Frank “Cadillac” Salemme, the former boss of New England’s Patriarca crime family, is charged with the murder of federal witness Steven A. DiSarro. The 82-year-old former wiseguy was arrested in Connecticut yesterday morning and faces a sentence of death or life in prison, five years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000.
In the early 1990s, Salemme was the boss of the Patriarca family until he was indicted on racketeering charges in 1995 and convicted in 1999. He flipped and cooperated with the government, giving information on his former cronies.
However, he held back on certain crimes he and others committed and was subsequently convicted of obstruction of justice in 2008 for lying to federal authorities about the murder of Stephen A. DiSarro.
DiSarro was the owner of The Channel, a South Boston nightclub, who disappeared in 1993. In March 2016, DiSarro’s body was recovered by federal authorities behind a mill in Providence, R.I. The indictment alleges that DiSarro disappeared after the involvement of Patriarca family boss “Cadillac Frank” Salemme and his son Frank Salemme, Jr. when The Channel became the focus of a federal grand jury investigation and the Salemmes feared DiSarro might cooperate with law enforcement. According to one informant, Salemme Jr. strangled DiSarro while his father watched.
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On June 27, authorities arrested Robert DeLuca, a former capo in the Patriarca crime family at his home in Florida after being indicted in connection with allegations that he obstructed a federal investigation into the murder of DiSarro.
Like Salemme, DeLuca had become a federal witness as well and chose to remain silent about the DiSarro murder.
After DeLuca’s arrest many speculated why Salemme had not been hit with more severe charges. Apparently, we were a bit impatient. As is usual for the Boston underworld, justice moves slow. Crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger was also already in his 80s when he finally faced the music after playing the FBI for several decades.
Better late than never.
In a weird familiar twist to the Bulger situation, prosecutors allege that Salemme had gone on the run from these charges, leaving the Witness Protection Program and his home in Atlanta, Georgia, and fleeing to Connecticut, The Boston Herald reported.
Salemme's lawyer denies the accusations and told reporters his client was already on his way back home.
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