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Colombo Family Street Boss Sentenced to 199 Months on Racketeering and Firearms Charges

BOSTON—A Somerville man was sentenced last week in federal court for conspiring to violate the RICO statute and possessing firearms and ammunition.

Ralph F. Deleo, 69, of Somerville, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Douglas P. Woodlock to 235 months in prison, with credit for 36 months of time served, for a total of 199 months, to be followed by three years of supervised release and a $50,000 fine. In May, Deleo pleaded guilty to a racketeering conspiracy and being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition. Judge Woodlock accepted Deleo’s guilty plea today and imposed sentence.

Deleo was the “street boss” of the Colombo family of La Cosa Nostra (LCN) and the head of the DeLeo Crew, a criminal enterprise based in Somerville that engaged in the importation, trafficking, and distribution of narcotics and controlled substances, including cocaine and marijuana; extortion; loan sharking; and interstate and foreign travel in aid of racketeering. The Deleo Crew operated principally in the areas of Massachusetts, Arkansas, Florida, and New York.

Had the case gone to trial, the government would have proven that Deleo:

  • arranged and paid for a two kilogram cocaine deal
  • traveled to Florida, New York, and Connecticut on Colombo family business on various occasions
  • attempted to collect an extension of credit by extortionate means in Canton, Massachusetts, on March 11, 2009
  • conspired with other members of the DeLeo Crew and a businessman to administer a beating to the financial advisor of the businessman’s brother, with whom he had a dispute
  • conspired with other members of the DeLeo Crew and other members and associates of the Colombo family to import marijuana from Canada
  • maintained in a hidden location a cache of at least eleven firearms, together with a silencer, ammunition, police uniforms, patches from at least three different police departments, wigs, masks, and zip ties.

La Cosa Nostra, also known as the “mafia,” is a criminal organization that operates in various parts of the United States and Canada through entities known as “families.” The five most powerful families of LCN are based in New York City. The Colombo family is one of those five families. The Deleo Crew was a separate entity from the Colombo family. Deleo used the criminal activities of the Deleo Crew to increase and maintain his status in the Colombo family.

“Our office continues to investigate and prosecute organized crime wherever it attempts to establish a foothold in the Commonwealth,” said United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz. “We are prepared to prevent it from victimizing and corrupting any of its victims, including legitimate businesses.”

“For the second time in one week, investigations by the FBI and our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners have led to the conviction and sentencing of high ranking LCN members. Last week, New England LCN’s leader was sentenced, and today, the acting street boss of the Colombo crime family faced justice,” said Richard DesLauriers, the Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Boston Division. “It is undeniable the FBI and our law enforcement partners have broken the LCN’s code of silence, and the LCN knows it can no longer rely on its sworn bonds for protection.”

U.S. Attorney Ortiz and Special Agent in Charge DesLauriers made the announcement today. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy E. Moran and Laura Kaplan of Ortiz’s Organized Crime Strike Force Unit.

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