Tuesday, April 6, 2010

law enforcement looks for body of Genovese mobsters associate

Adolfo Bruno (1945 – November 23, 2003), also known as "Big Al", was a Massachusetts mobster with the Genovese crime family who ran an organized crime ...

By late morning on Tuesday, a small platoon of law enforcement officials had arrived to begin combing a residential parcel at 160 Springfield St., believed to be the site of a search for the remains of a long-missing Springfield man. Gary D. Westerman, a convicted drug dealer with ties to organized crime, went missing in 2003. According to filings in U.S. District Court, investigators believe he was murdered by rival gangsters, but they have yet to turn up a body. The search of the property here commenced quietly starting early Monday night, just days after jailed regional crime boss Anthony J. Arillotta virtually dropped out of sight in the federal prison system. Arillotta, 41, of Springfield, was arraigned in federal court in Manhattan on March 24, named along with several other organized crime figures in a sweeping racketeering indictment alleging extortion and gaming conspiracies in addition to charges for the 2003 murder of Adolfo “Big Al” Bruno. Arillotta was listed as “released” by the federal Bureau of Prisons the next day. Prison officials refused to report where he had gone, and investigators would not comment on whether he has begun cooperating with authorities. Arillotta, along with onetime enforcer Fotios “Freddy” Geas, and former acting New York Genovese crime boss, Arthur “Artie” Nigro, have been accused in an alleged murder-for-hire plot to remove Bruno, the then-regional boss of the New York crime family in late 2003. Admitted triggerman Frankie A. Roche, who disappeared into the federal witness protection plan two years ago, said Geas recruited him and paid him $10,000 to shoot Bruno. He told investigators he pumped six bullets into the mobster as Bruno left his regular Sunday night card game at a South End neighborhood club on Nov. 23, 2003. Westerman disappeared just days before the Bruno slaying, believed to be the victim of a spike of violence in organized crime circles, law enforcement officials have said. FBI supervisor Mark S. Karangekis confirmed federal, state and local investigators are at the Agawam site in an official capacity but would not provide further details. However, sources familiar with the investigation say the hunt is for Westerman’s remains. Investigators, some toting evidence markers, headed in and out of a narrow, curved driveway leading to a small home surrounded by woods and a field owned by a utility company. State Registry of Motor Vehicles records show the resident of the house is Joseph Iellamo, a friend of Arillotta. Sources with knowledge of the probe say Iellamo is not believed to have been involved in Westerman’s disappearance. The house is scarcely visible from the road, but was surrounded with crime scene tape by Monday evening. The stream of law enforcement officials on Tuesday included familiar faces in organized crime investigations: Karangekis and a handful of other FBI agents; State Police Lt. Thomas Murphy; trooper Liam Jones; and assistant U.S. attorney Paul H. Smyth, who was handling the Bruno prosecution here before it was transferred to New York. Stephen Bonesteel, a highway foreman with the Agawam Department of Public Works, said he was met by city police officers early Tuesday morning. He said police requested that a crew clean a vacant parking lot across the street from the search site so law enforcement officials could park there. “We’re doing it as a courtesy,” Bonesteel said of the cleaning of the privately-owned parking lot. “It’s kind of hard to say no to the FBI.” Investigators will be at the site around-the-clock for at least one more day, Karangekis said. By Stephanie Barry, The Republican http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2010/04/federal_state_and_local_invest.html