February 3, 1986 |
Victor DeLuca, a mob hit man who broke the "code of silence" and turned informant, is suffering from throat cancer and has had his voice box removed, sources have told the Daily News. For nearly two years, DeLuca has been providing investigators with details about the inner workings of the Philadelphia mob, and in 1984 his testimony helped convict Harry "The Hunchback" Riccobene of a contract killing. DeLuca, 47, underwent surgery in December at an undisclosed government hospital, sources said.
January 29, 1989 |
Santo Idone had been the only ranking member of the Nicodemo Scarfo organized-crime family to avoid arrest during an unprecedented, three-year onslaught by law enforcement authorities. That changed on Tuesday when Idone, 68, was named in a federal indictment in Philadelphia charging him and three of his top associates with racketeering, conspiracy and extortion in connection with the operation of an illegal poker machine distribution network in Chester. The indictment was announced on the same day that another high-profile Scarfo family member, Albert "Reds" Pontani, was sentenced to 30 years in prison in federal court in Newark, N.J., in a drug case.
April 1, 2001 |
In the long and lively history of mob trials in Philadelphia, last week's debut of the racketeering case against Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino and six others may have established at least one underworld first. The presence of Merlino at the defense table, former mob boss Ralph Natale on the witness stand for the prosecution, and reputed acting mob boss Joe Ligambi in the spectator section may have been the first time three bosses appeared in the same courtroom at the same time. "It's a real Philadelphia moment," quipped one underworld observer.
April 11, 1993 |
Rosario Bellocchi, the suspected mob hit man charged with murder in Camden County last week, was angry. The Sicilian-born pizza maker stood with his hands cuffed behind his back during a March 29 preliminary hearing. A Montgomery County District Court judge had just refused to lower his $250,000 cash bail in a mob-related kidnapping case when he shouted: "What am I, an animal? I'm in jail, I didn't do nothing . . . What did I do?" Who Bellocchi is and what he has done are, in fact, two central questions in a broader organized crime investigation that sources say is aimed at bringing down reputed Philadelphia-South Jersey mob boss John Stanfa.
September 2, 2011
RALPH NATALE was head of the Philadelphia mob from 1994 to 1999, when he was busted on drug charges. * Many believe that Natale, 76, was a figurehead boss, and that Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino actually had the power. * Natale, the first sitting mob boss to testify against his own crime family, finished an 11-year prison term in May and is working on a tell-all memoir that has caught the attention of federal investigators. * The Daily News is not disclosing where he is living because we don't want Ralphy's blood on our hands if he gets whacked.
December 11, 1996 |
Joseph Sodano, a New Jersey mobster once heard on an FBI tape boasting about his Mafia pedigree, was found shot to death Saturday night in Newark in what authorities said yesterday appeared to be an organized crime hit. A leader of the Newark branch of the Philadelphia mob, Sodano, 58, was found slumped over the steering wheel of his van in the parking lot of a senior citizen complex shortly after 10 p.m., according to Detective Daniel Collins of...
March 11, 1996 |
Salvatore Avena: Did I do somethin' wrong? Salvatore Profaci: Well, we started a lawsuit. Goodfellas don't sue goodfellas. . . . Goodfellas kill goodfellas. Of all the quotes on all the tapes from all the conversations made during the FBI's four-year probe of the Philadelphia mob, none compares to New York mob leader Sal Profaci's succinct and chilling explanation picked up by an FBI bug on June 2, 1992, in Sal Avena's Camden law office. Law enforcement authorities say it captured the essence of wiseguy life.
October 2, 2012 |
BOCA RATON, Fla. - Joseph Merlino steps out onto the iron-railed balcony of his $400,000 townhouse. Bare-chested, ripped and clad in nothing but gray skivvies, he looks more like a former Calvin Klein underwear model than one of the most ruthless mobsters of his time. A year out of prison, Joseph Salvatore "Skinny Joey" Merlino isn't so skinny anymore. But he looks almost as boyish at 50 as at 39, when he was sentenced to 14 years in prison for racketeering. Back then, he was a 5-foot-3, 100-pound dapper young don who masterminded the bloody takeover of the Philadelphia mob. Today, he is a two-hour plane ride from the Southwest Philadelphia rowhouse where he grew up to become an underworld icon, both feared and eerily revered in the City of Brotherly Love.
June 15, 1993 |
The feds say the go-ahead came from a man known as The Chin, a man who likes to walk the street in slippers and a robe. They say he sanctioned a Philadelphia bloodbath. Reputed New York mob boss Vincent "The Chin" Gigante has been identified by federal authorities in Brooklyn as a prime conspirator in six Philadelphia gangland slayings that changed the face of the local underworld in the early 1980s and led to Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo's bloody rise to power. Gigante, considered by many to be the most powerful mob leader in America, approved the murders of the six local mobsters because of their suspected involvement in either the 1980 murder of longtime Philadelphia mob boss Angelo Bruno or the 1981 murder of Bruno's successor, Philip Testa, according to a federal indictment unsealed last week.
July 12, 2013 |
FEDERAL PROSECUTORS want a mob underboss sentenced to the maximum 20 years for racketeering, based on his lengthy rap sheet and his status in La Cosa Nostra. In a memo Tuesday, prosecutors call Joseph "Mousie" Massimino a career criminal, given a rap sheet that spans five decades and includes a drug-trafficking conviction. However, defense lawyer Joseph Santaguida argues in his memo that the February racketeering conviction is not a crime of violence, and should not trigger the career-offender label.