Lucchese “Sleeper” – Heroin Kingpin for 50 Years – Dead at 79

Paolo (Paul) Loduca – aka “Paul the Zip” and “Paul the Greaseball” – was born in 1940 in Palermo, Sicily. He emigrated to this country in the early-1960s. Subsequently, years later, he became a U.S. citizen.

He resided at 51-86 Manilla Street in the Elmhurst section of Queens for years until moving to a $3,000,000 waterfront sprawling estate at 3 Forest Drive in the exclusive multimillion-dollar Sands Point section of Nassau’s Gold Coast.

In his later years, he would relocate to the Smithtown area further out in Suffolk County, Long Island.

As a young man, he married Maria (Mary) and together they would raise two children, a boy and girl. His son Salvatore would die very young in his mid-40s.

Paul Loduca stood at about 5-feet 6-inches tall and weighed 160-pounds, With a bulbous nose and receding curly hair, the bland, plain-looking, medium complected Loduca had a thick Sicilian accent you could cut with a knife.

He had a very quiet and cautious demeanor.

In talking with him, he always gave the impression that he was “clocking” your every word…… typical Sicilian mafioso.

DCJS # 3581609K

His activities included international narcotics trafficking (both smuggling and distributing heroin and cocaine) and money laundering.

Loduca started out in America under the regime of Gaetano (Tommy Brown) Lucchese, specifically, under the supervision of the Queens-based “capo di decina” Carmine (Willy the Wop) Locascio.

He would later serve in the regime of Anthony (Curly) Russo, a nephew of Locascio who took over the crew upon Locascio’s death in 1983.

It was documented by the FBN/DEA and FBI that among Loduca’s closest associates over the years included:

• Carmine Locascio – his first capo, and a major international heroin smuggler who supplied many drug rings in the New York-New Jersey and out-of-state areas. This is probably where Loduca first affiliated with the Lucchese mob, later being sponsored by Locascio for formal induction.

• Peter (Mr. Bread) Locascio – a Lucchese member and Carmine’s younger brother and assistant, convicted drug trafficker, and bootlegger.

• Anthony (Curly) Russo – Locascio’s nephew who was alleged by law enforcement to have gained position by the 1980s and former co-owner of Ruggero Restaurant in Little Italy.

• Frank (Frankie Pearl) Federico – crew member and convicted narcotics dealer who was later convicted in a double gangland-style murder for which he served 10 years.

• Vincent (Jimmy 92) Ciraulo – a veteran Lucchese crew soldier and close associate to Loduca and Locascio over the years.

• Anthony (Bowat) Baratta – a notorious three-time convicted heroin trafficker, reputed member of the Lucchese mob who has served many years in prison.

• Antonio (Toto) Minore – a top mafioso from the Castellammare del Golfo, Trapani province. He became a close affiliate of Loduca in America. A top DEA target by the early 1970s who was alleged to have affiliated with the Lucchese Family after arriving in this country.

• Vincenzo (Enzo Alati) Galatolo – a top Palermo-based Sicilian Mafia Boss, head of the Acquasanta Cosca, a very close associate and drug partner to Paolo Loduca, controlled a major transatlantic heroin-cocaine smuggling ring.

• Alberto Ficalora – a veteran Sicilian narcotics trafficker, later tied to the Pizza Connection case and suspects. Loduca was an early contact of Ficalora in America.

• John Stanfa of Philadelphia – a Sicilian-born mafioso who became boss of the Philadelphia Family after emigrating to America, serving life imprisonment. Reputed to have handled narcotics with Loduca.

Paolo Gambino – Carlo’s capo brother, suspected narcotics and alien smuggler, Loduca became close to Gambino upon settling into New York. Suspected of having trafficked in heroin together.

• The Gambino brothers: Giovanni (John) Gambino, Giuseppe (Joe) Gambino, and Rosario (Sal) Gambino – Based out of 18th Avenue in Brooklyn and Cherry Hill in Southern NJ, cousins to the original Gambino brothers (Carlo and Paolo), later rising to top status within the hierarchy. Authorities allege they would become closely associated with Loduca in the international heroin traffic for decades to come. After being fugitives from justice, they would all be sent away for decades-long prison stays in Italy and America.

• Rosario (Saro) Naimo – reputedly a top Mafia Boss back in Sicily. It was alleged that Naimo became the head of U.S. operations for the Sicilian Mafia. A very close friend and associate of Loduca. Upon being arrested in the same case as Loduca, Naimo would become a top rat providing very sensitive information to American and Italian authorities.

• Pasquale Cuntrera – co-head and descendent of the Cuntrera-Caruana Mafia cosca based in Caracas, Venezuela, top suppliers for over five decades to Mafia operators around the world in the export of cocaine by the ton.

• Pasquale (Patsy) Conte – another key Gambino capo and the son of Antonino, he was an original Gambino member who sponsored Patsy for induction. Conte and Loduca would work in tandem, handling the trade for their respective U.S. Families and benefactors back in Palermo.

Many of the above-named mafiosi were either Sicilian nationals or American-born members in Loduca’s Lucchese regime under “Willy the Wop”.

In his later years, by the 2000s, after his release from an Italian prison and return to America, it was alleged by some that Loduca had risen to a Capo status himself, overseeing a small Long Island-based contingent of soldiers.

Having originated in Palermo, Paul was said to have been inducted as a young man into the Sicilian Mafia, possibly into the “Acquasanta“ cosca based in Palermo City.

Upon his moving to America, he was formally re-inducted, this time with the Lucchese Family.

With this rare “dual” membership, recognized in both countries as a “friend”, he was able to move seamlessly through both underworlds, helping him achieve the goals required of him by his Sicilian Mafia superiors.

And although a member for many years in good standing, I always felt that Paul’s base loyalty was to the Sicilian factions rather than to the American-born members.

His position within the Lucchese borgata, as well as that of the Sicilian borgata to which he was originally affiliated with, was always to help facilitate either the import of heroin to America, and, later, the export of cocaine through South American countries into the U.S., for eventual ultimate exportation to Europe.

These mega-ton cocaine shipments, sent primarily to Italy and Sicily, were on behalf of the Sicilian Mafia.

In many ways, Loduca was the “gatekeeper” of narcotics trafficking and an important “cog” in transatlantic drug smuggling for decades.

He was a sort of “broker” and overseer, handing the logistics of the import and export of those valuable powders.

He also watched over the flow of hundreds of millions through the years that were exchanged between the narco-traffickers’ multimillion dollar transactions.

It was one of the most important of aspects in the trade. And Loduca was their man entrusted with the task.

Colombian growers and narco kingpins, the Sicilian Mafia Families based out of Italy with their mafioso minions that they had strategically placed thru the years throughout South America years earlier …. with Paolo Loduca in between it all, acting as a “bridge” between the gap.

These drug deals were often massive-size shipments, hundreds of kilograms of heroin at a shot, thousands of kilograms of cocaine.

These “deals” often took a year or two (or more) to coordinate.

They were not something done weekly or even on a monthly basis.

So, between the surreptitious nature of the business, and the fact that Loduca and company would seemingly lay “dead” for such long periods of time, not transacting any business of any kind, and not engaging in any other type of street rackets such as gambling or shylocking that could and often would draw unwanted attention to themselves, law enforcement authorities had no clue for years what the mafiosi were really up to.

In between narcotics deals, Paul made sure to invest in legitimate businesses.

Over the years, he had invested his vast narcotics profits in several restaurant and nightclub ventures on Long Island and the five boroughs.

And in later years, he sunk his buried millions into real estate development and buildings on Long Island and in New York City.

He converted dilapidated buildings in the Bronx and Manhattan into revenue-producing structures.

Starting in the early 2000s, he and his brother Pete became landlords or brokered the sale of renovated properties which brought him good profits.

In recent years, it was said that the Loduca brothers held over $30,000,000 in realty assets including major multi-tenant office buildings in the heart of Manhattan.

Some of his more noteworthy and better publicly known investments were the popular The Piping Rock Restaurant, Lounge, and Caterers located on Post Avenue in Westbury.

This was his home base and headquarters for several decades, where he could be reached daily.

It later became a hangout of sorts for mob figures from various crews, although Paul himself made sure not to “hang” around his own bar and lounge, in keeping with his low- key profile.

He had previously also owned a prime business and property location along Jericho Turnpike in Syosset. It originally operated as The Steer Barn, a popular steak house in the late 1970s, and although a great locale, he never turned a profit with it.

He would eventually bail out of this venture, selling it to a legitimate, enterprising young gourmet chef who turned it into Testarossa Italian Restaurant, a wildly popular, trendy, 150-seat eatery that still gets rave reviews and packs the place out today.

This success of the new buyer was much to Paul’s chagrin.

During the early 1980s, Paul had invested a ton of money into another flashy nightspot in the Port Washington area.

Much to his dismay, this would also become a total flop, costing him his entire investment, said at the time to have been upwards of a million dollars.

But through it all, Loduca was never too put out by these various losses.

In the back of his mind, he always knew that he had “his ace in the hole”! …. for right around the corner, there was the ever-present mega-load of junk or coke that would earn him an “end”, upwards of a million or better, at a shot.

Although Paul Loduca’s heart may have rested with the Sicilians, as a formally “inducted” soldier, he still had his obligations to the American-based Lucchese outfit as well.

This would become painfully apparent during the late 1980s when it was alleged by federal law enforcement authorities that he was tasked by Lucchese Boss Vittorio (Little Vic) Amuso with the permanent “removal” of Aniello (Neil) Migliore.

Boss Vic Amuso and underboss Anthony (Gaspipe) Casso had been indicted on far-reaching federal RICO charges.

They were facing life imprisonment and were becoming very, very concerned that other Family captains were scheming against them and were going to make a power play and seize control of the borgata.

Primary among their concerns was Neil Migliore.

The trusted former underboss to Anthony (Tony Ducks) Corallo himself, Migliore was a well-known, decades-long player within the hierarchy of the Family.

A millionaire many times over, Amuso and Casso correctly feared that Neil had both the financial resources, connections, and following within the crew to make a successful run for the top.

In truth, I don’t believe Migliore would have ever pulled a stunt like that.

Although he enjoyed the power the position afforded, he was not known as a gunsel and not of the mind to be a combatant – especially against the likes of such proven bloodthirsty hoods such as the tag team known as Vic and Gas.

But paranoia runs deep in the mob…and especially in the Lucchese Family under this particular administration.

Many others had bought the farm for much less. Even on the mere whim or suspicion that a soldier or capo may not be 1000% loyal, or was holding back a dollar, was a prime candidate for the hit parade.

It was enough to get a guy “clipped” in those days in short order. That fact had been proven out time and time again.

So, I highly doubt Neil Migliore would have even entertained such wild thoughts.

He was a very rich guy and had been extraordinarily lucky enough to get a complete reversal of a federal RICO conviction that saw him originally sentenced to 27 years in prison.

He was respected and was happy to be home in the comfort of his own bed instead of a steel-doored jail cell.

Nonetheless, Amuso allegedly gave the order to kill Migliore…. I guess he figured why take a chance, right?

The FBI would later allege that the murder dictate was passed down the chain of command until it was supposedly assigned to Paul Loduca and company.

On a early Saturday evening in 1992, Migliore had joined some personal friends for a dinner to celebrate their young granddaughter’s birthday at Tesoro, one of the more popular Italian restaurants along Old Country Road sector in Westbury.

Making the potentially fatal mob mistake of sitting facing the window toward the front entrance of the eatery, Migliore was struck in the head and upper shoulder by pellets from the blast of a 12-gauge shotgun.

Fired from a passing automobile at some distance away, the distance, shattering glass and speed of the auto helped deflect the full impact of the hit, saving the mafioso’s life.

Neil had sustained non-life threatening wounds and after several days in the hospital, he was released home to recover.

But he had gotten the message loud and clear… if he’d ever had designs on the “boss” seat – that passing fancy was long gone.

Migliore understandably went into hiding and hibernation mode.

He would send out olive branches in the coming months, and after sending a healthy “tribute” to show his respect and fealty to the current “administration”, was accepted back into the fold as a soldier, no longer “persona non grata”.

Meanwhile, several months earlier, in February of 1990, in a surprise tactical move, law enforcement on both sides of the Atlantic made strategic sweeps through their respective metropolitan areas and the Sicilian countryside.

It seems that a key Sicilian “pentito”, Giuseppe (Joe) Cuffaro, an inducted soldier of a Palermo-based mafia cosca at Montallegro, had been captured and turned informant months earlier.

He had been an integral conduit from the South American Mafia clan of Cuntrera-Caruana to the clans back in Sicily.

Spilling his guts about Mafia operations and their huge transatlantic drug ring, it was only a matter of time before the Italian Carabiniere and American authorities put a case together.

Palermo Police Chief Gianni DeGennaro made the momentous announcement, stating that, “For the first time ever, law enforcement had cracked and closed the triangle operating between Palermo, New York, and Medellin, the three world capitals of drug trafficking. This investigation proves for the first time, with documentary evidence, the existence of an accord between the Colombian drug traffickers and the Sicilian Mafia.”

This Palermo-based Mafia ring smuggled huge quantities of pure Colombian cocaine to Sicily, sometimes exchanged for the highest grade Sicilian-refined heroin.

Italian Investigators arrested seven Mafia members in Palermo.

At the same time, the FBI arrested four Sicilian-Americans, one Briton, and two Colombians in New York and Miami.

The operation was codenamed “Seaport” because the Cosa Nostra gangs smuggled the cocaine to Sicily by ship.

One well-documented case involved the Chilean freighter, Big John, which had brought 1,132 pounds of cocaine to Sicily in 1988, off the coast of Castellammare del Golfo at Sicily’s northwestern coast.

In a “barter” aspect of the probe, it was said that for every 11 pounds of cocaine the Colombians wished to exchange, the Mafia would trade 2 pounds of Sicilian-refined heroin.

Genius in its simplicity, this method avoided having the mafiosi and the Medellin from having to smuggle and then “launder” the vast funds generated by the drug sales.

Arrested, indicted, and convicted in the case were were Sicilian-Americans Paolo Loduca, John Galatolo, Rosario Naimo, and Domenico Mannino.

In Sicily, they nabbed Palermo Mafia Family Boss Vincenzo Galatolo and his two brothers.

The arrested Colombians were Waldo Aponte and Angel Sanchez.

In a special agreement between the two drug powers, the “American” end of the Cosa Nostra gang obtained a “license for Europe”, immediately setting up the drug pipelines.

Side Note: Several years later, Rosario Naimo, alleged to be the Italian Mafia’s head in the U.S., also turned rat. He named many “sleepers” within the Sicilian mob living in the States and talked about narcotics, various murders, and mob intrigue. It was devastating testimony.

All defendants went to trial in 1993.

Loduca refused to attend his trial in Italy, instead, watching from the sidelines in America.

Upon his subsequent conviction, Italian authorities sought his extradition.

In 1996, after years of fighting an extradition order calling for his shackled deportation back to Italy, where he had been convicted in the massive Mafia-orchestrated narcotics case, convicted in absentia and sentenced to serve a 19-year prison sentence by the Italian courts, Loduca was apprehended and held by U.S. authorities pending appeal of his sentence to the Supreme Court’s Second Circuit, questioning the constitutionality of the charges with the State Department and that of the deportation order.

After much legal wrangling, he would lose.

And although a naturalized U.S. citizen, he was indeed shipped off to serve his term in one of the toughest of Palermo’s prisons.

Paul served approximately 14 to 15 years of his 19-year term.

Upon his making parole and because he was in fact a naturalized citizen of the United States, he was still entitled to return home here, if he desired.

And that’s exactly what he did.

He was soon on a plane back to New York….. specifically, Long Island. He settled in with his married daughter and her family.

The palatial Sands Point estate he had owned had been sold off during his long absence, and, unfortunately, his wife had also passed away while he was in prison.

A son, Salvatore, would also pass away within several years of Loduca arriving home.

So, within short order, Paul’s world as he had known it, had been turned upside down.

And although Brooklyn-based Family Boss Vic Amuso was alive and technically still at the helm of the borgata, serving a life sentence had forced him to acquiesce leadership back to a triumvirate of capos who hailed from the East Harlem-Bronx wing of the Family.

One of these capos was none other than Aniello (Neil) Migliore, the man the FBI claimed Loduca had tried to kill some years earlier.

Whether there was any validity to those accusations or not, I’m sure even the mere suggestion that Loduca was involved, had to cause a lot of tension between the two men over these ensuing years. Soldiers in the same Family, in the same crew, no less.

To my knowledge, no open insults or comments were ever passed. Neil chose to “eat it”, and if not forget, to at least keep quiet.

After all, it had been an order from the top. It’s not like Loduca had a choice or a say in the matter….. that’s how the system works. They both knew that.

In recent years, Paul was said to have become involved in the importation of food products direct from Italy including macaroni imports, oils, etc….. I wonder if those imported cases held anything besides pasta and olive oil? Lol

He also went into wholesale foods distribution through a commissary he operated out on Long Island.

Paolo (Paul) Loduca, age 79, died several months back, in September of this year.

Although hiding all his assets fearing law enforcement scrutiny and the IRS, it was alleged by typically knowledgeable sources that he had upwards of a whopping $50,000,000 to $100,000,000 stashed and buried in cold cash and vast real estate…… any way you’d like to slice it, that’s a lot of wood!

Note: Even if that figure was a major exaggeration, and we choose to accept even 25% of that number, he made a mint.

He served a long prison sentence, but his blood family suffered privately more than he did, in many ways I will not recite here.

He was said to have been a cold, miserable little man, devoid of any warmth.

His family suffered because of his miserly ways. Not so much with money – which was his God – lording it over them so as to control them like slaves but more so in his lack of love to those he should have loved…. his devoted wife and children.

Unfortunately, some people get lost in the game and lose track of what’s truly important in life….. and some, never learn what’s important to begin with!

Back to The Lucchese Family

The Genovese Family

The Gambino Family

The Bonanno Family

The Colombo Family

The DeCavalcante Family

Original Post