United States prosecutors in Boston intend on dusting off former witness and Patriarca crime family associate Tommy Hillary for use in their upcoming murder case pending against one-time New England mafia don Francis (Cadillac Frank) Salemme – pictured above – , according to court filings regarding the discovery process late last week in Massachusetts federal court. The 71-year old Hillary was raised as crime family namesake Raymond Patriarca’s surrogate son and turned government informant in the early 1990s after getting busted alongside Salemme’s son in a Hollywood extortion scheme. He hasn’t taken the witness stand in nearly 20 years

Salemme, also once closely aligned to Patriarca’s regime which ended more than three decades ago, was yanked out of the Witness Protection Program himself back in the summer and charged with taking part in the 1993 gangland slaying of Boston nightclub impresario and mob associate Stevie DiSarro, who was partners with Salemme in a South Boston bar called the Channel and had begun cooperating with federal authorities. Hillary has been free since 2000, having served eight years in prison and testifying against corrupt Teamsters Union officials on the east coast.

The six-page court document, first acquired and reported on by ace television investigative journalist and resident Patriarca Borgata mobologist Tim White of WPRI in Providence, Rhode Island Friday, also reveals the government’s granting of immunity to five New England mob associates, including the brother of Salemme’s former second-in-command, Robert (Bobby the Cigar) DeLuca and four former DeLuca underlings all, like him, hailing from the Providence side of the Patriarca clan.

DeLuca, 71, entered the Witness Protection Program in 2011 and was arrested for lying to investigators regarding his knowledge of the DiSarro murder in July. He’ll plead guilty later this month and testify against the 83-year old Salemme, admitting that he was responsible for disposing of DiSarro’s body.

Per last week’s filing, the government has given immunity to Bobby the Cigar’s younger brother Joe and one-time knock-around buddies Billy Ricci, Charles (Harpo) Garabedian, Richard Cinquegrana and Roland Wheeler. Garabedian and Wheeler are the only ones without criminal records. Garabadien denies any involvement in the DiSarro murder conspiracy.

Ricci was nailed in a drug conspiracy earlier this year and cut a deal with the feds, copping to a weapon charge and pointing authorities to his property in Providence as to where to find DiSarro’s remains. The converted industrial mill Ricci owns on Branch Avenue was just a construction site in the spring of 1993 when Bobby and Joe DeLuca took possession of DiSarro’s body from Salemme and buried him there.

DiSarro was slain on May 10, 1993, according to the August indictment, inside the Salemme family home in suburban Boston, strangled to death by Francis (Frankie Boy) Salemme, Jr. as his dad watched on and his friend and mob associate Paul Weadick held his victim’s legs. Weadick, already a convicted murderer, was indicted with the elder Salemme in the summer for DiSarro’s homicide. The government categorizes him a close friend of current acting New England mob boss Carmen (The Big Cheese) DiNunzio. Salemme, Jr. died of AIDS in 1995.

Frankie Boy Salemme, Jr. and Tommy Hillary were indicted together in 1992 for shaking down FBI agents posing as a Hollywood film company trying to do business in New England and willing to pay off the Patriarcas to grease labor-union personnel on the east coast so they purportedly could use non-union workers on future projects shot in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The federal sting was dubbed “Operation Dramex” and became the inspiration for the 2004 Alec Baldwin movie The Last Shot.

Starting in the late 1980s up until they were indicted, Salemme Jr. and Hillary were regularly being sent to Los Angeles by Cadillac Frank to scout potential west coast rackets for the Patriarca syndicate to dabble in. Unfortunately for them, their point man in Southern California, Boston-transplant Ralphie Franchi, was informing for the FBI from the second they stepped foot in LaLa Land.

Hillary was roommates with his surrogate father, Raymond Patriarca, who quasi adopted him as a boy, in a Providence apartment in the final years of Patriarca’s life. The scowling New England Godfather died of a heart attack in 1984. Cadillac Frank Salemme rose through the ranks of the mob as one of Patriarca’s main enforcers, serving 16 years in prison for trying to kill a mob attorney representing a witness against Patriarca with a car bomb.

Salemme ruled the New England underworld throughout the first half of the 1990s. He was jailed in 1995 and flipped in 1999. Because of Hillary’s Irish heritage, he couldn’t be inducted into the mafia. Hillary signed his cooperation agreement with the government in the months before the Salemmes conspired to kill DiSarro, believed to be skimming money from the club he co-owned with the mob in addition to his status as a cooperator. Despite not being a ‘made man,’ Hillary was a trusted lieutenant and strong arm for Patriarca and then Cadillac Frank.

The Salemmes were silent partners with DiSarro, 43 at the time of his death and a Providence native, in the Channel, a music venue-turned-go-go bar, located in Boston’s prominently Irish “Southie” neighborhood. Cadillac Frank is half-Irish. Paul Weadick was employed by DiSarro at the Channel after completing a seven-year prison stint for manslaughter in the 1982 mob slaying of Joe Mistretta. Law enforcement surveillance logs from the early 1990s show Hillary spending hours at a time in a private office in the back of the night spot.

Another silent partner in the Channel was Stephen (Stevie the Rifleman) Flemmi, the former No. 2 in charge of Southie’s Winter Hill Gang led by infamous Irish crime lord and confidential FBI informant James (Whitey) Bulger. According to last week’s filing, he will be in line to testify against Salemme at the DiSarro trial as well. Salemme, Bulger and Flemmi all grew up together and were allies on the street.

Bulger and Flemmi were given ownership stakes in the Channel after getting the club several operating licenses using their various contacts within the local municipality. Flemmi began cooperating in 2003 and immediately told the FBI that he had unintentionally walked-in on DiSarro’s execution taking place in Salemme’s living room. Bulger’s doing life in prison for murder and racketeering and had his life of crime detailed in the 2015 film Black Mass starring Johnny Depp.

 

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