Category: Famous Gangsters

Aniello Dellacroce – Nicknamed Father O’Neil

It was on 15th March 1914 that Aniello Dellacroce, popularly called Neil was born to American-Italian immigrants named Antoinette and Francesco Dellacroce. He had a younger sibling named Carmine and grew up in Manhattan’s Little Italy. At times, he would wear the uniform of a priest to throw the law enforcement officials off the track. In his career as a mafia, he climbed to great positions to become the Gambino Mafia family’s underboss, as well as mentor to John Gotti.

His early life

As a teenager, he had worked as an assistant to a butcher, however, as work had become scarce, he took to the life of a mafia. He was 5’ 10” tall having broad shoulders. He had joined the Mangano Mafia family during the 1930’s under the leadership of Vincent Mangano. Under Albert Anastasia, he had rose to the  rank of a capo by the 1950s after the death of Mangano.

He purchased Ravenite Social Club that was located in Little Italy that later become popular as Gambino Social Club. He was regarded to be a fierce follower of Anastasia and carried out numerous murders on his behest. But he followed the mafia tradition, since he was a devoted Cosa Nostra mobster and remained quiet as Anastasia got murdered on 25th October 1957. The family was then taken over by Carlo Gambino, the then underboss, after which the family got renamed to Gambino Mafia family.

He preferred to live a low profile when in public and was nicknamed ‘Neil’ that was regarded to be ‘Aneillo’s’ Americanization form. As he had a square shaped face, few of the family members nicknamed him as ‘the Polack’.

His personal life

He got married to Lucille Riccardi and gave birth to two sons, Ronald and Armand, as well as a daughter called Shannon. They resided in Little Italy neighborhood of Manhattan, however, moved onto Staten Island’s Grasmere region. Moreover, Dellacroce was John Ruggeiro Jr.’s great uncle as well of Salvatore Rugeiro Jr. and Angelo Ruggiero Jr., who had become the associates of the Gambino mafia family.

Dellacroce is known to have remained aloof and made use of body double when it came to attending public events. He also dressed as priest had killed a man and hence, had earned another nickname called ‘Father O’Neil’. He got promoted to becoming underboss in 1965. On 2nd December 1985, he died due to lung cancer.

Alphonse Indelicato – The man who failed to become the boss of the Bonanno Mafia family

Alphonse Indelicato was popularly called as Sony Red. It was on 25th February 1931 that he was born in the city of New York. He had never visited his paternal city of Siculiana, Agrigento, Sicily and was Salvatore Valenti, the Bonanno associate’s father in law. Indelicato was also Charles Ruvolo, the Bonanno capo’s ex-son in law. Moreover, he had relations with the education advisor of Michael Dukkakis’, the Massachusetts Governor named Gerald Thomas Indelicato and Giuseppe Indelicato, the global heroin trafficker.  He got married to Margaret Elizabeth McFadden. They had a son called Bruno, who also was introduced the Mafia ways at a very young age.

His personality

Indelicator was considered to be opinionated, charismatic, ruthless and dangerous. He had a tattoo of two hearts within a dagger carved on the left arm, and on the right arm having another tattoo stating “Holland 1945”, whose meaning is unknown. He preferred wearing bright clothing, striped track suits, orange T-shirts, garish casual clothing and multicolored socks. Also he used huge tinted sunglasses including a swagger in customized pair of red colored leather cowboy boots, the reason why he got the nickname of ‘Sonny Red’.

He is regarded to be a violent person as he had killed a man with an ice pick and got involved in numerous murders. He got sentenced to 12 years of imprisonment at the Sing Sing Correctional center on 26th December 1951 for shooting at the social club, killing a man.

His life as a mafia

He had become a caporegime of the Bonanno Mafia family and was one of the mafia members to dislike the leadership of Phillip Rastelli. Since he had a good support from the other capo’s of the family, he often disrespected Rastelli, including capos Dominick Napolitano and Joseph Massino, who had been aligned with him.

With the imprisonment of Rastelli in 1974, Carmine Galante tried to push him aside and become the ultimate boss of the Bonanno Mafia Family. But his antics did not go well with the other members of the Commission. On his declaring war with the other mafia families like Gambino and Genovese, a contract was issued to kill Galante that was successfully carried out. The creation of a vacuum tempted Indelicto to attempt becoming boss of the Bonanno family. But Rastelli’s loyalist Sonny Napolitano prevented such moves. Even though Indelicto enjoyed the support of soldiers and caporegime of the family, on 5th May 1981 at the Embassy Terrace of Brooklyn, he got killed by the loyal aides of Rastelli.

Tommy DeSimone – Who depicted killings from the movie ‘The Goodfella’

It was on 24th May 1950 that Thomas DeSimone was born. He is well known as an American-Italian mobster having worked for New York’s Luchesse Mafia Family as an associate. DeSimone was popular with the other and had several nick names like Tommy D and Two Gun Tommy as he always carried with him two guns.

His early life

Tommy was among the three siblings to his parents, with two brothers Anthony and Robert (got life imprisonment) and a sister called Dolares. Anthony and Robert had worked for the Gambino Mafia Family as associates. In 1979, Anthony had been killed. His grandfather Rosario DeSimone was the mob boss of Los Angeles, way back in 1922, while Frank DeSimone, his uncle was mob boss of Los Angeles Mafia family in 1956.

His life as a Mafia

It was under Capo Paul Vairo that Tommy got engaged with the Luchhese Mafia Family in 1965. He was considered to be naïve, skinny and just 15 years old. A family friend named Jimmy Burke guided him to participate in few rackets and trained him to become a successful mafia.

DeSimone had a huge appetite and quick temper and could drink every day gallon of milk. Henry Hill, his fellow associate and friend had described him as pure psychopath. It was at the age of 18 that Tommy killed Howard Goldstein.

He had several kills to his credit, including Gambino Mafia Family’s made man called ‘Billy Batts’ Devino in 1970. Devino was regarded to be among the most feared gunmen, who had killed many people. He insulted DeSimone by reminding his earlier life as shoe shine boy that went on to be shown in the movie Goodfella. It was the reason behind Devino’s murder.

Another murder of DeSimone got played in Goodfella movie, where DeSimone had murdered Michael ‘Spider’ Gianco, by putting three bullets in the chest. The different murders carried out by DeSimone were done in Hollywood style, the reason why, he was better known among his friends and associates as Tommy Goodfella.

His other significant criminal activities

DeSimone is said to have participated in the JFK International Airport, Lufthansa Heist of December 1978, after which he had killed Parnell ‘Stacks’ Edwards due to his failure in having the delivery truck to be hidden. Upon this, DeSimone had risen to the ranks of a made man. However, on 14th January 1979, according to his wife, Angela,  Tommy went missing and presumed to have been killed probably on 6th January 1979, the reasons cited for the same being several.

Salvatore D’Aquila – The Mustache Pete who went on to become the boss of his own Mafia family

It was in Palermo, Sicily, in November 1877 that Salvatore Aquila was born. In 1906 he got into the United States to escape the wrath of the then government there who were after the Mafiosi. By the time he reached America, D’Aquila already was involved heavily in organized crime and had a nickname ‘Mustache Pete’, which meant those who had already committed their initial killings back in Italy. On his arrival at New York, he worked with other Sicilians at a nearby cheese importing company. But very soon, he leaned towards his old-world connections, to have a career in the underworld.

His life as a Mafia

He had befriended another Mustache Pete, having solidified as boss in the city of New York. The Clutch Hand or Giuseppe Morello had powerful organization in Bronx and in those days was boss of bosses. As a confidence man, D’Aquila worked with Morello that was similar to the position of a caporegime, leading towards instigation of criminal activities.

On his moving to Brooklyn, he became the family’s powerful lieutenant, but in 1906 as well as 1909 got arrested. However, the charges upon him were dropped.

But with the imprisonment of Morello and Ignazio Lupo, his second-in-command in 1910 due to counterfeiting charges and being sentenced 30 years of prison, D’Aquila not having proper backup to fight the rising powerful Masseria, moved to East Harlem distancing from Morello family. Along with him, he took several loyal followers to start his very own gang.

His plan after becoming his family’s leader was to have all New York mafia gangs to be united under one umbrella. Although his attempt to kill numerous slow ranking bosses of East Harlem did not succeed along with his plan to become the boss of bosses, he did seize several ports and had them under his control. During the Prohibition, he grew as a Mafioso family and helped join many members under his wing.

He had numerous top Mafia members to work for him like Frank Scalise, Giuseppe Traina and Alfred Mineo. One of D’Aquila’s top mafia members, Valenti was asked to prove his loyalty and this was to be done by killing Masseria. But with repeated failures, Valenti tried to bring the two families to the table, but in the process got murdered himself. With Valenti’s death, the influence of D’Aquila also started to wane, since most of his associates defected to Masseria. With Morello and Masseria determined to have D’Aquila’s reign to be ended, many of his associates were murdered in the process. On 10th October 1928, he was murdered by his underboss Al Mineo, who later was given the mantle of the D’Aquila crime family.

Joseph Anthony Colombo – The Mafia who supported Italian American Rights

It was on 16th June 1923 that Joseph Anthony Colombo was born. The early life of Joe is not known, but he was the only son of his parents. His father also belonged to the American Mafia, until 1938, when he was murdered. Colombo got engaged into various legitimate jobs during his younger days, like joining U.S. Coast Guard, worked as longshoreman, meat packing company, with the last one being selling real estate.

His life as a Mafia

He had become the Profaci Mafia Family’s Enforcer by late 1950’s, in New York. It was a tough family, among New York’s prominent 5 Mafia Families, while holding a seat on the national Mafia Commission. His job as an enforcer was to have money collected that was owed to Profaci Family, to take part in activities engaging physical work that was ordered by the higher ups or the capo. He had great skills to collect money and was into extortion, and later got inducted officially within the Cosa Nostra.

His career

Colombo is said to have come across numerous close calls or ‘scares’ during his tenure as a Mafia. Many Profaci leadership members along with Colombo had been kidnapped at one time by a disgruntled and most feared capo of the family, known as Joe Gallo. The reason for the feud was Joe Profaci, the family’s boss had been requesting Gallo to provide bigger tributes. Gallo being infuriated had held the hostage for several weeks until an agreement was made finally by Profaci to lessen down the tributes which were owned by Gallo. With the death of Joe Profaci, Joseph Magliocco a consigliere, became the family’s boss, who pursued Gallo. Magliocco made a plot to have the whole commission to be murdered, which included Joe Bonnano, Tommy Lucchese, and Carlo Gambino. He had asked Joe Colombo to take the contract, hoi had revealed this plot to Gambino and Luchhese, upon which Magliocco was compelled to take retirement. In the process for his loyalty to the Cosa Nostra, Colombo got rewarded and the Profaci Family was handed over to him, thereby having the renaming Profaci Mafia family to be renamed as Colombo Mafia family. Colombo had become the nation’s youngest family boss at the age of 41. At the same time, he also had supported the American-Italian rights, fighting for equality, thereby creating American-Italian Civil Right League. He emerged a popular leader with the community. On 8th June, 1971 Colombo was shot, but survived, only to remain in vegetative state,  until 22nd May 178, when he finally died.

Joe Magliocco – Loyal towards the Colombo Mafia Family

It was in Sicily’s Castellammare del Golfo region, in the year 1898 that Giuseppe Magliocco, called Joe in short was born. He was said to be related by his marriage to underboss and consigliere Salvatore Mussacio, Joseph Bonanno the Bonanno Mafia family founder, Stefano Magaddino the Buffalo Mafia family boss and Joseph Profaci, the founder of Profaci Mafia family and close confident of Joe. He took benefit of this excellent relationship on his arrival at the United States.

His activities as a Mafioso

On reaching the U.S., he got into union racketeering and illegal gambling. A meeting was held in Cleveland, Ohio’s Statler hotel on 5th December 1928 for establishing new territories after the murder of Salvatore D’Squila, the boss of Brooklyn New York gang. The meeting was attended by Profaci and Magliocco. However, the meeting was raided by the law enforcement officials, with several Mafioso were detained in the process along with Magliocco, who appeared to be the only one charged for carrying weapons.

Rise to fame

The Castellammarese War had begun in 1931 among two powerful American-Italian Mafia Families of New York. With both of the bosses being dead, the war ended and Lucky Luciano had established the Mafia Commission. 5 mafia families were created, which was supervised by the Commission. Profaci as New York boss was a member of the ruling panel and had become one among the 5 family bosses. Profaci’s very first business order was naming Magliocco as his second in command or underboss, to which the latter agreed and remained in the position for about 31 years.

The Appalachian Conference in 1957 proved to be a failure, with 60 mobsters along with Magliocco was arrested by the authorities. Again on 13th January 1960, he along with other 21 mafia members had been convicted of conspiracy, which led to being sentenced for a period of 5 years that was later overturned by an appeals court.

With the death of Profaci on 6th June 1962, Magliocco had become the Profaci family’s new acting boss, but did not get the Commission’s endorsement. But as a Profaci capo named Joseph Bonanno was voted to become the family boss, Magliocco got back into his position of a consigliere. Magliocco had become the right hand man of Bonanno after his involvement to kill Carlo Gambino and Tommy Lucchese. But with the plot being found out, he confessed of his involvement before the Commission, who fined him and spared his life, because of his failing health. He died of heart attack on 28th December 1963.

Giuseppe Profaci – The Olive oil king and mafia mobster

Giuseppe Profaci also called Joe in short was born in the Palermo province named Villabate, Sicily, on 2nd October 1897. His early childhood days are not much known, however, he is said to have been associated with Sicilian mafia members, while spending a year in prison in Sicily for theft charges.

His coming to the United States

On 4th September 1921, he started out for the U.S. and boarded a shop that also carried Phillip Mangano and Vincent Mangano (the future Gambino Mafia family boss). On his arrival at the United States, he settled in Chicago, opening up a grocery store. But the business proved to be unsuccessful, which compelled him to move to New York in 1925. Here, ,he took to exporting olive oil and hence got the nick name of ‘Olive Oil king’ and made Long Island to be his territory.

Life as a mafia

He formed his very own gang taking assistance from Vincent Mangano by 19274 and built relationship with other New York gang leaders. His business included bootlegging, counterfeiting and extortion. By 1928, he went on to become the most powerful New York gang.

His rise to power

He along with others was invited to Cleveland’s Statler Hotel on 5th December 1928 to the mafia summit, hosted by Joseph Porello, the Cleveland mafia boss. But by the middle of the meeting, Profaci along with 23 other mafia members were arrested and pressed bootlegging charges. However, Profaci was not fazed with the arrest and by now had become a well recognized mafia boss and built up an empire in New York.

His other activities

Profaci had a powerful gang by 1931 that was involved in narcotics, numbers racket, trafficking, loan sharking and prostitution. During Castellammarese War, he remained neutral and when Lucky Luciano reorganized the mafia members, Profaci was awarded his own family among the five New York Mafia Families, as well as a seat in the Commission.

He still had maintained his business in olive oil, a legitimate business, which thrived during the Second World War. With time, he operated and owned over 20 legitimate businesses, while employing New York citizens, at a time, when being employed was quite difficult. He was very close to Bonanno family and it further strengthened with Rosalie, Profaci’s niece and Salvatore Bonanno married.

He was a devoted Catholic and distributed among Catholic charities, dollars in thousands. In 1950s, he had been sued by the IRS for back taxes amounting to $1.5 million. But he got involved in the 1960s in the Profaci-Gallo war over payment of tributes to mafia boss, which has been termed to be very violent in history.

On 7th June 1962, he died due to cancer.

Giuseppe Morello – New York’s first Boss of Bosses

Giuseppe was also called ‘The Clutch Hand’ among the Mafia members. It was on 2nd May 1867 that he was born in Corleone, Sicily. Calogero Morello, his father had died, when he was just 5 years of age, after which Angelina, his mother got remarried to a Corlonesi mafia member named Bernado Terranova. This marriage culminated in another 2 daughters and sons. It was Terranova who had introduced Sicilian mafia partially to young Morello. Like other Mafia members, Morello was forced to leave Sicily in 1892 and went to the U.S. Another reason cited for his immigrating was being a suspect for murdering and running a counterfeiting ring. Even though, he reached the U.S., back in Sicily, the Italian government had found him guilty of counterfeiting case. In absentia, he was found to be guilty in September 1894 and got sentenced to imprisonment for 6 years and 45 days. Hence, he never came back to Italy.

His life in the States

He along with his family had settled in New York and worked for a year, before shifting base to Louisiana to seek opportunities. However, Morello had established the 107th Street mob before leaving. It was a gang that was engaged in small time racketeering as well as minor loansharking. As he had to shift base to Louisiana, he gave up the control of the gang to another person. The family in the new place had worked planting sugarcane for a short period of time and again moved to Texas for being employed as cotton pickers for about 4 years. But, being affected by malaria, they had to come back to the city of New York.

His life as a mafia

On his return, Morella again became the 107th street mob’s leader and expanded his territory. But on 11th June 1900, he got arrested for being involved in counterfeiting money, but was released due to lack of proper evidence.

He purchased a saloon in 1902 that became the gang’s official meeting place and by 1905, he had created within the United States, the biggest Mafia gang of Italian-American origin. Other gangs had recognized him as capo di-tutti capi, or boss of bosses. But on 15th November 1909, he along with Ignazio Lupio was arrested and sentenced for 24 years of hard labor.  His step brother Nicola had become the gang’s boss. After his release, Morello tried to gain back the position, but without much success. On 15th August 1930, he along with Joseph Perriano, a Masseria gang associate was killed.

Gaetano Lucchese – A Powerful Mafioso and founder of the Lucchese Mafia Family

It was on 1st December 1899 that Gatano Lucchese was born in Palermo Sicily. However, in 1911, his parents Maria and Giuseppe had immigrated to East Harlem, United States and settled in Manhattan’s Italian neighborhood. Here, his father had worked hauling cement. In 1915, when Lucchese was trying to help his family financially by working at a machine shop, he lost his right forefinger and thumb.

His life as a mafia

On turning 18 years old, he worked with a window cleaning firm that was dubbed as extortion racket for 107th Street gang. He was its member. Businesses that refused using his services were noticed to have their windows to be broken.  The gang also included his close friends Meyer Lansky, Frank Costello and Charlie Luciano. Together, they specialized in stealing wallets, burglarizing stores, smalltime gambling, etc. Although they were a gang, they were protected by Gaetano Reina, a popular gangster and boss of Bronx-East Harlem boss.

He got arrested in 1920 for auto theft, where the police officer had compared his deformed hand with  that of Mordecai Brown, the professional baseball pitcher, known popularly as ‘Three-Finger’. Hence, Lucchese was nicknamed as Three-finger brown by the police a name that remained for the rest of his life and got shortened to just Brown.

He got convicted and served 13 months in prison at Sing Sing Correctional place. It is regarded to be the only and first conviction in his life. he was arrested several times for receiving stolen goods and murdering small-time hood. But charges against him were dropped.

The murder of Pinzolo at a Manhattan office owned by Luchesse made the law enforcement officials to suspect the latter of committing the crime. But on his self surrendering to the police authorities on 8th September 1930, saw him to be acquitted due to lack of evidence. The end of Castellammarese War saw the rise of Maranzano who had declared himself to be boss of bosses, placing Luciano as second in command and Lucchese was made the underboss.

Lucchese had been naturalized to become an American citizen on 25th January 1943, but securing the good conduct certification from Parole Board of the State of New York, took him another 7 years. He was successful as a VP of the garment factory by early 1950s, however, had controlled its worker unions, trucker unions and longshoremen unions. Also he had influenced numerous government officials of the city of New York as well as local entertainment industry. He had become a powerful entrepreneur, businessman and controller of unions, while being the entertainment industry’s friend. It was on 16th February 1951 that he died.

 Frankie Yale – The lesser known Mafia boss

Although the Prohibition era saw the rise of several popular mob bosses such as Johnny Torrio, Joe Masseria and Al Capone, there are also few bosses, who were less remembered, but did play an important role during this time. One of them was considered to be a murderous, ruthless leader called Frankie Yale, who is known to have straddled two underworlds.

His early life

Frankie Yale’s actual name was Francesco Iole. He was also called as Frankie Uale. It was on 22nd January 1893 that he was born in Italy’s Longobucco province and in 1901 had immigrated to New York City, United States.

His entering the Mafia world

He is said to have introduced to the world of organized crime at a very early age.  John Torrio or Papa Johnny as he is well known among the mafia circles was Frankie’s future mentor and had him admitted to Lower Manhattan’s powerful street gang known as Five Points Gang.

Yale earned the reputation for being a petty thief and street fighter from his early age and bold enough not to shy from violence. He was arrested in 1912 on being suspected for murder.  In 1919, Torrio had for Chicago, but imparted the ways to crime to Yale to follow. Very soon Yale had got involved in infiltrating, dominating Brooklyn’s ice delivery trade and in racketeering. The money that came by was used for purchasing a bar at Coney Island, and called it the Harvard Inn. It is here that he befriended Al Capone, working as a bouncer. It is at this Inn that Capone was hit and had marks on his face, earning him the name ‘Scarface’.

His criminal activities

Yale was also involved in Black Hand extortion during the early part of the 20th century, where citizens were sent threatening letters to pay up money or be harmed. He also ran labor racketeering and brothels. He ran funeral home and sold cigars as a front.

It was the introduction of Prohibition that prompted him to get into the boozing industry. Apart from being a criminal, he also had soft spot, helping those who were needy. At the same time, he killed people without any remorse, if required. He was also responsible for several high profile murders. It was he along with other members who had shot Dean O’Banion, Al Capone’s rival gang boss.

He was always targeted by his enemies like the Irish-American mobsters and White Hand Gang. On 1st July 1928 a strange phone call about his wife having problem at home, led him to be ambushed by armed men, killing Yale on the spot. He had a lavish funeral in mob history.

Frank Abbatemarco – The successful Mobster and reason behind the start of the Profaci-Gallo War

Frank Abbatemarco was popularly called by his associates as ‘Frankie Shots’. It was in 1899 that he was born and grew up with Gallo family in Brooklyn’s Red Hook place. There is not much knowledge related to his early childhood days. However, he got arrested in during the late 1920s several times on narcotic charges.

His life as a Mafia

He was into racketeering by early 1930s for Joseph Profaci, the new appointed Brooklyn’s boss and enjoyed immense success. Dollars in thousands were kicked every week by Abbatemarco for the family boss. During the late 1940s and early part of 1950’s, he got a better position as a capital within the Profaci Mafia family and was among the family’s biggest earners and was in charge of several rackets in South Brooklyn. During his peak, he pulled around $7,000 in a day and a year about $2.5 million.

His joining the Gallo team to avoid payment to Profaci

However, the late 1950’s saw disgruntle among the Mafia members in the Profaci Mafia family. The reason was because of the huge demands being made by Profaci as tribute demands. An additional monthly tribute of $25 was made by Profaci from every family member that had to be paid to him directly, which became the tipping point. It was seen by the family members as a means for Profaci to have his extravagant lifestyle to be funded with. Joe Gallo along with his crew members in the early part of 1959 denied tribute  payments to boss, leading to a feud and all out war. At the same time, the rackets of Abbatemarco also started to falter because of frequent raids conducted by the law enforcement officials. For a short time, he agreed to Gallo to avoid making payments to Profaci.

The late tribute or back taxes of Abbatemarco by 1959 October had amounted to $50,000 and still he was convinced by Gallo to stick to his decision of not paying up Profaci, which turned to be a bad advice. On 4th November 1959 night, when he was at the cousin’s saloon, he was shot at by two men fully armed and getting killed on spot. It was only after his murder that Gallo and his team had started to kidnap the top shots of Profaci family in retaliation of the murder, which led to the Gallo-Profaci war that lasted until the death of Profaci on 6th June 1962.

Benjamin Ruggiero – The much feared mobster

Benjamin Ruggiero was nicknamed ‘Lefty’ and popularly called ‘Lefty two guns’ and ‘Lefty guns’. It was in Manhattan’s Little Italy neighborhood, where he was born on 19th April, 1926. Ruggiero at a very young age had joined the Bonanno Mafia family and worked under Michael Sabella as street soldier.

His personal life

He is said to have lived at Knickerbocker Village, in an apartment that was located at Monroe Street and had immense fascination for fish. He boasted of having several fish tanks that had both fresh and salt water within his apartment. Tony Mira, his close friend also lived with him and is known to have introduced him to Joseph Pistone, the undercover FBI agent, also called Donny Brasco or Don the Jeweler,  who was considered to be an unconnected jeweler, peddling in stolen jewelries. This was actually a plan by the FBI and Pistone to enter the mob.

Ruggiero as a soldier was regarded to be prolific in loansharking, extortion and bookmaking. He also became an enforcer for the Bonanno family. He preferred being a wise guy, since he felt that he could do anything legitimately, the reason why he had earned a reputation for being a killer and feared Mafioso.


Since he threw dice using the left hand, he had earned the name ‘Lefty’. As he preferred to carry two guns when going for a hit, he had earned the nickname of ‘Two Guns’. During those days, mobs had used abused and old guns for their hits that were of little value, something that Ruggiero knew about. He had clipped over 30 people, but had acquired huge debts because of gambling. By 1977, he is known to have owned over $160,000 to Nicholas Marangello, a Bonanno soldier, from whom he had loaned from after losing his bets. In order to be promoted to a made man within the Bonanno family, he was made to pay back the debt in full, after which in 1977 he became the made man.

In the same year, he got introduced to Donnie Brasco by Mira, who then became close. Ruggiero had Brasco introduced to the Mafioso associate life and employed him, to make collections. With the death of Carmine Galante, there began internal strife within the family.

On 30th August 1981, he got picked up by the FBI, on the way to a social club of Marangello, where he was supposed to have been killed. He was offered safety by the FBI for exchange of testimony against the Bonanno Mafia Family, to which he refused, citing Omerta law. He got charged under RICO Act in 1982 and sentenced to 20 years of imprisonment.