Hoping For An Early Christmas Present, South Philly Wiseguy Damion Canalichio Looking To Be Resentenced

"Skinny Joey" Merlino (L) & Damion Canaichlio (R) at a party in 1999

Philadelphia mobster Damion Canalichio will see his judge next week in an attempt to get resentenced on a 2013 racketeering conviction. He’s currently awaiting the hearing in a federal detention facility in the City of Brotherly Love, a fact first reported last week by award-winning FOX29 television investigative journalist and longtime resident mobologist Dave Schratwieser.

As of now, the 48-year old Canalichio, locked up since 2007, won’t be eligible to be paroled until 2021. Prior to his 2011 indictment, he had been serving a four-year term behind bars for narcotics trafficking.

Canalichio came up through the ranks of the Philly mafia in the 1990s as underboss Steven (Handsome Stevie) Mazzone’s driver and bodyguard. In the 2011 indictment, U.S. Attorneys described Canalichio as one of the Bruno-Scarfo crime family’s top enforcers and collectors.

The FBI considers him a prime suspect in the unsolved gangland murder of mobster John (Johnny Gongs) Casasanto, killed inside his own residence in South Philly in November 2003. Casasanto is alleged to have been carrying on a romance with crime family boss Joseph (Skinny Joey) Merlino’s wife while Merlino and his right-hand man Mazzone were away in prison serving their own sentences for racketeering (Casasanto had dated Merlino’s wife before Merlino married her).

Merlino, 55, will go to trial next month on another round of federal racketeering charges out of New York. According to sources in South Philly, the Casasanto hit led to Canalichio to being “made” into the Bruno-Scarfo crime family shortly thereafter.

Throughout most of the 2000s, Canalichio headquartered his operations at the First Ward Republican Social Club on Woodstock Street. An FBI wire caught Canalichio threatening to “crack” a local gambler slow on paying his debt and bragging of beating another debtor with a baseball bat.


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