The old story is to become a member of the Mafia, you must make your bones by killing someone. Jerry Angiulo and his brothers, who were all members, were not known to have killed anyone. Jerry, though, talked a tough game and kept a perpetual snarl on his face.

For a couple of years, I worked at the law firm of DiMento and Sullivan as the only associate. After that time, they hired a second associate. I stayed there for a half dozen or more years. It was a small firm, as you can tell.

The office was on the seventh floor of 100 State Street. The elevator opened right into its reception area consisting of a hard chair and small couch on the left. The first door on the left led to a large office occupied by Francis X. DiMento; in the center was a small reception area for two working secretaries, a small office was at the middle on the right; James J. Sullivan’s office was a large one at the right rear. Paul Burns, a proud Marine, had the large office at the rear on the left. He was not formally associated with the firm. My office was a small cubby hole at the back wall with one outside window squeezed in between JJ Sullivan’s and Burns’ offices.

On numerous occasions I passed Jerry Angiulo as he sat outside Frank DiMento’s office waiting to consult with him. I would nod at him as I did with anyone sitting there. He would glare back without returning the greeting. Nick, his brother, was often with him would smile and nod back.

Jerry liked others to do his murders and rough stuff for him. Word was that early on he and his brothers were involved in the gambling and loan sharking business around the North End and into East Boston. They had little muscle to protect their operations. They were wary of the big muscle guys in the Mafia in Boston especially a reputed tough guy Larry Baione also known as Larry Zannino.

It is said Jerry went to Raymond L. S. Patriarca – hat in one hand, a paper bag with $100,000 in the other- and sought his protection. Patriarca complied, making Jerry and his brothers Mafia members. He gave Jerry the title of underboss in the Boston area. The deal made great sense for both of them from a money and organization perspective.

The Mafia was supposed to be only Italians, preferably ones from Sicily. The Boston Mafia followed that model. In other places, the Mafia had different rules and let other men with different ethnic backgrounds join. In New York City, membership may have been closed to anyone without Italians or Sicilian roots but the relations between it and some hardened Irish and Jewish criminals ran smoothly.  In other cities like Chicago they let those with differing ethnic backgrounds become Mafia members.

The overall boss of Boston was Raymond Patriarca who operated out of Providence, Rhode Island. He used Henry Tameleo, a Rhode Island hood, to keep an eye on Boston for him; it was also believed by some that Wimpy Bennett was also one of his sources of information. This apparently bothered Jerry Angiulo who thought that Bennett was spying on him for Patriarca.

The tabs on Boston would make sense because Patriarca knew the success of his money-making empire relied on control. Knowing what everyone was doing was paramount. It meant that no killing could be carried out without his approval. Frank Salemme, who rose to become head of the New England Mafia after Patriarca died and Raymond’s son, Raymond Junior, resigned, said he told his people they could do anything they wanted as long as they “did not embarrass the family.” Patriarca would never have given his people that much leeway.

The Boston Mafia pretty much had a lock on all the gambling and loan shark activity in the North End, East Boston, Cambridge, Revere, Medford, Malden, Lynn and other sections north of the city in eastern Massachusetts. These activities were highly profitable businesses. It was important to keep others out of them. The way to ensure the profits kept rolling in was to not have many deadbeats, those people who could not pay off their debts.

The deadbeats were sent to loan sharks who would help them with payments by lending them money at exorbitant rates. Every so often, one or another would fall behind so badly that it became clear that he could never dig himself out of the hole. The delinquent would be forced into working for the loan sharks and collecting debts against others. Some people would go to the police to seek help by offering to give evidence against the loan sharks. When the loan sharks or Mafia learned that someone had gone to the police, they would determine that it was necessary to eliminate him. This was a way to send a message to others who became deadbeats and thought of cooperating that it was unwise. Murdering someone who owed money was a last resort. Once dead, the debt would never be collected. Murder was usually done only when the person was suspected of cooperating with the police or the FBI.

The North End of Boston is a small tightly knit neighborhood leaning up against the inner Boston Harbor. It is famous for the Old North Church from which Henry W. Longfellow in his poem wrote about the lanterns that were hung to send Paul Revere on his famous ride. Paul Revere’s home is located nearby the church.

For the early part of the 20th century, the North End was a working-class neighborhood. Many houses had five story walk-up tenements. It was originally settled by the Irish in the middle to latter part of the 19th Century. The late 19th century saw a great Italian migration that transformed it into an Italian landing spot.

Camp McKay

The North End was a close and closed neighborhood where people knew their neighbors. What they knew, they kept to themselves. During WWII Italian prisoners of war were confined behind chain link fences in a prison camp called Camp Mckay on the Colombia Point section of South Boston just beyond Columbus Park. Italian women from the North End made daily trips to bring food and other items. I used to stand there to watch and listen to them chatter back and forth in Italian.

I have no doubt those prisoners preferred that location to being on the battle front. Mussolini’s son-in-law Count Galeazzo Ciano told a story that the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano published a photograph of Italian prisoners of war in Africa who were playing football (soccer). He said Mussolini flew into a rage. Mussolini felt all his soldiers would then surrender so that they could play football rather than risk their lives fighting.

The North End was also known for the Haymarket Square’s outdoor vegetable stands. These were located at the edge of downtown Boston, next to the elevated highway that used to separate the North End from the rest of Boston.

The vegetable stands were operated by mostly Italian vendors. Open Fridays and Saturdays it was the best place in the city for fruit and vegetables. The North End also had an Italian restaurant on every corner, narrow streets where cars often double parked.  One restaurant was owned by my buddy from law school, Dom Capposella.

The last time I saw Congressman Joe Moakley was when I was walking through the North End. He was sitting behind the steering wheel in a large black car on a side street. He was eating one of the largest Italian submarine sandwiches (hoagies to my New York friends) I ever saw. We chatted a bit. He did not offer to share any.

Joe Moakley

Joe Lombado controlled the rackets there. The Angiulos would eventually take his place as Lombardo and his contemporaries aged. Some retired outright while others became senior consultants. The aim of all the North End hoodlums was to keep their neighborhood safe for most people and handle their problems for themselves. Like in South Boston, if you were not involved in criminal activities or infringing on activities it considered under its domain, you were safe and not bothered.

As with Patriarca, the Mafia in Boston stayed informed of everyone’s doings in the neighborhood. They believed knowledge is power. Frank Salemme said that whenever a murder occurred, the Mafia wanted to know who did it. FBI intercepts reported that Patriarca called around to find out what was known about the murder of Henry Reddington. One way the Mafia stayed safe was by knowing who among the group was “capable,”- in other words, who had no trouble murdering people.

Remember people may brag of robberies, break-ins, hijacking or booking, but no one talks about past murders which they actually committed. There are always one or two who will talk about having murdered someone, like Whitey Bulger did, even though he had no involvement in it. They have a need to present themselves as more than they really are, to be a somebody.

The reason gangsters do not talk about their murders is the statute of limitations never runs out on that crime. They can always be prosecuted for a murder no matter how many years previously it occurred. So, the most capable murderers know that it is best to keep the knowledge of one’s killings to oneself. You never know who will make a deal with law enforcement and accuse you to save his own skin. Let everyone else guess, but never own up to your murders, unless, of course, your best interest is to make a deal with the government to save yourself.

The following posts are murders that occurred in the North End or to criminals associated with the North End. It is fair to assume they were not done without some type of permission or direction.


  1. The Mafia didn’t run the North End. The Irish life guards at the North End pool were in control.

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