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Feature Articles


June 2001

Florida Updates

By Scott M. Deitche



Inspired by John Touhy's Round Up The Usual Suspects.

News and updates on mob activity from the Sunshine State

 

 

April 19, 2001

Tampa mob associate Ciro Spoto Belluccia died at age 79. Bellucia was the former owner of the Silver Meteor Bar where janitor Henry Hicks was killed on the night of June 6, 1953. The gunshot that killed Hicks was intended for gangster Paul Ferraro. On June 14, 1962 Bellucia was charged with allowing prostitution on the Meteor premises. He was also part of a huge Tampa-based bookmaking operation led by legendary bolita figure Eddie Blanco which was busted up in 1971. Bellucia was convicted on gambling offenses.

 

April 19, 2001

William DeMAria Jr. was sentenced to 32 months in prison for heading a $32 million patient-brokering ring. Demaria was sentenced in Tampa federal court. The massive Medicare fraud operation is reputed to have ties to the Genovese family.

 

 

April 23, 2001

Undercover investigators in the Tampa Bay area arrested seven men in a sweep of video gaming operations. The men were charged with racketeering, conspiracy, keeping a gambling house and possession of a coin-operated device. Iím not sure if any have ties to organized crime.

May 17, 2001

Longtime Tampa mob associate James "Jimmy" Donofrio died at age 90. Donofrio moved to Tampa in 1946 and ran Rio Liquors and the Deep South Lounge. He had arrests for gambling, loansharking, extortion, tax evasion, weapons violations, and assault to murder (which he was acquitted). Donofrio was never made but was close with many of the top mobsters in town including Santo Trafficante Jr.

 

 

 

May 31, 2001

 

Trafficante crime family associate Luis Charbonier died at age 74. Luis and his brother Raul were arrested and convicted for extortion along with Henry Hill and Jimmy Burke in 1973 for assaulting a local Tampa bar owner over gambling debts. The incident was featured in a brief scene in the movie Goodfellas. Luis and Raul were close with members of the crime family and ran gambling, loansharking, and cockfighting. Luis also owned the Char-Pal Lounge, located across the street from Busch Gardens.

 

Scott Deitche can be reached at scottyyz@earthlink.net


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