Former acting boss of the New England mafia, Anthony (Spucky) Spagnolo was released from federal prison late last week after serving two years for extortion. The 75-year old Spagnolo collected thousands of dollars in protection money from Boston’s Constitution Vending and the Revere Moose Lodge, a local social club in the mob hotbed of suburban Revere, Massachusetts. He pled guilty to the charges in 2015, admitting to accepting $50,000 in tribute cash over an eight-year time span, and did his term behind bars in a New Jersey correctional facility. He’ll be on house arrest until December.

The extortion case carried threats of bodily harm to those trying to cross him. When one of the men who ran the Revere Moose Lodge decided to try to remove vending machines provided by Constitution Vending and replace them with machines from another vending company, he was called to a meeting with Spagnolo and threatened with violence. After a rival vending company contacted the lodge and attempted to persuade them to use their machines, instead of Constitution Vending’s, the owner of the company was approached by Spagnolo and threatened as well.

Spagnolo’s co-defendant in the case, fellow Patriarca crime family figure Pryce (Stretch) Quintina, 77, came out of lock up back in the spring. His predecessor as the Patriarca’s acting boss, Anthony (The Little Cheese) DiNunzio, was released from prison on his own extortion conviction last month. DiNunzio’s older brother, Carmen (The Big Cheese) DiNunzio, is alleged to be the syndicate’s current don and bases his affairs out of the Gemini Social Club in Boston’s North End Little Italy neighborhood.

A multiple-time convicted felon, racketeer and drug dealer, Spucky Spagnolo got his start in the East Boson wing of the New England mafia. Despite his genuine tough guy reputation, he’s known for his sense of humor. Once after a car he was driving in was pulled over by police and an officer found a pair of guns wrapped in a towel under the passenger’s seat, per the arrest report, he responded by saying “Wow, how did those get there?”

Spagnolo’s arrest record dates back to the late 1950s, with charges ranging from public drunkenness and disturbing the peace to narcotics trafficking, bookmaking and armed robbery. According to FBI informants, he traveled to California in the winter of 1976 with East Boston capo Joe (J.R.) Russo to murder notorious New England mob turncoat Joe (The Animal) Barboza, living in hiding under an assumed name in San Francisco. Russo was allegedly the triggerman and Spagnolo drove the getaway car.

Throughout the 1980s, Spagnolo frequented, The Roma, an East Boston Italian restaurant owned by Biagio DiGiacomo, a Sicilian-born New England mobster and got stung by an FBI undercover operation there when he befriended an FBI agent named Vince DelaMontaigne, who started hanging out at the eatery posing as an aspiring wiseguy. DelaMontaigne and Spagnolo ran illegal card games and sold drugs together. On one occasion in 1986, Spagnolo got into a verbal altercation with a patron at The Roma and DelaMontaigne had to stop him from stabbing the man with a 12-inch hunting knife he was brandishing.

While buddying around town with DelaMontaigne, Spagnolo’s name surfaced in another homicide investigation — the October 28, 1985 slaying of North End Goodella Jimmy Limoli. The word on the street was Limoli had stolen $100,000 of cocaine from Spagnolo the previous month. In January 1987, with the Beantown crime syndicate on the verge of erupting into violence and splitting into an all-out civil war, Spagnolo was tape-recorded telling DelaMontaigne, “Things are tough these days in the mafia…..I might have to go back to making money the old-fashioned way, pulling kids out of their sneakers and emptying their fucking pockets.”

Due to DelaMontaigne’s undercover work, Spagnolo was indicted in a giant racketeering case in 1990 and convicted a year later. He did nine years in prison and upon his release in 2000, he received a promotion to captain, per FBI documents. Authorities believe Spagnolo served as acting boss of the Patriarca crime family from 2012 until he was jailed in 2015.

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