Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso (born May 21, 1940) is a former hitman, and New York mobster and the former Underboss of the Lucchese crime family. Later he became a government informant. Casso gained the reputation of being a "feared and ruthless hitman" and a "homicidal maniac." Law enforcement often described him as a "killing machine with no soul" and his associates described him as "fearless, vicious, sadistic, relentless, determined, highly-intelligent, brutal, vengeful, cold-blooded, bloodthirsty, and power-hungry". Some of Casso's former associates has said on numerous interviews about him, including Anthony Accetturo has said that "Anthony Casso wouldn't hesitate to kill anybody that stood in his way or threatened him. I mean he would kill anybody for the smallest reason's, he enjoyed and loved murdering people, and ordering people to be murdered. that guy is a psychopath, hes a fucking crazed animal, all he wanted to do was kill, kill, kill. he killed women, children, men, rivals, friends, associates, innocents, that's how cold-hearted and ruthless he is, he had a reputation of being crazy, amongst his associates, and in the American Mafia it takes a whole lot to get that kind of reputation, it means you killed a'lot of people, and i'm not talking about killing 5,10,15, even 20, it means your a murder machine, it also means your as evil, vicious, and cold as it gets. i know that the number of people he killed is higher than 50 but i wouldn't be surprised if he single-handedly killed 100 or 200 people." Anthony Casso was one of the most violent and ruthless crime bosses in America during his era. it is believed that Casso has ordered up to 1,000 murders.
Early life Edit
Born in Brooklyn, Casso was the youngest of the three children of Michael and Margaret Casso (née Cucceullo). Each of Casso's grandparents had emigrated from Campania, Italy, between 1896 and 1898. His godfather was Salvatore "Sally" Callinbrano, a Capo in the Genovese crime family, who maintained a powerful influence on the Brooklyn docks. Casso dropped out of school at 16 and got a job with his father as a longshoreman. As a young boy, Casso became a crack shot, firing pistols at targets on a rooftop which he and his friends used as a shooting range. Casso also made money shooting predatory hawks for pigeon tenders. Anthony stands at 5'6 and weighs 185 pounds. He was a violent youth and street gang member of the infamous 1950's gang, the South Brooklyn Boys. He is the father-in-law of Genovese crime family mobster Paul (Slick) Geraci. Casso soon caught the eye of Lucchese capo Christopher Furnari. Casso started his career with the Cosa Nostra as a loanshark. As a protege of Christopher Furnari, Casso was also involved in gambling and drug dealing, in addition to loansharking.
Over the years, there have been various stories of how Casso got the nickname "Gaspipe" - Casso himself claims it is from his father, a mob enforcer who used a gas pipe to threaten union dissidents and other victims, however others say it is because his father hooked up illegal gas connections. Even though Anthony detested the nickname, it stuck to him for life and though few would say it to his face, he allowed some close friends to call him "Gas". He married Lillian Delduca around the same time and had a daughter and son. In the 1970s, Casso murdered a drug dealer who was suspected of cooperating with the government. In 1974, at age 32, Casso became a made man, or full member, of the Lucchese crime family.
Casso and another young soldier, Vittorio Amuso, soon started a criminal partnership that would last for years. They committed scores of crimes, including drug trafficking, burglary and murder. When Christopher Furnari became the Lucchese crime family consigliere, Casso's influence also increased. Casso and Amuso were chosen to handle the assassination of Gambino boss John Gotti, but the attempt failed and underboss Frank DeCicco was killed. Lucchese crime family boss Anthony Corallo, seeing a guilty verdict coming in his trial, picked Casso as new Lucchese boss. Casso turned down the offer and instead suggested that Vittorio Amuso become new boss and he becomes Amuso's consigliere. shortly after the DeCicco hit, sometime in May Nicholas Guido, an unknown man and James Hydell were out driving their Plymouth Fury and they spotted Anthony Casso's Lincoln Town Car they pulled over and Hydell shot Casso five times with a 12 gauge shotgun as he was sat in his car. Casso staggered into a resturant, asked the owner to call the ambulance and he hid in the meat locker. Casso survived the assasination attempt.
Casso became the family underboss replacing Mariano Macaluso who retired in 1989, although he wielded as much influence as Amuso. During this time, Casso maintained a glamorous lifestyle, wearing expensive clothes and jewelry (including a diamond ring worth $500,000), running restaurant tabs up to thousands of dollars, owning a mega mansion in an exclusive Brooklyn neighborhood and going on huge spending sprees. While at the top of the Lucchese family, Amuso and Casso shared huge profits from their family's illegal activities. These profits included: $250,000 to $320,000 a month from extorting Long Island carting companies; $175,000 a month in kickbacks from eight air freight carriers that guaranteed them labor peace and no union benefits for their workers; $150,000 a week in profits from illegal video gaming machines; and $985,000 annually from a major concrete supplier, the Quadrozzi Concrete Company." Amuso and Casso also split more than $60 Million per year from the Garment District rackets, as well as a cut of all the crimes committed by the family's soldiers.
In one instance, Casso and Amuso split $2 Million from the Colombo crime family for Casso's aid in helping them rob steel from the construction site at the West Side Highway in Manhattan. In another instance, the two bosses received $6 Million from the Gambino crime family for allowing them to take over a Lucchese-protected contractor for a housing complex project in Coney Island, Brooklyn.
Casso also controlled Greek-American gangster George Kalikatas, who gave Casso $800,000 in 1990 to operate a loan sharking and gambling operation in Astoria, Queens.
The Russian MafiaEdit
Casso had a close alliance and with Ukrainian mob boss Marat Balagula, who operated a multi-billion dollar gasoline bootlegging scam in Brighton Beach. Balagula, a Soviet Jewish refugee from Odessa, had arrived in the United States under the Jackson-Vanik Amendment. After Colombo crime family captain Michael Franzese began shaking down his underlings, Balagula approached Lucchese crime family consigliere Christopher Furnari and asked for help. In response, the Lucchese crime family received a percentage of Balagula's gasoline profits. The money was strategically shared with New York's other four Mafia families and became the Five Families' biggest moneymaker after narcotics trafficking.
According to Philip Carlo,
"It didn't take long for word on the street to reach the Russian underworld: Marat Balagula was paying off the Italians; Balagula was a punk; Balagula had no balls. Balagula's days were numbered. This, of course, was the beginning of serious trouble. Balagula did in fact have balls -- he was a ruthless killer when necessary -- but he also was a smart diplomatic administrator and he knew that the combined, concerted force of the Italian crime families would quickly wipe the newly arrived Russian competition off the proverbial map."
Shortly afterward, on June 12, 1986, Balagula's rival, a psychopathic hitman for the Russian Mafia named Vladimir Reznikov, entered the Rasputin nightclub in Brighton Beach. Reznikov pushed a 9mm Beretta into Balagula's skull and demanded $600,000 as the price of not pulling the trigger. He also demanded a percentage of everything Balagula was involved in. After Balagula promised to get the money, Reznikov snarled, "Fuck with me and you're dead, you and your whole fucking family; I swear I'll fucking and kill your wife as you watch, you understand?"
Shortly after Reznikov left, Balagula suffered a massive heart attack. He insisted, however on being treated at his home in Brighton Beach, where he felt it would be harder for Reznikov to kill him. When Anthony Casso arrived, he told Balagula, "Send word to Vladimir that you have his money, that he should come to the club tomorrow. We'll take care of the rest." Casso also requested a photograph of Reznikov and a description of his car.
The following day, Reznikov arrived at Balagula's nightclub to pick up his money. Instead, Reznikov was confronted by Gambino Crime Family hitman Joseph Testa, who shot him dead with an AK-47, on Casso's orders. According to Anthony Casso and several other members of the lucchese crime family, "After that, Marat didn't have any problems with the Russian Mafia ever again." Anthony Casso said in an interview "if those russian cocksuckers would of caused me or my associates one more problem, we would of slaughtered every last fucking one of them. but they were smart enough not to, and they never did, because they are too afraid of La Cosa Nostra, i mean come on, you would be stupid not to be, they know our reputation, and the power, influences, wealth, and reach we have, and they know how deadly, vicious, feared, and dangerous we are, and they know that if we could kill virtually anyone if we wanted to. It doesnt matter who you are or who your with, or what gang, or group, or criminal organization your with or how powerful and dangerous you think you are, no one and nobody, and no gang or criminal organization can fuck with La Cosa Nostra and get away with it, if they did, they would all be dead in a heartbeat. Messing with La Cosa Nostra is suicide. nobody and i mean nobody can fuck with La Cosa Nostra or any of our friends or family members, and think you can get away with it, that would never happen."
Fugitive boss Edit
Following the imprisonment of Amuso in 1991, Casso became the de facto boss of the family. In Ernest Volkman's book "Gangbusters", it is alleged that while both Casso and Amuso were on the run from the law, Casso wanted complete control of the family and set up Amuso to be taken down by the FBI. This theory is contradicted, however, by Casso's biographer Philip Carlo. According to Carlo, Casso had no desire to be boss of the Lucchese family and attempted to arrange for Amuso's escape from Federal custody after his arrest. To the great disappointment of Casso and the Lucchese captains, Amuso refused to leave prison out of fear for his life. As a result, the Lucchese captains asked Casso to replace him as boss. Casso reluctantly accepted.
While evading authorities for over three years, Casso maintained control over the Lucchese family. In the process, it is known that he ordered 230 murders, but believed to have ordered at least 1,000 murders, as well as plotting with Genovese leader Vincent Gigante to murder John Gotti. Casso and Gigante were deeply disgusted that Gotti had murdered Paul Castellano without the sanction of the Mafia's Commission. All attempts on Gotti's life were stymied, however, by the constant presence of news reporters around the Gambino boss.
In another incident toward the year of 1993, Casso used the Brooklyn faction-leaders George Zappola, Frank "Bones" Papagni as well as the family Consigliere, Frank Lastorino, in an attempt to kill former Lucchese Underboss and Bronx faction leader Steven Crea. However, due to the massive indictments at the time, all members of the plot were eventually incarcerated on various charges, including Casso, who was arrested at a mistress's home in Mount Olive, New Jersey, in 1994.
By this time, several high ranking members of the Luchesse crime family had defected. Among them was a former captain whom Casso had targeted for assassination, Peter Chiodo. Chiodo had committed numerous murders for Casso, but was incensed that Casso had also ordered the attempted assassination of his wife. According to Casso, Chiodo had chosen to involve his wife in the business of the Lucchese family. Therefore, he alone was responsible for the contract on her.
Once Casso realized that there was an enormous amount of evidence against him, he decided to become an informant. Believing that he would be sent into witness protection with his wife and children, Casso revealed everything he knew about the inner workings of the Lucchese Family.
Casso disclosed that two NYPD detectives were on the Lucchese payroll. These detectives were later determined to be Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa, who committed eleven murders Casso had ordered. Carracappa and Eppolito had also given Casso information which lead to many other murders as well, and revealing the names of potential FBI and Police informants. However, when Casso revealed similar corruption within the FBI, and that he had many FBI agents on his payroll, no one was interested. In addition, Casso also enraged Federal prosecutors by accusing Gambino turncoat Salvatore Gravano of masterminding Richard Kuklinski's murder of NYPD Detective Peter Calabro. Although this slaying was not covered by Gravano's immunity deal, no one was interested.
After his information was used to completely dismantle the Lucchese family, Casso was dropped from the Witness Protection Program. He is currently serving a life sentence without parole at the Supermax ADX Florence prison in Florence, Colorado.
According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, in March 2009 Anthony Casso was transferred to the Federal Medical Center (FMC) for the treatment of prostate cancer. The FMC is part of the Butner Federal Correctional Complex. However, by July 2009, he had been returned to ADX Florence.
"Most all men in my life, everyone I know, had girlfriends. It goes with the territory. Women are drawn to us, the power, the money, and we're drawn to them. But only in passing. Some guys treated their mistresses better than their wife, but that's a fucking outrage. No class. Only a cafone does that. I never loved any woman but Lillian. She and my family always came first."
"Fucking with La Cosa Nostra is suicide."
"The Mafia will never die, it will just keep getting stronger, tougher, bigger, and bigger, and more dangerous, and more powerful day by day, month by month, and year by year."
"The Italian-American Mafia will always be the biggest, toughest, smartest, deadliest, and strongest criminal empire in the world."
"La Cosa Nostra is not a criminal organization, it is an empire."
"I truly feel sorry for the younger generation that wants to belong to that life. It's sad for them. There is absolutely no honor and respect today. Little do the newcomers know that there are many made members in the Mafia that wish not to be there and would like nothing better than to walk away from it. So they do the next best thing: stay low key if possible. The young newcomers will never see the kind of big money that was once made. That's long gone. They don't realize what it means to be free and have peace of mind until its taken from them."
People Murdered by Anthony Casso Edit
Anthony Casso was a ruthless gangster who loved killing, he ordered murders and commited some of them personally, he killed hundreds of people (he killed many members of his own crime family who he thought were Snitches or FBI Informants or Police Informants) to make him and his friend Vittorio Amuso feel more secure. some of the murders he ordered were committed by Corrupt NYPD Detectives Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa. below is a list of murders he was involved in.
Order: /Name/Rank/Affiliation/When/Involvement/Reason/weapon/cause of death
1.Anthony Luongo/Capo/Lucchese Crime Family/1986/Personal/ stabbed to death with an ice pick.
2.Israel Greenwald/none/independent/February 10th 1986/Ordered It/ Greenwald was murdered because he was extorted by the Lucchese crime family and was reporting them to the FBI. brutally beaten with a baseball bat, then shot three times in the head with a pistol.
3.Frank DeCicco/Underboss/Gambino Crime Family/April 13th 1986/At The Scene/ DeCicco was killed by a car bomb in revenge for the unsanctioned murder of Paul Castellano, the real target was John Gotti but DeCicco was killed by mistake.
4.James Hydell/Associate/Gambino Crime Family/May 1986/Personal/ Hydell had attempted to kill Casso, in revenge casso tied him up to a chair, and brutally tortured him for 12 hours by punching him in the face and body over and over again, and hitting him with a baseball bat in the knee caps, and shooting him with a pistol in his limbs and joints, to find out who Hydell was working for. Hydell was then shot four times in the head.
5.Vladimir Reznikov/Enforcer/Russian Mafia/June 13th 1986/Ordered It/ Reznikov was murdered because he had threatened Marat Baluga the leader of the Russian Mafia. Marat went to the consigliere of the Lucchese crime family for help and they handled it. Reznikov was shot and killed with an AK-47 by Joseph Testa a veteran hitman for the Five Families, Reznikov was shot 17 times in the body, and the head.
6.Nicholas Guido/none/independent/December 25th 1986/Ordered It/ Nicholas Guido was innocent Telephone Engineer murdered in mistaken identity, he shared the same name as one of the people who tried to kill Casso. killed with by a car bomb.
7.Michael Pappadio/Capo/Lucchese Crime Family/1987/Ordered It/ For refusing to hand over control of his businesses. shot in the head and instantly killed with a shotgun.
8.Thomas Gilmore/Associate/Lucchese Crime Family/February 1989/Ordered It/ For allegedly being an FBI informant. killed with an Uzi Submachine gun, shot multiple times to the head and body.
9.Robert Kubecka/none/independent/August 11th 1989/Ordered It/ Murdered because his waste management business was in competition with the Lucchese waste management business, and for refusing to give in to extortion. killed by gunshot to the forehead, killed with a 40. Caliber Pistol.
10.Donald Barstow/none/independent/August 11th 1989/Ordered It/ Murdered because his waste management business was in competition with the Lucchese waste management business, and for refusing to give in to extortion. killed by gunshot 7 times in the body. killed with a 357 magnum.
11.Anthony DiLapi/Soldier/Lucchese Crime Family/Feburary 4th 1990/Ordered It/ For allegedly being an FBI informant. killed by 2 gunshot blasts to the chest. killed with a sawed-off shotgun
12.Michael Salerno/Capo/Lucchese Crime Family/June 5th 1990/Ordered It/ Amuso and Casso wanted to murder a potential enemy. killed by a gunshot, twice to the head. killed with a Uzi Submachine gun.
13.Bruno Facciolo/Soldier/Lucchese Crime Family/August 1990/Ordered It/ For allegedly being an FBI informant. stabbed in the face and chest, and garrotted.
14.Edward Lino/Capo/Gambino Crime Family/November 6th 1990/Ordered It/ To get to John Gotti. killed instantly by a gunshot to the back of the head, with a pistol.
15.Bartholomew Boriello/Capo/Gambino Crime Family/April 13th 1991/Ordered It/ to get to John Gotti. several gunshots to the body. killed with an Assault Rifle.
16.Patrick Testa/Soldier/Lucchese Crime Family/December 2nd 1992/Ordered It/ Casso wanted to murder a potential enemy. shot 5 times in the head, killed with a pistol.
17.Frank Signorino/None/Unknown/Feburary 2nd 1993/Ordered It/ Signorio was Peter Chiodo's uncle, he was murdered to intimidate Chiodo who had become an FBI informant after a murder attempt on his Daughter and his wife's lives. They both were shot numerous times with a uzi submachine gun, but survived.