When Western New York Was The Wild West: The Buffalo Mafia Murder Timeline (1957-1997)

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Here’s a breakdown of killings within the Magaddino crime family in the second half of the 20th Century;

March 14, 1957 – Cleveland mafia figure Dominic Mafrici is shot to death while in hiding in Western New York after robbing a mob-owned restaurant in Steubenville, Ohio without permission. Mafrici worked for the Cleveland mob’s longtime consigliere Tony Milano. The FBI was told the Magaddinos found Marfici and did the hit as a favor to their counterparts in the Midwest.

March 3, 1958 – Buffalo wiseguys Guido D’Antuono and Leo Bartolomei, who both operated out of the Niagara area, disappeared after traveling by plane to New York City for a meeting.

September 12, 1958 – Buffalo mob figure Vincent (Bitty) Vazza is murdered. Vazza was viewed as disloyal.

September 13, 1958 – Renegade Buffalo mobster Frank (Frankie the Stick) Aquino is found dead inside his mother’s Lincoln convertible in Lackawanna, New York. Frankie the Stick’s body was crammed into the dashboard of the automobile. Aquino and his brother “Freddy the Fox” headquartered out of The Bison Hotel and were refusing to share profits from their rackets with the Magaddino crime family.

September 17, 1958 – Renegade Buffalo mobster Fred (Freddy the Fox) Aquino is found murdered in a Tonawanda, New York field. He had disappeared the previous day after his brother’s funeral and his body showed signs of torture (his face and chest burnt with acid). The Aquino brothers were half Irish and Freddy the Fox was known as a ladies man.

October 14, 1958 – Buffalo mob collector Arthur (Artie Bricks) DeLuca is found shot and strangled to death with an electrical cord in the trunk of his Cadillac in North Tonawanda. DeLuca did muscle work for the Aquino brothers.

November 29, 1958 – Buffalo mob associate Angelo (Rico) Cicatello disappears.

May 23, 1959 – Buffalo mob figure Richie Battaglia is shot to death getting into his car in Reynolds Alley. Battaglia was affiliated with the Aquino brothers crew.

June 8, 1960 – Buffalo hoodlum Jimmy Delmont is found dead in a San Bernardino, California ditch after shooting Magaddino crime family capo Steve (Stevie Flattop) Cannarozo.

July 23, 1961 – Buffalo mob figure Nick Tirone is shot to death walking in Prospect Park on the city’s Westside.

August 8, 1961 – New York mob associate William (Shorty) Holmes is gunned down in the Bronx following a drug bust alongside members of the Magaddino clan in Buffalo.

August 12, 1961 – Buffalo mobsters Anthony (Tony Football) Palestine and Vincent (Vinnie Stugotz) Santangelo are beaten, tortured and strangled to death, their bound and gagged bodies discovered in a grassy field in Lancaster, New York. Palestone and Santangelo were suspects in the Tirone slaying three weeks earlier.

October 8, 1961 – Buffalo mob soldier Albert (The Baker) Agueci is found beaten and tortured to death in a field near Rochester, New York. Facing a narcotics trafficking case, Agueci, who was being openly subversive to his bosses in the crime family, disappeared on his way to meet Don Stefano Magaddino.

April 20, 1963 – Buffalo wiseguy Lou Scalzo is gunned down in his driveway. Scalzo was refusing to pay tribute to the Magaddinos.

September 22, 1965 – Buffalo mob associate Charles Gerass is shot to death, his trussed body was found in the trunk of his new-model Cadillac parked at the Sheridan Plaza shopping plaza. Gerass was on his way to meet Magaddino crime family capo Joseph (Lead Pipe Joe) Todaro.

December 29, 1969 – Colorful Niagara Falls attorney Jimmy LiBrize is killed and tortured in the living quarters behind his law office. Some claim it was a mafia hit. Others point to a client upset over LiBrize’s handling of his divorce case.

June 11, 1970 – Buffalo mobster Gino Albini is shot to death in his driveway just days after he murdered a girlfriend of his he worried was about go to the police regarding her witnessing him kill a fellow bar patron in a fight at the Ivanhoe Inn the prior Thanksgiving.

November 11, 1970 – Buffalo mob associate Richard Falise is found strangled to death behind a gas station near downtown.

May 12, 1971 – Buffalo mob associate Lester Speaker is shot to death and dumped by a set of railroad tracks.

October 24, 1972 — Local blacksmith Jeff Kaddel is killed in his Amherst garage by a gunmen with a rifle. Buffalo Police probed possible mob ties to the case.

May 8, 1974 – Magaddino crime family powerhouse and labor-union captain John Cammillieri is gunned down in front of his favorite restaurant, Roseland’s, as he went to join his crew and girlfriend for his birthday party after attending a wake for Buffalo mobster Frank (Frankie Blaze) Lo Tempio, a soldier from the syndicate’s Utica, New York wing. The 63-year old Cammillieri allegedly feuded with his bosses in the mafia over union affairs and argued loudly with several Magaddino mob administrators at a cigar store hangout in the hours leading up to his high-profile slaying.

September 19, 1974 – Buffalo mob prince, Albert (Little Baby) Billiteri, Jr., the drug-dealing son of Magaddino crime family captain Albert (Babe) Billiteri, is found shot six times in Cheektowaga as unsanctioned payback for ripping off another western New York wiseguy in a na

rcotics transaction and robbing the wiseguy’s mom’s house.

October 5, 1974 – Buffalo area burglar and bookie Frank (Frankie D) D’Angelo is riddled with bullets as he left Mulligan’s nightclub for failing to deliver tribute to the Magaddino mob family from a big jewelry heist he pulled.

February 17, 1976 – Buffalo area thief and aspiring Goodfella William (Butch) Esposito is found strangled to death, dumped in a mud-soaked field in the back of his apartment complex. Esposito, 29, had recently been paroled from a prison stint for running a robbery ring and allegedly angered the Magaddino hierarchy by getting into a bar fight with a local mafia button man.

May 31, 1976 – Magaddino crime family associate Robert Reingold, a convicted counterfeiter and drug peddler, is found strangled to death and hogtied in the trunk of his car after shooting the brother of a Buffalo mob power.

October 5, 1977 – Buffalo mafia soldier Sam Rizzo is allegedly forced to hang himself at his business’ warehouse in Depew, New York following engaging in a beef with a fellow mobster in Florida.

November 3, 1977 – Buffalo area bartender and bookie Joseph (Handsome Joey) Vara is killed for a love affair he was having with Magaddino mobster Joe San Fratello’s wife while San Fratello was away in prison.

November 14, 1977 – Magaddino crime family associate John Certo is bludgeoned to death and his body discovered in a burned-down shed at a garbage dump in Lewiston, New York. Word on the street was that Certo had slapped around the niece of Niagara Falls capo and future underboss Benjamin (Sonny) Nicoletti.

April 19, 1979 – Buffalo area drug dealer and mob associate Peter (Pixie Stix Pete) Piccolo, a 32 year old hair salon owner and beauty school operator, is found shot in the back of his head behind the desk in his Allentown, New York office. The reportedly-homosexual Piccolo double-crossed his partners in the mob in a large cocaine deal, per police records.

September 29, 1979 – Buffalo mob enforcer Raymond (Ray Red) Townsend is found shot in the face and head behind the wheel of his car, which was parked idling outside a local watering hole. The 37-year old Townsend was allegedly blamed by Magaddino organization brass for a bungled drug deal.

March 6, 1980 – Magaddino crime family captain Carlo Rizzo disappears on his way home for dinner and isn’t found for another five weeks when his body is discovered stuffed in the trunk of his car on April 10. Rizzo was deeply involved in the Buffalo mafia’s insurance scams run through mobbed-up labor unions that had come under investigation by the feds.

March 7, 1980 – Buffalo mob soldier and reputed hit man William (Billy the Kid) Sciolino is killed in his office at construction site by a shot-gun wielding team of assassins. Sciolino’s mentor in the mob, Daniel (Danny Boots) Sansanese had died four years prior and rumors were circulating that Billy the Kid was secretly cooperating with the FBI in building a case against Magaddino-infested Local 210 of the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) where he held the job as steward.

February 8, 1981 – Buffalo restaurant owner and reputed drug dealer  Bobby Warner is shot to death in the parking lot of the McKinley Park Inn hotel allegedly by storied Buffalo mob hit man Luciano (Dilly) Spataro for the belief Warner was a rat.

November 13, 1983 – The Buffalo mob’s representative in Toronto, Paul (The Fox) Volpe, is found shot to death in the trunk of his car at the Toronto International Airport. Volpe allegedly fell out with his mob superiors over a casino deal in Atlantic City.

April 3, 1984 – Magaddino crime family loan shark, Albert (Big Al) Monaco is shot in the back of the head at the home of Dilly Spataro by Spataro’s son-in-law Johnny Pinelli after it’s uncovered that Monaco was skimming from his collections.

June 9, 1984 — Buffalo mob associate Bobby Schickler is shot to death and left on a road in Allegheny County.

February 2, 1985 – Buffalo mobster and drug lieutenant Joe San Fratello is shot death as he departs a local tavern, reportedly the victim of an internal Magaddino spat over narcotics territory.

April 17, 1985 – Buffalo mob enforcer and hired security to the stars Robert (Bobby the Body) DiGiulio is ambushed as he left his home, gunned down for sleeping with a mobster’s girlfriend on contract initiated by his scorned wife and given to Dilly Spataro.

September 19, 1986 – Buffalo mob associate Alan (Tuxedo Al) Levine is found shot to death sprawled out on the street. The 33-year old Tuxedo Al managed a series of prostitute-infested motels and pushed drugs for the Magaddinos. He was killed after he ripped off mobsters in a drug deal

September 29, 1986 – Drug-addicted Magaddino crime family thief Johnny Pinelli is shot in the back of the head and left in a ditch for beating up his wife, who was Dilly Spataro’s daughter, and knowing too many of Spataro’s secrets.

August 9, 1989 – Buffalo mob associate and drug dealer Michael Ress vanishes on his way to an evening meeting with Magaddino clan narcotics chief John (Fat Johnny) Sacco, his partner in a cocaine and marijuana distribution network. Ress’ remains have never been unearthed. Both he and Sacco were informing for the FBI.

October 1992 – Buffalo mob associate Paul Gembella is slain over a gambling debt.

July 8, 1993 – Buffalo mob associate Michael Baldi is shot in the head behind wheel of his car after a business deal he was in with Magaddino members went belly up.

January 6, 1997 — Chicago mafia associate Herbert (Fat Herbie) Blitzstein is shot to death in his Las Vegas home in a failed takeover of his business in a conspiracy hatched in tandem between the Buffalo and L.A. mob families.

May 31, 1997 – Heavily-feared Magaddino crime family captain and the clan’s king of Canada, John (Johnny Pops) Papalia, is shot to death in front of his home in a power play launched by members of his own Hamilton, Ontario crew.

July 23, 1997 – Niagara Falls mobster and Johnny Pops’ top lieutenant and right-hand man Carmen Barillaro is shot dead less than two months after his gangland mentor’s slaying as he answers a knock at his front door.

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