The remains of Genovese crime family figure Armand (Cookie) Faugno could have been disposed of in the same New Jersey toxic-waste landfill that possibly wound up being the final resting place of iconic slain labor union chief and mafia associate Jimmy Hoffa. Cookie Faugno, a member of Genovese mob captain Anthony (Tony Pro) Provenzano’s Jersey crew, disappeared in late 1972, two and a half years before Hoffa went missing en route to a lunch sitdown with Provenzano in an affluent suburb of Detroit. Several members of the Provenzano crew are considered prime suspects in both hits which remain unsolved to this day over four decades later.

Neither Hoffa’s body nor Faugno’s body have ever been found and nobody has ever been arrested for either crime. Per federal informants, the Faugno homicide was carried out to eliminate the possibility of him cooperating in a counterfeiting case targeting Provenzano’s baby brother, Salvatore (Sammy Pro) Provenzano, while Hoffa was killed to keep him from reclaiming the presidency of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. For years, the Provenzanos controlled Local 560 of the Teamsters in Union City, New Jersey, one of the most powerful organized labor outposts in the country.

Faugno was last seen leaving his Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey home on December 8,1972. Informants told the FBI Faugno was murdered and his corpse put through an electric tree shredder. Hoffa was kidnapped from a Bloomfield Township, Michigan restaurant parking lot on July 30, 1975 and most likely executed in a nearby private residence.

They each might have ended up being laid to rest, in one form or another, at a trash dump in Jersey City, New Jersey located underneath the Pulaski Skyway Expressway and owned by now-deceased Genovese syndicate soldier Ralph (Brother) Moscato. Federal authorities searched the dump for both Hoffa and Faugno in December 1975, but came up empty

Brother Moscato seemed to admit in an interview with the unparalleled Dean of Hoffa research Dan Moldea conducted before he died in 2014 that he and Tony Pro’s top lieutenant and hit man Salvatore (Sally Bugs) Briguglio buried Hoffa’s body at his Jersey City landfill. It’s long been speculated that Briguglio headed a hit team dispatched to Detroit by Tony Pro on the orders of the mafia’s national “Commission” to murder the feisty former labor boss intent on recapturing his old job despite his one-time allies in the mob angrily advising he retire.

Jimmy Hoffa

Prior to entering the Witness Protection Program, Provenzano crew henchman Ralph (Little Ralphie) Picardo, Tony Pro’s driver, told the FBI that Sally Bugs Briguglio shot Hoffa in the back of the head in Michigan, stuffed his body in a 55-gallon drum, moved it to New Jersey using a trucking company owned by Moscato and finally disposed of at Moscato’s dump directly under the Pulaski Skyway. Earlier this month in anticipation of the 42-year anniversary of Hoffa’s disappearance later this week, Moldea revealed a new player in the mystery surrounding his murder – Vinnie Ravo, a mobster linked to Briguglio and Moscato. Citing a source connected to Moscato, Moldea places Ravo as part of the Hoffa burial team at Moscato’s landfill alongside Moscato and Briguglio in 1975.

Before he was slain in 1972, Cookie Faugno was partnered with Moscato and Briguglio in a loansharking business and shared proceeds from the extortion of a string of east coast construction and trucking companies, according to federal court records. In 1967, Faugno was arrested with fellow Provenzano crew member Tommy Andretta for collecting shylock payments. Then, in March 1971 he was indicted again with Andretta for counterfeiting (currency, postage and food stamps). This time, the bust included Sally Bugs Briguglio and Sammy Provenzano, Tony Pro’s brother and the vice president of Local 560.

As Sammy Pro approached trial on the charges, the Provenzano crew worried Faugno could get loose lips and trade in his cohorts in the mob to the FBI in exchange for leniency with his own case, per informants. Sammy Pro was scheduled to begin his trial in January 1973. The 57-year old Faugno, according to these same informants, was killed by Moscato and Briguglio in the weeks leading up to jury selection and then disposed of in a similar manner that was used to get rid of Hoffa in the years to come.

Tony Provenzano in 1975

Even with Faugno out of the picture, Sammy Pro went on to be convicted in the counterfeiting case. Stevie Andretta, Tommy’s brother, took Cookie Faugno’s trusteeship in Local 560. The Andretta brothers are suspected of being part of the Briguglio-led squad of assassins sent to Detroit to do away with Jimmy Hoffa.

Once close friends, Tony Provenzano and Hoffa were feuding in the 1970s after a prison blowout over union insurance benefits. Hoffa served almost six years behind bars for fraud, bribery and jury tampering, giving up his beloved presidency of the Teamsters which he had held since 1957. He needed Tony Pro’s backing for another presidential run and the lure of meeting with him in his hometown of Detroit that hot summer day in 1975 got Hoffa to lower his guard, allowing for the mob (specifically the Provenzano crew teaming with key figures in the mafia in the Motor City) to bump him off. Tony Pro was at his union headquarters the afternoon Hoffa vanished.

Although never nailed for orchestrating the Hoffa or Faugno hits, Tony Provenzano went down for racketeering and the murder of union rival Anthony (Three Finger Tony) Castellito later in the decade and died of a heart attack in prison in 1988 at 71. Briguglio was slain gangland style in 1978 awaiting trial for his alleged role in the Castellito homicide.

Castellito found himself in Tony Pro’s crosshairs for staging a power play in Local 560 where he was the secretary and treasurer. Bludgeoned and garroted to death in a fishing and hunting lodge on June 6, 1961 in Ulster County, New York, informants told the FBI that Castellito’s body was put through a tree shredder, just like informants allege Cookie Faugno would be the next decade.

Sammy Provenzano assumed Castellito’s secretary and treasurer position in the wake of Castellito’s slaying and on his way to eventually becoming vice president of Local 560. He died peacefully at 92 years old in May of 2013.

Ralph (Brother) Moscato

 

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