Anthony Casso built his empire through various rackets from drugs to garment district operations and everything in between. He was a natural born killer who worked as an underboss to Vic Amuso in the Lucchese Crime Family. However, many have said that Casso pulled the strings.
In 1994 he plead guilty to 72 counts he had been indicted on, including 15 murders. His lifelong motto; “kill or be killed.”
Casso Rising Through the Ranks
Ruthless and cold-blooded, Casso would work his way up the mob ladder with a reputation as a violent and terrifying figure in the New York underworld, eventually confessing to involvement in Farank DeCicco’s death, Roy DeMeo’s death, and several attempts at John Gotti.
In 1962, at the age of 22 Casso was convicted of bookmaking but only spent five days in jail for the crime. His early years were made up of mainly petty thefts where he would pay off truck drivers to steal their goods and then sell them on the streets.
As the swinging 60’s started to progress, so did Casso, as he would eventually move on to bigger jobs, such as robbing banks and jewelry stores with his crew. In 1972 Casso was arrested in relation to one of the bank jobs, but the case was dropped after the witness refused to identify any of the gang that took part in the heist. During the 1970s and 1980s, Casso’s crew stole an estimated $100 million worth of valuables and cash from bank jobs alone.
It was also during the mid-1970’s that Casso allegedly committed his first murder at the age of 32, and finally made his bones in the Lucchese Crime Family. The victim was a drug-dealer though to be an informant.
It was after being made into the family that Casso met Vic Amuso, a partnership that would last nearly 20 years.
Casso Becomes Underboss of the Lucchese’s
In 1987 after Tony ‘Ducks’ Corallo was indicted with several other mobsters in the Commission Trial, Amuso took the reins (only after Casso refused the role in the first instance). By 1989 Amuso promoted Casso to Underboss of the Lucchese family. This is where the famous partnership really started to grow.
The Gaspipe and Amuso Partnership
Even though Amuso was the boss of the family, it was clear that Casso pulled the strings. Being at the top of a major crime family just fuelled Casso’s aggression which in the end would be the downfall of him.
The Casso/Amuso partnership brought in plenty of cash from rackets which included: $20,000 a month from extorting carting companies; $75,000 a month in kickbacks, $20,000 a week from illegal video gaming machines; and $245,000 annually from a major concrete supplier. On top of that the two also split $800,000 from the Colombo crime family for Casso’s aid in helping them rob steel from a construction site, and then $600,000 from the Gambino crime family for allowing them to take over a Lucchese-protected contractor for a housing complex project.
Evading Authorities and Downfall
While evading authorities for over three years, Casso maintained control over the Lucchese family. In the process, he ordered 11 mob slayings as well as plotting with Genovese leader Vincent “the Chin” Gigante to murder John Gotti. Casso and Gigante were outraged that John Gotti had murdered Paul Castellano without the sanction of the Mafia’s Commission. All attempts on Gotti’s life failed, with one car bomb in 1986 that killed a Gambino capo by the name of Frank DeCicco .
In early 1991, Amuso and Casso ordered the murder of capo Peter Chiodo, who had pled guilty without the administrations’ approval. Chiodo barely survived the assassination attempt and subsequently agreed to turn state’s evidence. In September 1991 the acting boss for the Lucchese’s, Al D’Arco, felt his time was up for the failure to kill Chiodo, and he too agreed to testify.
It was with the Chiodo and D’Arco testimonies, which lead to murder charges being pinned on Casso and Amuso.
Casso, was arrested at a mistress’s home in Mount Olive, New Jersey, on January 19, 1993 and is now locked up for life at the Federal Community Corrections Facility in Minnesota….
….without any chance of parole.
“I am truly regretful for my decision to cooperate with the Government. It was against all my beliefs and upbringing. I know for certain, had my father been alive, I would never have done so.”