Dominic Taddeo and the Rochester Crime Family
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Gary and his regular contributor Mob author and historian Camillius Robison discuss this obscure but important mob figure, Dominic Taddeo. The Rochester New York crime family was thought of as a major crew under Stefano Magaddino, the boss of the Buffalo New York Family. He asserted ownership and ran it through a member of the Buffalo family named Jake Russo. Russo was a weak leader and fell out of favor with Maggidino. Stanley Valenti from Buffalo and Frank Valenti, brothers, worked under the Pittsburgh mob boss, Jake LaRocca. Russo mysteriously disappeared in September 1964. Frank Valenti declared himself boss of Rochester. Magaddino was getting older and his inaction allowed Valenti to create his own Rochester Mafia family and he got recognition from the Commission. Frank Valenti ruled with an iron fist and after several high-profile mob murders in the late 1960s and in 1970s, law enforcement brought in a lot of assets to break the Rochester family. The Valentis fomented an audacious plan to defer law enforcement interest. On Columbus Day, 1970, members of the Rochester family planted bombs in two Black churches, the Monroe County Office Building, the U.S. Federal Courthouse, and the home of a union official. This ruse worked and the police and FBI suspected anti-Vietnam War protesters or other radical groups and shifted resources away from La Cosa Nostra. Amazed that his plan had succeeded, Valenti ordered further bombings to three synagogues and the home of a federal judge. They also hatched a plan to assassinate the county sheriff. After this audacious plan worked with some limited success, Valenti was confronted by some of his underlings about his running a separate crew and keeping all the profits to himself. By the end of the 19790s, the Valentis left Rochester and a new regime took over. the new leaders were Samuel “Red” Russotti became boss. Salvatore Gingello was the underboss and Piccarreto retained the position of consigliere. They had the backing of the New York Bonanno family and this ended any influence the Pittsburgh Family exerted over Rochester.
Taddeo picks the winning side
By the 1980s, Dominic Taddeo had risen to be one of the most vicious hitmen of the Rochester family. He became part of a hit team known as the A-Team working for the boss “Red” Russotti. During this time the Rochester family experienced a long mob war with many murders. In 1982 and 1983, Taddeo shot Nicholas Mastrodonato, Gerald Peluso, and Dino Tortatice to death during local mob wars. Rochester Consigliere Rene Piccarreto ordered A-Team hit man Dominic Taddeo to eliminate members of the renegade team. Taddeo was responsible for murdering Nicholas Mastrodonato on May 25, 1982. That August, Taddeo shot and killed Thomas Peluso, who was trying to take over the Rochester gambling operation. Taddeo shot Thomas Peluso, wounding him, and killing his brother Gerald. In August 1982, Taddeo killed Dino Toratice. Then in 1983, He shot Thomas Marotta seven times on April 13. Marotta survived and was known as the Rochester Clay Pigeon. In October 1987, federal authorities named Dominic Taddeo as a suspect in the shootings. He disappeared from sight for the next three years until someone captured him in 1989 and brought him back to Rochester. Dominic Taddeo pleads guilty to the murder of three men. A court sentenced Taddeo to 24 years in prison on that guilty plea and later the court gave him an additional 30 years on RICO charges.
On the Lam
The most interesting story out of Rochester and this murderous hitman, Dominic Taddeo is stranger than fiction. The FBI learned he had been storing cash, guns, camouflage clothing, binoculars, silencers, and other firearms accessories in several different New York and Pennsylvania storage facilities. They alleged Dominic Taddeo rented these lockers to store equipment and cash to use in a plot to free Carlos Lehder, a top figure in the Medellin Cocaine cartel. The Feds had incarcerated this famous Colombian drug boss in the Maximum Security prison at Marion, Ill. Lehder had no knowledge of the plot to free him. Taddeo planned to break him out and try to sell him back to the Medellin drug cartel. Top support this story, after Taddeo’s arrest in 1989, federal agents seized nine handguns, a sawed-off shotgun, four machine guns, a semiautomatic rifle, a silencer and firearms accessories, binoculars, and camouflage clothing from a locker at the U-Stor-It Village, 2178 Industrial Drive, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. They found $65,000 in cash at a unit linked to Taddeo at U-Stor-It Village, 299 Shantz Road, Wescosville. They found rental forms on his person and a key that fit the rental unit’s lock.
Dominic Taddeo in Prison
In 2021, Taddeo was still in a federal prison in Florida. he applied for compassionate release because of SCVIP-19 but the judge denied him. he is scheduled for release in 2024.
Show notes by Gary Jenkins
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