Would you like to be a cellmate of Lefty Ruggerio?

July 20, 2020

Lefty “Two Guns” Ruggerio

Lefty Ruggerio was a lifetime career made man in the Bonanno Crime Family of New York City. He was a key figure in the undercover assignment of FBI agent Joe Pistone who adopted the name of Donnie Brasco when he infiltrated the Bonanno crew under Sonny Black Napolitano. Al Pachino played lefty in the well-known movie titled Donnie Brosco. Johnnie Depp portrayed agent Pistone.

What does Joe Pistone say about Lefty Ruggerio?

I called Joe Pistone and he related that Lefty was completely wrapped up in himself. He only took into consideration how any event or condition affected him and his comfort. For example, Pistone related that Lefty hated air conditioning and fresh air. They were in Florida together and lefty refused to allow Joe to turn on the car air conditioning or lower the windows on a hot Florida day. During this time in the car, LEfty chained smoked his favorite cigarettes, English ovals. Joe remembers that Lefty always wanted more and more whenever he did anything for Lefty.

What does Steve St. John, former cellie of Lefty remember?

Steve spent over a year in the Federal hospital facility in the Springfield Missouri Federal Correctional Institution with Lefty Ruggerio. he remembered one time he made a cake for Lefty’s birthday and upon presentation, Lefty replied, “Well what else ya got for me?” Steve said he once heard Joe Pistone being interview and he said, “I would hate to be Lefty’s cellmate.” Steve tells me that he said to himself, “Well I was Lefty’s cellmate and he is definitely a complainer and a one-way person.”

What does retired Agent Doug Fencl remember about the Joe Pistone undercover assignment?

I knew Doug Fencl who was assigned to the Kansas City organized crime squad during the time I was the Sergeant in the Intelligence Unit. Doug tells us that he was sent to see Lefty Ruggerio and tell him exactly who Donnie Brosco was, Agent Joe Pistone. he said he caught lefty alone in his social club when he approached him with this explosive piece of information. he said Lefty lost his cool and started screaming incoherently. Lefty was so upset that he stormed out of the club into the street leaving agent Fencl alone inside the club. Doug said he stayed for a while and then just walked out and went back to his office. Doug also tells the story about how he broke the news to Sonny Black Napolitano. He hoped to turn Sonny Black because this situation would cause Sonny Black to become a pariah among his Bonanno Family peers. He said Sonny Black never blinked an eye and showed no visible emotion. Doug said he asked Doug to wait up and minute and he explained, “You know that I can’t do that (meaning turning witness).” Doug said he replied, “I understand.” Of course, someone murdered Sonny Black not long after.

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2 comments on “Would you like to be a cellmate of Lefty Ruggerio?

  1. Brad Huddleston Jul 20, 2020

    This is some of the best mob and general criminal personalities content on the internet, Ive listened since literally the first few episodes Thanks alot Gary for all your hard work, dedication and invaluable insights, Gary youshould consider a greatest hits sort of episode to turn on and attract new listeners! You so many incredible epiiaodes hard to even choose any best one. This new Pistone and Ruggerio one is instantly one of my favorites.

    • Gary Jenkins Jul 20, 2020

      Brad,
      Thank you for your kind words. I have worked very hard to create an accurate picture of the mob and what it is like to investigate these organizations. You have a good idea. I will take a look. I am in the process of hiring a social media person to get more awareness of the uniqueness of my show. I will see about incorporating a “best hits” version. BTW, I loved this show myself. I told Joe Pistone that I only wanted to hear his view of Lefty because his story has been told many many times. So while I am noodling around the internet I see that an old friend, Doug Fencl, was the guy who actually carried the message to Sonny Black and Lefty that their good friend Donnie Brosko was really an FBI agent. Then you add in my friend Steve St. John was locked up with Lefty and knew him very well. Kind of a perfect storm of guests.

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