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Somerville Man Pleads Guilty, Was Colombo Family Mafia 'Street Boss'

Ralph DeLeo ran the "DeLeo Crew" out of Somerville.

Editor's note: The following is from the office of the United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts. DeLeo was previously expected to plead guilty on May 7, but a minor fire in Boston's federal courthouse caused his court date to be delayed.

BOSTON - A Somerville, Mass., man agreed to plead guilty today in federal court to conspiring to violate the RICO statute and possessing firearms and ammunition.

At today’s hearing, Ralph F. DeLeo, 69, agreed to plead guilty to racketeering conspiracy and being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition.

DeLeo was “street boss” of the Colombo Family of La Cosa Nostra and the head of the DeLeo Crew, a criminal enterprise based in Somerville, which engaged in the importation, trafficking, and distribution of narcotics and controlled substances, including cocaine and marijuana; extortion; loan sharking; and interstate and foreign travel in aid of racketeering. The DeLeo Crew operated principally in Massachusetts, Arkansas, Florida and New York.

In particular, had the case gone to trial the government would have proven that DeLeo:

• arranged and paid for a two kilogram cocaine deal;

• traveled to Florida, New York and Connecticut on Colombo family business on various occasions; 

• attempted to collect an extension of credit by extortionate means in Canton, Mass., on March 11, 2009; 

• conspired with other members of the DeLeo Crew and a businessman to administer a beating to the financial advisor of the businessman’s brother, with whom he had a dispute; 

• conspired with other members of the DeLeo Crew and other members and associates of the Colombo family to import marijuana from Canada; and 

• maintained in a hidden location a cache of at least 11 firearms, together with a silencer, ammunition, police uniforms, patches from at least three different police departments, wigs, masks, and zip ties.

La Cosa Nostra is a criminal organization that operates in various parts of the United States and Canada through entities known as “families.” The five most powerful LCN families, of which the Colombo family is one, are based in New York City. The DeLeo Crew was a separate entity from the Colombo family. DeLeo used the criminal activities of the DeLeo Crew to increase and maintain his status in the Colombo family.U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodock scheduled sentencing for Sept. 6, 2012. DeLeo faces a sentence of 210 to 235 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release and a $50,000 fine. Judge Woodlock deferred acceptance of DeLeo’s guilty plea until the imposition of sentence.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation - Boston Field Office; and William P. Offord, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation in Boston made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy E. Moran and Laura Kaplan of Ortiz’s Organized Crime Strike Force Unit.

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