Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Rhode Island mobster testifies about body disposal

Joe DeLuca had a problem: he forgot to remove the tarp that was wrapped around the body.
The admitted mobster took the stand Wednesday in the trial of Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme and codefendant Paul Weadick, who are both charged in the 1993 gangland slaying of Steven DiSarro.
DeLuca, 78, of Providence, calmly described how he retrieved the body from Salemme in North Providence in May 1993, then drove to meet his brother, capo Robert “Bobby” DeLuca, to figure out what to do with it.
The day before, Joe DeLuca said, his brother’s pager had gone off. It was Salemme, and he needed to talk to Bobby, his trusted underworld friend.
“He said that Mr. Salemme had a package for us and he was bringing it down the next afternoon or morning,” DeLuca said.
Joe DeLuca didn’t want his brother – who had a criminal record – to be involved in getting the body.
“There is no sense in both of us going,” said DeLuca, who hadn't been on the law enforcement radar for decades. “One of us [has] got to stay on the street in case something happens.”
When Joe met with the then-mob boss in North Providence, Salemme wasn’t pleased to find Bobby missing, he said. But the two men reached into the car Salemme was driving and removed a body, wrapped in a tarp, and put it in the trunk of a rental car DeLuca was using.
Salemme had a specific instruction for Joe DeLuca.
“Make sure the tarp comes off,” Deluca said Salemme told him. “There are a lot of prints on there.”
DeLuca said Salemme then handed him a bag containing pepper to sprinkle on the body so “the animals wouldn’t get it.”
At a meeting with his brother later in the day, Bobby said he had an idea. “Billy Ricci is burying some hazardous waste down at his mill,” DeLuca said his brother told him. “He’s digging down there. He says to me, ‘Let’s take a ride.’”
Ricci, Deluca said, suggested they put the body in a furnace in the mill building. But the idea was shot down. Instead, Joe DeLuca decided he would get his nephew, Richard Cinquegrana, and come back later that night to put DiSarro in the hole. Later that day, DeLuca said Charles “Harpo” Garabedian drove the car with the body and picked up him and his nephew.
(Garabedian's son, who is serving as his father's attorney, called DeLuca's allegations "completely false," adding: "Amid his patently self-serving testimony, Joe DeLuca claimed to recall what my father allegedly said in 1993 word for word, but couldn't even remember key stuff as recent as 2016.")
At the mill, Joe DeLuca recalled, he felt uneasy because there was a house abutting the rear of the property – near where they intended to bury the body – that had its lights on.
"They certainly aren't going to think anything legitimate is going on," DeLuca said.
Hours later, Joe DeLuca got a “rusty hand truck” from the mill building and they placed the body on it. He told the men they had to run as fast as they could to the hole that Ricci had already dug. But it didn’t go smoothly.
“Harpo fell down and the body fell off the hand truck,” DeLuca said. “We dragged it across the lot.”
(DiSarro’s widow Pamela Disarro wiped away tears as sat in the courtroom listening to DeLuca's testimony alongside her sons and daughter-in-law.)
Later that night, Joe DeLuca said, he met with his brother Bobby, who was upset.
“Bobby wasn’t too happy because we left the blue tarp on him,” DeLuca said. As many as five days went by without them doing anything about it, he said, and then his brother brought it up again. “Bobby says, 'That blue tarp has got to come out of there ... there are a lot of prints on there.’”
Joe DeLuca learned that his brother lied to Salemme, telling the mob boss that they had retrieved the tarp and thrown it in a dumpster.
Joe DeLuca reached out to Ricci again, and the pair met behind the mill building, where he said Ricci used a backhoe to dig up Steven DiSarro. DeLuca said Ricci was able to hook the backhoe on a rope wrapped around the remains and pull it out of the hole, but the tarp ripped and the body tumbled back into the pit.
After retrieving the tarp, DeLuca testified that he disposed of it and he and his brother never spoke of the event again until years later.
The topic first resurfaced when Joe DeLuca said his brother was asked about the DiSarro case by federal investigators, and again in March 2016 when investigators were digging behind the mill building searching for DiSarro’s remains.
Under cross-examination, DeLuca admitted there was “some concern” there could be problems when Ricci was arrested in 2015 for running an illegal marijuana grow operation at the property. The concern was justified: Ricci cooperated in the case and informed the FBI where the body could be found, according to prosecutors.
Joe DeLuca, Cinquegrana, Ricci and Garabedian have all been granted immunity from prosecution.
Salemme, 84, and Weadick are both charged with murder of a witness. Investigators say the pair along with Salemme’s late son killed DiSarro – a Boston nightclub owner and Providence native – because they were concerned he was going to cooperate with the FBI.
Salemme and Weadick have pleaded not guilty.
Robert DeLuca has pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators regarding what he knew about the DiSarro case and is expected to be sentenced after he testifies in the Salemme trial.
DeLuca testified that after he helped dispose of the body, he was inducted into the mob by Salemme. Present at the ceremony was his brother, Salemme's brother Jackie Salemme, and then-underboss Luigi "Baby Shacks" Manocchio, he said.
During cross-examination, defense attorney Elliot Weinstein asked DeLuca about the oath he took when he was inducted into the mob, swearing him to secrecy.
"That oath didn't mean a darn thing to you, did it?" Weinstein asked.
"Currently, it doesn't mean much," DeLuca responded.



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