replica_sawed_off_dbl_shotgun Nick Civella attended the famous 1957 Mob meeting where La Cosa Nostra bosses from all the major families met to decide major differences within the 5 families in New York City and to set the direction for the entire country. One thing decided was that mob families would no longer participate in international heroin distribution. They left the decision as to local narcotics distribution to each family.

I found a most interesting book on this subject, Mafia Summit by Gil Reveall.

In Kansas City, the local Outfit has mainly elected to not participate in the narcotics trade other than a low level associate may participate. The rule is, they do not involve family members. Most do not because a mob guy who possess incriminating information on “made guys” is a high value target by the government. If they catch a case, they are are at extreme risk of being killed. When it becomes known they are facing a draconian sentence passed out for big time narcotics dealing, mob guys know the government is offering reductions for information. Just look at the most famous snitch recently, Henry Hill and read Pileggi’s, GoodFellas.

Henry Hill, the Ray Liotta character, was in the narcotics trade and got caught. He did a little time and testified against some big guys. Henry died recently of natural causes after he had written a book and gone around the country doing public appearances. So much for mob retribution. The main risk is before the snitch gives information. The main reason for a mob hit is money, not being a snitch.

imageI reported recently about fellow Intelligence Unit detective Bobby Arnold finding that Jimmy Duardi was making unescorted trips into Kansas City from the prison at Leavenworth. He was released shortly after. We had an informant tell us that he was meeting people and making criminal connections at a used car lot located at Gregory and Troost.

We took a look and there he was every day. The lot was hard to “sit on” and we would be spotted quickly on the street and there were no friendly businesses we could get inside and look out. We also wanted to shoot some photos.

Directly across Troost was a cemetery. We asked the manager to put up a funeral tent and close in the sides. We used that for a week and shot some great photos of Jimmy and his criminal connections. All those great photos were lost in an old file. I remember him meeting an old prison contact from Detroit. Later, in the next few years a Detroit connection was used in a local mob hit.

 

Jimmy Duardi was the nephew of a made man named Gaetano “Tanno” Lococo. He had Jimmy Duardi“made his bones” by the 1960s and after a cooling off period in California, Jimmy was back in Kansas City. He was a big (6’2′ 275 lbs.) man with a big dominating personality. It appears that he was given the south part of Kansas City because he did not live in the Little Grove Ok 2Italy (5th and Troost area) or north of the river as did most of the mob guys. Jimmy lived close to Gregory and Ward Parkway. In the early 1970s, Jimmy Duardi and another KC Mob associate (an associate is not a made guy) named Nathaniel Brancato (connected to Fairyland Park) used an ex-con and Native American named Clifford Bishop to connect with another Native American gangster from Oklahoma, Jack Michael King. If you Click on the above names, you will get many more details about this conspiracy. I will give you the shorthand version.

Jimmy Duardi and Nate Brancato used Bishop and King to make connections with club owners in the Grove, OklahomaGrove Ok 1 area. They wanted to have an open county with gambling and prostitution in this resort community. They bribed Frank Grayson, the county prosecutor, and an investigator to assist them. Duardi used Bishop to muscle in on the ownership of a club named Mr. Yuk. That club owner, Jess Roberts, got nervous and wanted out. Roberts was kidnapped and shot three times. He lived to testify and all the conspirators went to jail.

This case was an important interstate organized crime conspiracy case and the judge in this case refused to sentence the participants to more than short sentences. Jimmy Duardi will soon be back on the street.

Now, gambling is legal at the Grand Lake Casino.

PlayPlay

I think back over my life as a young cop and I realize that I was just playing cops and robbers, only with real guns. Winchester_Model_1873_Short_Rifle_1495 The Three MesquiteersActually, I was playing Roy Rogers, The Lone Ranger (click here to listen to the famous opening) , Gene Autry, Sky King, Sgt. Preston and Yukon King, The Cisco Kid, and who could forget the series of old “B” films, The Three Mesquiteers. These western heroes all rode around on beautiful horses with names like White Cloud, Trigger and Champion. They carried either one or two .45 Colt revolvers on hand tooled leather holsters with a lever action Winchester Model 1874 in a saddle scabbard.

Now it was my chance to carry a .38 Smith and Wesson Police Service Revolver, a .12 gauge Winchester pump shotgun and ride around a 1970 Plymouth Fury. We would roll up on calls where the townspeople had problems with bad guys and do something. We tried hard to catch someone in the act or at least follow up and identify and arrest a real bad guy. The district officer does not have the time or resources to do this and very few had the luck to arrive before the bad guy was long gone. We only caught the angry spouses or neighborhood squabblers.

Street patrol could be exciting. I remember making friends with some neighborhood kids at 38th and Euclid. The KC Chiefs had a program where they would send out a bus to the police station and we would invite kids to go to the game. I made arrangements with the mother of this 10 year old boy to attend. A few days later, I got as call from the dispatcher to go to their home. I figured the mom wanted to thank me. As I rounded the corner on 38th Street, there was Mom hiding behind a stone pillar pointing a handgun at a neighbor man a few feet away. I saw her 2 daughters, both had kitchen knives, screaming at other teenagers down the street. The little boy was standing there screaming at Mom. The Postal Carrier was trying to reason with the neighbor to back off and go home.

I broke all the rules. Without a word to the dispatcher (if others arrived Mom would go to jail), I yelled at Mom to take the gun inside and put it up. She complied immediately for some reason. The Postal Carrier and I got between the neighbors and the two girls with kitchen knives and convinced them to go inside with Mom. I walked to the neighbor and he was screaming for Mom to be arrested. I ordered him inside his home and he complied.

I returned to Mom’s home and she told me of her grievance, something about the neighbor man yelling at her kids. I returned to the neighbor’s home and calmed him down. I drove to the station because it was end of the shift and never mentioned this to anybody.

Lone ranger

Lone Ranger

Kind of like the Lone Ranger where I ride in, settle a dispute and drive away with no paperwork required. And all they could say was: “Who was that masked man?”

Tuffy

Carl “Tuffy” DeLuna

 

Gangland Wire  illustrates some funny situations showing how inept these mob guys really can be. One was in the area of telephone codes. One that did not get in the film follows. The film, Casino, failed to show the dumb things done by the mob guys. Gangland wire has a bunch of them.

Joseph Agosto

Tuffy told Joe Agosto that he could not tell him a phone number over the phone. They worried around on how to get Joe the number when Joe and Tuffy agreed on a brilliant code. Tuffy would give Joe the number backwards? These guys were brilliant.

Jimmy DuardiGaetano Lococo was known as one of the “5 Iron Men” in Kansas City La Cosa Nostra history. He started as an enforcer for a 1930s Kansas City political boss named Johnny Lazia. In the famous 1950s Kefauver hearings on Organized Crime, Senator Kefauver described “Tano” Lococo as  “Lococo was a mousy, insignificant, bespectacled little man whose appearance belied his reputation as another of Binaggio’s enforcers.’”  It is said that a well known Kansas City Italian restaurant “Gaetanos” was named after him. He had a nephew named James S. “Jimmy” Duardi. Jimmy Duardi began in the Kansas City Rackets during and just after WW II. Jimmy first came to law enforcement attention when he was suspected of being involved with Nick Civella in the Binaggio and Gargotta murders and later in 1952 he was arrested in another murder.  Jimmy moved to Vallejo California for a few years until he cooled down in Kansas City.

Gargotta-crime-scene-with-Truman-300x223I was once following Lococo and another of the original “5 Iron Men”, Joseph Filardo. Filardo was famous for being caught with Nick Civella at the 1957 Mob Conference in Apalachin, New York. I entered an elevator with these famous gangsters and they were like a couple of little (under 5-5) old men. It was hard to see them as men who struck fear in the hearts of others.

Back to Jimmy Duardi. When I was first assigned to the Intelligence Unit, my friend, Bobby Arnold was also a new guy in the unit. He had been out looking for the movements of known mob guys and noticed a large gregarious man at a restaurant frequented by mobsters. He was back at the Unit and saw Duardi’s picture on the wall. He claimed this was the man he saw. The older detectives hooted him down because they just knew Jimmy was in prison in LeavenworthLeavenworth. Bobby calls Leavenworth and learns that Jimmy is assigned to the minimum security farm and one of his jobs entails him taking a prison vehicle into Kansas City to pick up supplies. And, Jimmy was supposed to be in Kansas City on that date.

My next post will be the story of why Jimmy was in Leavenworth and then on to Bobby Arnold and I monitoring Jimmy when he was released from prison.