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Mobster confesses to murder, sings to feds on Philly Mafia.
by Andrea Estes, Boston Herald
Wednesday, June 14, 2000
Mafia capo Robert Luisi, who was baptized into the Philadelphia Mob because no one would anoint him here, yesterday confessed to a host of crimes including the unsolved murder of a Charlestown man.
Luisi, 39, of Medford, a capo in the Merlino family, admitted crimes he hadn't even been accused of and offered to help prosecutors pursuing other wiseguys in Massachusetts and Philadelphia.
``Today he put an end to his criminal career,'' said his lawyer, John McGlone. ``He's taking a plea, wrapping all his criminal activity for one sentence.''
Under a plea agreement, Luisi will receive up to 15 years in prison - the exact sentence will depend on how much help he delivers in other cases.
Luisi, who authorities say had been angling to take over the Mob in Boston, pleaded guilty to a broad racketeering charge that included the murder of Anthony DiPrizio, 39, whose frozen corpse was found in a snowbank Jan. 20, 1997.
Luisi also admitted selling cocaine, running lucrative sports betting and loan-sharking operations, and collecting ``rent'' from underlings in the gambling and drug trade.
He also admitted plotting the murders of eight members of a rival gang seeking to overthrow reputed Mafia boss Francis ``Cadillac Frank'' Salemme, including Vincent ``Gigi Portalla'' Marino, Richard ``The Pig'' DeVincent and Anthony Ciampi.
DeVincent was killed execution style in Medford on April 3, 1996.
``The bottom line is he (Luisi) was a powerful figure,'' said one official. ``It doesn't say much for the local Mob that someone could come in from outside and do these things. But he was controlling some serious (rackets).''
Luisi's father and brother were gunned down in the 99 Restaurant massacre in Charlestown in 1995.
Luisi turned to reputed acting Philadelphia Mafia boss Joseph ``Skinny Joe'' Merlino in 1998 when Salemme refused to make him a soldier here. Luisi paid monthly tribute to Merlino for permission to run rackets in Eastern Massachusetts for the Philadelphia family.
He originally was charged last summer only with selling kilos of cocaine to an undercover agent. But McGlone said Luisi was about to be indicted in Suffolk County for the DiPrizio murder, which he ordered but didn't actually commit.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Ernest DiNisco, Luisi paid a member of his crew $7,500 to shoot DiPrizio, whom he viewed as a rival.
In court, DiNisco offered some details of Luisi's business dealings. Luisi, he said, ran a ``profitable'' drug business, selling several kilos of cocaine a month and making ``hundreds of thousands of dollars in profits.'' Other criminals had to pay him ``rent'' or ``they were forced out of business,'' DiNisco said.
With the money Luisi made from gambling and drugs, he made ``street loans'' - valued at more than $300,000 - collecting the debt through fear and intimidation, DiNisco said.
Now, Luisi will turn on his Philadelphia pals, who were indicted when he was, for selling drugs, or later on separate racketeering charges.
``He's going to wreak havoc down there,'' said a source.
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