New England: Ex-mafia capo charged with lying to feds

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BOSTON >> A former high-ranking member of the New England Mafia was arrested in Florida on Monday on charges he lied to federal officials about the 1993 killing of a Boston nightclub owner.

Robert DeLuca, a former capo in the Patriarca crime family, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Massachusetts on charges of obstruction of justice and making false statements.

According to an indictment unsealed Monday, DeLuca lied to federal authorities when he denied knowing anything about Steven DiSarro's disappearance in May 1993. At the time, DiSarro was the owner of The Channel nightclub.

The indictment says DeLuca, now 70, arranged with former mob boss Francis "Cadillac Frank" Salemme to have DiSarro's body buried in Providence, Rhode Island. DiSarro's remains were found behind a mill building in Providence in March.

The indictment against DeLuca says Salemme and his son, Frank Salemme Jr., participated in DiSarro's killing. It says the elder Salemme took DiSarro's body to Providence.

DeLuca was arrested in Rhode Island in 2011 and agreed to cooperate with federal authorities in an effort to obtain a lighter sentence. During an interview with federal prosecutors and investigators in June 2011, DeLuca denied knowing anything about DiSarro's disappearance and suspected murder. During that interview and an earlier one, DiSarro denied knowing anything about that murder or any others committed by any members or associates of the New England Mafia.

In July 2011, DeLuca entered into a plea agreement with federal prosecutors in which he agreed to plead guilty to a single count of racketeering conspiracy. The agreement required Deluca to provide "complete and truthful" information about his Mafia cohorts in exchange for a recommendation for a lower sentence. In 2014, he was sentenced to one day in prison — the day he spent in prison before he agreed to cooperate.

DeLuca was arrested Monday in Broward County, Florida. He made an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Monday afternoon and was ordered held in custody pending a detention hearing scheduled for Thursday. His lawyer, Marshall Dore Louis, declined to comment.

DeLuca was among the mobsters captured on an FBI tape being inducted into La Cosa Nostra in 1989 during a ceremony in Medford, Massachusetts.

The elder Salemme was indicted in 2004 on charges of obstruction of justice and making false statements for denying knowing anything about DiSarro's killing while he was negotiating a plea deal in 1999. He was sentenced to five years in prison. He denied another mobster's claim that he watched his son strangle DiSarro and helped dispose of his body.

Salemme's son died in 1995.


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