The Murders to Protect Winter Hill- RICHARD CASTUCCI, 48

December 30, 1976-

Castucci was an FBI informant. He owned the Ebb Tide Lounge in Revere, a hangout for the gangster types. He had connections with the Mafia in Boston and with members of Winter Hill.  Castucci had made it possible for Winter Hill to interact with the New York Mafia when it was involved in trying to make money as bookmakers. Winter Hill would lay off bets to be covered by New York.  It turned out that Winter Hill was not too adept as bookmakers. The losses kept piling up.

Castucci carried the money back and forth between Winter Hill and New York. His contact in New York City was named Jack. He did not know Jack was also an FBI informant. At times to pay off the winners, Winter Hill had to borrow the money from the NY Mafia through Jack.

Winter Hill would eventually get out of the business of taking action and let the professionals with their own networks do it. They would then make the professionals pay them tribute which were monthly agreed upon amounts for a license to operate, protection, lawyers when caught, the payment of court fines and costs, and strong-arm men when needed. Winter Hill figured this new arrangement would be better for them than taking bets themselves.

Winter Hill figured out this role sometime after Castucci’s murder. At the time of Castucci’s murder, Winter Hill was still taking bets which exposed them to the liability of having to pay off winners. Winter Hill had some money-making weeks and but more losing weeks. The losing weeks were mounting up. At some point, Winter Hill owed New York for over two hundred thousand dollars. Winter Hill may not have had any way to come up with that type of money. I suppose that even if it did they had no intention of paying it. Winter Hill figured there was a way to do that.

Winter Hill decided on a simple plan. They told Castucci to tell Jack that they had the money. They then invited Castucci to come to their place in Somerville to pick it up.  Winter Hill showed him a bag full of money and suggested Castucci accompany them to a nearby apartment to count it and make sure all the money was all there.

Castucci took the bag, went to the apartment, and started counting the cash. Castucci did not get too far in the count when Martorano walked in and shot him in the head. The members of Winter Hill then got rid of Castucci’s body putting it into the trunk of his car and driving the car to another location to be discovered.

Winter Hill then managed to locate Jack. They told Jack that they had paid Castucci the money so the debt had been paid off. The New York gangsters waited for their money. Castucci never arrived. When he turned up dead and the money which he never had was missing Winter Hill expressed their chagrin but washed their hands of the matter noting they had paid him.

The New York Mafia gangsters were not too happy. They had little they could do. They were not going to get into a fight with a group from another city that had capable guys.  The New York Mafia could not count on the Boston Mafia for help because the Boston Mafia was not interested in a shooting war with Winter Hill. As a result, Winter Hill scammed New York out of its money.

In seeking his deal, Martorano concocted a different story about Castucci’s murder or was encouraged to give a different story by the prosecutors interested in implicating John Connolly into Castucci’s death. Martorano said Castucci rented an apartment through Jack in NY City for Joe McDonald and Jimmy Sims to use as a hideout since they were fugitives from justice.

Martorano said they learned that Castucci was an FBI informant from FBI Agent John Connolly. Martorano said Connolly told them that Castucci told the FBI where McDonald and Sims were hiding out. The Winter Hill gang then had to tell McDonald and Sims either to move out of the apartment or not to move into that apartment.

Whether they were actually in the apartment is a little unclear. It also defies common sense. If Jack was an FBI informant and he arranged for the apartment, would not he have been the one who told where McDonald and Sims were planning to hide out?

The federal prosecutors tried to palm off on the Boston jury Martorano’s story that the Winter Hill gang murdered Castucci because Connolly told them that Castucci was an informant who told about the planned hideout for McDonald and Sims. It did not work. The story was far from the truth and the jury recognized the deceit.   The case claiming Connolly had tipped off  Winter Hill was found by the jury to be not proven.


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