Mob induction informant dies at 70
By Tim White
Boston Mobster Angelo "Sonny" Mercurio died on December 11th in the federal witness protection program. His mother-in-law tells the Associated Press he died of a pulmonary embolism.
Mercurio was in protective custody after it came to light he was the mob informant that lead the FBI to wiretap a famous mob induction ceremony. The October 29th, 1989 ceremony held in Medford Massachusetts was conducted by New England crime boss Raymond "Junior" Patriarca.
As a result of the wiretap, Patriarca pleaded guilty to racketeering and conspiracy charges in 1991, and spent seven years in a federal prison in Michigan.
Former attorney for Mercurio, Michael Liston of Boston, says his client always regretted being an informant.
"He was ashamed," Liston says. "He spent years constantly waiting for some wannabe to take him out."
The news of his relationship with the FBI came out in June of 1997 during the federal trial of Frank "Cadillac Frank" Salemme. Judge Mark Wolfe asked Mercurio if he was an informant for the feds, Mercurio said he was.
Liston says he last saw Mercurio about three years ago.
"He indicated to me he had an aneurysm in his lung and that he could get an operation," Liston says. "I seem to remember him saying he wanted to wait, it wasn't a bad way to go and he deserved to die."
Liston says his client was given a lighter sentence for a marijuana charge when it came to light his client cooperated with law enforcement.
The induction ceremony welcomed four new members to the New England crime family. Including Robert "Bobby" DeLuca of Providence. Law Enforcement sources tell Target 12 that DeLuca is a "Capo" for current momb boss Louis "Baby Shanks" Manocchio of Providence.
The ceremony was also a source of embarrassment for the mob up and down the east coast. Sources say the organized crime power families in New York were annoyed with Patriarca for exposing their secrets. The reigns of power were quietly handed over to Nicholas "Nicky" Bianco.
Shortly thereafter, Bianco was sent to prison and Salemme became head of the New England Crime family.
Tim White is an investigative reporter for WPRI