East coast wiseguy Sammy Piccolo took his major first drug arrest almost three decades ago courtesy of his brother-in-law becoming an FBI informant and betraying his blood oath to the mafia. Former Philadelphia mob figure Salvatore (Wayne) Grande got caught in a narcotics conspiracy from behind federal prison walls in the summer of 1991 and turned on Piccolo, setting him up for an FBI sting.

Piccolo, 66, was arrested earlier this week on drug charges out of New Jersey after making a pair of hand-to-hand sales of crystal meth to an undercover FBI agent. He pled guilty to narcotics-trafficking and a firearm offense in November 1991 after getting nabbed by the feds in a downtown Philadelphia hotel room trying to pay $70,000 in cash for a shipment of 10 kilos of cocaine. At the time of the arrest, Piccolo had a gun in his waistband.

Grande had been serving a 30-to-40 year prison sentence for racketeering and murder when he got caught up with two fellow mob-connected inmates in a doomed-from-the-start plan to push coke from Leavenworth Penitentiary and decided to begin cooperating with authorities in exchange for an early release. Nicknamed “Wayne,” short for “John Wayne,” for his wild, cowboy-like demeanor on the street as an enforcer in the Bruno-Scarfo crime family, Grande was quickly divorced from Piccolo’s sister and disavowed from his entire family.

Grande’s dad and younger brother, John (Coo Coo) Grande and Joseph (Joe G) Grande, were members of the Bruno-Scarfo crime family, too. Coo Coo Grande is dead, Joe Grande, who was nailed in the same 1987 indictment that brought down his older brother along with the entire sycophantic Nicodemo (Little Nick) Scarfo mob regime, got sprung from prison in 2011 and currently resides in New Jersey. Piccolo is a nephew of Scarfo’s uncles and gangland mentors, Anthony (Tony Buck) Piccolo and Nicolo (Nicky Buck) Piccolo, his acting boss and consigliere, respectively, at the end of his reign.

Little Nicky Scarfo died of natural causes at 87 in a North Carolina prison last year serving a life sentence. Per an FBI informant, Scarfo placed murder contracts on the Grande brothers’ heads in the late 1980s for getting his cousin Sammy Piccolo involved in their drug business. Per sources, Piccolo was ushered into his official mafia initiation by Scarfo’s son, Nicky Jr., inducted into the Lucchese crime family in New York — which Nicky Jr. is a member of — and then absorbed by the Philly Borgata upon Nicky Jr. being imprisoned in 2011.

Wayne Grande, today 65 years old and living under an assumed name in the Witness Protection Program, decided to team up with New York mobsters, Oreste (Ernie Boy) Abbamonte and Victor (Rocky) Soto while they were incarcerated together at Leavenworth and sell cocaine on the outside. Abbamonte is a member of the Gambino crime family and known mob drug lieutenant. The associate of theirs in Leavenworth they were using to arrange a purchase of the product happened to be working with the FBI and introduced them to a wholesaler in South Philly who unbeknownst to them was an undercover agent.

Faced with telephone wire transcripts showing him negotiating the price of a deal to buy 20 kilos of blow, Grande flipped. On August 15, 1991, he sent Piccolo to meet with the undercover fed in a swanky Philly hotel and deliver a $70,000 payment in exchange for what was to be the first of two 10 kilo installments. Piccolo left in handcuffs that day and did more than a decade in the can. Ernie Boy Abbamonte returned to prison in 2014 for extorting a Massachusetts construction company.

In Piccolo’s most recent indictment the U.S. Attorneys Office divulged that an unidentified made member of the Bruno-Scarfo clan has been cooperating and recording conversations with mob figures in both the syndicate’s Philly and Jersey wings since 2015. Besides Piccolo, Bruno-Scarfo soldier Joseph (Joey Electric) Servidio, was indicted on narcotics charges this month, a case that also spawns from the work of the FBI’s newly-cultivated mole and the tapes he has made. There’s speculation that one of the people frequently referred to, but unnamed, in the tapes is Piccolo’s nephew and Wayne Grande’s son, reputed rising Philly mafia star Domenic (Baby Dom) Grande, allegedly recently bumped to an acting capo post.

Authorities believe the younger Grande, 38, was the triggerman in the December 2012 murder of mob associate and former drug offender Gino DiPietro, but he’s never faced charges in the case which sent his best friend, Bruno-Scarfo button man Anthony (Tony Nicks) Nicodemo, to state prison. Sources tell Gangster Report that Sammy Piccolo reports to Grande in the Philly mob hierarchy. Piccolo took another pinch in 2015 and was on probation at the time of his arrest this week.

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