Two separate Mafia families emerged in New England before prohibition began, one based in Boston, Massachusetts and the other based in Providence, Rhode Island. The Boston crime family was founded in 1916 by Gaspare Messina. Frank Morelli formed the Providence crime family in 1917, and he eventually controlled bootlegging and gambling operations in Providence, Maine, and Connecticut. In 1924, Gaspare Messina stepped down as Boston's Mafia boss, assuming a businessman's role while working with Frank Cucchiara and Paolo Pagnotta from a grocery store on Prince Street in Boston's North End. A Mafia power struggle ensued in Boston, as rival gangs fought for loan sharking, illegal gambling, and bootlegging rackets, and East Boston mobster Filippo Buccola emerged as the boss of the Boston crime family. In December 1930 or early 1931, a Mafia meeting was held and Gaspare Messina was elected the temporary capo dei capi of the American Mafia. He retired from Mafia affairs in the early 1930s and died in June 1957 in his Somerville, Massachusetts home.
During the early 1930s, Buccola battled other ethnic gangs for territory, along with his underboss Joseph Lombardo, another mobster from Boston's North End. In December 1931, Lombardo arranged the murder of Frank Wallace, the boss of South Boston's Irish Gustin Gang. Then in 1932, Frank Morelli merged his Providence family with Buccola's Boston family, forming the New England crime family. Buccola ruled as boss of the New England family from East Boston as he continued to have his competition murdered. He then had the boss of Boston's Jewish mob Charles Solomon murdered, leaving himself as the most powerful gangster in Boston. He held a party in Johnston, Rhode Island on April 27, 1952 to celebrate his retirement and Raymond Patriarca's ascension to boss of the New England crime family, and he retired to Sicily in 1954 where he ran a chicken farm. He died in 1987 of natural causes at the age of 101.
FBI's Patriarca crime family chart from the 1960s
In 1956, Raymond Patriarca made drastic changes in the family, the biggest being to move their base of operations to Providence, Rhode Island. He ran his family from the National Cigarette Service Company and Coin-O-Matic Distributors, a vending machine and pinball business on Atwells Avenue in the Federal Hill neighborhood of Providence. The business was known to family members as "The Office."
Patriarca was a strict and ruthless leader; he ran the crime family for decades and made it clear that other crime families were not permitted to operate in New England. He was skilled at warding off police and maintaining a low profile and thus received little hindrance from law enforcement. The family ventured into new rackets such as pornography and narcotics, though mob informer Vincent Teresa insisted that Patriarca forbade the family to deal in drugs.
Patriarca's long-time underboss Enrico Tameleo was also a member of New York's Bonanno crime family. In addition to having close ties to the powerful New York Mafia, Patriarca was also on the Mafia's ruling commission and had investments in two Las Vegas casinos. Another of his underbosses was Gennaro "Jerry" Angiulo who was involved in the numbers racket in Boston, and was being shaken down by rival mobsters because he was not a "made" member. He solved this problem by paying Patriarca $50,000 and agreeing to pay him $100,000 a year to become a made member of the family. Angiulo was based in Boston and gained complete control of gambling in the city.
The Apalachin Meeting and aftermath
FBI's 1963 La Cosa Nostra Commission Chart
In 1957, more than 60 of the country's most powerful crime bosses met in Apalachin, a hamlet in upstate New York. The Apalachin meeting was attended by well-known organized crime figures, such as Joe Bonanno, Carlo Gambino, and Vito Genovese. Raymond Patriarca was also in attendance and was subsequently arrested, drawing much attention to him from the press, the public, and law enforcement.
The situation became worse for Patriarca and his family in 1961, when Robert F. Kennedy became Attorney General and began an assault on organized crime. Law enforcement agencies worked to develop informers within the mob and finally succeeded in 1966 when Joe Barboza was arrested on a concealed weapons charge. He was a hit man for the Patriarca family who claimed to have killed 26 people, but he became concerned when Patriarca did not raise his bail and two of his friends were killed for trying to do so. He became an informant not long after, and Patriarca and Enrico Tameleo were indicted in 1967 for the murder of Providence bookmaker Willie Marfeo. Patriarca was convicted and began serving time in 1969, and Gennaro Angiulo served as acting boss. Patriarca was released in 1974 and resumed control of the family. For his testimony, Barboza was given a one-year prison term, including time served. He was paroled in March 1969 and told to leave Massachusetts forever. In 1971, he pleaded guilty to a second-degree murder charge in California and sentenced to five years at Folsom Prison; he was murdered in San Francisco by Joseph "J. R." Russo on February 11, 1976, less than three months after his release.
Patriarca was plagued by law enforcement for the rest of his life, and he was charged numerous times for a variety of crimes until his death in 1984. In 1978, Vincent Teresa testified that Patriarca had participated in a 1960 attempt by the Central Intelligence Agency to kill Fidel Castro that was never carried out. In 1983, Patriarca was charged with the murder of Raymond Curcio, and he was arrested in 1984 for the murder of Robert Candos, whom Patriarca believed was an informant. Patriarca died of a heart attack on July 11, 1984, aged 76.
After Patriarca's death, the New England Mafia began a long period of decline, resulting from both legal prosecution and internal violence. Jerry Angiulo attempted to take over as boss, despite being in jail, while Larry Zannino, the family's top lieutenant, backed Patriarca's son Raymond Patriarca, Jr. for the position. The National Commission approved Patriarca, Jr.'s ascendancy to leadership and his position was confirmed. Zannino was made consigliere, but he was sentenced to 30 years in prison in 1987. Gennaro Angiulo was sentenced to 45 years in prison on racketeering charges, along with Charles Tashjian. Other senior members died or were imprisoned, such as Henry Tameleo and Francesco Intiso. William "The Wild Man" Grasso, an East Hartford, Connecticut-based gangster, became underboss because of the younger Patriarca's weak leadership. Some law enforcers believed that Grasso was actually in charge, but these rumors ended when Grasso was found dead in June 1989, slain by a gangster from Springfield as factions of the family began fighting each other for dominance.
The death of Grasso weakened Patriarca, Jr.'s position. Nicholas Bianco was eventually indicted for Grasso's murder, but he became acting underboss before taking over the family's Providence operations.
On March 26, 1990, Raymond Patriarca, Jr. and 20 other family members and associates were indicted on charges of racketeering, extortion, narcotics, gambling, and murder. The indictments included underboss Bianco, consigliere Joseph Russo, and lieutenants Biagio DiGiacomo, Vincent Ferrara, Matthew Guglielmetti, Joseph A. Tiberi Sr, Dennis Lepore, Gaetano J. Milano, Jack Johns, John "Sonny" Castagna, Louis Fallia, Frank and Louis Pugliono, Frank Colontoni and Robert Carrozza. The arrests were described as "the most sweeping attack ever launched on a single organized crime family." One of the most damaging pieces of evidence was a tape recording of a Mafia induction ceremony, at which 13 Mafiosi were present. Because of this embarrassment, Patriarca was replaced as boss by Bianco, who maintained a very low profile. However, Bianco was sentenced to 11 years in prison in 1991, while eight other family members were convicted on Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) charges. Bianco died in prison in 1994. Patriarca was sentenced to 8 years in prison in 1992 after pleading guilty to racketeering charges. On January 6, 1992, all of the defendants in the RICO trial pleaded guilty and received lengthy sentences and large fines. In 1993, 26 others were indicted and convicted for running a bookmaking operation.
Frank Salemme took over the family after the trials and moved their base back to Boston. His ascension to the position of boss, however, sparked tensions among family factions. In 1991 and 1992, six mob-related killings resulted from internal family violence. The war between Salemme and a crew of renegade mobsters continued for several years, with murders of more mob associates piling up all over Massachusetts until 1996. In January 1995, Salemme was indicted along with Stephen Flemmi and James "Whitey" Bulger on extortion and racketeering charges, and Salemme discovered through court documents that his close allies Flemmi and Bulger were long-time FBI informants. Bulger's friend FBI agent John Connolly let him run his criminal operations with impunity for informing on the Patriarca family.
After Frank Salemme was imprisoned, a renegade faction led by Robert F. Carrozza, Anthony Ciampi, Stephen Foye, and Michael P. Romano, Sr. waged war on the Salemme loyalists. In April 1997, the FBI indicted 15 members of the renegade faction, including Carrozza, Ciampi, Romano, and others. The grand jury testimony that resulted in the indictments was dominated by Sean Thomas Cote, who was the first of four indicted members to turn government witness. The jury ultimately acquitted the defendants of most charges but was deadlocked on murder and racketeering charges.
Several of the defendants changed their pleas to guilty during a second trial, including Ciampi and Eugene Rida. Salemme pleaded guilty to racketeering charges on December 9, 1999, and was sentenced to 11 years in prison on February 23, 2000. In early 2001, he agreed to testify against Flemmi and Bulger.
Turn of the century
The New England crime family is estimated to have about 60 made members controlling influence in the New England area, especially in the cities of Boston and Providence. In recent years, the family has been hit with several FBI RICO indictments, and two captains (Mark Rossetti and Robert DeLuca) have become government informants. The power structure was said to have moved back to Boston entering the 2010s.
Peter "Chief Crazy Horse" Limone took over as boss of the family in 2009. Limone was arrested in 2009 and charged with racketeering. He was given a suspended sentence on July 1, 2010.
Retired boss Luigi "Baby Shacks" Manocchio was arrested in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on January 19, 2011, and was charged with extortion and conspiracy. Manocchio had stepped down as boss in 2009, after the FBI began investigating two strip clubs (the "Cadillac Lounge" and the "Satin Doll") in late 2008. In February 2012, Manocchio agreed to plead guilty and was sentenced to 5½ years in prison for extortion on May 11, 2012.
In late 2009, Anthony DiNunzio became the acting boss, after boss Peter Limone was arrested. DiNunzio operates from Boston's North End and is the younger brother to Carmen DiNunzio. In 2010, DiNunzio extorted Rhode Island strip clubs with members of the Gambino crime family. On April 25, 2012, DiNunzio was arrested and charged with racketeering and extortion. On September 13, 2012, DiNunzio pleaded guilty to shaking down Rhode Island strip clubs, and was sentenced to six years on November 14, 2012.
On October 2, 2014 acting boss Antonio L. "Spucky" Spagnolo, 72, and reputed made man Pryce "Stretch" Quintina, 74, were arrested for allegedly extorting thousands of dollars in protection payments from a video poker machine company which installed machines for illegal gambling in bars and social clubs. Spagnolo took over as acting boss after Anthony DiNunzio was arrested back in 2012. Both Spagnolo and Quintina are reputedly old members of the Patriarca crime family's Boston faction.
In April 2016, family consigliere Anthony "Ponytail Tony" Parillo was sentenced to five-year prison term for felony assault.
Current family members
Boss – Carmen S. "The Cheese Man" DiNunzio: the current boss. Dinunzio is said to have taken the reins as Acting Boss when "Spucky" Spagnolo was indicted & has allegedly been named official Boss following the death of Pete Limone. DiNunzio is an East Boston mobster, indicted in 2008 on corruption charges stemming from an undercover operation. In 2009, he pleaded guilty to bribery charges and was sentenced to six years in prison on September 24, 2009. Dinunzio was released on parole in February 2015.
Underboss – Matthew L. "Goodlooking Matty" Guglielmetti Jr.: the current underboss, is probably the most well-connected active member of the New England LCN. In 2005 Guglielmetti was sentenced to 11 years in prison for "protecting" a shipment of cocaine passing through Rhode Island. He was also busted that year for infiltrating labor unions in greater-Providence. He was released on June 10, 2014.
Consigliere – Unknown, following death of Providence-based Consigliere, Joseph "Joe the Bishop" Achille.
Edward "Eddie" Lato: Lato, one of the most powerful captains in the family, is serving a 9-year sentence in federal prison for shaking down Rhode Island strip clubs for protection money. He was busted alongside former bosses, Anthony Dinunzio & Luigi "Baby Shacks" Manocchio. It is unclear who Lato's Acting Captain is as longtime soldier Alfred "Chippy" Scivola, who was recently keeping tabs on his crew, died in July.
Joseph Ruggiero: Ruggiero has never been charged with a crime and runs his day-to-day operations out of a series of legitimate businesses that he owns in and around Fall River, Massachusetts. He is also a close friend of former Fall River mayor William Flanagan. It was reported that Ruggiero received a promotion to captain in 2015.
Anthony "Ponytail Tony" Parillo: An imprisoned captain & one time consigliere, Parillo, now doing a 5-15 year prison stint for felony assault, runs a crew out of the Federal Hill section of Providence. A Luigi Manocchio prodigy, Parillo served 11 years for a double homicide he committed during a drug deal gone wrong back in 1977.
Gregory "Fat Boy" Costa: Carmen DiNunzio's former bodyguard and top protégé. Costa took control of DiNunzio's North End Boston crew recently[when?], as DiNunzio had supposedly been bumped up to Boss. With Carmen's brother Anthony "The Little Cheese" DiNunzio, a one time acting boss and DiNunzio crew loyalist recently[when?] released from prison, this crew will have its entire hierarchy back on the streets; however, law enforcement believes Anthony is set to act as Carmen's consigliere, or number two guy in Boston.
Frederick "Freddie the Neighbor" Simone: Simone, a convicted murderer, holds an immense amount of power in East Boston as well as the immediate suburbs to the north of Boston. Simone uses fellow soldier and longtime friend Vincent "Dee Dee" Giaocchini as a proxy for much of his business. Simone was in a serious feud with previous acting boss Antonio "Spucky" Spagnolo in the late 1990s and into the early 2000s over East Boston controlled territory, a feud that was said to have almost sparked an internal mob war.
Antonio "Spucky" Spagnolo: Spucky, an old school wiseguy and the acting boss from 2012 to 2015, runs a crew out of the greater Revere area of Massachusetts. Pryce "Stretch" Quintina allegedly ran Spagnolo's crew for him while he sat at the top of the throne, until they were both indicted in 2014 for shaking down a Revere social club and vending machine company, to which they both pleaded guilty. Spagnolo was released in August 2017 after serving less than two years.
Vito Deluca—Providence Faction dead Deported
William "Billy Blackjack" DelSanto (former Capo—semi-retired)—Providence Faction
Guido Pettinato-Providence faction
Pryce "Stretch" Quintina—Boston Faction
Vincent "Dee Dee" Gioacchini—Boston Faction
Carmen Tortora—Boston Faction
Dennis LePore—Boston Faction
Cono Rizzi—Boston Faction
Anthony "The Little Cheese" Dinunzio—Boston Faction
William "Billy The Angel" Angelesco—Boston Faction
Robert Carozza—Boston Faction
Mike "Mikey English" Bashaw—Boston Faction
Keith Orlandella—Boston Faction
Vincent Federico—Boston Faction
Joseph Pingaro—Boston Faction
Salvatore "Tea Party Tore" Marino—Boston Faction
Louis Dinunzio—Boston Faction
Johnny Scarpelli—Boston Faction
Pasquale "Patsy" Barone—Boston Faction
Vincent Capone—Boston Faction
Anthony "Chucky" Carlo—Boston Faction
Darin Bufalino—Boston Faction
Anthony Ascenzia—New Haven, CT Faction
Salvatore "Butch" D'Aquila—New Haven, CT Faction
Dominic JR Daniele — New Haven, CT Faction
Ritchie Brower — New Haven, CT Faction
John Aparicio Jr- Providence Faction
John Vitello—New Haven, CT Faction
Americo Petrolio—New Haven, CT Faction
G.Pettinato- Providence Faction
Dominic Marangelli—New Haven, CT Faction
Kristofer "Scars" Salvi—Boston Faction
Anthony "Wackado" Leono—Boston Faction
James "Jimmy G" Gandolfo—Boston Faction
Luigi "Baby Shacks" Manocchio: Former boss from 1996 to 2009. Arrested in 2011 for his involvement in "shaking down" Rhode Island strip clubs. Released in the summer of 2015.
Raymond "Junior" Patriarca: Former boss and son of legendary boss Raymond L. S. Patriarca. Retired from mob life and now sells real estate in Rhode Island.
Vincent "The Animal" Ferrara: Former capo in the North End section of Boston. Now owns a series of legitimate businesses in and around Boston's North End.
Peter J. "Chief Crazy Horse" Limone a former boss of the family. In 2001, Limone was released from prison after serving 33 years for a murder that he didn't commit. Limone later won a $26 million judgment for his wrongful conviction. Limone operated from Boston and served as the family's consigliere before 2009, after which he was promoted to boss. He was arrested on gambling charges in 2009; in 2010, he was given a suspended sentence. He died on June 19, 2017.