent his police and soldiers to repress the citizens and jailed over a thousand members of the Mafia. Many fled to new york city during this time bringing the legacy of the Sicilian mafia with them.

During WWII all of Europe and the Mediterranean region dissolved into armed conflict and all the smuggling routes stopped. After the war disruption, a newly revitalized Sicilian mafia quickly redeveloped old contacts and went right back to their smuggling business after the War. Most, if not all, the jailed and exiled mafioso were released from jail or returned to Sicily and easily worked their way into the good graces of the occupying American troops. All the previous fascist government leaders were on the run or jailed by the Americans. The Mafia was poised to move into government positions with the help of the American army. Over the next decade, the Mafioso will develop and adapt to the new way of life and modern money-making rackets. The post-war government rationed cigarettes and the American Army had an endless supply of cigarettes. The mafioso developed black market contacts with corrupt army quartermasters and started a thriving cigarette smuggling business. These cigarette smuggling groups and routes will soon end and heroin will take the place of American smokes.

In this podcast, the listener learns about the birth of the Sicilian heroin business that starts with the French Connection and ends with the Pizza Connection.
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Mar 27 2020

1hr 2mins

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Michael DiLeonardo of the Gambino Family

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Welcome Wiretappers, I am very excited to share this interview. I was able to make contact with Michael DiLeornardo via telephone. Michael is a relocated federal witness in WitSec or Witness Protection. Michael DiLeonardo was a real mafia legacy in that his Sicilian born grandfather, Vincenzo DiLeonardo, was a captain in the Brooklyn faction run by Salvatore D’Aquila who was the boss of bosses at that time.

Michael grew up in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn with many other future members of the New York Five Families. He got the nickname of Mikey Scars because a dog took a large chunk out of his check leaving a scar. Michael’s father nor his uncles became associated with the Mafia but his brother, Robert DiLeonardo was part of the Colombo crime family and was murdered on the orders of the Cosa Nostra.

Michael DiLeonardo grew up around Paul Castellano’s veterans and Friends Social Club and as he matured, the older guys noticed him and eventually took him into their confidence. Michael tells a riveting chronological story of his entry into a life of crime. He gives a detailed description of the night that Sammy the Bull Gravano presided over his induction ceremony. It seems that John Gotti Jr. was inducted the same night and John Gotti Sr. did not attend because he thought it would look bad.

Folks, this is one of the most interesting and revealing interviews I have ever done. If you want to get a peek behind the curtain of life in the Cosa Nostra in New York City, listen to Michael DiLeonardo’s interview.

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Mar 26 2020

1hr 16mins

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Special Bonus episodes coming soon

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Your host, Gary Jenkins and Camulius Robinson want you to know that we are well and still making podcasts like crazy. Cam and I are going to release several in the next week to help entertain all the wiretappers during this time of crisis. After a lifetime of running into the breach where the public was in danger, I feel like doing a few extra podcasts and releasing them is the least I can do. Please disregard all the requests for donations inserted into these because we are good here and during this time of financial insecurity, we need to protect our families. Cam and I wish you all well and I am sure we will all survive and prosper after this time of fear, insecurity, and uncomfortableness. I am not used to being restricted in any manner and now I have to practiv=ce a lot more self-discipline than I want to practice. We will pull together and make it, of that I am sure. Stay safe all you wiretappers and keep your distance.

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Mar 25 2020

46mins

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Michael O’Keefe on creating crime fiction

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Michael O’Keefe is a retired 1st Grade Detective from the NYPD. For twenty-four years, he worked in the toughest neighborhoods in New York, specializing in investigating Homicides and other violent crimes. He was born and raised on the mean streets described in his fiction. His characters and settings are drawn from the people he encountered there—on both sides of the law. oOf interest to the podcast is the fact he was raised around the men who would become involved in the Pizza Connection case and this will be the subject of a multi-episode piece on the podcast next month. Mike’s first full-length novel is Shot to Pieces and it was published this last year. This novel will be the first of a series about his fictional character based on his own life and career, Paddy Durr. He is presently near completion on two others. He lives on Long Island with his family, where he writes a little, and practices the ancient martial arts of lawn, and swimming pool maintenance—when he is not coaching football.

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The post Michael O’Keefe on creating crime fiction appeared first on Gangland Wire.

Mar 23 2020

44mins

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The Utica New York Crime Family

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Cam and I discuss a little known mafia family in upstate New York. From 1970 to 1992, Salvatore and Joseph Falcone led organized crime in Utica, NY. This family went back to the late 1930s. They were a powerful crew of the Buffalo, NY Maggadino Family, also known as The Arm. The New York State troopers arrested both men at the Apalachin Meeting in 1957. This crew was made up of approximately 15-20 “made” members.  the famous witness, Joseph Valachi, claimed they were a separate family but it is more likely they were a powerful autonomous crew under Stefano Magaddino.
In 1972 the older brother Salvatore Falcone died in Miami and in 1974 Buffalo boss Stefano Magaddino died. The younger Falcone brother, Joseph is aging and to outsiders there appeared to be a leadership vacuum. Carmine Persico ordered members of the Colombo Family to move into the area. Tony Falange, a top lieutenant of Falcone begins making moves, showing disrespect to Falcone. For example, he often failed to attend meetings or ask permission to expand the business. Someone robbed Falcone’s safe of $54,000.

By September of 1976 Albert Marrone, a young Turk, was released from prison after using violence to collect on a loan. He immediately began making threats against everyone and expressed his intention to take over Utica’s rackets. Marrone had a history of violence and had been implicated in two murders in the early 1970s.

By October 1076, things got crazy. Albert Marrone and his girlfriend were at dinner with local mob attorney Louis Brindisi and his wife. Brindisi excused himself, after which, Marrone became very nervous. Later that evening, Marrone walked toward his apartment when he was shot. He shielded his girlfriend, but he was killed. There are conflicting reports as to who was responsible. But it is believed that Donato “Danny” Nappi and Jack “Jake” Minicone were two of the shooters. They were working for the Colombo Family. Marrone is known to have threatened Colombo Family representatives. On the other hand, a Falange Lieutenant named Angelo Conte was reported to have wanted Marrone dead. The strongest supposition was that the Colombo family members acted without permission, despite being advised that Marrone’s actions could be dealt with in a sit-down. This unilateral action by the Colombo family—a sign of disrespect—is believed to have sparked further conflict in Utica.

This all sets the scene for a long and protracted bloody mob war for the Utica New York rackets. The Colombos move in and start to extract a street tax on the bookies and they are met with much resistance.

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Mar 16 2020

31mins

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Wearing a Wire on Steve St. John Bonus episode

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Our Venmo subscribers are responsible for this special bonus episode that I call “Wearing a Wire on Steve St. John.” If you don’t who Steve is, I once helped a new FBI agent on a drug case by doing surveillance on Steve in 1991. The FBI was working on Steve because they had an informant tell them that Steve had a connection to get Dilaudid and was supplying several street dealers. We worked Steve because he was known to be connected to several mob members in Kansas City. Mainly, we wanted to turn him and he never turned even after being charged as a drug kingpin. He would get 10 years and served his time in a variety of Federal institutions. After Steve’s release, he turned his life around and became successful in the used car business and has recently retired. We meet up periodically for donuts and coffee at the Donut King or waffles at a Waffle House. He is always telling me stories about his time in prison or other stories of the streets back in the days when I was a young cop and he was a young bail bondsman, fence and drug dealer. We were talking recently and I decided to record a story and release it as a bonus episode. I will do more in the future.

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Mar 11 2020

14mins

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Undercover State Trooper and the KC Mob

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In this episode, the host, Gary Jenkins, interviews retired Missouri State Trooper Tom Gray about his months-long undercover investigation of Kansas City Mafia figures who were buying stolen property. The main target was a man named James H. Bradley Jr. or “Junior” as he was known. Because he operated a popular restaurant across the street from City Hall and Police Headquarters, a Kansas City cop would not be able to operate undercover. A police major had obtained the cooperation of the courts, the prosecutor and the County jail to get a prisoner out without any charges pending. Actually, this man, John Horn, had charges pending, but those charges were held back from public view and he was released into the custody of the KC police Department. The judge, in this case, required the police department to babysit with Mr. Horn and they were not to let him out of their sight until he had proven his worth enough that the prosecutor and the judge would agree to dismiss his charges. The Kansas City Police White Collar Crime and Intelligence Unit joined forces to make sure all the rules were followed. The police borrowed a Missouri state trooper who was working a drug case in Columbia, Missouri and was unknown in Kansas City.

During the next several months, Trooper Tom Gray would arrive at the safe house where officers stayed overnight to watch Horn and they would “go to work.” They had a budget to buy property like women’s clothing, jewelry, cigarettes, canned hams, and other items. They took this supposedly stolen property to Junior Bradley’s Pumpernik Deli and sold them to him for about twenty-five cents on the dollar. He paid the sellers in cash and then resold this property out of the back room of his deli or a retail location he operated in the city market.

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Mar 09 2020

1hr 8mins

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John “Sonny” Franzese died at 103

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Sonny Franzese came up the usual path to the life of a career criminal and Cosa Nostra boss. He started as a Brooklyn member of a juvenile gang and slowly graduated through Prohibition to become a member of the Profaci family. He was court-martialed during WW 2 and it was reported he exhibited “homicidal tendencies” In 1965 the FBI labeled him the most prominent loan shark in the Greater New York area.

He became a modern-day celebrity mobster who was often seen at the famous Copacabana club in the company of stars like Dean Martin or boxer Rocky Graziano. He bought a record label called Buddha and promoted different celebrity musicians. He is known to have financed a few normal Hollywood quality films and as well as an independent film that became famous with the title of Deep Throat.

By his last years, the government jails him for an old bank robbery case where he was sentenced to fifty years. He is finally given his release at age 103 in 2017 after the original 50-year sentence had expired. In an ironic twist, his own son, John Franzese Jr. testified against him in the case that sent him to jail for his final years. He had another son named Michael Franzese who has left the mafia business via the Witness Protection program and is in show business at the present time. His son. John Jr. is trying to shop his biography with no takers so far.

John “Sonny Franzese Sr. died on February 20, 2020, at age 103. When he left prison, he was the oldest living inmate.

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Feb 27 2020

58mins

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Montreal Mafia Part 2

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In this second episode Gary and Cam go into the reason why Vito Rizzuto was charged in the famous murder of the three Capos in New York City. This story is a great example of how no good deed goes unpunished. During upheaval in the Bonanno family, a Bonanno Capo named Joe Messino gets approval from the Commission to remove three opposing Capos in his family to clear the way for him to become the new boss. Messino calls on Vito Rizzuto to help with this hit. Unbeknownst to Rizzuto, this same Joe Messino will later become the first Mob boss to make a deal with the FBI and among other information, he gave up, he named Rizzuto as a member of the hit team that murdered the three Capos. Vito will be extradited back to the U.S. and serve about 10 years in prison. The Montreal underworld will deteriorate into warring factions without the steady hand of Vito Rizzuto.

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Feb 24 2020

40mins

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Montreal Mafia Part 1

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After watching the Netflix series Bad Blood, Gary and Camulius Robinson take on the Rizzuto crime family and the Montreal Mafia. We believe because of the lack of prohibition, the Canadian mafia was not as fast-growing and organized as the American crime families. Nevertheless, they are a very interesting crime family that grew and prospered because of the personal drive and charisma of Vito Rizzuto.

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The post Montreal Mafia Part 1 appeared first on Gangland Wire.

Feb 17 2020

35mins

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Frank Costello with Casey McBride

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Host Gary Jenkins interviews fellow mob historian and expert on the life of Frank Costello, the Prime Minister of the Underworld. Casey is also a musician and he had created several original music compositions to be used in the podcast and the recently released mob documentary film, Brothers against Brothers” The Civella Spero War. In this episode, Casey and Gary discuss the use of Frank Costello in the recent Starz series, The Godfather of Harlem with Forrest Whitaker. Casey will get back to true crime as he continues telling the listeners about the life of Frank Costello as he got older and how he was able to become a senior statesman for the New York Mafia.

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The post Frank Costello with Casey McBride appeared first on Gangland Wire.

Feb 10 2020

51mins

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Lucky Luciano and the Havana Meeting

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In this episode, Gary takes a close look at the 1946 mob meeting in Havana Cuba. In 1946 Charles “Lucky” Luciano was residing in Italy after his deportation by the United States. He obtained an Italian passport issued in his real name, Salvatore Lucania, and obtained visas for travel in Mexico, Cuba, and several South American nations. Once he obtained these travel documents, Luciano journeyed to Caracas, Venezuela, then to Mexico City, and finally Havana, Cuba. Luciano’s old friend Meyer Lansky met him in Cuba. Acting on Luciano’s orders, Lansky had reserved several rooms and a meeting room at the Hotel/Casino Nacional which was owned by Lansky for the week of December 22. Lansky recommended that his friend Luciano purchase a $150,000 interest in the Hotel Nacional, because he had an important government official, President Fulgencio Batista as a silent partner.  Luciano agreed because this operation would get him back in business only 90 miles from the United States and give him official government protection in Cuba.

In the days leading up to Christmas Day of 1946, well known American mob bosses started arriving at the Hotel Nacional. They were all there to welcome Luciano back from exile and to acknowledge his position within the North American crime families. As would be the custom, they all arrived with cash envelopes for the boss of bosses. Lansky scheduled a dinner where Luciano was publically acknowledged as the boss and Lansky, Frank Costello and Joe Adonis presented him with the envelopes which would total around $200,000.  They even flew Frank Sinrata in and he was accompanied by several cousins of Al Capone.

During the next few days, the bosses discussed issues like some mob leadership problems in new York City, who may invest in Cuban casinos, the mob-controlled narcotics operations, and the work being done by Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel to develop Las Vegas into a gambling mecca.

Since Luciano was not allowed inside the United States, he had left Frank Costello in place as a caretaker from his mafia family. Vito Genovese was straining at the harness to be the new boss. Luciano obtained a consensus from the other mob bosses that he was the boss of all bosses or the capo de tutti capi. This affirmation of Luciano put Vito Genovese in his place and he had to put aside his places form the Luciano family until a few years later.

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Feb 03 2020

37mins

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Lucky Luciano and the Dannemora Priest

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In this first of 2 episodes about Lucky Luciano, Gary tells a story about Lucky Luciano and the Dannemora priest. In 1936, the politically ambitious mob busting special prosecutor Thomas Dewey obtained a guilty verdict against Charles, “Lucky” Luciano for compulsory prostitution or for being a pimp. The state sent him to the Dannemora prison or Little Siberia which is as far away from New York City as possible. He arrived at Dannemora prison as just one more downstate inmate, a long fall from being the boss of bosses in New York City. Around this time the Catholic church assigned a young priest named Father Ambrose Hyland to minister to the inmates. Father Hyland asked himself, why is there no church building on the grounds. He proceeded to raise private money and obtained the warden’s permission to build a church on the actual prison grounds. By 1939 the inmates finished building the church and Father Ambrose would be able to say, “As far as I know, it is the first church in the United States to be dedicated to Saint Dismas.” He named the church after St. Dismas because he was known as the ‘good thief’ and is recognized as a Saint of the condemned. As the story goes, Dismas was one of the two thieves crucified with Christ.

Many convicts volunteered their time and talents like a safe-cracking nitroglycerin expert, a forger, and a stickup man. Charles “Lucky” Luciano called “the most dangerous gangster” by his prosecutor made an unusual offer to Father Hyland. Luciano learned that Father Hyland had $5,000.00 in seed money from the Cardinal, but the cost of construction would exceed that amount. Luciano told Father Hyland that he was an expert at picking the winners of horse races and the results were posted in the New York papers every day. He had a paper and pointed out three horses on the race card for the following day. Luciano pointed at those names and said, “Bet it on these three horses tomorrow.” Father Hyland declined but he had to look at the race results for the following day. Sure enough, all three were long shots and all three came in as winners.

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The post Lucky Luciano and the Dannemora Priest appeared first on Gangland Wire.

Jan 27 2020

24mins

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The Leavenworth 7

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After a few shows about John Gotti, this week Gangland Wire will go to a 1930s story about a Leavenworth prison break that went horribly wrong for both the prisoners and the town of Leavenworth. I interview former Leavenworth prison guard and prison historian Kenneth LeMaster. Kenneth tells the story of how prisoners behind the walls were aided by notorious bank robbers, Frank “Jelly” Nash and George “Machine Gun” Kelly to facilitate a mass escape of seven desperate inmates. On December 11, 1931, chaos erupted behind Leavenworth’s limestone walls and these criminals grabbed the warden hostage and escaped into the adjacent town of Leavenworth Kansas. The nearby Ft. Leavenworth sent troops to restore order inside the institution and many guards and local law enforcement engaged in running gun battles with the escaping inmate. When the prison emergency whistle alerted the town, all local officers and many gun-wielding citizens joined in the manhunt. Our guest, Kenneth LaMaster tells an exciting story of flying bullets and first-person accounts, news reports, and official FBI files. Kenneth LeMaster has written three books on the infamous Leavenworth prison.

Click here to go see the three books about Leavenworth Penitentiary written by Kenneth LeMaster. 

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The post The Leavenworth 7 appeared first on Gangland Wire.

Jan 20 2020

52mins

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Kill the Irishman

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Gary and his social media marketer, Basel Tarabishi, discuss the mob film Kill the Irishman. We both loved this modestly budgeted film because the screenwriter constructed a tight script with colorful characters without making them into cartoon characters. This film tells the real story of a 1970s mob war involving an old line but little known mob family in Cleveland Ohio. Gary compared this mob dispute in Cleveland with the 1970s mob dispute in Kansas City which is the topic of his latest film, Brothers against Brothers: The Civella Spero War. The film was stocked with all the usual suspects in a mob film with Paul Sorvino playing the classic overweight mob boss Tony Salerno, Robert Davi playing a hard-eyed hitman, Ray Ferrito, Vincent D’Onofrio playing an ambitious young mafia associate John Nardi and Christopher Walken playing a veteran Jewish mobster named Alex “Shondor” Birns.

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Jan 17 2020

34mins

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The Future of the Gambino/Gotti Family

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Happy New Year Wiretappers! In anticipation of a special Newsmax television special on John Gotti, Gangland Wire researched the most recent information on who might be the new leadership group of the former Gambino/Gotti crime family. Well known former Fox and Friends anchor, Greg Kelly. will interview your Gangland Wire host Gary Jenkins about organized crime on this live show that Newsmax will broadcast on January 16, from 7:00 to 8:00 PM CST.

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The post The Future of the Gambino/Gotti Family appeared first on Gangland Wire.

Jan 13 2020

28mins

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John Gotti and the Informant part 2

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Merry Christmas Wiretappers! In part 2, I interview Steve St. John, a former prison inmate who served time with retired New York Police Detective William Priest who was an informant for John Gotti. I recently reacquainted myself with Steve St. John after a mutual acquaintance told me he had gone straight and was asking questions about some of the officers and agents who worked on his case. I was the sergeant in charge of a surveillance team who helped the FBI build a case against Steve for trading Dilaudid for stolen property. After I met him, I was convinced he had made a significant life change and we have become friends. Steve was a great help in the making of my last movie Brothers against Brothers: The Civella Spero War. I wanted a stripper to offer a lap dance to an actor playing an undercover cop and he found me a lady to fill that role. I needed a vintage car and he had a friend who has more than 30 vintage cars.

Steve has some great stories about working in a prison bakery with the ex-police detective. He also was friends with the Gotti capo named Joe Butch Corrao who brought Gotti the inside police source. We learn that Joe Butch was not a man to fool with, even as he became advanced in age and many other prison stories.

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The post John Gotti and the Informant part 2 appeared first on Gangland Wire.

Dec 30 2019

1hr

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iTunes Ratings

223 Ratings
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3

Great Podcast!

By mafialady123 - Jan 18 2020
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Love you Gary! We need more movie reviews!

Good stuff

By 603 listene - Jan 18 2020
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Good stuff, New York delicatessen and cemetery business 71