A leading member of the Colombo crime family was sentenced Wednesday to more than 19 years in federal prison for racketeering and possessing firearms and ammunition.
Ralph F. DeLeo, a “street boss’’ of the Colombo family of the Mafia, pleaded guilty to running a criminal enterprise known as the DeLeo crew, which engaged in cocaine and marijuana dealing, extortion, and loan sharking. The crew operated in areas of Massachusetts, Arkansas, Florida and New York.
DeLeo, 69, of Somerville was sentenced by US District Judge Douglas P. Woodlock to 235 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release and a $50,000 fine. DeLeo has already served 36 months, so he will serve an additional 199 months, or 16 years and seven months, in prison. DeLeo pleaded guilty to a federal indictment naming him and his associates in May.
The sentencing of DeLeo, who has a history of involvement with La Cosa Nostra, came a week after the head of the New England Mafia was sent to prison. Anthony DiNunzio, 53, the head of the regional crime family, was sentenced in federal court in Rhode Island to six years in prison.
“Our office continues to investigate and prosecute organized crime wherever it attempts to establish a foothold in the Commonwealth,’’ said US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz, whose office prosecuted DeLeo
“We are prepared to prevent it from victimizing and corrupting any of its victims, including legitimate businesses,’’ she said.
Richard DesLauriers, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Boston division, which has a task force investigating organized crime in New England, added, “the acting street boss of the Colombo Crime Family faced justice. … 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.’’
La Cosa Nostra, or the Mafia, operates throughout the country and its five most powerful families, including the Colombo family, are based in New York. But the families have often had dealings in New England, which is typically overseen by the New England Mafia, or DiNunzio’s crew.
According to prosecutors, DeLeo ran rackets here to increase his status in the Colombo family. Prosecutors say they would have shown at trial that on one occasion, he orchestrated a cocaine deal of two kilograms. He traveled back and forth between Florida, New York, and Connecticut to carry out his dealings, and he maintained a cache of at least 11 firearms, as well as a silencer, ammunition, and police uniforms.