Arnold "Squiggy" Ezekiel Squitieri (born February 2, 1936) also known as "Zeke", "Bozey", and "Squitty", is a convicted drug dealer and former acting boss and underboss of the Gambino crime family.
On August 18, 1970, Squitieri shot garment cutter Desiderio Caban five times on a street in East Harlem. Two New York Police Department (NYPD) officers heard the shots, chased Squitieri by car for six blocks, until Squitieri finally stopped. Getting out of his car, Squitieri approached the officers and told them:
- "Don't worry about it, he's only shot in the arm. Let me go; the boys will take care of you."
A week later mobster Alphonse Sisca met with one of the officers and offered a $5,000 bribe to the policemen. They accepted the deal and removed Squitieri's name from the crime report for the Caban killing. Later on, after the bribery was discovered, the officers were indicted and Squitieri became a fugitive from justice. In January 1972, Squitieri surrendered to authorities.
In 1973, while awaiting trial for the Caban murder, Squitieri and his wife Marie were charged with failing to file U.S. federal income tax returns for three years. The couple had concealed $200,000 in income in bank accounts under false names. For the tax charges, Squitieri would serve four years in prison.
On March 14, 1973, Squitieri pleaded guilty to first degree manslaughter in the 1970 Caban murder. Squitieri was later sentenced to eight years in state prison.
From soldier to underboss
In May 1981, Squitieri was released from prison and soon began selling narcotics for the Gotti crew in New Jersey. In 1982, Squitieri was being supplied with heroin by Angelo Ruggiero and Gene Gotti. In 1986, after John Gotti replaced Paul Castellano as Gambino boss, Squitieri was inducted into the family.
On March 8, 1988, while on bail Squitieri took part in the murder of Gambino crime family member Liborio Milito. Milito was killed for badmouthing capo Louis Vallario who had been promoted to take over Salvatore Gravano's old crew when he was promoted to consigliere. Squitieri helped dump the body which has never been found.
In 1988, Squitieri was convicted in Camden, New Jersey of conspiring to distribute heroin and was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison. On March 13, 1999, Squitieri was released from prison and became the new Underboss. In 2002, after the arrest of Gambino boss Peter Gotti, Squitieri became the new acting boss.
While on parole from prison, Squitieri received a flat panel television as a gift from an undercover FBI agent Joaquín "Jack" García. One evening, Squitieri was watching an episode of the TV series The Sopranos (All Happy Families...). Wanting to get rid of a mobster on parole, boss Anthony Soprano sends him a stolen TV set. Soprano then arranges for a parole officer to visit the mobster and arrest him for possessing stolen property. When the show was over, a frightened Squitieri gave away the TV and purchased his own.
Confrontation with Alex Rudaj
One problem that Squitieri had to deal with during the early and mid 2000s (decade) was the challenge of ethnic Albanian gangs to the gambling rackets in Queens. One particular threat was with the Rudaj Organization (or "The Corporation"), run by mobster Alex Rudaj. At first, Gregory DePalma was able to solve minor disputes, but the Corporation became less cooperative over time.
In late 2001, Squitieri arranged a meeting with Rudaj at a gas station in New Jersey. When the Corporation mobsters arrived, 20 armed Gambino men came out to confront them. FBI undercover agent known as Jack Falcone states in his book that Squitieri told the Corporation mobsters, "You took what you took and that's it or there's gonna be a problem." The Gambinos outnumbered the Corporation 20 to 6. Rudaj ordered one of his men to shoot a gas tank if a gunfight ensued. Rudaj eventually listened to reason and stopped interfering with Gambino operations.
Return to prison
On March 9, 2005, Squitieri was arrested on charges of extorting money from construction companies in Westchester County, New York, Mineola, New York, and New Jersey. On June 15, a tearful Squitieri pleaded guilty to conducting an illegal gambling operation and to tax evasion. On June 28, 2006 Squitieri was sentenced to just over seven years in federal prison.
As of September 2012, Squitieri is incarcerated at the Devens Federal Medical Center (FMC) in Massachusetts. He was released on December 8, 2012. Upon his release, it was presumed that Squitieri had retired from the mob.