New England Mafia "Sleeps with the Fishes?"

Two New England Mafiosi in their 70s, including the alleged acting Patriarca Family boss, are going to prison
Reputed New England boss "Spucky" Spagnolo is 72.

Two New England Mafiosi in their 70s, including the alleged acting Patriarca crime family boss, are going to prison after copping to a years-long extortion scheme in federal court. 

On December 16, Antonio “Spucky” Spagnolo, 73, and Pryce “Stretch” Quintina, 75, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to affect commerce by extortion.

Prosecutors alleged that Spagnolo, of Revere is the acting boss of the New England Mafia. Co-defendant, Quintina, also of Revere, reported to Spagnolo, prosecutors said.

Both men pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Boston to charges of conspiracy to affect commerce by extortion for threatening the owner of the Revere Moose Lodge and another businessman, the Boston Globe reported,

If Judge Patti B. Saris approves a plea agreement between prosecutors and the two mobsters, Spagnolo will be sentenced to two years in prison and Quintana to 18 months.

A sentencing hearing is slated for March 24.

The charges center on the extortion of thousands of dollars in protection money from Boston-area Constitution Vending, a slot-machine manufacturer, and the Revere Moose Lodge social club.

Spagnolo allegedly took control of the New England mafia two years ago when Anthony DiNunzio was sent to prison. DiNunzio is the brother of convicted New England Mafia underboss Carmen “The Cheeseman’’ DiNunzio, who was released from prison earlier this year.

Anthony DiNunzio

Constitution Vending Racket
Constitution Vending Co. had been setting up illegal poker machines in local bars and restaurants and splitting the profits with the bar owners for more than a decade. During the time that racket was in place, the company had paid Quintana and Spagnolo protection payments, or "rent payments," according to prosecutors.

When the Revere Moose Lodge turned to another company to install some machines, Spagnolo and Quintana intervened and allegedly threatened those involved, thereby earning their pay.

Basically, for their help in fending off any competition, the two mobsters pocketed more than $50,000 from 2004 to 2012.

Assistant US Attorney Timothy Moran said that the two men made “implied” threats. in court it was left open whether threats of bodily harm were among the implications of the threats; defense attorneys slyly pointed out how elderly and frail the two gangsters are.

If Spagnola truly is New England's acting boss, he'd easily be able to order a couple of young tough guys to baseball bat a few heads in order to put some iron in his words. Either he didn't resort to that level or the Fed's couldn't muster the evidence. Thirdly, of course, is there may be no young members to whom he could issue such an order. Fifty-grand over an eight-year span isn't exactly a princely sum. If this is the kind of "big time" money the Boston mob is taking down these days are younger guys signing on to become made members so fast?

Either this indictment was pushed through simply in an effort to "exterminate" any New England remnants of Cosa Nostra through attrition or this slot-machine racket was truly all investigators could find. (This is one place where I'd love to insert a comment from a federal law enforcement official; if one is reading this, please contact me. Anonymity is guaranteed when requested.)

Former boss Anthony L. DiNunzio was sentenced in 2012 to 78 months in federal prison for racketeering. His brother, “The Big Cheese” DiNunzio, served a state bid for bribery and was set free earlier this year. A judge shaved a few months off his sentence.

DiNunzio, 57, wrapped up what was a six-year federal prison term on Feb. 19 of this year. While in custody at FCI Loretto in western Pennsylvania, he shaved nearly eight months off the bribery sentence by participating in programs. He served five years and 119 days in total.

Quintana and Spagnolo were not required to acknowledge their reputed Mafia membership.

Both were supposedly in attendance at the infamous October 1989 Mafia induction meeting in Medford that was secretly recorded by the FBI.

"Spucky" -- derived from the mispronunciation of his childhood nickname “Spunky” -- served a nine-year prison sentence in the 1990s for racketeering and drug dealing. Some question exactly how far the New England Mafia has fallen to have put him in an acting administration position.

He came up under Joseph "J.R." Russo, former consiglieri of the Patriarca family. Russo, born in east Boston in 1931, was a flashy, John Gotti-style gangster. He had impeccable mob credentials, having been recognized for shotgunning idiotic turncoat Joseph "Joe the Animal" Barboza in San Francisco in 1976. Russo's role was immortalized thanks to an FBI wiretap that recorded Ilario "Larry Baione" Zannino, Patriarca's muscle and chief gambling lieutenant, describing Russo as "a genius with a carbine." Zannino (June 15, 1920 – February 27, 1996) at his prime was considered among the highest-ranking crime figures in the Patriarca family's Boston faction.

Russo's step-brother was his polar opposite. Robert Carozza was "considered such a complete moron by Patriarca crime family underboss Gennaro Anguilo that he was told that if he set foot in the city proper, excluding East Boston, Massachusetts, that he would be shot on sight," reported journalist Howie Carr.

With the 1987 conviction of Zannino, Russo was named consigliere by Raymond Patriarca, Jr. at the suggestion of Nicholas Bianco. 

Jerry Anguilo and Brothers
In 1989, conflict fractured the Patriarca family along a natural fault line, an indirect result of the Whitey Bulger thing.

The highly profitable gambling and loansharking operation run by Patriarca underboss Gennero "Jerry" Angiulo and his brothers was part of the bedrock foundation of the New England mob's vast empire. Based in Boston's North End on the appropriately named Prince Street, the Angiulo brothers ran an empire safely insulated from law enforcement's prying eyes for decades.

Gennero "Jerry" Angiulo

As The Boston Globe reported

The Angiulos were among Boston’s most infamous sons, a band of brothers who ran the Mafia from a tiny office in the North End from the 1960s to the 1980s and were as much a part of the neighborhood’s fabric as the cafes and pastry shops.

They included Gennaro “Jerry,” the undisputed leader who barked orders; Donato “Danny,” a capo; Michele “Mike,” an affable underling; and Francesco “Frank,” a quiet but capable bookkeeper who kept track of the family’s business.

The insulation, however, failed to buffer Angiulo against the Boston Irish mob, aka the Winter Hill Gang then run by Whitey Bulger and Steve Flemmi (though the gang's roots predated Bulger) who made an arrangement to work with the Angiulo brothers. The problem for the brothers was that Whitey and Flemmi had first begun working with the FBI and were high-echelon informants (something that scumbag Bulger no doubt will continue to deny with his dying breath). 

The two commenced snitching on the mob via FBI special agent John Connolly (now in prison), who'd  hailed from the same South Boston neighborhood as Bulger. Bulger and Flemmi offered a detailed layout of Angiulo’s Prince Street headquarters, so the agents knew exactly where to place the bugs. Angiulo’s chief enforcer, Larry Zannino, also was bugged.

The results, as noted by WBUR's website:

... 98 Prince Street... became a legendary landmark after FBI bugs recorded him and his brothers and lieutenants talking themselves into a banquet of federal racketeering charges in the early 1980s. Sentenced to 45 years in prison, Mr. Angiulo served 24 years before being released in 2007. He died a free man....

The Angiulos were criminals. But the story, now notorious and never too old to be told again, is what happened in Boston when in order to get the Angiulos and their lieutenants and don-wanna-be’s, the FBI and the Justice Department decided to make the ultimate consonant wise guy, James Whitey Bulger, a Junior G-Man. (Happy birthday to the fugitive killer who got tipped off by an FBI agent and escaped 14 years ago.)

The scandalous record shows that Bulger was protected from prosecution, knowingly allowed to get away with violent crimes and enabled to become the Irish Godfather because he was a secret government informant against the Mafia.

Patriarca Senior gave up the ghost on July 11 1984. He'd left word that son Raymond Patriarca Junior was to be new boss.

Some members of the crime family, particularly the Boston faction were not happy with Junior in the top slot.

The family's two historic factions vied for control.

A Notorious Induction Ceremony
On Oct. 29, 1989, New England Mafia boss Raymond “Junior” Patriarca anointed four new soldiers into his crime family. A full-blown ceremony with a total of 21 wiseguys in attendance, it occurred following the civil war.

Angiulo, the family underboss, moved to take control of the entire organization (supposedly from a prison cell).

Larry Zannino, a top lieutenant, supported Patriarca Junior, however. New York's Gambino crime family also bolstered Junior's ascendancy, demoting Angiulo and naming Zannino consigliere. Junior was not his father -- and was viewed as too weak for the top spot. But with the continuing support of the Gambino family, he prevailed. For a time.

In 1987, Zannino was zinged with a 30-year prison stretch. His absence only underlined Junior's weakness.

William "The Wild Man" Grasso (who had an extensive career -- and was considered to be among the most feared mobster in New England) was named underboss next. A cunning, ruthless mobster, many thought he was the real power in the family. In June of 1989, Grasso, who ran Connecticut-based crime operations from his New Haven headquarters since the mid-1970s, was found in the Connecticut River Friday. Death by gunshot wound to the head.

Hours prior to the body's discovery, Francis "Cadillac Frank" Salemme was shot by three gunmen in a Boston suburb. Hit in the stomach and the knee, he survived. The feud between Salemme and the man who was behind his shooting, J.R. Russo continued until New York's Gambino crime family, brokered a peace agreement that named Salemme loyalist Bianco boss.

Billy the Wild Man

Restaurateur Gaetano Milano of East Longfellow, Massachusetts, a suburb of Springfield, controlled by the Genovese crime family, was charged with Grasso's murder. Grasso believed he and Milano were on their way to settle a dispute about vending machine territory in Springfield. Milano admitted to the murder, claiming it was part of the power struggle between the Patriarca family's factions. He was sentenced to 33 years, which was reduced by seven years after a appeals related to corruption.

It was against this backdrop that the 1989 ceremony played out, which explains why Junior Patriarca can be heard hedging his words.

“We’re all here to bring in some new members into our family and more than that, to start maybe a new beginning,” Patriarca told attendees. “Put all that’s got started behind us ... and bygones are bygones and a good future for all of us.”

Capturing everything was a bug planted inside 34 Guild Street, the address of the house, which Vincent Federico, one of the four initiates, had "borrowed" from his sister for the day.

The FBI matched Junior's voice to the tape using a radio interview the young mob boss had participated in.

Many of the mobsters present that day were indicted on federal racketeering charges, leading the Globe to report: "The New England Mafia's hierarchy, what was left of it, went to prison, leaving the family in disarray."
"Baby Shacks"
Luigi “Baby Shacks” Manocchio, who ran the Patriarca crime family out of Addie’s Laundromat on Federal Hill, was convicted in 2012 for his role in extorting monthly payments from Providence strip clubs, totaling $800,000 to $1.5 million and dating to the 1990s. He reportedly relinquished his position in 2009, resulting in a power shift to Boston.

The New England Mafia has been declining for decades, its ranks dwindling following a series of federal prosecutions dating back in the 1980s. Seven bosses and underbosses and scores of underlings were sent to prison.

The New England Mafia historically made its money through illegal gambling, loansharking, and extortion, and in more recent years expanded into drug trafficking, according to authorities. Law enforcement officials predict that the opening of casinos in Massachusetts will probably end a vital revenue stream for the New England mob.

Former New England mob underboss Carmen “The Cheese Man” DiNunzio, 57, was released in February after serving six years in prison for bribery, extortion, and illegal gambling, and quietly returned to his home in East Boston.

DiNunzio’s younger brother, Anthony, 56, briefly served as acting boss before he was convicted in 2012 of racketeering and sentenced to 6½ years in prison. He is slated to be released in 2018.

The leadership of the New England Mafia historically had shifted between Providence and Boston for 50 years. The paradigm that kept the balance was simple but ingenious: the boss was based in one city, the underboss in the other.

But since Manocchio stepped down, the top two positions have remained in Boston.

Peter Limone, official boss of the New England Mafia (or what's left of it)....

Peter "The Crazy Horse" Limone reportedly succeeded "Baby Shacks" as the official boss of the Patriarca crime family.

Limone, 80, was wrongly convicted and imprisoned for a 1965 murder based on Joe “The Animal” Barboza's false testimony. Limone served 33 years in prison before his 2001 release.

Later, he and his co-defendants were reportedly awarded $102 million for their woes. Limone made himself a tidy $25 million sum from the agreement -- but was still caught for loansharking and other rackets in 2010. He received five years probation.

A gangster's a gangster. Reportedly Limone may be suffering from the onset of Alzheimer's, or he's pulling a Vincent Gigante crazy-old-man gambit.