Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso (born May 21, 1940) is an Italian-American mobster and former underboss of the Lucchese crime family. Casso gained the reputation of being a ruthless killer and a "homicidal maniac" who killed anyone who crossed him. During his career in organized crime, Casso was regarded as a "homicidal maniac" in the Italian-American Mafia as he admitted to the government responsibility for 36 murders but most likely committed many more. Former Lucchese captain and government witness Anthony Accetturo once said of Casso, "all he wanted to do is kill, kill, get what you can, even if you didn't earn it." . He was a large-scale importer of heroin and marijuana. He also claimed to have a number of law enforcement officers on his payroll, including FBI agents and NYPD "mafia cops" Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa.
In 1994, faced with life imprisonment, Casso became a government informant and entered the Witness Protection Program. The government subsequently threw out his plea agreement after numerous violations and for giving unreliable testimony and he received a 455 year prison sentence. He confessed to his involvement in 48 murders.
Born in Brooklyn, Casso was the youngest of the three children of Michael and Margaret Casso (née Cucceullo). Each of Casso's grandparents had emigrated from Campania, Italy, between 1896 and 1898. His godfather was Salvatore "Sally" Callinbrano, a Capo in the Genovese crime family, who maintained a powerful influence on the Brooklyn docks. Casso dropped out of school at 16 and got a job with his father as a longshoreman. As a young boy, Casso became a crack shot, firing pistols at targets on a rooftop which he and his friends used as a shooting range. Casso also made money shooting predatory hawks for pigeon tenders. Anthony stands at 5'6 and weighs 185 pounds. He was a violent youth and street gang member of the infamous 1950's gang, the South Brooklyn Boys. He is the father-in-law of Genovese crime family mobster Paul (Slick) Geraci. At the age of 21, Casso caught the eye of Lucchese capo Christopher Furnari. Casso started his career with the Cosa Nostra as a loanshark. As a protege of Christopher Furnari, Casso was also involved in gambling and drug dealing, in addition to loansharking.
In 1962 Casso spent five days in jail for running a bookmaking operation on the docks and was fined $50. After that he was arrested several times for different state and Federal charges including assault with a gun, selling stolen property, dealing heroin, burglarizing a bank and bribing state parole officers, but never spent any further time in jail prior to the early 1990s. In every case he was either acquitted or the charges were dropped.
Over the years, there have been various stories of how Casso got the nickname "Gaspipe" - Casso himself claims it is from his father, a mob enforcer who used a gas pipe to threaten union dissidents and other victims, however others say it is because his father hooked up illegal gas connections. Even though Anthony detested the nickname, it stuck to him for life and though few would say it to his face, he allowed some close friends to call him "Gas". He married Lillian Delduca around the same time and had a daughter and son. In the 1970s, Casso murdered a drug dealer who was suspected of cooperating with the government. In 1974, at age 32, Casso became a made man, or full member, of the Lucchese crime family.
Casso and another young soldier, Vittorio Amuso, soon started a criminal partnership that would last for years. They committed scores of crimes, including drug trafficking, burglary and murder. Casso first met Amuso in the early 1970s, shortly before becoming made. Amuso would also get his "button" around 1977. When Christopher Furnari became the Lucchese crime family consigliere, Casso's influence also increased. In April 1986, Casso and Amuso were chosen to handle the assassination of Gambino boss John Gotti, but the attempt failed and underboss Frank DeCicco was killed. Shortly after the DeCicco hit, sometime in May, Nicholas Guido, an unknown man and James Hydell were out driving their Plymouth Fury and they spotted Anthony Casso's Lincoln Town Car they pulled over and Hydell shot Casso five times with a 12 gauge shotgun as he was sat in his car. Casso staggered into a resturant, asked the owner to call the police and he hid in the meat locker. Casso survived the assasination attempt.
In 1986 Casso also become a capo. Shortly thereafter, Lucchese crime family boss Anthony Corallo, seeing a guilty verdict coming in his trial, picked Casso as new Lucchese boss. Casso turned down the offer and instead suggested that Vittorio Amuso become new boss and he become Amuso's consigliere.
Casso became the family underboss replacing Mariano Macaluso who retired in 1989, although he wielded as much influence as Amuso. During this time, Casso maintained a glamorous lifestyle, wearing expensive clothes and jewelry (including a diamond ring worth $1 million), running restaurant tabs up to thousands of dollars, owning a luxury mega mansion in an exclusive Brooklyn neighborhood and going on enormous spending sprees. While at the top of the Lucchese family, Amuso and Casso shared incredibly massive profits from their family's illegal activities. These profits included: $500,000 a month from extorting Long Island carting companies; $200,000 a month in kickbacks from eight air freight carriers that guaranteed them labor peace and no union benefits for their workers; $75,000 a week in profits from illegal video gaming machines; and $30 million annually from a major concrete supplier, the Quadrozzi Concrete Company." Amuso and Casso also split more than $2 million per year from the Garment District rackets, as well as a huge cut of all the crimes committed by the family's soldiers on a weekly basis.
In one instance, Casso and Amuso split $10 million from the Colombo crime family for Casso's aid in helping them rob steel from the construction site at the West Side Highway in Manhattan. In another instance, the two bosses received $6 million from the Gambino crime family for allowing them to take over a Lucchese-protected contractor for a housing complex project in Coney Island, Brooklyn.
Casso also controlled Greek-American gangster George Kalikatas, who gave Casso $683,000 in 1990 to operate a loan sharking and gambling operation in Astoria, Queens.
The Russian Mafia
Casso had a close alliance and friendship with Russian Mafia boss Marat Balagula, who operated a multi-billion dollar gasoline bootlegging scam with Colombo crime family captain Michael Franzese in Brighton Beach. Balagula, a Soviet Jewish refugee from Odessa, had arrived in the United States under the Jackson-Vanik Amendment. After Colombo crime family captain Michael Franzese began shaking down his underlings, Balagula approached Lucchese crime family consigliere Christopher Furnari and asked for help. In response, the Lucchese crime family received a percentage of Balagula's gasoline profits. The money was strategically shared with New York's other four Mafia families and became the Five Families biggest moneymaker after narcotics trafficking.
According to Philip Carlo,
"It didn't take long for word on the street to reach the Russian underworld: Marat Balagula was paying off the Italians; Balagula was a punk; Balagula had no balls. Balagula's days were numbered. This, of course, was the beginning of serious trouble. Balagula did in fact have balls -- he was a very brave and tough guy, and was a ruthless killer when necessary -- but he also was a smart diplomatic administrator and he knew that the combined, concerted force of the Italian crime families would quickly wipe the newly arrived Russian competition off the proverbial map."
Shortly afterward, on June 12, 1986, Balagula's rival, a high-ranking member of the Russian Mafia and a psychotic hitman named Vladimir Reznikov, entered the Rasputin nightclub in Brighton Beach. Reznikov pushed a 9mm Beretta into Balagula's skull and demanded $600,000 as the price of not pulling the trigger. He also demanded a percentage of everything Balagula was involved in. After Balagula promised to get the money, Reznikov snarled, "Fuck with me and you're dead, you and your whole fucking family; I swear I'll fucking and kill your wife as you watch, you understand?"
Shortly after Reznikov left, Balagula suffered a massive heart attack. He insisted, however on being treated at his home in Brighton Beach, where he felt it would be harder for Reznikov to kill him. When Anthony Casso arrived, he told Balagula, "Send word to Vladimir that you have his money, that he should come to the club tomorrow. We'll take care of the rest." Casso also requested a photograph of Reznikov and a description of his car.
The following day, Reznikov arrived at Balagula's nightclub to pick up his money. Instead, Reznikov was confronted by Gambino crime family assassins Joseph Testa and Anthony Senter who shot him 28 times dead with AK-47 assault rifles on Casso's orders. According to Casso, "After that, Marat didn't have any problems with the Russian Mafia ever again."
Following the imprisonment of Amuso in 1991, Casso became the de facto boss of the family. In Ernest Volkman's book "Gangbusters", it is alleged that while both Casso and Amuso were on the run from the law, Casso wanted complete control of the family and set up Amuso to be taken down by the FBI. This theory is contradicted, however, by Casso's biographer Philip Carlo. According to Carlo, Casso had no desire to be boss of the Lucchese family and attempted to arrange for Amuso's escape from Federal custody after his arrest. To the great disappointment of Casso and the Lucchese captains, Amuso refused to leave prison out of fear for his life. As a result, the Lucchese captains asked Casso to replace him as boss. Casso reluctantly accepted.
While evading authorities for over three years, Casso maintained control over the Lucchese family. In the process, he ordered 60 mob slayings as well as plotting with Genovese leader Vincent Gigante to murder John Gotti. Casso and Gigante were deeply disgusted that Gotti had murdered Paul Castellano without the sanction of the Mafia's Commission. All attempts on Gotti's life were stymied, however, by the constant presence of news reporters around the Gambino boss.
In another incident toward the year of 1993, Casso used the Brooklyn faction-leaders George Zappola, Frank "Bones" Papagni as well as the family Consigliere, Frank Lastorino, in an attempt to kill former Lucchese Underboss and Bronx faction leader Steven Crea. However, due to the massive indictments at the time, all members of the plot were eventually incarcerated on various charges, including Casso, who was arrested at a mistress's home in Mount Olive, New Jersey, in 1994.
By this time, several high ranking members of the Luchesse crime family had defected. Among them was a former captain whom Casso had targeted for assassination, Peter Chiodo. Chiodo had committed numerous murders for Casso, but was incensed that Casso had also ordered the attempted assassination of his wife. According to Casso, Chiodo had chosen to involve his wife in the business of the Lucchese family. Therefore, he alone was responsible for the contract on her.
Once Casso realized that there was an enormous amount of evidence against him, he decided to become an informant. Believing that he would be sent into witness protection with his wife and children, Casso revealed everything he knew about the inner workings of the Lucchese Family.
Casso disclosed that two NYPD detectives were on the Lucchese payroll. These detectives were later determined to be Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa, who committed eight of the eleven murders Casso had ordered. Carracappa and Eppolito had also given Casso information which lead to many others as well, revealing the names of potential informants. However, when Casso revealed similar corruption within the FBI, no one was interested. In addition, Casso also enraged Federal prosecutors by accusing Gambino turncoat Salvatore Gravano of masterminding Richard Kuklinski's murder of NYPD Detective Peter Calabro. Although this slaying was not covered by Gravano's immunity deal, no one was interested.
After his information was used to completely dismantle the Lucchese family, Casso was dropped from the Witness Protection Program. Law enforcement cited numerous violations, including bribing guards, assaulting other inmates and giving unreliable testimony, as reasons for him being dropped from the program. He is currently serving a life sentence without parole at the Supermax ADX Florence prison in Florence, Colorado.
According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, in March 2009 Anthony Casso was transferred to the Federal Medical Center (FMC) for the treatment of prostate cancer. The FMC is part of the Butner Federal Correctional Complex. However, by July 2009, he had been returned to ADX Florence.
"Most all men in my life, everyone I know, had girlfriends. It goes with the territory. Women are drawn to us, the power, the money, and we're drawn to them. But only in passing. Some guys treated their mistresses better than their wife, but that's a fucking outrage. No class. Only a cafone does that. I never loved any woman but Lillian. She and my family always came first."
"I truly feel sorry for the younger generation that wants to belong to that life. It's sad for them. There is absolutely no honor and respect today. Little do the newcomers know that there are many made members in the Mafia that wish not to be there and would like nothing better than to walk away from it. So they do the next best thing: stay low key if possible. The young newcomers will never see the kind of big money that was once made. That's long gone. They don't realize what it means to be free and have peace of mind until its taken from them."
People Murdered by Anthony Casso
Anthony Casso was a ruthless gangster who loved killing he ordered murders and commited some of them personally, he killed many people (Mostly members of his own crime family who he though were rats) to make him and his friend Vittorio Amuso feel more secure. some of the murders he ordered were committed by Corrupt NYPD Detectives Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa. below is a list of murders he was involved in.
1.Anthony Luongo/Capo/Lucchese Crime Family/1986/Personal/ To take control of the Lucchese crime family.
2.Israel Greenwald/none/independent/February 10th 1986/Ordered It/ Greenwald was murdered because he was extorted by the Lucchese crime family and was reporting them to the FBI.
3.Frank DeCicco/Underboss/Gambino Crime Family/April 13th 1986/At The Scene/ DeCicco was killed by a car bomb in revenge for the unsanctioned murder of Paul Castellano, the real target was John Gotti but DeCicco was killed by mistake.
4.James Hydell/Associate/Gambino Crime Family/May 1986/Personal/ Hydell attempted to murder Casso in a drive-by shooting. In revenge, Casso and Burton Kaplan sent the Mob Cops to kidnap him under the pretense of arrest. Hydell was delivered to Casso, who interrogated, tortured and murdered him. Hydell's remains have never been discovered.
5.Vladimir Reznikov/Enforcer/Russian Mob/June 13th 1986/Ordered It/ Reznikov was murdered because he had threatened Marat Baluga the leader of the Russian Bratva. Marat went to the consigliere of the Lucchese crime family for help and they handled it.
6.Nicholas Guido/none/independent/December 25th 1986/Ordered It/ Nicholas Guido was innocent Telephone Engineer murdered in mistaken identity, he shared the same name as one of the people who tried to kill Casso.
7.Michael Pappadio/Capo/Lucchese Crime Family/1987/Ordered It/ For refusing to hand over control of his businesses.
8.Thomas Gilmore/Associate/Lucchese Crime Family/February 1989/Ordered It/ For allegedly being an informant.
9.Robert Kubecka/None/Independent/August 11th 1989/Ordered It/ Murdered because his waste management business was in competition with the Lucchese waste management business, and for refusing to give in to extortion.
10.Donald Barstow/None/Independent/August 11th 1989/Ordered It/ Murdered because his waste management business was in competition with the Lucchese waste management business, and for refusing to give in to extortion.
11.Anthony DiLapi/Soldier/Lucchese Crime Family/Feburary 4th 1990/Ordered It/ For allegedly being an informant.
12.Michael Salerno/Capo/Lucchese Crime Family/June 5th 1990/Ordered It/ Amuso and Casso wanted to murder a potential enemy.
13.Bruno Facciolo/Soldier/Lucchese Crime Family/August 1990/Ordered It/ For allegedly being an informant.
14.Edward Lino/Capo/Gambino Crime Family/November 6th 1990/Ordered It/ To get to John Gotti.
15.Bartholomew Boriello/Capo/Gambino Crime Family/April 13th 1991/Ordered It/ to get to John Gotti.
16.Patrick Testa/Soldier/Lucchese Crime Family/December 2nd 1992/Ordered It/ Casso wanted to murder a potential enemy.
17.Frank Signorino/None/Unknown/Feburary 2nd 1993/Ordered It/ Signorio was Peter Chiodo's uncle, he was murdered to intimidate Chiodo who had become an informant after a murder attempt on his and his wife's lives.
- Ackman, Dan. "Dispatches From a Mob Trial", Dispatches, Slate, March 17, 2006. Retrieved on September 27, 2011.
- Five Families: The Rise, Decline and Resurgence of America's Most Powerful Mafia Empires (2006 ed.). by Selwyn Raab, New York City, Thomas Dunne Books, ISBN 9780312361815, 2005.