Did Luchese Mobster's Son Die at Rikers Island Under Mysterious Circumstances?

UPDATED: A Staten Island man who died at Rikers Island last November under what his family considers questionable circumstances is the son of a powerful chief of the Luchese crime family's Brooklyn faction.

John Castelle aka John Castellucci.
"He uses two different names.
That's his son on the right, Eugene Sonny Castelle."

Rikers, New York City's main jail complex, sits on a 413.17-acre island on the East River (between Queens and the Bronx). The jailhouse is one of the world's largest institutions in both the correctional and mental health sectors.

Originally only one-fourth its present size, it was artificially expanded via the use of (perhaps fittingly, in this case) ash for landfill. Inmates made up the labor force.



The massive jailhouse complex has had a poor reputation as far back as we can remember.

PIX11, in a recent report, noted that Rikers is "often described by many as a 'hell on earth.'" The "many" includes "inmates, officers and staff alike."

A new advertising campaign is calling for Rikers' closure.

In 2016, some 12,000 instances of violence reportedly occurred.

Whether what happened to Eugene (Sonny) Castelle
tweaks that figure to 12,001 (figuratively speaking) is something Sonny's loved ones are desperately seeking to learn.

Castelle was only 27 years old when he died.

On Nov. 8, six days after he was brought to the Manhattan jail, Castelle "was found unresponsive at the Anna M. Kross Center at 8:40 a.m.," Department of Corrections (DOC) officials noted in a statement.

Sonny Castelle died on Rikers Island apparently of drug-related causes.
Sonny Castelle.
According to a published report, a YouTube video (see below) and a Facebook message we've received, he's the son of Luchese crime family mobster John Castellucci. Yes, the names are spelled differently; however, John is known to use both names. His two brothers also use the surname Castelle.

And a source messaged us, referring to the photo, above, that: "This is John Castelle aka John Castellucci. He uses two different names. That's his son on the right, Eugene Sonny Castelle."

The New York Daily News reported on the incident, making no mention of alleged Mafia ties, though the YouTube video identifies him as the son of the crime family's underboss.

The video also references a now-deleted story the Bronx Voice had posted.

According to a family member who declined to be named in the News story, Castelle had suffered from an addiction to painkillers and sought treatment in Florida. He reportedly spent eight months in drug rehab. Then Castelle apparently had a relapse and was arrested in Boynton Beach for possession of heroin with intent to sell. The arrest violated the terms of his New York plea agreement.

An NYPD detective hopped on a plane and flew to Florida to escort Castelle to Rikers Island.

"Any death in custody is a tragedy. Commissioner (Joseph) Ponte extends his heartfelt condolences to Mr. Castelle’s family," Peter Thorne, the Deputy Commissioner of Public Information at the DOC, said.

There are suspicious components to this case. For one thing, the Castelle family was permitted only to view a photograph of Castelle on a television screen. The family member noted: "They never showed the top of his head or below his neck..."

Castelle was laid to rest on Staten Island on Saturday, November 12.




Gang Land News reported in early 2012 that "the Luchese crime family’s Brooklyn-based faction seems to have returned to life while no one.... was paying much attention."

Capo John (Big John) Castellucci was said to be in charge of the Brooklyn faction. He'd previously been associated with the crime family's Bensonhurst, Brooklyn crew, which was smashed apart in 2000 for various crimes.

The so-called "Bensonhurst Crew," which included "Boopsie" Castelle, faced murder charges, as the New York Times reported.

Joseph Tangorra, Joseph Truncale, Castelle, Lester Ellis, Robert Greenberg, John Castellucci and Scott Gervasi were charged with the October 1988 murder of Victor Filocamo, who police found shot in the head and stuffed inside a white BMW's trunk. The car was parked on 73rd Street in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. He was supposedly slain inside a mob social club located in Bensonhurst.

According to Cosa Nostra News source, Filocamo was murdered for being a suspected informant.

One night, Filocamo, Castelle, Tangorra and others were playing cards in a social club formerly located on 13th Avenue and 73rd or 72nd Street, the source said.

George Conte, then a Luchese capo, abruptly entered the storefront and shot Filocamo in the head, telling the others: "Clean this sht up."



The murder charges were part of a broad racketeering indictment against the reputed Luchese crime family members, who also were charged with a grab-bag of crimes that included loansharking, drug dealing, arson, extortion and arson.

The crew allegedly split the Bensonhurst drug trade with the Bonanno-affiliated Bath Ave. Crew.

Back then the crew was large enough to warrant two capos, Joseph (Joey Flowers) Tangorra and Boopsie Castelle.

As Gang Land reported: "Castelle got out in 2008. Sources say he (reported) to Big John, who, despite their different surnames, is his brother. We’re not sure who is the big brother but, according to court records, they work well together, and like being around each other."

Boopsie Castelle is known to have served as an acting underboss when the family's current official boss, Steven (Stevie Wonder) Crea, was behind bars.

Boopsie was busted last June for heading up a Costa Rican-based online sports-betting ring for the Luchese crime family.


Suspicious Circumstances
A correction officer denied Castelle medical help hours prior to his death, another Rikers inmate claimed. 

Castelle's mother, Lucille Tirado, has filed a notice of claim, alerting the city she intends to sue.

She told the News: "I really don’t know what happened behind those closed walls. Something went wrong in there. Something definitely went wrong."

The inmate told The News that Castelle had taken methadone, using another prisoner’s prescription before he died. The drug is prescribed to inmates recovering from opiate addiction. It’s typically administered in liquid form under close supervision, which jail insiders say raises questions about the inmate’s story.

About 2 a.m., Castelle started to vomit and was unable to stand upright, the inmate said. (He didn't want to be identified.)

"You could tell he was sick," the inmate said, noting that, in addition to the vomiting, he "wasn’t the right color."

Another inmate helped Castelle to the desk area to request medical assistance.

The corrections officer was sleeping, "and angrily dismissed them both," the inmate told the News.

At 8:40 a.m., Castelle was found unresponsive, according to records. 

"A correction officer and medical staff tried CPR to no avail. After seven minutes, he was dead."





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