Western Massachusetts wiseguy Frank (Frankie the Shark) Depergola wasn’t too shy in sharing his thoughts and frustration about his former boss in the Springfield mob with a wired-for-sound extortion victim back in 2013. The 61-year old Depergola, who recently pled guilty in a federal racketeering conspiracy, was slain local mafia captain Adolfo (Big Al) Bruno’s right-hand man back in the late 1990s and early 2000s and was quick to tell Craig Morel, a tow-truck company mogul and family friend of his in the process of being shaken down by fellow area gangsters, how relieved he was when Bruno was assassinated in November 2003.

Almost a decade to the day Bruno was gunned outside his Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Social Club in the city’s South End, Depergola met with a wire-wearing Morel in the late fall of 2013 to warn him of an impending extortion attempt and pontificate on the sense of relief that washed over him after Bruno was out of the picture. Morel helped the FBI nail five Springfield mobsters, including Depergola, in 2016.

First, Depergola and Morel discussed the shakedown Morel had coming his way.

“They are going to come after you. These guys are vindictive motherfuckers. Be careful what you say and what you do,” Depergola told him.

Then, the conversation moved towards reflection and the animosities Depergola held towards Bruno.

“With me, everything I had, more or less, Al figured it was his, you know? And I mean it in a big way. I felt bad for the guy though. He was a friend of mine, but you know, it was almost like a weight off my shoulders (when he got killed). It was kind of like a way out. I mean I got beat for $800,000 that prick took off me. You know what I mean. It’s basically why I went away (to prison in the mid-2000s). He cleaned all of it out. Not all of it, but I’d say he grabbed at least half of it. Some people die, you know? Believe me, I know how you feel. But you know what, there was a way out (after Al died) and I got out”

Depergola copped a plea in August, admitting to giving out a $30,000 street loan to an undercover FBI agent working the Genovese crime family out of New York. He was with Bruno on November 23, 2003 when Bruno was killed in the parking lot of his social club in a power play staged by his protégé, Anthony (Bingy) Arillotta. The Springfield mob crew has long been a satellite faction of the Genovese syndicate.

Morel eventually coughed up $20,000 to members of the Springfield mob crew after they threatened to kill him and chop of his head. Back in the Bruno era, Morel paid a tribute to operate his towing business – money he thought was going to grease the wheels for city contracts, however was in fact all going into Bruno’s pockets.

The recordings of Depergola made by Morel were played in court this month at the trial of crew enforcer Richard (Richie the Postman) Valentini and featured in articles written by Springfield newspaper reporter Stephanie Barry of MassLive.com. Valentini was found guilty. Barry is Western Massachusetts’ resident “mobologist.”

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