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Pete Carlino Mugshot

Peter Carlino (June 13, 1887-September 10, 1931) was a Sicilian mobster.

Born in Lucca Sicula, Sicily, Pete Carlino and his brother Sam Carlino arrived in America October 11, 1897 in New Orleans LA. on passage from the French ship Chateau Yquem departing from Palermo Sicily. The Carlinos moved to Walsenburg in the early 1900's to farm the rich soils of Southern Colorado. The family struggled as farmers for many years. In 1916 Colorado enacted their own form of prohibition four years before the Volstead Act would outlaw alcohol consumption across the entire country.

Carlino began growing sugar beets and distilling the vegetable to make "Sugar Moon" moonshine. For years their production grew and their territory became larger. By 1920 when the rest of the country was "going dry" Colorado's Bootlegger's had a four year head start on the nations 18th amendment. The family moved to Pueblo and controlled liquor sales in the entire southern region of Colorado.

By 1930 the Family was moving into the Denver marketplace and purchased an opulent home on Federal Blvd in North Denver. Rival bootleggers were battling for control of the city. Many deaths were attributed to territorial gangland killings. Pete Carlino called a "Bootleggers Convention" on January 25, 1931 to avert an all out war. The Police raided the event and arrested 29 men along with Pete Carlino. 28 of the 29 had prior arrests. Joe Roma and his underlings the Smaldone brothers were not in attendance. Police tipped Roma about the raid. The conflict was never solved because the meeting had been broken up, and war raged between the rival factions.

Federal Blvd. House after explosion

On March 17, 1931 at 12 a.m. a bomb destroyed Pete Carlino's home on Federal Blvd. No one was home at the time of the blast. The explosion blew out windows of nearby houses and damaged the two adjacent homes on either side. The Press initially believed the blast to be set by rival gang lords. Federal undercover agent Lawrence "Baldy" Baldesareli informed Police a week before there was going to be a blast. He informed the Police that Carlino was going to set off the blast to collect the insurance money. Baldesareli had infiltrated the Carlino crew 9 months before and was acting as Sam Carlino's bodyguard when he discovered the plot to destroy the home. Baldesareli led the Police to a garage a few blocks away where they found three trunks filled with the Carlino's belongings. District Attorney Carr was frustrated with Mayor Stapleton and Police Chief "Diamond Dick's" inability to stop the blast. This furthered Carrs belief that the Police Chief, Mayor and even a local Judge where "on the take." Pete Carlino was cash strapped and concocted the plan to destroy the home to collect the insurance money. The payoffs to politicians and Judges had depleted the families funds. About the time authorities were about to charge Pete Carlino for arson his brother Sam was killed.

Mayor Stapleton knew of plot and did nothing

On May 8, 1931 Sam Carlino (Petes younger brother) was shot and killed in his living room by Bruno Mauro. Cousin James Colletti was wounded in the event but survived. Sam's wife Josephine was at home with her three year old daughter when the shooting occurred. Bruno Mauro was identified by Mrs. Carlino and Colletti as the shooter. They were having a pleasant conversation when Mauro drew two guns and began shooting. He escaped through the front door and was seen entering a waiting sedan in the field across the street. Pete Carlino fled Colorado and headed towards Chicago. According to Police testimony on June 3,1931 in an unrelated matter, Lucille Crupi identified Pete Carlino meeting with mobsters in Milwaukee just recently. He was dropping off a shipment of booze and was picking more up to sell.

Joe Roma posts Pete's $5000 bond

On June 19th 1931 Pete Carlino was captured in a cousins farmhouse outside Pueblo. He gave up quietly and was brought back to Denver where he was arrested. On June 25, 1931 Joe Roma posted the $5,000 bond to release Carlino. Roma's house was used as collateral for the bond.

On September 14, 1931 Pete Carlinos bullet ridden body was found near the Siloam Rd bridge outside Pueblo. The coroner determined he was killed several days before. The body had been hidden under the bridge by the assailants but was moved onto the road 2 days later because he had not been found. The bullet wounds indicated that the shooters used poison bullets. The area around the wounds were badly infected and were deteriorating more rapidly than the rest of the body. Poison bullets were commonly used as an insurance in case the victim was not fatally shot. The poison bullets were made by drilling out the tips of the bullet and stuffing fresh garlic into the cavity. Once the garlic entered the bloodstream it began the infection. Since antibiotics were not discovered yet, a simple wound could be deadly.

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Joe Roma gained the territories once controlled by the Carlino's and ruled Colorado's bootlegging until February 18th 1933. Roma's bullet ridden body was found by his wife Netti in their living room after she returned from her Mothers house. She told Police that when she left about an hour before, Roma was talking with Louis Brindisi, James Spinelli, and Eugene Smaldone. The three were questioned by Police about where they were during the murder and they stated they were at the movies. They all provided movie ticket stubs. When they were questioned individually none of the three could recall the movie they saw or information about the plot. The Smaldones were released and the murder remains unsolved.