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New England Mafia capo arrested in connection with DiSarro murder

This post first appeared on on June 27, 2016.

The FBI unearthed the remains of former New England La Cosa Nostre Associate, Stephen DiSarro on March 31, 2016 on the grounds of a mill complex in Providence, RI. Photo Tracey C. O'Neill

The FBI unearthed the remains of former New England La Cosa Nostre Associate, Stephen DiSarro on March 31, 2016 on the grounds of a mill complex in Providence, RI. Photo Tracey C. O’Neill

The United States Attorneys Office for the District of Massachusetts, on Monday announced the arrest of former New England La Cosa Nostra member, Robert “Bobby” DeLuca in connection with the May 1993 murder of Boston nightclub owner, Stephen DiSarro. According to a DOJ statement, DeLuca was arrested in Florida on Monday, following an indictment in the Federal Court in the District of Massachusetts on allegations that he obstructed a federal investigation into DiSarro’s disappearance and murder.

Robert P. “Bobby the Cigar” DeLuca, a former capo or high-ranking officer in the New England Mafia (LCN) was indicted and arrested at age 70 on multiple charges, including one count of obstruction of justice and two counts of making false statements.

 According to the indictment, DeLuca was charged with lying to federal prosecutors and investigators assigned to the 1993 disappearance of Stephen DiSarro who went missing from his business establishment, Southie’s The Channel nightclub on or about, May 10, 1993. The indictment alleges that DiSarro disappeared in relation to his association with New England mob boss Frank “Cadillac” Salemme and his son, Frank Salemme, Jr. The Salemme’s in prior indictments were said to have had hidden interests in the club, including racketeering, causing The Channel to become the focus of a federal grand jury investigation.

It was alleged that DiSarro’s disappearance and murder at the hands of the younger Salemme were carried out in order to prevent him from informing. The younger Salemme, Frank Jr. was alleged to have killed DiSarro by strangulation in May of 1993 in a house in Massachusetts and then to have transported the body across state lines into Rhode Island. The body was then, purportedly, buried at a construction site.

DiSarro’s remains were recovered by federal authorities in March, buried behind a Providence, Rhode Island mill. The property was owned by 69-year-old William Ricci, a known New England La Cosa Nostra associate. Ricci was charged in August 2015 by Federal authorities in connection with an alleged large-scale indoor marijuana grow at the 725 Branch Avenue mill building. In March, Ricci pled guilty to the charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm. The location was consistent with information obtained during the 1990’s racketeering indictments. Those indictments, in addition to Salemme, included organized crime figures James J. “Whitey” Bulger, Stephen J. Flemmi, Robert P. “Bobby” Deluca and James M. Martorano. The younger Salemme wasn’t charged as he was deceased.

According to the DOJ, DeLuca was also charged with lying to federal authorities about his knowledge of other organized crime murders. It was alleged that DeLuca made the false statements in connection with his cooperation with federal authorities in Rhode Island after he was charged with racketeering and arrested in 2011. Despite his cooperation, DeLuca lied about his knowledge of the disappearance of DiSarro and other LCN murders.

In 2004, Cadillac Frank, the former mob boss was indicted on similar charges. In a two-count indictment he was charged with lying to federal investigators and prosecutors about the 1993 disappearance and murder of DiSarro. The Salemme indictment alleged that on or about May 10, 1993, the defendant Francis P. Salemme was present at the scene of Stephen DiSarro’s murder and assisted in burying Stephen DiSarro’s body to prevent its discovery.” A U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency statement said that “the indictment also alleged that in an attempt to obtain a reduction of sentence in connection with racketeering charges pending against him in 1999, Salemme agreed to talk to federal prosecutors and investigators.”

According to the FBI, the charge of obstruction of justice provides for a sentence of no greater than 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of false statements provides for a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz for the District of Massachusetts; U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha for the District of Rhode Island; and Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division, made the announcement today. Assistance was provided by the Massachusetts State Police, Rhode Island State Police and Norfolk County District Attorney’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Fred M. Wyshak, Jr. of Ortiz’s Public Corruption Unit and Assistant U.S. Attorney William Ferland of Neronha’s Office.

The USDOJ noted that the details contained in the indictment are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. He is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Florida.


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