Outfit Money: The Narcotics Business

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Re: Outfit Money: The Narcotics Business

Post by Villain » Fri Apr 21, 2017 6:34 pm

By October, 1973, Cain was back home in Chicago and quickly became involved, again, in the burglary business with the help of one small burglary crew. Story goes that the feds quickly received a lead on Cain and decided to pay him a visit. During their meeting, Cain allegedly informed on the burglary gang and many of his associates were arrested. So from that point on Cain was suspected by his peers for being an informant but since he was considered a “made” member of Cosa Nostra and gave up only minor criminals, he was spared but was forbidden to get involved in any further illegal activities. But like any other stubborn criminal, Cain refused and presented his new ideas which in turn got himself killed on December 30, 1973, allegedly on the orders of Gus Alex, who by now was one of the leading top crime bosses for the Chicago faction and strongly opposed dope peddling. With the murder of Richard Cain, the Outfit’s international dope peddling operations began to loose its presence, meaning one of Giancana’s main couriers was dead and the other, which was Hyman Larner, allegedly turned his back and joined the new administration. Story goes that by 1974, Larner was ordered to slowly cut-off Giancana from every international contact and to continue the operation under the new “rule list”. Also, my personal belief is that the New York Mafia was also glad for witnessing the demise of Giancana’s international dope peddling operations, mainly because previously it brought them a lot of low profits, since they weren’t the only distributors for the Midwest. So since his money flow was ended, Giancana managed to spent his cash in less than a year, thus loosing his protection and under the pressure from the U.S., the old crime boss was quickly deported back home. To tell you the truth I feel sorry a little bit for Giancana since he found himself alone between America’s three most powerful organizations at the time, which was the federal government, the secret agency and the Mafia. So in 1975, the several bullet wounds under Giancana’s chin and the one in his mouth, marked the end of the old dope peddling ring and also marked the start of a new “venture” for America’s Cosa Nostra, which in turn was about to compare the new rising dope peddling syndicates on the same turf.


From this point, drug trafficking from Mexico expanded and the cultivation of opium poppy fields increased and the so-called “Mexican mud” or “Mexican brown” was suddenly in great demand. From 1975, criminal groups from Mexico dominated the heroin trade and supplied an ever-increasing demand for marijuana, thus controlling three fourths of the U.S. narcotics market. Also, even though the war on the Far East was over, still Chinese heroin or “China White”, as it was called, found its way on America’s soil. At this point, most of the Asian narcotics found its way to the U.S. through Belgium or the Netherlands, which made the city of Amsterdam the main shipping point for Asian heroin. But the problem was that the narcotics from Mexico and China, which arrived annually, a little of it found its way into the hands of America’s Cosa Nostra members, since most of it ended up in the storages of the newly formed African-American and Latin criminal organizations. But during the same period, the Sicilian Mafia in Italy “suffered” some changes on their “commission table” and from now on, the main players were the Corleonesi clan and Gaetano Badalamenti, representative for the Cinisi “mandamento”. The thing was that Badalamenti was one of the main cigarette traffickers for the Sicilian faction with close connections both in South and North America and he managed to use those same routes for smuggling Afghanistan-based heroin or South American cocaine. Also, a number of members of the Sicilian Mafia immigrated to the United States and established themselves in restaurants and pizza parlors under the auspices of the American Cosa Nostra, especially the Bonanno crime family. In fact, some of these guys were absorbed into the American Mob which allegedly brought great dissatisfaction between some of the already Americanized gangsters. In addition, the use of these pizza parlors for smuggling drugs was nothing new since previously we saw that the Indiana and Chicago Heights factions already used the same methods, 20 years earlier.


To tell you the truth, I really don’t have a clue if the Chicago Outfit ever fully supported the so-called “Pizza Connection”, but all I know is that Badalamenti placed few of his nephews around the state of Illinois, in small places such as Oregon, Paris and Olney and from there, they oversaw a huge dope peddling ring which was destined for the Midwest and the main crime family which supported the “movement” was the Detroit faction and possibly the Rockford crime family, through one Mafia big shot known as Frank Buscemi, who in turn was close ally of the Outfit. According to one Chicago Mafia attorney who later turned informer for the government Robert Cooley, during this period the Outfit also managed to place some of their members in places such as Rockford so they can easily direct their dope deals. So maybe these two Midwest factions of U.S. Cosa Nostra somehow managed to convince the Outfit’s top administration for a pass to deal dope on their turf. As you can see, none of the so-called dope peddling pizza parlors was placed directly in the Chicago area and as a matter of fact, the only place which they visited near the “Windy City” was O’Hare Airport. So my point is that this confirms my previous statement regarding the Outfit’s ban on narcotics, which was pushed forward by Accardo and his protégé Gus Alex. And my personal belief is that this new Sicilian faction had the approval from the Outfit’s top administration to deal their narcotics on Chicago’s territory, as long as they stayed away from their sight and it didn’t involve any of their members or associates. But still according to some reports, like any other greedy criminal machine, the Outfit always had its own “outlaws”.


After Giancana’s death, the so-called ruling panel was dismantled and the Outfit again received its official boss and under boss. The top administration was taken over by Joseph Aiuppa and Jack Cerone, who in turn were allegedly still under the auspices of Tony Accardo. And again, the “cursed” dope peddling racket managed to divide the Chicago crime syndicate in two factions, including one with Accardo, Cerone and Alex on one side and on the other, Chuck Nicoletti, Frank Caruso, James Catuara and possibly Dominick DiBellla, the current crime boss of the North Side. So this time, the guy in the middle was Aiuppa, who in turn had the final word on everything. But according to the feds, Aiuppa had close connections to Hyman Larner who in turn inherited every possible international operation, which the late Sam Giancana previously started. So story goes that Aiuppa stayed “open minded” in regarding the dope racket, and I believe that the main reason for that was obviously the drastic diminished income from bookmaking and loan sharking in the Chicago area.


Since during this period Aiuppa suffered from some health problems and while everyone waited for him to finally make up his mind, one old member from the Bonanno crime family decided to visit Chicago for the second time, regarding the same agenda. In January, 1974, New York mobster Carmine Galante was released from prison and according to some sources, he was the main player in bringing all those Sicilian Mafiosi into the U.S. and importing loads of Italian heroin. So according to one Chicago Tribune article, Galante arranged two meetings, one in Chicago and one in Florida, with the Outfit’s “junk” opposing faction such as Jack Cerone and Tony Accardo. Im not sure what was discussed during those particular meetings or to tell you the truth I’m not even sure that the whole thing ever occurred, but I’ll presume, mostly according to the next events, that the Outfit was again used as “transportation link” of the product and nothing more. As I previously stated at the beginning of this long story, that even though they acted as a simple organized crime syndicate, still the Chicago Outfit was considered as one of the most important links in the whole Cosa Nostra “chain” across the U.S. And so if the New York faction asked for some support from their Midwest cohorts such as the Chicago boys, they expected to get it. According to numerous government reports, samples of the so-called Sicilian heroin showed that it was processed in the Middle East from opium sources in Asia, and were smuggled into Chicago for inspection, much-in the same way as legitimate businesses display merchandise to potential buyers. Also laboratory analysis later found that the Sicilian heroin had purity level of 90 per cent, far higher than the Mexican or "Brown Mud" heroin, which was now saturating the market.


In no time, some members of the old Melrose Park crew, which by now I believe was led by Nicoletti and probably by one of Aiuppa’s underlings Sam Carlisi, and also associates of the Chicago Heights crew and the North Side faction, continued supporting the dope business in full effect. One of Nicoletti’s and DiBella’s old associates from the North Side was Salvatore “Sam” Canzoneri, a former officer of Chicago’s Police Department, magazine publisher and close friend of the late Giancana. His father John Canzoneri was a Cosa Nostra member, with roots from the Corleone village back in Sicily, and belonged to the Los Angeles crime family but was also very close connected to former Outfit heavyweights such as the Fischetti brothers. The dope connection also goes way back to the mid 1960’s when Sam Canzoenri still worked as a cop and was closely associated with Sheldon Teller, the previously mentioned corrupt officer who was involved in high level dope peddling operations. Back in those days, both Teller and Canzoneri owned a joint known as the Rivoli Club which in fact was a rock and roll spot on the city’s North Side. In fact, Canzoneri managed to loose his job as a cop when he was identified as half-owner of the infamous joint which was connected to large scales of narcotics and prostitution operations. After the imprisonment of his partner in crime, Canzoneri’s new associate became Dominic Santarelli, another wealthy builder-developer and also dope dealer, who spent considerable time in Miami, Florida. In reality, Santarelli was the main overseer of the Florida port for thee new smuggling ring. Even though they operated mainly on the North Side, still Canzoenri and Santarelli were also close associates of the Melrose Park faction, including Nicoletti and one Irving Weiner. Months before the forming of the new drug route, there are numerous reports of airplane flights between Chicago’s O’Hare Airport and New York’s LaGuardia or Miami, Florida, of both Canzoneri and Weiner, and also alleged reports of meetings with “unknown individuals” closely connected to the Bonanno crime family, which I personally believe were Sicilian dope smugglers. For example, the main connection between the Sicilians and the Outfit in the Florida area was one of Carmine Galante’s close associates known as Tito Carinci, who in turn was a Miami-based mobster. So the main thing which connected Canzioneri to the newly formed dope racket was his criminal history and above all, his ownership of a pizzeria business known as the Pizza Crisp International and Panhandle Pizza Inc., which obviously was one of the fronts for the national “Pizza Connection”.


During this period, again the main runners or distributors of the Sicilian product around the Chicago area were Outfit members and associates from across the South Side and south suburbs. In fact, during this period the auto-theft racket was on the top of the Outfit’s “food chain” and many of these fellas sold dope on the side. As I previously stated that the guy who was in charge of the same racket was Jimmy Catuara and his job was to extort every single chop shop operator or car thief in that same area. So somewhere down the line, Catuara began using some of these individuals for all kinds of illegal activities such as loan sharking, murder and in this case, dope peddling. The thing was that Catuara did not force these individuals in doing something in which they did not want to get involved with, but instead these guys were already involved in everything that Catuara could’ve possibly imagined, including narcotics. So during this period, one of Catuara’s main overseers of the dope racket was Sam Annerino, whose real job was to extort chop shop owners and to kill people. But since his older brother Anthony was previously involved in the dope trade together with Angelo LaPietra, who by now was slowly taking over Caruso’s territory, and also the DiCaro brothers, especially Joseph, possibly he was the one who introduced his younger brother Sam into the business. Now, the whole operation started from one pizza parlor in Paris, Illinois, from where the shipment was sent by one of the Sicilian dope peddlers, or “Zips” as they were called, straight to Chicago’s North Side at one of Canzioneri’s pizza establishments., who in turn transported the shipment to one salvage yard, which was located in Calumet City and was owned one of Annerino’s main operators in the chop shop business and also main “middle man” Richard Ferraro.


So Ferraro had a whole network of auto-thieves and drug traffickers, who smuggled their product mainly with the help of the transportation of the stolen vehicles, which in turn contained sophisticated hiding areas for the narcotics. It was quite easy for the chop shop operators to hide the drugs since they previously chopped up the whole vehicle and later put it together again. The drugs were usually hidden under the driver's seat and the passenger seat, under a panel which was placed on the floor. The panel opened up automatically which uncovered a void underneath the floor board and the bottom of the car, filled up with dope. Or according to one report, sometimes these dope smugglers managed to hide over 100 kilograms of heroin in just one automobile, with the help of dummy gas tank, or in body posts, under fenders, and in the frame. For example, the original gas tank was supplemented by a small auxiliary tank so the main tank could be used to store the narcotics. But the problem was that it was necessary for the smugglers to refuel the car often, which in turn heightened police suspicion. Now, with the help of Ferraro a dozen of cars would’ve been sent to various salvage yards or chop shops in Palos Park, Illinois, or Munster, Indiana, from where the product was sold in nearby towns or cities. His main “runner” in one of those areas was Harry Holzer, who in turn had a dope smuggling route from Palos Park and all the way to Fennville, Michigan.


The whole dope peddling operation went quite smooth and many of the new generation mobsters were hoping for the return of their old dope market in the Chicago area and around the Midwest. But as I previously stated that by now times have changed and also many of the rules regarding the dope racket were also changed. And the biggest problem was that the Outfit’s top hierarchy were not some dumb fools since they always had their “eyes and ears” on the city’s streets. The problem with some of the top Outfit bosses was that during this period, collecting street tax from the chop shop operators was one of their most lucrative schemes and the last thing they wanted, was for their main operators to get caught for dealing dope. By now some of the chop shop operators, such as Ferraro, were considered high level associates of the Outfit, which was a kind of rank almost as same as the “soldier” level in the rest of the crime families around the U.S. Meaning, the guy already knew too much and getting caught with dope, presented a huge danger for the whole organization, simply because the guy might “squeal”. On top of that, since the chop shop racket was quite lucrative, many high level mobsters decided to take over the racket from their cohorts, of course in a violent way. So all that paranoia from the crime bosses, mixed with greed and betrayal which was presented by some of the younger and rising members, made the second half of the 1970’s one of the most bloodiest chapters in Chicago’s underworld history. The first guy who was made an example of was Holzer together with his poor wife, and the whole murder spree of Outfit members and associates, such as Sam Annerino, Chuck Nicoletti and Richard Ferraro, ended with the killing of James Catuara. According to some reports, previously Nicoletti had a feud with Alex regarding the dope business and also story goes that Aiuppa and DiBella took Accardo’s and Alex’s side, thus leaving Nicoletti alone.


So knowingly or unknowingly, along the bloody road, the crime bosses managed to exterminate almost the whole drug peddling network and for me personally, I really don’t know if Bonanno crime family “capo” Carmine Galante again had any problems with the numerous killings of dope peddlers around the Chicago area, but if he had any plans for visiting the “Windy City” for the third time regarding the same agenda, well probably everything went down the toilet since a year later in 1979, he was also riddled with bullets in a Brooklyn restaurant together with two of his Mafia cohorts. The infamous “Pizza Connection” did not end with the murder of Galante, but my personal opinion is that his demise might’ve ended the involvement of Outfit members in dealing dope. This claim can be supported with the reports of Chicago’s police intelligence analysts who agreed that Galante’s death might’ve altered the plans of some of the Outfit’s “outlaws” to expand the Italian white heroin, instead of the Mexican, which by now arrived all around the country, smuggled in plastic bags and sewn inside the bodies of animals or concealed in the heads of tiger skins or even stashed inside television picture tubes. So my point is that from now on if some member or associate of the Outfit wanted to get involved in dealing dope, he had to travel all the way to New York City or simply buy the product from the local Latin or African-American gangs.


No matter how hard the top administration tried to distance their members from the dope trade, still they were powerless against the constant new waves of drug addiction such the current one which was in the form of cocaine. The main advantage of the cocaine drug is that it’s not physically addictive such as heroin or “crack” for that matter, which in fact is a free base from the cocaine product, but instead it is intensively habit forming. Also, the drug can be sniffed, injected, swallowed and even smoked, thus making the users happy, self-confident, sexually aroused, all followed by a powerful feeling. The problem was that by the late 1970’s, these alluring qualities have left many people addicted on cocaine, thus, again making the profits too attractive for a large part of the Outfit’s lower criminal structure and the Mafia in general. During this period Cuba already has become a problem in this respect, and because of the 24/7 smuggling of this drug by Cuban nationals, considerable quantities of cocaine found its way into the United States, particularly Miami and New York City. Also, as you previously saw that the U.S. Mob was already importing smaller quantities of cocaine from Peru or Bolivia but by now, the drug route was slowly turning to Columbia, mostly because of the shorter distance and above all, because of the better quality of the product and larger distribution, which also made the price cheaper. Because of that reason, Latin America cocaine exports to the United States escalated, thus producing a pandemic of narcotics abuse and the surge of exports was directed by a consortium of Colombian cocaine brokers known as the Medellin cartel, which probably controlled over 60 percent of U.S. cocaine market. In no time, Colombia has become the leading nation in Latin America for producing and smuggling cocaine around the world and because of that, it was no longer considered just a glamorous “toy” of the affluent, mostly because it became also available for housewives and hotel clerks in ordinary suburbs, poor residents of the ghettos, and even teenagers in suburban and city high schools. The whole situation became so big that even the cocaine enthusiasts had their own paraphernalia available in shops such as spoons, straws, mirrors, kits, Benzodrex inhalers, and even dealers' supplies like scales, one-gram packet papers and mannitol, a popular cutting agent.


Even though during this period they were considered one of the last links in the dope peddling chain, still the Outfit was considered to be the top criminal organization in the city of Chicago, mostly because they still had their claws in the unions, around many politicians and on top of that, in Las Vegas, Nevada. But even that wasn’t enough for the whole organization, especially for the lower class of members and associates. They saw none of the profits from the casinos or the unions and since the dope peddling business was off limits, they needed a new plan for taking at least a small part from that so-called easy narcotics cash. In fact, there was no real plan but instead it was pure and simple to avoid being caught by the cops while peddling dope.


By the early 1980’s, Tony Accardo still commanded a huge respect among his fellow members but the problem was that at the time, he had many legal problems for extorting millions of dollars, thus turning his attention from the organization. According to some government reports, during this period Chicago was still considered to be “heroin type” of a city, or in other words, the cocaine market was still in development. So Accardo again somehow managed to stay free, while his “captains” were constantly being hunted down by the government and were quickly being replaced by their “second in command”. During this period the boss of the Chicago Heights faction Al Pilotto was having legal problems and was slowly replaced by one quite powerful Outfit member known as Albert Tocco. This guy was considered to be also an open minded individual when it came to narcotics but he also never hesitated to kill anyone who got caught by the cops or was about to. So by putting one “blind eye” on the narcotics trade, Tocco managed to continue the long tradition of his faction which was financing dope deals for almost four decades. The main duo which oversaw Tocco’s dope business was the D’Andrea brothers, Nick and Mario. These fellas were not considered by law enforcement as members of the Outfit but instead they were high level associates, a stature which was easily achieved with the help of their recently deceased brother and also member of the Chicago Mafia, known as Armand D’Andrea. In fact, Nick and Mario were members of a family of five brothers, including the late Armand, who in turn represented the main guy for the Outfit in the Joliet area. Armand D'Andrea was considered very close to the mayor of Joliet, and when Francis Curry, the previous big local kingpin of the Outfit has died, D'Andrea allegedly was said to have stepped in as the top contact man, and he was considered by Illinois authorities to be the heir-apparent to the organized crime leadership of that area.


The main thing was that the late Armand D’Andrea previously had huge business interests in construction and investments, such as a carrot farm in Prescott, Arizona, and also buildings and real estate in Phoenix and Tucson. Because of that, he also controlled his own crews in those areas, mainly formed by distant relatives such as Frank Mancini, who in fact many of them were responsible for Nick’s and Mario’s connections to Columbian and Mexican dope peddlers from that area. The thing was that the brothers were involved in several illegal schemes, including the chop shop racket or in other words, it was quite easy for the duo to acquire high grade cocaine for distribution around the south suburbs, with the help of the old transporting method of stolen parts or whole cars between Arizona and Illinois. But somewhere along the way, Nick D’Andrea managed to make few more connections with other chop shop operators with international connections, which in turn made D’Andrea one of the most important dope peddlers for the Outfit. One of those lucrative connections was guy known as Ora Curry, who in fact was the “top general” for the south suburban chop shop racket, which was under the auspices of Al Tocco.


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Ora Curry


Now, Curry’s connection to the dope business goes way back to the late 1960’s and early 70’s, when he used to work for the previously mentioned and also deceased drug dealer and chop shop operator Robert Pronger, who in turn worked for Catuara’s and Cain’s dope peddling operation and allegedly was killed because of that. After that, Curry continued to operate with the help of Pronger’s brother, John who in fact remained to be a huge player in Chicago’s chop shop and above all, narcotics business. The interesting thing was that both Curry and Pronger had business relations all the way to the Middle East, for example Lebanon, from where they constantly brought or shipped cars or auto-parts, which sometimes were filled with narcotics, probably heroin. So this particular crew had two main receiving points, including one direct to Chicago from Europe or New York, which was rarely used mainly because of their second point which was located in Florida, where at the time two main Colombian drug cartels constantly flooded America with cocaine. When the shipment reached its destination point, such as the “Windy City”, the stash was divided in two parts, one for the local market and the other part was destined for some of the nearest Midwest cities, such as Hammond, Indiana, and also St. Louis. To tell you the truth, I really don’t believe that the Outfit still acted mainly as transporting point of the narcotics shipment, but as you can see, they still operated according to the old “recipe”.


In Chicago, the product was mostly sold along Rush Street on the city’s North Side, mostly in bars or disco washrooms, which were mostly Mob-connected. So during this period, the main crew which spread the product around that area was obviously the North Side faction, which was steady growing in the dope business. The previous boss of the Northsiders, Dom DiBella died back in 1976, and was succeeded by Vince Solano, who in turn was deeply involved in to union racketeering and the prostitution business. One of his main operators was still Ken Eto, the Japanese guy who previously oversaw the lucrative Bolita operations and had countless connections to Latin drug dealers. By now Eto was entering the food business, together with another Chicago hoodlum known as Sam Sarcinelli, and the duo had a shop which was named Taco-Si, located in Skokie, Illinois. The thing was that Sarcinelli used the food business as front for his huge dope peddling operation. I mean, it did not matter on who brought the cocaine, such as Curry or Pronger or even Sarcinelli himself, the thing was that according to the feds, Sarcinelli was capable of distributing large quantities of narcotics. In fact, he headed a large-scale narcotics trafficking organization, which at its peak moved approximately 200 kilos of cocaine per month, as I previously stated, mainly from the Fort Lauderdale/Miami area.


Now, for someone like Sarcinelli to distribute that kind of amount of drugs, he must’ve possessed contacts all around the country, simply because all that dope cannot be sold only around the Chicago area in just one month, obviously because during this period there was too much competition. So with the help of what has left from the rest of the Midwest crime families, Colombian cocaine was distributed to points such Chicago, Atlanta, Denver, and also the Los Angeles area, where Sarcinelli maintained one of his personal residences. According to the feds, this guy was a real millionaire and obviously the money did not come from the food business and some reports say that his residence in Los Angeles was no coincidence. During that period, Sarcinelli and other high level dope dealers heavily invested in real estate, mainly in the San Diego area, especially along the dusty strip of border land known as Otay Mesa. Many so-called taco or food vendors started circulating through the crowd, thus providing perfect disguise for the bands of Mexican dope peddlers. Since some of the district's biggest land deals were financed by drug money, a decade later this area was going to be the start of the first so-called underground tunnels for smuggling dope, which were about to stretch from Tijuana to the American side. And like any other high level dope peddler, Sarcinelli also began buying luxurious houses and cars, and he even constantly walked around with a bodyguard, one so-called “knuckle dragger” known as Robert Bridges.


Even though he was considered by law enforcement as one of Chicago’s most dangerous dope dealers, still Sarcinelli wasn’t “jail-proof” from the federal government’s old “tricks”. Back in 1979, Sarcinelli made the obvious and usual mistake by unknowingly bringing an undercover agent to a dope deal. The agent’s alias was Ron Segal, who at first sight was a tall, tanned and well-groomed man, with gold chains and rings on his neck and arms, or in other words, he gave the typical picture of a successful drug lord. So Segal’s looks was enough to fool one of Chicago’s most elusive drug peddlers such as Sarcelli. To cut the story short, Segal managed to successfully lure Sarcinelli to a 14 pound cocaine deal, which was valued at one million dollars, and not a cent more. The self-styled undercover operative single-handedly led a band of DEA agents to a motel in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, where they managed to arrest Sarcinelli together with the large stash of cocaine and additional cash in his personal attaché case. During the trial, Segal was the chief witness against Sarcinelli, who in turn was sentenced in Florida to 8 years in prison and 3 years special parole on count one, and additional 8 years in prison on count two of an indictment charging him with possession and conspiracy to distribute narcotics. According to some reports, after the imprisonment of Sarcinelli, the Outfit-controlled cocaine business quickly transferred from Rush Street, down to the South Side.
Free will,it is a bitch!

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Re: Outfit Money: The Narcotics Business

Post by Villain » Fri Apr 21, 2017 6:34 pm

By this time there were two main crews of “runners” for distributing the product, and came from the South and Southwest Side. These groups were mainly supplied by Nick D’Andrea’s organization and above all, they were mostly formed by young and dangerous dope dealers, who were quite “thirsty” for the old mighty dollar. One of the leaders was William Franklin Jr, whose main job was to kill potential informants against the Outfit. The main problem during this period were not the undercover agents, but instead the other street dealers, who re-sold the already bought product. So the problem was that by now many of these dealers were getting “high” out of their own supply, meaning slowly some of them were loosing their minds by not returning a dime to the Outfit-connected distributors, since many of the dealers used the drugs for their own satisfaction, and that’s why Franklin was there to “remind” them about their debts. The thing was that Nick D’Andrea wasn’t one of those Outfit associates, who “reminded” their costumers by breaking their legs and arms, but instead he instantly sought for approval for their murder “contracts” from his boss, which was the murderous Al Tocco. For example, on January 12, 1980, two of Franklin’s costumers Gregory Burgess and Andrew Jackson Jr., both 29, and both of Park Forest South, got the idea not to pay for their cocaine stash, and so both were repeatedly shot to death inside their apartment. When the police arrived on the scene, they found the dead bullet-riddled bodies of the two dealers and a whole lot of drug paraphernalia, which indicates that they were both heavy users. The next–dope-related murder occurred in 1981, when the dead body of 21-year old Darrell Harris appeared in Markham, Illinois and so the feds, with the help of the testimony of one of Franklin’s nephews, managed to arrest the Outfit’s hitman and a year later, Franklin was sentenced to 300-years jail term. According to one FBI report, the feds believed that Franklin was involved in six more drug-related murders.


The interesting thing was that during that period, mainly because of the huge cocaine epidemic, many of the law enforcement officials connected most of the organized crime-related murders with the dope peddling business but in reality, regarding the Outfit’s part, they still killed their own people out of various reasons, which were mostly backed by the old “rule list”, like for example, never kill your own boss. In July, 1981, the Outfit’s Chicago Heights “capo” Al Pilotto was shot several times while playing golf but miraculously managed to survive, thus creating a situation where people simply knew that somebody was going to get killed, and this time that “somebody” was none other than Nick D’Andrea. I really don’t know if he was really involved in Pilotto’s murder attempt scheme, but I’m almost positive know that D’Andrea wasn’t killed because of his drug peddling operations. So in September, 1981, the body of 49-year old D’Andrea appeared in the trunk of his burning Mercedes-Benz near Crete, Illinois. Years later, according to one Outfit informer, it turned out that the so-called “death squad” only wanted to talk to D’Andrea regarding the shooting of Pilotto, but the problem was that one of the gangsters Sam Carlisi used too much force just to scare the guy and probably killed the poor victim. The “death squad” was formed by members of the Melrose Park crew, such as Carlisi, who in turn was the capo of the faction, and his cohort James Marcello, and also from the Chinatown faction, which by now was headed by former dope dealer Angelo LaPietra. According to Nick D’Andrea’s wife, she said that after receiving a phone call from someone, who I personally believe was one Outfit member Sam Guzzino, her husband became very upset and from that point on, the late D’Andrea began carrying a gun and started noting the license plates of cars passing their house. But there was also another problem of which nobody knew except for the feds and that was the selling of cocaine to undercover agents in recent months. So sooner or later, D’Andrea was about to be busted, and later probably killed by his cohorts.


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Nick D’Andrea


So 18 days later, after the body disposal of the late Nick D’Andrea, the feds went after his brother Mario and his band of dope peddlers. On October 1, 1981, Mario D’Andrea managed to sell a pound of pure Colombian cocaine to an undercover agent. Shortly before 3 p.m. that day, by prearrangement, the undercover agent met with D'Andrea at the gas station to complete the deal in which the agent was to receive cocaine for $54,000. As the cocaine and cash changed hands, the agent quickly identified himself and tried to arrest D'Andrea, but that’s when all hell broke loose. D’Andrea pulled out a .38 caliber pistol from his waistband and fired three shots, missing the agent each time. As bystanders scattered for cover, the agent fired five shots from a .357 magnum revolver, thus mortally hitting D’Andrea. The other agents, while watching the shooting from concealment, converged on the scene and arrested two D'Andrea's companions, which in fact were his nephew 19-year old Richard D’Andrea, who in turn was the son of the late Nick D’Andrea, and also Mike Skeans, another “runner” for the dope peddling ring. Probably, it was not a nice scene for young Richard who in turn had to watch as his uncle slowly died on the street. After the demise of the D’Andrea brothers, according to the feds, Curry and Pronger again allegedly took over the dope rackets for the Chicago Heights faction under Tocco.


Another interesting situation occurred but this time it was down in Florida. As I previously stated that until now, the main overseer of the dope racket for the Outfit down in South Florida was still Giancana’s old pal James Tortoriello but things were about to change. Before his arrival in the Ft. Lauterdale, Tortoriello belonged to the West Side faction of the Outfit, under the deceased crime bosses such as Giancana, Buccieri and Battaglia but since then, many things obviously has changed. So one night, in 1982, as he relaxed on his front porch at a quiet Deerfield Beach street, suddenly two carloads of gunmen sprayed Tortoriello’s house with bullets like it was the bootlegging days of the 1920’s. Again, few minutes later, the two slow-moving limousines appeared for the second time and fired another round of bullets. The 72 year old mobster remained untouched but obviously, he was scared to death. When the cops questioned Tortoriello on who could’ve been so angry at him, in a classic Cosa Nostra style, at first the old gangster refused to answer the question and later, he said that he doesn’t have an enemy in the world. The next day, Tortoriello packed his bags and went into hiding or simply disappeared. You see, even though he was slowly getting too old, Tortoriello went through a lot, meaning he was a suspect in numerous killings and rubbed elbows with few of the most dangerous criminals in the world. He even had few legends which constantly surrounded him, such as the one when he reportedly knocked out a cow with a single punch, just to win a bet. So my point is that Tortoriello was not some guy who was about to be easly scared or pushed around but in this situation, it was quite the opposite which indicates that he probably knew his attackers and was also probably aware of the problem.


According to the feds, during this period Tortoriello was heavily involved in cocaine and weapons trafficking, which were two of the main illegal activities for some of the high profile criminals in that area. But the problem was that since Southern Florida was regarded as the chief entry point for contraband arms and narcotics from Latin America, the President of the U.S. Ronald Reagan created a special task force which was destined for that same area, thus placing a lot of pressure over the local criminal syndicates. Now I’m only guessing but since Tortoriello was already under federal investigation for smuggling weapons, maybe the boys from back home wanted to send him a “message” or they simply missed their target and made him a lucky guy. I personally believe in the second option, mainly because the hit squad made a second turn so they can give another try on hitting their target. Also, story goes that after the death of Tortoriello’s previous boss Sam Giancana, the old gangster became a quite beefy individual who very often disobeyed the orders from his superiours. So maybe the bosses back home wanted for Tortoriello to step back from the trafficking operation, mainly because of the new problem with the government, but the old man probably refused and made the whole situation too complicated. Whatever was the real reason for the shooting, one this is for sure and that was he no longer was the Outfit’s overseer for any racket in that area. While being on the run, in1983, one of his sons Mark Tortoriello was fatally shot during an alleged cocaine transaction, which obviously went wrong. Story goes that Mark Tortoriello has sold low quality drugs to someone, who in turn returned and shot him to death. In addition, one year later in 1984, James “Mugsy” Tortoriello joined his deceased son, since he was found shot to death in a warehouse near the Fort Lauderdale-Holywood International Airport.


Anyways, by the mid 1980’s, the top echelon of the Chicago Outfit, including Joey Aiuppa, Jack Cerone, Angelo LaPietra and Joey Lombardo were sent to jail regarding the Las Vegas scheme but besides that, the narcotics business was booming like never before. I also believe that the whole situation pushed old man Tony Accardo in a permanent retirement and during this period, the Outfit was led by Jimmy Marcello, Joe Ferriola, James LaPietra, Louis Eboli, John DiFronzo, Al Tocco and Sam Carlisi at the top. So the main Las Vegas scheme was gone, all of their lucrative gambling operations were gone, their political protection was also highly destabilized and so the only lucrative operations which remained for the Chicago boys were loan sharking and the unions. Now my personal belief is that most of these top guys stayed opened to narcotics since I previously stated that the Outfit-related dope business exploded, also most of the other lucrative schemes were gone and above all, some of them such as Ernest Infelice were not strangers to the dope business. For example, Carlisi, Marcello and DiFronzo oversaw all of the Outfit’s factions on the West Side, which by now, according to the feds, were connected to a couple of highly lucrative “junk” crews.


According to government authorities, one of those crews was allegedly connected to one West Side member known as Tony Centracchio, who in turn worked under the auspices of Outfit “capo” for the Grand Avenue crew known as Louis Eboli. Back in the old days, Eboli came up through the ranks of the old Melrose Park crew which was under the auspices of Sam Battaglia and Phil Alderisio, and my point is that he might’ve also been “friendly” with the dope business. Now, there are no real evidences for Centracchio’s direct involvement with the product, but instead there’s hard proof for his brother’s involvement in the dope business. Henry Centracchio was the younger brother of Tony, who before Eboli, he used to work for Joey Lombardo. Even though during this period he was in jail, back in the days Lombardo was also known for having many people around him who were involved in the dope business, such as Dominic DeSantis. So “fearlessly” Henry Centracchio made a connection with one street dealer known as Thomas Guth, who in turn was the main contact to large quantities of cocaine. The thing was that Centracchio and Guth knew each other from back in the days and were involved in all kinds of illegal activities.


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Anthony Centracchio


Back in the early 1980’s, Guth served a jail sentence at Sandstone Correctional Facility and over there he met another inmate known as Gary Lewellyn, and the two became close associates. In October, 1986, Guth was released from prison but he maintained regular contact with Lewellyn by phone. One day, Guth informed Lewellyn that he had developed a narcotics operation in Chicago, with the help of Henry Centracchio, who in turn had the men-power to distribute large quantities of cocaine. In the end, Guth asked Lewellyn if he knew anyone who could supply his operation with large quantities of high grade cocaine for distribution on Chicago’s city streets. In a matter of seconds, Lewellyn pronounced the name of one his new fellow inmates known as Jose Martinez, who had close connections with individuals such as Colombian drug lords down in Florida. The plan was for Lewellyn to act as Guth's supplier once he was released from prison. In fact, there was meeting between Lewellyn, Guth and Martinez at federal prison camp at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama. After the meeting, Martinez told Lewellyn that he and Guth had discussed the price and quantity of cocaine that Martinez could supply to Guth after Martinez's release from Maxwell. After his release, both Guth and Martinez went to Miami to meet with their drug suppliers, such as Robert Valido and Jorge Silva, the main people with the Columbian contacts.


So the next part of the plan was for the boys to arrange for an El Camino truck, and with Valido’s help, to build a secret compartment in the truck where the cocaine was to be placed in. After the repairing of the truck, once a month, the vehicle left from Miami to Chicago, usually packed with ten kilograms of cocaine, where it was welcomed by Centracchio’s crew. Because of his brother’s street reputation, Henry Centracchio had connections to many high level Italian dope peddlers from the western suburbs, such as James Aquilla who in turn oversaw a band of “runners”, which were perfect for the whole operation. Back in 1981, Aquilla almost lost his life in a car explosion in Florida, in which his relative, millionaire and Outfit associate Joseph Testa was fatally injured by loosing his right leg and one arm. At the time, federal authorities speculated that Testa may have been killed by a hit man known to work for Centracchio’s boss, the imprisoned Joey Lombardo. The Outfit transported the product all around Illinois with the help of their handbook establishments. Like for example, one day the feds raided an illegal gambling establishment in Elk Grove Village and they also found 10 kilograms of cocaine and according to one source, the operation was controlled by another Grand Avenue crew member known as Marco D’Amico. So Aquilla was the middle guy and his main runners were in fact two Outfit hit men, cocaine addicts and 24/7 drug peddlers, known as Joseph Bravieri and his constant companion Richard Zuniga and these dangerous fellas operated mainly around the Near West Side. Bravieri’s Mob connections mainly came through his older brother Arthur, who used to work in the burglary business for one Outfit “capo” William Daddano. And since both of them, meaning Bravieri and Zuniga, were addicts with a lot of cash, they visited many disco clubs and at the same time made connections to other street dealers and addicts, to whom they sold their product. According to the feds, this particular dope ring made profits around 10 million dollars a month only from the cocaine business and that’s why some of them lived quite lavishly to be considered as “simple” dope dealers. Again, according to some reports, during this period Aquilla lived in a $350,000 “fortress” at 420 Lauder Lane, Inverness. In plane words, business was booming and my personal belief is that many “fat envelopes” went into the pockets of the Outfit’s top administration which by now for certain was under the auspices of Sam Carlisi.


The second “junk crew” came also from the western suburbs and again my personal belief, and also the government’s, is that this particular group constantly sent envelopes straight to Carlisi, obviously through his own members from that area, such as Tony Zizzo and Al Tornabene. In fact, the Centracchios and Tornabene were quite close in doing business together and on top of that, Tornabene was considered a blood relative of Carlisi. So this crew was led by two Outfit crew-members and also middle men for the Melrose Park faction, known as Victor Plescia and Frank Bonavalante, the main individuals who distributed their product mainly around the Cicero, Berwyn, Bridgeview and Riverside areas. In fact, according to some sources, Bonavalante was the older brother of Joey Bonavalante, who in turn was an alleged “lieutenant” under Zizzo. So Bonavolante’s main role was financing the cocaine purchases with Outfit money, in return for a share of the resale profits. As for Vic Plescia, according to the feds, he oversaw the wholesale and retail drug operation which was mainly the distribution of cocaine and even though he was headed the conspiracy, his main couriers were Nick Rizzato and Tony Grossi, who in turn travelled many times to Miami, from where they purchased dozens of kilos of the product. According to one report, Plescia acquired his product from the same Columbian source as Centracchio’s crew. The interesting thing was that one of Plescia’s couriers such as Nick Rizzato worked as a Chicago police officer and so it was easy for him to transport the product since usually no one dared to search a man of the law. In addition, Rizzato was the brother of Anthony Rizzato, one of two Chicago police officers who were slain by sniper fire back in 1970.


After the courier’s brought the cocaine to Chicago, Tony Grossi together with his father Canillo distributed the product in street-use quantities, obviously with the help of their runners or street dealers, such as Norman Demma, Lizzio DeSantis, Kevin Geiger and also Plescia’s wife Cora. According to the government, this particular group of runners was capable of distributing up to 50 kilos of cocaine per month, which in fact was a quite lucrative amount. Also, during this period it was the beginning of a new era of everyday communications, such as pagers and mobile phones, which were constantly used by the dope dealers and other kinds of criminals, mainly because they foolishly believed that those devices were untraceable by the electronic surveillance of the feds. For example, when Plescia wanted to call for action, he simply paged his cohorts by using the code number 8, which indicated that the product has arrived. From that point on, of anyone from the crew wanted to purchase cocaine, they simply called for Plescia, who in turn first checked with one of the Grossis for availability, and then called back to whoever it was and set up the whole drug transaction. After the transaction was finished, percentage from the cash went into the pockets of Bonavalante and the rest of the Outfit’s hierarchy.


As you can see, even through the 1980’s, some high level members of the Outfit were still heavily involved in the dope business, which by now the connection lasted for more than three decades. But during this period, neither the Outfit, nor the Columbians were the strongest organization in the “Windy City”, since other gangs from the Latin or African-American element already began to flourish in the underworld. By the mid 1980’s, many Mexican drug cartels were created and they began flooding the United States with all kinds of narcotics and on top of that, during the same time period, the use of cocaine was reaching epidemic proportions in cities large and small across the nation, thus sparking turf wars and escalating drug-related violence. Now, during my research on the Chicago Outfit, I’ve realized that they were not that kind of an organization, I mean yes they killed a lot of people but always avoided internal conflicts and their main goal wasn’t narcotics. As for the new breed of criminals, they just didn’t care about any of the rules and that is why, the Outfit immediately got pushed out from the number one spot, thanks to the endless urge for violence of the new criminal generation, made out of various ethnicities.


One of those new criminal organizations was the Hernandez crime family which was based in Matamoros, Mexico, and through Texas, they managed to send large shipments of cocaine and marihuana all the way to Chicago. According to the feds, the organization was headed by Elio Hernandez and his sons, and these guys were quite dangerous, mostly because they were known for doing ritualistic murders. So besides being drug dealers, they also represented a gruesome cult and sacrificed their victims in such a way, in which they believed was the only way to protect their dope peddling operations and above all, themselves. One of the family’s main representatives in the U.S. was one Mexican drug lord known as Manuel “Poncho” Jaramillo, who settled himself in Mission, Texas, which is a small place near the border. Even though Jaramillo supplied drug dealers around country such as in New York and Miami, according to the government, his main connections were in Chicago. Story goes that Jaramillo’s second job, besides overseeing their dope racket, was money laundering or in other words, he invested drug money in legitimate enterprises. But even for that, he still needed some good underworld connections, and there was no other organization for such “pleasures” if it wasn’t for the Mob.


So one thing led to another and next thing you know, Jaramillo made a close relationship with none other than Chicago Heights capo Al Tocco. As I previously stated, during this period Tocco was considered one of Chicago’s most dangerous criminal overlords around the South suburbs, mainly because he had the garbage business locked down in that territory, and also the union business, loan sharking and obviously, narcotics. Now, the main connection between Tocco and Jaramillo was one dope dealer know as Mike Habiniak from another small town on Texas’ border. To tell you the truth, I really don’t know on how the hell Tocco was connected to Habiniak but all I know is that the a deal was made in which on the supply side of the dope ring were the Mexicans and the people from Texas, and on the distribution end of the ring was the Chicago Outfit, thanks to Tocco. It was just like in the old days, when Tocco’s predecessors used the “welcome” the main drug shipments for the organization. This time there weren’t any made guys of the Outfit involved in the racket but simple, Tocco’s faction acted as a wholesale distributor to mainly two dope peddling gangs which in turn, after the distribution of the shipment, they gave a good percentage from their income to Tocco and the boys. In addition, even though they were connected with the Mexican drug lords, still much of the dope shipment which was meant for the South suburbs came from Florida, or in other words, the Colombians. The main reason for this was that the Hernandez crime family was mostly involved with the Chicago Heights faction in money laundering operations, thus putting the dope business on second place.


According to the feds, one of those South-suburban gangs was headed by one dope dealer known as Sam Mann. In fact, Mann previously did not have any Mob connections but instead he was acquainted with individuals who were obliged for the rest of their lives to pay “street-tax” to their so-called territorial crime lords, such as Tocco. Again, most of these individuals were involved in the auto-theft racket, which by now was still one of Tocco’s most lucrative operations. Back in the old days, Mann was involved in the auto-theft racket together with one Tony Rovy and his associate Robert Hardin. So the main connection to the Mob was in fact Rovy, who in turn also worked as collector and a hit man. Rovy's criminal background can be traced back more than 20 years, which included 26 arrests and numerous convictions for which he served a total of one year and nine months in jail. By the early 1980s, Rovy allegedly headed the auto-theft ring for the late Outfit henchman William Dauber, who also supported the dope racket and on top of that, he was a heavy user of cocaine. Rovy also has been linked to the shooting death of one reputed drug dealer Phil
Voss outside a Calumet City tavern back in April 1982, but the problem was that the evidence was not strong enough to bring murder charges against him.


After the murder of Dauber, both Mann and Rovy began paying their “debts” to one of Tocco’s new chief enforcers, Clarence Crockett. And since then, the duo got heavily involved in transporting cocaine from Florida, straight to Calumet City, which in fact was their main territory. But by the mid 1980’s, the crew grew stronger by even having their own protection in the form of a Calumet City police sergeant known as Russell “Rusty” Larson. The thing was that both Larson and Mann grew up together on Chicago’s South Side, and years later they repeatedly travelled from Calumet City to Florida to buy drugs for resale in the south suburbs. The reality was that the 16-year veteran of the Police Department protected Mann’s activities from raids and surveillances by other law enforcement agencies, and sometimes he even acted as security during the transportation of the drug shipment. According to one source, cocaine was being sold and snorted literally under the noses of some Calumet City police officers because Mann was confident that his buddy from the police force would protect him from arrest. But even with that, one day in 1985, Mann was stupid enough to get himself arrested by the feds for possession of cocaine and was sentenced to two years in prison. After Mann’s imprisonment, Rovy allegedly took over as leader of the crew, which by now included Larson, Hardin, and also Mann’s girlfriend Terri Miller and her sister Michelle, along with one Nenad Vidojevic. The interesting thing was that after all of those years, the Chicago Heights faction still managed to hold the same “dope peddling” territory which was the South suburbs and also Lake County, Indiana. During that period, proof for that were Rovy’s vast cocaine and marihuana operations in northern Indiana.


The next crew operated mainly around the Orland Park and Joliet areas and was headed by one notorious Italian dope peddler known as Dante Autullo Jr. Story goes that this guy was big in the business, and owned a $400,000 pizzeria shop south of Orland Park known as 31st Street Pizza Restaurant, where the drugs were imported, and he also owned a $600,000 nightclub known as Rush's 21st Century Lounge from where the product was distributed. Also Autullo was connected to a large crew of runners who were overseen by two of his closest associates, John Cappas and Salvatore Dattulo. Now, Cappas was the main connection to the Outfit through a couple of his “business partners” such as the Messino brothers Chris and Clement. In fact, they were the nephews of another Outfit “heavyweight” known as Willie “The Beast” Messino, and they both were former Chicago police officers who left the department back in 1974 for alleged participation in an auto theft racket from their auto body business Auto Abbey, which was located in Harvey, Illinois. According to the feds, even though his father belonged to the West Side faction, still Chris Messino was considered a member of the Chicago Heights faction under Al Tocco.


The other “interesting” thing with both Cappas and Dattulo was that they were in their early 20’s and so they were connected to many young dope dealers and addicts, who constantly filled their pockets with cash, and the problem was that they looked upon at Autullo as their “Mafia Godfather”, mainly because of his lavish lifestyle. Once, Autullo sold one of his expensive houses for much lesser price to Cappas, so it can make it easy for him to attract rich kids and to transform them into their own runners for their dope peddling operation. He owned a $500,000 worth of property in Homer Township, Will County including his expensive home near Lockport. For example, one of those kids was Daniel Joyce, a dealer, cocaine addict and also the son of the current State Senator at the time, Jeremiah Dorsey. According to one report, the Senator’s son once almost became the shooting target of the same gang in which he belonged to, mainly because of his drug peddling debts, which later were quickly repaid. Many of these young individuals really felt fear in Cappas presence mainly because of his background and also the things which he was capable of committing. Once, two 17-year old graduates from the Marist High School allegedly took their own lives after they said that drug dealers had threatened to torture and kill them for not paying their dope debts. But the federal investigators were trying somehow to determine if the two youths who committed suicide were involved with drug dealers working for Cappas, since he also was a former graduate o the same high school.


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John Cappas


In reality, Cappas was the key figure in this whole operation, mainly because he had the street contacts and also, he was the most dangerous individual among his fellow members, which made him the prefect collector and hit man for Autullo and also the Chicago Outfit. One of Cappas main enforcers was Nick Ahrens, who was known for always carrying a gun and was quite known as one very notorious individual. As I previously stated somewhere during this long story, that these fellas were involved in many Outfit-related illegal activities, which ranged from extortion to murder, but the thing is, in this example this wasn’t the deal. Some of the shooting in which these fellas were involved were Outfit-related, but some were simply drug-related. For example, two other young and ruthless enforcers and drug dealers for Cappas were Ray Bonnema and Bryan Bafia. Now, if someone owed money to these two fellas, they were usually known for shooting up the vicitms’ houses or cars. According to the feds, Cappas once bragged that he made $1 million a year from the dope ring, an amount that cannot go unnoticed by the local Italian crime syndicate, which by now still extorted almost every dope peddler in their territories.
Free will,it is a bitch!

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Villain
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Re: Outfit Money: The Narcotics Business

Post by Villain » Fri Apr 21, 2017 6:35 pm

Now the problem was that Autullo already had the same connections down in Florida, which I believe were the same people who supplied the West Side faction with cocaine, meaning the Columbians. But since he was Italian and a criminal and also operated around Tocco’s territory, Autullo was also obliged to take his stuff. According to some reports, during this period some big time Italian dope peddlers were pushed around by various members of the Outfit, mainly because of their sources of supply. So sometimes, guys like Autullo Jr. were forced to take their shipments from two different factions who served for the same organization, which was the Outfit and if you look at the situation more clearly, it was just another lucrative scheme. In other words, if the previous crews sold around 50 kilos per month of any kind of narcotic, from this point on, the so-called “new” crews were forced to sell double than that, which in fact was an unbelievable amount for the current Italian gangs. On top of that, bosses like Tocco were connected to more than one dope ring, which obviously tripled their profits from the racket. In fact, this was just one of the reasons for the huge number of dope addicts during this time around the city’s streets. In addition, during this period most of these south suburban dope peddlers still paid their street tax to the Outfit, but they never knew that some drug sources were in fact financed by the same criminal organization, which gave the “made guys” another step ahead in the game by being completely protected from any law enforcement attack. Also according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration at the time, they suspected that the Chicago Outfit reportedly laundered their drug money through one casino-hotel which was located on the Caribbean island of Curaçao and was overseen by one high level member from the West Side area or to be exact, from the Grand Avenue crew, known as Jimmy Cozzo. This fella had a lengthy arrest record which dated from 1954 and includes arrests for robbery, burglary, possession of stolen goods and above all, for peddling narcotics. This was a quite curious investment and was probably financed by the Teamster pension funds, which was also under the auspices of the imprisoned Joey Lombardo. In fact, during this period many members of the Grand Avenue faction were allegedly involved deep into the cocaine business.


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Joey Lombardo


But as you saw in countless other examples, no matter how hard they tried to protect themselves by inventing new schemes or paying off cops, still by the end of the day the mobsters were “forced” to wash their hands in the blood of their associates, mainly because of their own mistakes, including getting caught by the feds or the usage of too much narcotics. For example, in August, 1986, Curry and his wife were accused for multiple counts of income tax evasion and mail fraud, which obviously had nothing to do with narcotics. But the problem was that the judge ordered a $50,000 bond for Curry, which in no time got him again free on the city’s streets. Now, the thing I really don’t understand is that most of these “middle men” made the same and boring mistake, by while being free on bond they continued to be involved in illegal scheme. In other words, while he was free on bond awaiting sentencing, drug agents arrested Curry on charges of selling cocaine to an undercover agent. On September 13, 1986, the judge sentenced Curry to 18 years in prison, fined him $10,000 and ordered $174,000 in restitution. As I previously stated in one of my stories, I personally believe that the prison sentence has saved Curry’s life, mainly because of the previous numerous examples were highly lucrative “middle men” were killed for mistakes such as this one. And as usual, when someone got busted for selling drugs, people usually got “clipped” by the Mob. “Coincidentally”, right after the imprisonment of Curry, the next incident occurred the next year, when Sam Mann was released from jail and later was beaten to death outside a Calumet City tavern and the police at the time said the injuries stemmed from quarrel over the affections of Mann's girlfriend Terri Miller. To tell you the truth I personally don’t believe in the story a bit, mainly because of the next event.


Right after the killing of Sam Mann, “somebody” also killed his business partner and long time friend Eugene Bell. He was found strangled down in Florida, which indicated that it was a pure Mob hit. The connection between Mann and Bell goes all the way back in Crete, Illinois, where they stole cars and together started selling drugs. In fact, Bell was Mann’s main connection in Florida with the Columbians and helped in transporting the cocaine shipment all the way to Chicago, of course with the help of their chop shop operation. So maybe in their own style, the Outfit and Tocco cut off their dope connections such as Mann and Bell and they were capable of continuing the slaughter until every possible Outfit-connected drug dealer was buried six feet under the ground. But the problem was that the government continued to hunt down the South suburban dope peddling ring and above all, the Outfit’s Chicago Heights faction, an action which obviously continued the bloodshed. So next on the “arrest list” was the Autullo gang, which quite easily fell into the FBI’s “claws” and was a big “sensation”. At the beginning of 1988, the feds managed to build a case against the crew and so they arrested every possible member, including the Senator’s son. On top of that, the government seized over two million dollars in property of some of the defendants. In the end, Cappas and Autullo and 11 other crew members were charged with conspiracy to distribute drugs, a crime which at the time carried maximum penalty of life in prison. The prosecutors successfully convinced the jury against the defendants and upon the conviction, Cappas also faced 20 million dollar fine and as for Autullo, he received “only” 10 million in fine. And so, the next “hit” occurred on John Pronger, after he got arrested by a whole team of federal agents with a kilo of cocaine and a huge stack of cash. Later he was found guilty but his sentencing hearing was delayed, which was the main reason for his demise that occurred on August 16, 1988, when he got shot from a 357 Magnum handgun, which according to the report, was loaded with dum-dum bullets. This made Pronger the second brother who was killed on the orders of the Chicago Outfit, allegedly because of messing up the dope racket.


Another murder occurred the next year, in November, 1989, on Chicago’s North Side and again, the victim was a suspected dope peddler. This time the “lucky” guy was Sam Canzoneri but to tell you the truth his demise is quite mysterious to me since I totally lost any track of him back in 1985 with the end of the “Pizza Connection”. One day, his wife Karen and their two teenage daughters returned to their quite expensive home after an evening out, and inside they witnessed all of the chairs and tables overturned and some of the windows broken, but when they opened the door to the utility room they faound Canzoneri’s lifeless body. According to the report, there were possibly two killers who opened the front door of the house and they forced their way in and so Canzoneri apparently attempted to run. A chase occurred around the huge house and eventually Canzoneri was able to scramble to the utility room where he shut the door and tried to barricade himself. But the assailants fired with their 38-caliber pistols through the door, thus striking him directly in his chest. The police had no suspects or any kind of motives for Canzoneri’s demise, except for the fact that he owned Pizza Crisp International and Panhandle Pizza Inc both of Highland Park. The investigators examined the firms' books to see if he owed any large amount of money to anyone or if there were disputes over bills, but in the end, everything was clean. The only suspicious thing was Canzioneri’s $800,000 house, which was something that his legitimate business clearly did not provide, according to the books. So I personally suspect that maybe Canzoneri was still involved in “something”, which clearly brought a lot of profits for him, and obviously someone was very angry about it. So maybe he wasn’t sharing his profits with his “business partners” or maybe it was some old “beef” which in time, slowly caught up with Canzoneri.


Besides their constant problems, the next difficult situation for the Outfit, as I previously stated, was the massive narcotics usage among their high level associates. The thing was that these so-called associates were the base of every illegal operation which was overseen by the Italian crime syndicate and so they needed to be sharp and concentrated on their job. I mean there are also countless examples where these people, besides being involved in illegal rackets, the also killed for the Mob. So in other words, it was quite risky situation for the crime bosses to send one of their underlings, filled with cocaine, to execute some particular individual. On top of that, if you look at the situation from psychological perspective, you can see that those same murdering addicts slowly lost their logic and mind, obviously because of the cocaine usage. And that’s what really happened. In December, 1988, Joseph Bravieri and Richard Zuniga, mainly because of their recklessness and violent nature, they managed to open to “doors” for the feds to the Outfit’s “heart” which was the West Side faction.


One day, Bravieri and Zuniga arrived at one of their runner’s apartment and began an early morning game of gin rummy with one of their close associate and also Outfit enforcer Carmen Sarlo. The problem was that both Bravieri and Zuniga were carrying weapons, such as shotgun and a revolver, and so during the game an argument occurred regarding the sales of cocaine. Suddenly, Bravieri, who was heavily under the influence of cocaine, picked up his shotgun and fired one shot at Sarlo’s girlfriend Joanne Gasic, as she lay. The poor woman was killed instantly and in fact, she was the reason for the argument, mostly because she was a good dope dealer and Bravieri wanted her for himself. After that, Bravieri then took a shot at one of Gasic’s female friends, Sandra Ault, who was also present at the scene, but luckily for her, he missed. Then Sarlo leaped to Bravieri’s feet and demanded to know what was going on but Bravieri’s answer was "No, you gotta go, too." And so, Zuniga shot Sarlo with a pistol and Bravieri stabbed him with a knife about 20 times in the back and chest. After the double murder, the boys focused on the allegedly dead woman, Miss Ault, who in turn was only pretending face down on the floor. Suddenly Bravieri used his foot to roll her over and the terrified woman blinked and opened her eyes. “Are you dead?” Bravieri asked, and the woman answered “No but I won’t talk” and so obviously he wasn't buying that line and instead of reloading his shotgun, Bravieri dropped to the floor and with the help of a small knife, he reached under the woman’s blouse and stabbed her in the abdomen. But “miraculously”, the poor woman somehow managed to survive again since it was only a superficial wound, and the moment when Bravieri turned his back on her, the woman quickly jumped up and fled first into bedroom then out the back, straight to the next door neighbour, who in turn called the police. According to one report, Bravieri made the botched hit simply because his reflexes were poor and his vision blurred, mainly because he was high on cocaine. In no time, both suspects were arrested by the police, together with their weapons and bloody clothes. The next year, at the end of the trial, the judge found both Bravieri and Zuniga guilty on two counts of first-degree murder and sentenced them to life in prison.


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Zuniga and Bravieri


As you can see, during this period the Outfit was facing this new problem, which was the cocaine addiction and obviously quite affected their operations. After the arrest of Bravieri, the feds began to investigate his alleged Mob connections and slowly started completing the whole picture, and who were the main individuals behind the operation. So the feds began using electronic surveillance on the dealers’ communication devices, such as mobile phones and pagers, and as I previously stated, I can’t blame the gangsters for believing that those same devises were untraceable by the feds, mainly because it was a new “thing” and the whole story sounded like just another “myth” but obviously they were wrong. Since Bravieri was connected to Victor Plescia’s crew, in no time, the West Side faction slowly began to feel the pressure from the government’s “fury”. With the aid of a confidential informant, the feds managed to quickly identify Plescia as the leader of the conspiracy. Surveillance agents recorded countless mobile phone and pager conversations between him and the rest of the suspects, and on top of that they even managed to infiltrate their own undercover agent next to Plescia.


Once the conspiracy resumed normal operations, the federal agents recorded a series of phone conversations in which many of the crew’s runners constantly wanted to purchase more cocaine from Plescia. But during one conversation, the agents learned about an alleged drug transaction, which occurred in a parking lot where Plescia and one of his runners parked before entering. Afterward, the agents tried to arrest the duo but just like in the movies, a chase occurred and in which only Plescia’s runner Norman Demma was caught, but the problem was that he already has thrown away his cocaine stash and so the feds had to let him walk away, but the thing was that the agents continued to monitor the sudden burst of communications among the suspects. For example, right after the arrest Demma immediately called Plescia to warn him that the agents followed them and that they may have bugged Plescia's phone or pager. In a matter of minutes, Plescia called Bonavolante and the Grossis to warn them of the attention from drug enforcement officers. The investigation ended in October, 1989, when the feds finally had established the roles and identities of the individuals involved in the conspiracy and had sufficient evidence against them, all of the suspects were arrested, indicted, tried and convicted, including Vic Plescia, Nick Rizzato, Lee Lizzio, Kevin Geiger, Frank Bonavolante, Camillio Grossi, Anthony Grossi, Norman Demma and others. In fact, this was another fatal blow for the Outfit’s dope peddling racket since previously the feds managed to destroy the South suburban dope ring, and now they also managed to hit straight in the heart of the operation. I stated the “heart” mainly because some of these fellas were closely connected to the syndicate’s top administration.


And that is why, slowly but surely, the feds were getting closer to that particular top criminal administration. For example, they had Al Tocco regarding some murder charges but the thing was that the Mob boss allegedly received info about the problem and so he fled the country and went to Europe. During that time, while he was on the run, the feds also managed to connect him to the Jaramillo and Hernandez drug cartel. The next year, the feds arrested Jaramillo and with the help of the Mexican authorities, they also arrested the three sons of Ermilo Hernandez, who in fact were one of the main suppliers of cocaine for the Chicago market. And they even managed to arrest Tocco, who in fact was “vacationing” in Greece and a year later in 1990 he was sentenced to 200 years in prison on murder conviction. Two years later, the feds also managed to bring the Outfit’s top guys to court, such as Gus Alex and Sam Carlisi, and also convict them to long prison sentences. By that time, even Tony Accardo has decided to join his deceased cohorts on the “other side” and from that point on story goes that all bets were off. Also even by now, with most of the political protection gone and their illegal activities quite limited, some Outfit bosses still managed to getaway from conviction and remained free on the city’s streets. In addition, from this point on, the Chicago Outfit was never involved in large scale narcotics business or even peddling narcotics on national level, ever again. Some of the members and associates were still selling few pounds here and there, but never again like in the old days when they used to form their own drug routes and having numerous suppliers, first hand. In fact, the era of criminal masterminds and drug overlords such as Jim Emery or Sam Giancana was long gone, mostly because of the constant changing of the underworld in regards of its ethnicity.


The beginning of the 1990’s was again a new era for the dope peddling business and according to some reports, the federal funding for the war on drugs during this period reached $17.1 billion dollars. The reason for this were the new products or so-called “club drugs” which began to be more and more popular among the younger citizens. For example, “new things” such as ecstasy pills and crystal meth were quite popular in California and also all around the Midwest, but the most consummated narcotic around the country remained to be marihana. There were many reasons for this phenomenon, like for example the new styles of music such as “Hip-Hop” or “Rave”, which I personally believe that it largely contributed to massive usage of the narcotic plant and also synthetic drugs among the younger generation. Many Latin and African-American street-gangs continued flourishing in the marihuana trade and also during this period, 34% of the American population admitted of using marijuana, which obviously made the selling of the product quite lucrative. In addition, even though “crack-cocaine” was still considered one of the most addictive, lethal and also lucrative products, still Chicago the nation's third largest city and one that seemed as ripe as any other for the product, has largely stood by mainly as an observer. In fact, from the beginning, one of the mysteries of the crack epidemic has been why it largely passed Chicago by. I mean don’t get me wrong, crack still existed on the Windy City’s streets, but the main thing is that we've got to distinguish between a crack problem and a crack epidemic, which never really happened in Chicago. And since marihuana became the “new” most lucrative product for the high level dope dealers, the Chicago Outfit was always there to take its own share from the operation.


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Marihuana “buds”


As I previously stated that by the early 1990’s, the Outfit’s top hirearchy was again under attack by the government‘s “elite squads” and many of the top syndicate bosses were under federal investigation, including the boss himself Sam Carlisi. So during this period, the Outfit was led by former burglars, loan sharks or extortionists, such as John DiFronzo, Anthony Centracchio and John Monteleone who during their criminal careers more or less had connections with some dope dealers, and so my point and also personal belief is that this particular generation and top Outfit administration did not really care from where the money came from, since the golden days of Las Vegas were long gone. Guys like DiFronzo or Monteleone regulary took envelopes of cash from the narcotics trade and every other illegal racket but story goes that they strongly forbidden for their underlings to “get high out of their own supply” or in other words, the bosses did not want any dope addicts around them, especially within their organization.


One of the most interesting “ventures” during this period involved the so-called DiFronzo “clan”, which by slowly took over the “central command” of Chicago’s oldest crime syndicate and was formed by three brothers, including John, Pete and Joseph. They were still into union racketeering, loan sharking, collecting street tax, legitimate businesses such as garbage collection, money-laundering and above all, financing dope deals. So this next story starts with one “victim” of DiFronzo’s loan sharking operations known as Michael Coffey. This guy was a very flashy individual who drove from Rolls Royce to Corvette, always had many female companions around him and looked like a millionare. But sometimes people like that, just to preserve that kind of style, they make a mistake by going way over their financial limit. So one day Coffey loaned some money from the youngest brother of the “clan” Joseph DiFronzo, with an interest rate of 5 percent a week, and had quickly grown to $18,000 which was the point of no return for Coffey. In other words, because of his huge debt which he could not repay, from now on Coffey literally belonged to the Outfit and Joe DiFronzo. So the two individuals had a sit down on which DiFronzo made an offer to Coffey which he couldn’t refuse by offering a quite “crazy” solution to settle the debt. The idea that DiFronzo had was for Coffey to start growing marihuana in his warehouse which was located in Inverness, Illinois, in the northwest suburbs. In fact, this wasn’t an ordinary warehouse but instead it was a $650,000 15-room colonial-style house, which had the capacity for storing hundreds of marihuana plants. So Coffey had no other choice but accept DiFronzo’s proposal for growing high-grade indoor marijuana for the mob, so he can allegedly erase the debt.


At the beginning of the operation, Coffey was given additional $10,000 by DiFronzo and a plane ticket to Florida allegedly for advice, supplies and marijuana cuttings. Previously, light was the limiting factor to grow high quality marihuana indoors but by now, with the understanding of how a plant uses light, many marihuana growers began using high intensity discharge lamp technology, as well as hydro-ponic equipment, which was a watering system, and also various kinds of fertilizers and insecticides. The marihuana plants were about to be placed in three large basement rooms, equipped with expensive hydroponic irrigation tubes that keep the plants fed with water and nutrients, and also with the extra-bright lights hanging from the ceiling. The guy who was in charge of the electricity was one Mike Fusco, who in fact was a professional electrician and the thing was that at first, Fusco wasn’t informed about Coffey’s intention but later when he found out, he really got scared. The other important “links” in the operation were Bruce Ventura, the guy who helped in harvesting the plants, David Wutzen, the caretaker of the plants, and also Joseph Duenser, the individual who buried garbage from the marijuana operation on his property. In the end, two bedrooms of Coffey`s home were about to be used to dry and package the product.So Coffey and Duenser also began to form their crew or more like so-called network of people to distribute their product and many of those individuals also invested some of their cash in the project. For example, two of the main investors were Anthony Sanello, a known Outfit associate, and Richard Lantini, a private investigator from Park Ridge and former Stone Park police officer. Also Duenser and one Theodore Kotsovos took the roles as the main distributors in the operations by selling their product to numerous street gangs and independent dope dealers. They placed their price between $2,500 and $3,000 for a pound of “weed” and so the stage was set.


At first sight the whole operation looked quite professional but in reality, at beginning it started off as a failure because they mistakenly planted male marihauna plants, which don't produce the needed “high”. The main problem was that none of these guys ever knew anything regarding the marihuana growing business and because of that they already lost three months and time costs money. In the second try, or after additional three months, the operation failed again since somehow the plants turned moldy mainly because the humidity was too high, wrong fertilizer was used and the lighting was inadequate. And in no time, Coffey began to feel the pressure from Joe DiFronzo and the Outfit in general, since everybody began loosing a lot of money instead of generating, and when the crime bosses start loosing cash, somebody might get “clipped”. In other words, Coffey had to find a solution for the problem or else. So he again took a travel down to Florida where he met with some more expirinced individuals in the marihuana growing business for an advice. When he returned to Iverness, this time Coffey covered the cement floor with plastic to keep the moisture in the plants, and also covered the walls with foil to reflect the bright lights. Finally, the operation had produced several successful harvests which ranged between $40,000 and $500,000. Because of the growing profits, the boys began looking to expand their operation by growing marihuana plants inside multiple trailers around Du Page County, which obviously doubled their profits somewhere around one million dollars a year.


Everything went smooth for the next two years, until someone, as always, managed to screw things up for everybody. My personal belief is that the main problem for the marihuana growing or the narcotics business in general, is that it involves too many people, thus making the so-called “secret” impossible to hold. The proof for that is when Tony Sanello bragged about the operation to one of close friends, who at the time served a prison sentence on a cocaine conviction. The problem was that Sanello’s buddy worked as an informant inside the prison and so he immediately tipped the feds regarding the marihuana operation. After several days, an “army” of federal agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency stormed Coffey’s house on March 20, 1992, thus seizing 1,600 marijuana plants, and everything else inside which was essential for the operation, including the owner. From the confiscated documents, the agents also learned of the existence of an additional 2,200 plants stored in two of three padlocked tractor-trailers reserved for the purpose at a Carol Stream industrial park, and after three days, the trailers were also impounded. While in custody, Coffey decided to plead guilty but the problem was that he also gave up every single individual, which was involved in the whole operation and in no time, arrested were 11 other accomplices, including Joseph Duenser, Mike Fusco, Theodore Kotsovos, Anthony Sanello, Bruce Ventura, David Wutzen, Richard Gelsomino and Richard Lantini. The only guy who is missing from the list and also got away, or in other words went on the lam, was none other than Joseph DiFronzo. Since his brother was on the Outfit’s top administration, he probably received previous of the arrests and managed to pack his bags and disappear into an unknown direction.


Another interesting thing which occurred during the investigation, or should I say during the trial, was when one of the individuals in jury Robert Girardi began “leaking” information to one of the defendants. In fact, Girardi and defendant Richard Gelsomino were close friends from way back, which was the main reason for Girardi’s decision to help with some inside info on the jury’s thinking and decisions. My personal belief regarding Girardi’s decision were his so-called life problems, meaning he had gone through a messy divorce and was carrying enormous gambling debts and child support payments on a grocery clerk's salary. In other words, Girardi began hurting financially and so he saw a way out by helping Gelsomino in return for some cash. So while he was out on bond, during the early summer of 1993, Gelsomino began meeting with Girardi at public places and during those meetings, Girardi discussed the grand jury proceedings involving Gelsomino and other persons who were also of interest to Gelsomino. So later Gelsomino took the coded notes of this information and shared it with his friend and co-defendant, Richard Lantini. But the problem was that there was a big mistrust among the defendants, obviously since Lantini apparently felt that the whole thing was a set up and quickly went to his attorney with the information. In fact, Lantini did the right thing since the whole case was about to erupt.


Eventually, Lantini’s lawyer shared the information with the government and in no time, the feds visited Gelsomino, who in turn also agreed to coopearte in nailing his friend Girardi. So Gelsomino turned over the notes he had taken and agreed to continue his meetings with Girardi while wearing a microphone wire. In a matter of few days, several conversations between Gelsomino and Girardi were recorded, and in those some conversations, Girardi disclosed information about the grand jury proceedings, including the identity of witnesses and the content of their testimony. Up until this point, Girardi had provided Gelsomino with the information gratis, but one day Gelsomino informed Girardi that allegedly some criminal higher-ups were willing to pay for his information. So Gelsomino managed to arrange a meeting between Girardi and one undercover FBI agent who posed as member of the Chicago Outfit, interested in paying for Girardi's information. So during the conversation, the corrupt juror quickly offered to exchange information with the agent in return for $2,500 to $3,000 a month. One of the crucial meetings was held in December 1993, in a McDonald's parking lot on the western suburbs and Girardi told the agent that he did not want to get in trouble, but that he "felt good about helping people, especially Italians." After that the agent offered Girardi $1,000 up front to help Girardi buy Christmas presents for his children and thereafter, he was to receive $500 dollars per week as long as the information he provided merited it. This meeting was also recorded. Soon after, Girardi was arrested and even though he initially denied any wrongdoing, when confronted with the tapes, he quickly admitted talking to Gelsomino. However, he emphatically denied ever approaching any of the other grand jurors about participating in his scheme but Gelsomino said otherwise, claiming that Girardi told him that three other grand jurors were also willing to cooperate in exchange for $10,000 and airplane tickets to Hawaii. He also turned over 39-pages of copious hand-written notes to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
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Re: Outfit Money: The Narcotics Business

Post by Villain » Fri Apr 21, 2017 6:37 pm

The next year, in May, 1994, all of the defendants, including the ones who shared their information with the government, were sent to jail. The main reason for that was the government’s argument that there was no indication that Girardi's conduct affected the grand jury's decision to indict in any way and had no improper influence over the other grand jurors. In other words, there was no need for the rest of the defendants to tell on each other since the irony of the informants’ requests that their indictments should be dismissed because of the conduct they participated in, has not escaped the prosecutors. For example, Mike Coffey was sentenced to 10 years in prison including Joseph Duenser, Mike Fusco, Theodore Kotsovos, Anthony Sanello, Bruce Ventura, and David Wutzen were all expecting about 10 years with no chance for parole. Since the government was quite angry at him since his leaks led to entire different indictments being thrown out of the window, Girardi was sentenced to 8 years and one month to prison. Joe DiFronzo remained as fugitive and the prosecutors stated publicly that he may have vanished as a result of Girardi's possible leak about charges that were to be brought against DiFronzo for involvement with the Inverness drug operation.The only guy, who received lesser sentence because of his cooperation but in a different case, was Richard Lantini. He received only 5 years in return for his testimony against Marco D'Amico, another high level Outfit member, who also had a personal financial investment in the marihuana-growing operation. D’Amico was one of those Outfit guys who rarely took a conviction and was also connected directly to JohnDiFronzo and the rest of the brothers and allegedly headed the Grand Avenue crew. In fact, Lantini belonged to the crew which was under the auspices of D’Amico and worked as one of his loan shark collectors and also as a bookmaker. In less than a year, thanks to the extensive efforts of the feds, D'Amico along with eight other members from his crew were indicted for running an illegal sports bookmaking operation, using extortion to collect gambling debts and juice loans and conspiring to commit racketeering. Others indicted include Tony and Carl Dote, Robert Abbinanti, Roland Borelli, Frank Catapano, Frank Marnato, Robert Scutkowski and William Tenuta. All have pleaded guilty and have been sentenced to the federal penitentiary in 1995.


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John DiFronzo and Marco D’Amico (behind the guy with the beard)


As you can see, by now the old code of silence was long gone, especially among the syndicate members and their associates. I believe the main reasons for that were the non-existent hierarchy which was previously presented in the past and also the punishments which they used to give to those who disobeyed their orders. Back in the old days, if one of the middle guys brought an undercover agent to a dope deal, he usually kept his mouth shut or in some cases, ended up dead on the street. Also, members or associates went on the lam like it was the 1940’s or 50’s, which obviously tripled the government heat. After the imprisonment of his marihuana growing crew, four years later the feds managed to arrest Joe DiFronzo who in turn enjoyed the sunshine in Boca Raton, Florida, but immediately was sentenced to a 10-year prison term. Now, I don’t believe that the top criminal administration was pissed about the whole situation mainly because his brother John DiFronzo kept his position somewhere at the top and so did the dope business, especially cocaine.


Now don’t get me wrong, during this period many of the top crime bosses still financied the narcotics trade but they also still controlled their primary rackets such as video poker machines, loan sharking, extortion and prostitution. The current crime bosses did not want any more trouble and so they again placed their own trusted guys in charge of the operation. Their cocaine deals were financied mainly through their old associates, who already had quite good and also long experience in the drug trade, such as the Messino brothers. In fact, these guys flew under the radar for over a decade, while dealing dope under the nose of the federal government and the thing was that their whole family, including relatives, were involved in the business. According to the feds, Clement and Chris Messino were dealing Colombian cocaine throughout the 1980’s and early 90’s, with the help of the same old method, meaning transporting their stash from Florida to Chicago with the help of stolen cars or auto parts or even in expensive racing cars and other vehicles. The thing was that Chris Messino was a proud racer and also owned several race cars, including a Pro-Mod 1957 race car which was named "Shake, Rattle and Run" and he also owned few racing boats and a 1991 Harley Davidson motorcycle. And as for Clement, he was the “intelegent side” of the duo, who was mostly involved in trafficking with illegal weapons and also controlled a money laundering scheme by purchasing real estate in Monee, Illinois.


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Dope hidden inside an automobile


Now, the so-called Messino “crime family” or dope peddling ring had its own hierarchy with both Chris and Clement at the top and an “army” of middle men and runners under their rule. For example, the next guy in line or their “right hand man” was George Thorpe, who allegedly directly participated with the Messino brothers in financing and overseeing the transportation, storing, distribution and the cash collection. The first link of the chain was Michael Homerding who was the mian "initial broker" of the cocaine transported into the Chicago area, mainly because he had the right contacts with the south Florida Colombian drug cartels. Donald Southern was the main individual who arranged for delivery of the cash and cocaine and in turn received large amounts of cash from the Messino organization. Another of his guys was also Chris Messino's "gofer and houseboy”, Thomas Hauck who allegedly have been directly involved in the transportation of the cocaine from Florida to Illinois. Once the product arrived in Chicago, the next guy was William Underwood, an alleged addict, who had been involved in the storage of the cocaine. They usually stored the stash in few of their joints around the South suburbs, such as a bar or an automobile shop in Harvey, Illinois, and later it was divided between their runners such Chris Messino’s sons, Chris Jr, Blaise and Paul, who in turn were alleged to have been involved as the main distributors and couriers for the dope peddling ring and on top of that, they had the main street peddling contacts such as Lawrence Thomas, Gray Chrystall and Daniel Shoemaker. Story goes that all three of Messino’s sons also used cocaine, which was a quite dangerous situation for them since many Outfit associates in the past were killed because of the addictive activity. So while couriers delivered the cocaine in stolen cars from Florida at great risk, the Messinos flew in comfort in planes on their return to the Chicago area. Also, another interesting story was that if someone did not pay up, Chris Messino was the guy for picking up all drug-related debts, which was something that his “predecesors” in the dope business would’ve never done. According to some reports, he was a very scary individual when he choosed to be and managed to beat up many debtors. In addition, after the imprisonment of Al Tocco, during this period the Chicago Heights faction was overseen by Dominic Palermo until 1991 and later it went allegedly under the rule of Chinatown crew boss James LaPietra or John Monteleone.


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James LaPietra


According to the feds, this particular dope ring made between $20,000 and $30,000 per month and sold over 100 kilos of cocaine for a period of 10 years. Even though they were highly organized, according to the numbers you can obviously see that the crew’s main operation wasn’t dealing cocaine, since during that period there were other local crime groups who sold the same amount of cocaine on the streets in a matter of few weeks. Again, this is a good example which shows that the Outfit’s highly lucrative international dope peddling operations were long gone and the whole operation slowly became just a business on the side. In other words, if their loan sharking operations were coming short, they would simply sell few ounces of cocaine here and there so they can send their monthly envelope to their boss. In fact, like in most cases, that same “short cut” was the main start for all troubles to come.


The problem with the Messino group did not occur from within the group, but instead it came from the outside. You see, there was this crew member and enforcer from the Cicero area, known as Joe Granata, who came under the auspices of Joe Ferriola and Ernest “Rocky” Infelise. His father Frank Granata Sr. was allegedly a full fledged member of the Chicago Outfit and his brother was a member of the Elmwoof Park crew. According to one source, before he became a member of the Cicero crew, Joe Granata also worked for the late Charles Nicoletti. But when Infelice got locked up back in 1990, the Cicero crew began to destabilize and the next thing you know, Granata became an informant for the government. One day, Granata wore a wire to a meeting with Chris Messino, who in turn endlessly talked about his dope operations and also about his brother’s dealings. And there you have it, which again was the same old problem, or in other words, the late Tony Accardo was rolling in his grave. So one thing led to another, and Messino managed to sell an Uzi machine gun with a screw-on silencer, a sawed-off shotgun and a pound of cocaine to a government informant, who possed as a gang member. In no time, he somehow managed to flee from federal custody during medical treatment at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in July 1992, but the next month he was arrested in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, as he tried to ship a car to Costa Rica.


On November 18, 1993, a federal grand jury returned an indictment made up of 13 counts, with count one charging Chris, Clement, Chris Jr., Paul and Blaise Messino, Mike Homerding, Donald Southern, William Underwood, Thomas Hauck, Gray Chrystall, Daniel Shoemaker, and Lawrence Thomas with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine. The government seized the Auto Abbey shop in Harvey and Michelle's Lounge in Crestwood, Chris Messino's home in Oak Forest, $315,000 in drug profits, and also more than 20 pricey vehicles, two offshore racing boats and several motorcycles. During the trial, the “star witness” Joe Granata did not appear personally but instead the prosecutors just played his tapes, which infact were quite enough for a conviction. But just to make things even worse, some of Messino’s “runners” began to “sing” for the prosecutors, including two former girlfriends of Messino's both testified under grants of immunity from the government and both confirmed that they had been enlisted by him to help in the cocaine distribution. In the end, in 1995, both of the Messino brothers were sentenced to the same prison term, such as life without possibility of parole. Also, Christopher Jr. and Paul were convicted and each was sentenced to 19 1/2 years in prison and as for the third son, Blaise, he was acquitted. At the finishing of the trial, Clement Messino, in disgust, allegedly commented directly at the prosecutors and said "God help all of you." But the “war” was not over, since two years later, in 1997 a federal appeals court in Chicago threw out the convictions because of a mistake in selecting the jury, thus freeing the two brothers. Even though by now they were out of the illegal business, still the government wasn’t finished with the duo. In the year of 2000, the feds again took the brothers to court on the same old charges, including on narcotics conspiracy, money laundering and tax fraud, and this time, they again managed to sentence Clement Messino to life in prison for dealing narcotics, but failed to convict his brother Chris. According to his attorney Joseph Lopez, his client admitted at the trial that he used and sold cocaine before 1985 but quit the business after coming down with cancer, which in reality was his ticket for getting out of the case. Though unable to reach a verdict on the narcotics conspiracy charge against him, the jury convicted Messino on two tax fraud counts and acquitted him of obstruction of justice for allegedly intimidating a government witness. In addition, by 2009 both brothers were released from prison, including their former dope peddling colleague John Cappas, since they all attended the opening of Cappas’ new legitimate business which was the Johnny’s Wee Nee Wagon.


As I previously stated, that both cases, meaning the marihuana growing operation and the Messino case, were quite lucrative operations and professionally organized but the problem was that the proceedings were too small compared to the ones in the past, for example during the 1960’s or 70’s. To tell you the truth, there was this funny coincidence, meaning right after the death of Tony Accardo and the incarceration of Gus Alex, the alleged prohibitors of the dope racket, people expected for the rest of the members of the Chicago crime family to explode in the business. But as you can see, things were quite the opposite or in other words, the dope racket went on even lower leven rather than before. Obviously, two of the main reasons for this phenomenon were the federal government and the various dope peddling gangs but still, it is funny and at the same time quite interesting situation. And speaking about “funny” situations, by the late 1990’s, again, one Outfit member “tried” to bring the narcotics involvement to main picture. The guy I’m talking about is Joseph Scalise, a known burglar, extortionist and also a killer for the Mob but the thing is, he’s most famous for his “job” in England and stealing of the precious Marlborough Diamond. After serving a decade in English jail for that same job, he returned to Chicago and from that point on, he constantly tried to get back in action. The main problem was that by now Scalise was in his early 60’s and he was no crime boss, but instead he was a simple “soldier” and to be in that position, one must have a lot of violent energy, something which Scalise has lost long time ago. On top of that, it was a different time period with different type of criminals with no honor and no respect. So the old man foolishly took the bait and managed to get himself quickly in trouble.


In 1998, Scalise made a contact with one dope peddler and money launderer known as Ronald Waddy, originally from the Calumet City, but the problem was that Waddy was a very untrustable individual. This guy mainly operated around the Los Angeles and Detriot areas and had connections to all kinds of criminals, from Mexican drug lords to corrupt narcotics agents. Back in the 1980’s, Waddy with the help of few corrupt DEA agents, managed to conduct a secret dope trafficking operation out of Los Angeles throughout the Midwest, including Chicago. So when an old timer such as Scalise met someone like Waddy, the old man’s eyes quickly shined and sign of the old might dollar appeared in a glimpse. You see, even though many of his associates ended up in prison mainly because they were involved in the dope racket, still old man Scalise did not learn the lesson. And really don’t have any idea but somehow the old mobster managed to gather $269,900 in cash in exchange for 44 pounds or almost 20 kilograms of cocaine, which was about to be provided by Waddy personally. Now, I personally do not believe that a low level member such as Scalise can pull out that kind of cash out of his personal “piggy bank”, but instead this might’ve been another Outfit-finacied operation. So Waddy iformed Scalise about one Columbian cocaine dealer who was only known as “Danielo” and operated around the Los Angeles area and allegedly his product was the best. So while being thirsty for cash, this is the point where Scalise made the wrong decision by going back to his superiours, collected the cash, quickly packed his bags and went straight to Los Angeles to make the transaction, personally.


In April, that same year, Scalise, Waddy and two other associates Harvey Woods and Andrew Theodorou met in the “City of Angels” and together they went to meet their Columbian contact. According to the report, “Danielo” knowingly or unknowingly introdued Scalise and the rest of the guys with a government informant who was posing as a drug dealer from that area. After a short time period, Scalise again met the undercover agent in a restaurant parking lot, while carrying 27 bundles of $10,000 each in his car, expecting to pick up 22 kilograms of cocaine. At about the same time, Harvey Woods showed up at a near hotel, also expecting to pick up 20 kilograms of cocaine. Instead, Scalise, Waddy and Woods were all peacefully arrested by a team of federal agents. So again, like any other drug-related case, some of the defendants began to unravel the whole picture, such as Waddy himself. The game was simple, meaning if Waddy did not turn any evidence, he faced life in prison if he had been convicted. So during the trial he testified that he was forced at gunpoint into finding a narcotics supplier for Scalise, allegedly because Scalise blamed Waddy for having his previous cocaine stash stolen and threatened to kill Waddy if he didn't locate a new source of supply. Whatever was the truth, in the end Scalise pleaded guilty to intent to distribute cocaine and for that crime he served six and a half years and got out of prison in 2006, at the age of 69.


So this again shows that the Outfit’s involvement in the dope racket was either very professionally hidden from the government’s radar or things were simply falling apart, meaning the boys did no longer consider the dope racket as one of their prime “getaways” in collecting “easy” money. To tell you the truth, I believe it is the second choice mostly because by now the Chicago faction was making ends meat in the illegal business. Some of the top guys such as the DiFronzo clan were mainly involved in semi-legitimate enterprises and they probably stayed away from the “dirty” business, such as narcotics, mostly because they did not want any disruption of their “legal” money flow. But the problem is that there always be a younger generation who looks upon the world with a different view and the dope racket is always there for making a quick buck. So my point is that if the younger generation of the Outfit decided to get involved in the racket, big time, the doors will always remain open. In fact, nothing has changed since the days of Prohibition and the Capone Mob, when guys like Willie Heeney used to shoot heroin in their veins while killing people on their boss’ orders, and almost a century later, by 2013 some Outfit enforcers still consummated narcotics, especially cocaine. On July 23, that same year, an alleged Outfit enforcer Paul Carparelli was arrested by the feds as he drove up to his home with his son in their car. According to the report, Carparelli had cocaine and also tested positive for it, and the agents also found two guns and $175,000 cash in his home. According to the feds, this guy is a very nervous and violent individual, who love to throw threats and intimidate people and so if this guy was snorting cocaine, there are no doubts that some day, the Outfit might again become big in the dope business, since the opportunity is always right around the corner.


Until heroin, cocaine and marihuana are considered illegal by most of the governments around the world, and also while some countries continue to produce the plants for these illegal narcotics, organized crime will be always there to support the business, mostly because it’s fast and easy cash and the customer flow is endless. These days, the latest evolution of the dope racket doesn’t fall very far from the way on how of the rest of the business world is evolving, and in fact it’s getting much bigger. The so-called modern day drug trafficking rings are homologous to flexible and agile businesses, and also can adapt quickly to the routine. There’s nothing new in the way of smuggling of the drugs, with couriers constantly overseeing the transportation and cash by land, air and sea, and financial wizards with an intricate knowledge of how to launder proceeds in the global economy, and on the other side are the hitmen, street gangs, corrupt security forces, and local crime bosses who control their territories by constantly taking out their rivals. For example, today Mexico is still considered one of the world’s largest narcotics producers and also the host of few of the most ruthless organized crime groups which managed to infiltrate even in the highest circles of society, thanks to the huge amounts of cash.


For the last two decades, there are even new rising syndicates in the dope trade such as the Albanian clans, which flood almost whole Southeast Europe with their own products and on top of that, they are highly connected to the Italian crime syndicates such as the Camorra. But the thing is that most of these criminal groups are too violent, and so they constantly bring the attention from both the public and the government and so my personal opinion is that today’s most elusive dope peddling ring is located, again, in Bolivia. According to some reports, the Bolivian crime syndicates lowered their level of violence and murders almost down to nothing, thus making the country’s murder rate of 11 per 100,000 inhabitants, which is quite safe territory by today’s Latin American standards. Right now, these Bolivian sophisticated narcotics clans can put together up to 3000 kilograms of coca base, and deliver them to Brazilian organized crime syndicates, which slowly made Brazil the number one consumer of illegal drugs in the world. Meanwhile, Europe is also experiencing huge drug consumption, particularly cocaine which is usually produced in Latin America, which again is mainly brought by Italian and Spanish crime syndicates. My point is that today’s transnational organized crime likes new opportunities and little resistance and so currently many states around the world provides both and find themselves at the heart of a new criminal dynamic that threatens every citizen. For example, right now Burma remains the world's second largest poppy-crop grower and opium producer after Afghanistan.


As for future drug trends, the UN report suggests that cannabis will remain the most widely used illegal substance, but the biggest increase is likely to be seen in the use of synthetic drugs including "legal highs" and the non-medical use of prescription drugs diverted from legal supplies. But as I previously stated that the main problem is not with the crime syndicates but instead it’s with the everyday citizen. Meaning, until our planet vanishes from the cosmos, people will want to get intoxicated and there will be nothing there to stop them. It doesn’t matter wheter narcotics like marihuana or cocaine are legal or illegal, since the massive epidemic is always there, but few things can change, meaning with legalization, such as the decrease in the crime rate and also a decrease in citizen incarcerations. Slowly we came to end of this long criminal saga, which lasts even today, and it’s carried by many criminal societies from different ethnicities but the reality is that this particular “saga” is far from over. According to some reports, the American “Cosa Nostra”, especially the New York faction such as the Gambino crime family, is allegedly still connected to their cohorts in Italy and they still bring dope to the states. As for the Chicago Outfit, I personally believe that its only a matter of time but until then, we can only kick back and wait for some new reporter’s story or a federal case in which we’re going to see their involvement in some new “dope adventure”, obviously on some higher and more dangerous level.


The End


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Free will,it is a bitch!

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