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The Blue Hill Avenue Massacre: Notorious Boston Gangsters Campbell Bros., Deke Chandler Walked From ’68 Roxbury Triple Hit When Witness Slain

May 6, 2022 — Boston’s Black mob chiefs Alvin (Duke) Campbell and Arnold (Little Arnie) Campbell and their top henchman Dennis (Deke) Chandler were found not guilty at trial for the 1968 triple homicide at the New England Grass Roots Organization (N.E.G.R.O.) headquarters in Roxbury, Massachusetts’ Blue Hill Avenue neighborhood after the case’s star witness was murdered by Campbell brothers’ allies in the Irish mob in the weeks before the trial started. Throughout most of the late 1960s and 1970s, the Campbell brothers ran the region’s African-American rackets from Roxbury with Deke Chandler acting as their top enforcer and the Winter Hill Gang out of South Boston and Somerville co-signing their regime.

On November 10, 1968, well-known east coast civil-rights activist Guido St. Laurent, the blind, charismatic ex-con and president of N.E.G.R.O, and two associates were gunned down in a brutal gangland execution, part of what prosecutors and police described as a power struggle for turf and control of a pricy state-government grant. Local drug dealer Carnell Eaton and Cleveland civil-rights operative Harold King, in town for a series of meetings about organizing programs and protests back in the Midwest, were the two other victims of the bloody massacre that also left two men wounded. One of those men, a pimp and street figure named Ron (Cadillac Ronnie) Hicks, was shot as he allegedly let the Campbells and Chandler inside the highly-secured building, allowing them to storm the back office where St. Laurent, Eaton, King and Fred Rose were holding court.

Rose was wounded, however, survived the attack by ducking under a desk. Eaton, active in both the rackets and the civil rights movement, died on the street outside the N.E.G.R.O. headquarters, having crawled out of the carnage-strewn office to seek help.

Earlier that day, St. Laurent, Eaton and King had returned from meetings with Black militant and social injustice organizations in New York City that had taken place over the previous 48 hours. King was registered as a guest at the swanky Parker House Hotel in downtown Boston. The Parker House is the oldest operating hotel in the United States.

For more than two years as founder and president of N.E.G.R.O., St. Laurent did noble community-outreach work and minority-rights advocacy, but also had the reputation of surrounding himself with fellow ex-cons and other sketchy characters with militant and criminally-affiliated backgrounds. St. Laurent had been incarcerated for armed robbery, but had earned a sentence commutation in 1962 after going blind in an accident behind bars. He started N.E.G.R.O in 1966 and quickly became a fixture on local public radio. In April 1968, Boston Police credited St. Laurent’s leadership for stopping violent outbreaks throughout the city in the hours and days following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.

According to court records and police file memos, the Massachusetts Department of Labor had given St. Laurent’s a 1.9 million-dollar grant and the Campbell brothers as the crime bosses of the neighborhood felt entitled to a portion of the money. The Campbells mainly oversaw drug and pimping activity in the area.

Cadillac Ronnie Hicks was found shot to death in the trunk of his orange, yellow and brown-colored Caddy in the Back Bay section of Boston on March 19, 1969. Years later, members of the Winter Hill Gang admitted to murdering Hicks on the Campbells behalf. Hicks had recently been released from prison on armed robbery charges.

Winter Hill Gang boss James (Whitey) Bulger served federal prison time with the Campbell brothers in the early 1960s and the three men forged an alliance that they brought with them back to Beantown. Bulger was later outed as a longtime FBI informant.

Without Hicks there to testify against them in the Blue Hill Avenue Massacre case, the Campbells and Deke Chandler were acquitted of killing St. Laurent, Eaton and King at their June trial. Chandler would go on to be killed himself in 1977 in a dispute over a woman.

Going After The Animal Again: State Authorities In Mass. Have Vinnie Ferrara Back On The Radar, Take $268K From Two Bank Accounts

May 5, 2022 — Massachusetts State Police seized nearly $300,000 from alleged Boston mafia elder statesman Vinnie (The Animal) Ferrara last fall without explanation and Ferrara either wants to know why the money was taken or it returned, according to a lawsuit he filed in Suffolk County Superior Court this week.

The 73-year old Ferrara, who ran Boston’s North End for the Patriarca crime family in the late 1980s and went to prison for 16 years for racketeering and a murder case that eventually got tossed, is said to be in “semi-retirement” from his mob activities, per sources, acting solely in an advisory and dispute-settling capacity for Boston mafia brass. His level of direct involvement in modern day mob affairs remain open for debate.

What is known for sure though is that Ferrara is diversified in his business holdings, spanning real estate, restaurants and parking structures. And that he boasts a business degree from Boston College.

Ferrara’s lawsuit alleges $268,000 was confiscated from two separate Ferrara bank accounts in September 2021. Through his attorney Michael Natola, Ferrara claims the money is 100 percent legit, earned via a real estate transaction he brokered, legal business endeavors and Social Security payments.

Motions in the case will be heard Monday. According to sources and the Massachusetts State Attorney General’s Office, the funds and Ferrara himself are part of an ongoing criminal investigation in which a grand jury has been convened and is hearing testimony regarding Ferrara and other reputed New England organized crime figures. Back in 2008, Ferrara was indicted in state court for playing a minor role in a gambling ring, but was acquitted of the charges at trial.

Per FBI documents and federal court sentencing memos, Vinnie the Animal was “made” into the Patriarca crime family in 1983, sponsored by North End capo Donato (Smiling Danny) Angiulo, brother of longtime New England mafia underboss Jerry Angiulo. When the Angiulo brothers were nailed in a soon-forthcoming RICO case, Ferrara took the mantle of power as boss of the North End. He eventually went down in a 1990 RICO case, where he pl

eaded guilty to ordering the October 28, 1985 gangland slaying of mob associate Jimmy Limoli, Ferrara’s driver and bodyguard.

The Jimmy Limoli hit was carried out in front of the North End’s D’Amore’s Restaurant and was related to Limoli brazenly ripping off a string of mob-affiliated cocaine dealers. In 2005, Ferrara had his guilty plea in the Limoli homicide wiped off the books because prosecutors never informed Ferrara’s lawyer that the witness they had telling them Ferrara gave the green light for the murder had recanted his prior testimony in front of the grand jury. Ferrara walked free six years early from a 22-year prison term due to the murder count being reversed on appeal.

In 1987, Ferrara was recorded by the FBI shaking down an old-school Jewish bookie named “Doc” Sagansky in the back room of a restaurant at the Prudential Center in downtown Boston.

Faced with a demand for a street tax, the elderly Sagansky, a former dentist, balked at Ferrara’s request of an immediate $500,000 payout.

“Kid, I’m 89 years old, how much longer you think I’m going to be in the bookmaking business?, How much longer you think I’m going to be around (to earn)?” he asked.

“Frankly, I don’t give a shit,” Ferrara bluntly responded.

The Rooster Returns To The Hen House: Biker Chief Rooster Katona Released From Prison, Back To Head Sutars Soldiers Rise

May 5, 2022 — Pennsylvania biker boss Dennis (Rooster) Katona came home from jail this week. The 57-year old Katona served a little less than a year after having a previously-tossed narcotics case reinstated by the U.S. Court of Appeals last year. In the late 2000s, Katona led the Pagan’s Motorcycle Club.

In 2018, Katona founded the Sutars Soldiers MC in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania and brought with him a number of Pagan’s to fill the ranks. Sutars Soldiers now have chapters in Ohio, New York, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and other parts of the Keystone State. The club has a presence in Europe, as well.

Katona was patched-in to the Pagan’s Pittsburgh chapter and became national president of the club in 2008. Katona was sent to prison for drug trafficking stemming from a 2011 bust, but had his conviction tossed on a technicality prior to it being recently reinstated by the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Violence broke out between the Pagan’s and Katona’s Sutars Soldiers in 2019 when five Philly Pagan’s attacked Pagan’s expat Troy (Trouble) Harris, who had defected and joined Sutars Soldiers the year before. Harris was playing cards and drinking in the Slovak Club, a private social club in Westmoreland County. As the beating occurred, the assailants could be heard cursing the Sutars Soldiers.

Katona was found guilty of intent to distribute a controlled substance (resulting from a coke and meth bust) at a 2014 bench trial. Katona’s conviction stemmed from a summer 2011 raid of his home where state police found three ounces of cocaine and three ounces of methamphetamine, totaling a street value of $25,000.

The state’s appellate court ruled that the search was executed on a bad warrant. Katona’s attorneys argued police surveillance units were not properly updating the authorization for the wiring of a fellow Pagan’s MC members tasked with recording Katona’s conversations.

Katona owns East Coast Cycles, a custom motorcycle shop with outlets in Pennsylvania, Florida, Germany and Austria. Back in the 2000s, Katona did four years in the fed joint for leading an attack on a gathering of Hells Angels.

The Missing Mob Hit: Body Pops Up In Lake Mead, Leading Feds In LV To Suspect Previously Unknown Tony Spilotro Victim From The 80s

May 4, 2022 — The FBI in Las Vegas believes the body remains found in a barrel this past weekend beached off the shores of Lake Mead are of a Tony (The Ant) Spilotro murder victim, per sources in Nevada law enforcement. The barrel contained objects, clothes, shoes and paraphernalia from the early 1980s when Spilotro ruled the Vegas rackets on behalf of the Chicago mafia. Authorities in Nevada tie Tony the Ant to close to three dozen slayings between 1971 and 1986.

Spilotro himself was slain in a brutal mob execution alongside his little brother Michael in the summer of 1986, beaten, stomped and strangled to death inside a Chicago basement. The entire Spilotro mob reign on the Las Vegas Strip was recounted in the 1995 film Casino, directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Oscar-winner Joe Pesci in a character based on Tony the Ant.

Poisonous Tree Bears No Fruit: Roxbury (MA) Drug, Pimping Rackets Came Under Attack From Detroit Gangsters In ’69, Cost Campbell Bros. Hired Gun

May 4, 2022 — With Boston’s Black mob on the ropes in late 1969, a pair of Detroiters came to town with visions of a takeover. Their plans were foiled fast, but not before feared Roxbury gangland figure Willie (Poison) Gray was killed and dumped in Franklin Park.

At least two FBI informants tied the takeover attempt to powers in the Detroit and New York Italian mafias pulling strings from a distance. Others claim the brash Detroiters were acting on their own accord. Either way, it was a crazy two months near the end of a crazy decade.

A collection of FBI, DEA and federal court records tell the story:

“Poison” Gray’s body was found in the early morning hours of September 30, 1969. He had been shot twice in the head. Gray was one of the top hit men and enforcers in the Boston underworld at the time, working for the Campbell brothers.

During the late 1960s and 1970s, Alvin (Duke) Campbell and Arnold (Little Arnie) Campbell ran the African-American rackets in Boston from the Sugar Shack Lounge in Roxbury with backing from the region’s Irish mob, commonly referred to as the Winter Hill Gang. “Poison” Gray and Dennis (Deke) Chandler served as the Campbells’ main muscle.

Roxbury is the area in Boston with the most concentrated population of Black people. The Sugar Shack was the premiere R&B music performance venue in the city in that era. The Campbells did prison time for bank robbery and became friends with iconic bad guy and double-agent, Winter Hill Gang boss James (Whitey) Bulger, behind bars.

Chandler and the Campbell brothers had just beaten a first-degree homicide case against them in relation to a notorious 1968 triple murder known locally as the “Blue Hill Avenue Massacre” and were under intense scrutiny by both the police and the press. The star witness in the case, a local pimp named Ron (Cadillac Ronnie) Hicks, who survived the attack, was killed in March 1969, laying the groundwork for the Campbells and Chandler’s acquittal at a June trial.

According to one informant, the Detroit Italian mafia got word from the Colombo crime family in New York that the Roxbury rackets could be open for the taking and sent members of their “Murder Row” crew to Boston to try and get a foothold in the region’s drug, gambling and prostitution trades. Murder Row was the Detroit mob’s African-American wing. The Colombo mob and the Tocco-Zerilli crime family had ties cemented by marriage of sons of Detroit dons to daughters of the Colombo’s founding-family brass.

After stopping in New York, Murder Row member Charles (Rat Man) McDonald hit town in August and hooked up with local pimp and mob associate John (Jackie Touch) Banno. Soon, McDonald called for Greg (Bugs Moran) Usher, another Murder Row member in New York on assignment from Motown. Usher was doing muscle work for the Colombos in Brooklyn that summer.

In the days after Labor Day 1969, McDonald met with Duke Campbell and Deke Chandler in the backroom at the Sugar Shack and was admonished for coming to town and attempting to push heroin and pimp several prominent Roxbury prostitutes on their turf. McDonald reportedly cursed Campbell and Chandler and left, yelling he wasn’t stopping his push into the area and that he was going to sell drugs “to your mommas and then put them out on the corner to work.”

On September 22, 1969, McDonald and Banno shot at Deke Chandler out in front of the Sugar Shack from a passing car and missed. Three days later, Banno was stabbed to death by Winter Hill Gang enforcer John Martorano in an alley outside the Sugar Shack. Martorano would later cop to both the Banno and Cadillac Ronnie Hicks slayings in future testimony against Bulger.

On September 29, McDonald and Usher retrieved a 32-caliber pistol and a shotgun from a New Hampshire farmhouse that Usher had been using as a hideaway. In the early morning hours of September 30, McDonald and Usher kidnapped Poison Gray at gunpoint from his Roxbury apartment, drove him to Franklin Park and executed him. McDonald shot him with the .32 and Usher finished him off with a shotgun blast. During the late evening of October 4, McDonald and Usher again shot at Deke Chandler in a drive-by and failed to hit their target.

The war was over quickly. The woman responsible for getting rid of the Willie Poison murder weapon failed in her duties.

Just three weeks later, a prostitute named Millie Perry popped off a round of that same .32 caliber pistol in a taxi cab in downtown Boston and was arrested. She flipped once police tied the weapon she was carrying and shot to the Poison Gray hit. Perry, who was with McDonald and Usher during the murder and spate of shootings, was the star witness at a 1970 trial concluding in convictions for both defendants in Massachusetts state court. McDonald and Usher were sentenced to life prison terms.

Deke Chandler was killed on his porch in 1977 in a fight over a woman. Usher’s younger half-brother Francis (Big Frank Nitti) Usher led the Murder Row crew in Detroit in the 1970s. The older Usher also went by Gregory Pickles, but has since converted to Islam and changed his name to Fardan Salahuddin — he was convicted of murdering a fellow inmate at MCI Cedar Junction in 1978.