Anthony (Hickey) Di Lorenzo – aka “Danny Triano”, “Ralph Sana”, “Vince Hickey”- was born on January 25, 1928 in New York City.
As he became more accomplished and successful in the rackets, he relocated out of Manhattan, over the bridge into New Jersey, to an expansive home at 230 Durie Avenue, in the town of Closter.
He seemingly burst out of nowhere onto the underworld scene one day, and almost immediately became a major force in the New York mob.
NYCPD # B-2244339
He had a previous arrest record dating to 1944 which included aggravated assault, grand larceny, and interstate transportation of stolen securities.
By at least the early-1960s, Hickey was being carried as an (inducted) soldier in the Vito Genovese Family. And almost simultaneously was then listed as having been upped to a “captain’s” status.
Whatever his “official” position might have actually have been within their hierarchy, he was nonetheless a very influential mob figure. And well respected.
And by the early-1960s, Di Lorenzo was actively engaged in labor-union and industrial racketeering within the air-freight industry, primarily emanating out of JFK International Airport in the Jamaica section ofQueens.
This is where he would make his mark in the underworld.
Shortly after having set his sights on the prize, Hickey gained the key position of a “consultant” for the National Association of Air Freight (NAAF) handlers from 1965 through 1971.
This typically was a group of like-minded freight trucking owners and their companies who band together to strengthen their business positions in negotiations with labor unions and trucking customers.
By Hickey “pushing in”, infiltrating and eventually dominating the association, he was in the position to dictate policy and shakedown the freight carriers as he wished. He was soon extorting hundreds of thousands of dollars annually out of the airport, and into the mob’s coffers.
Any independent trucker or freight carrier who wasn’t a member of his NAAF association was “out” as far as gaining new accounts or even maintaining existing freight accounts at JFK Airport.
They were all compelled to join and pay the initiation fees and monthly dues so as to maintain a “healthy” business environment and keep their companies profitable.
Those who didn’t, or who resisted, soon found out the hard way that “no” was not an answer to the mafia!
Their truck fleets suffered sugared gas-tanks, windshields shattered, and shredded and punctured tires. They had their customers threatened and scared off, and other business accounts stolen. And they had their own lives threatened as well.
Most truckers quickly wised up and joined up! And it wasn’t just the smaller trucking firms either, the little guys.
Air-Borne Express, a very large national company, and Emery Express, considered to be the largest freight forwarder in the nation, both soon buckled under the weight brought down to bare on them by these underworld terrorists, strong-arms and extortionists.
The truckers were also compelled to sign labor contracts with Teamster’s Local #851, operated by a key Lucchese associate, Johnny Dio follower, and former member of Murder Inc. The notorious Harry (Little Gangy) Davidoff, president of the union local and mob czar of the airport!
The national office of the Teamster’s Union in Detroit, as well as the New York based Local #851, fully backed Di Lorenzo’s NAAF, even though the International in Detroit knew full well that the mafia was behind the association.
Even with Jimmy Hoffa gone, the current President Frank Fitzsimmons had given his strong support for the merger.
Note: Both Hoffa and his successor Fitzsimmons were themselves backed, or installed by the mob.
Another pivotal Teamsters Local active at JFK was the Queens based Local #295. Its members were employed as cargo handlers, truck drivers and other key air-freight employees at Kennedy.
It too was run by the old-style tough guy Davidoff.
He was a close associate of both mafioso Dioguardi and another nortorious hoodlum by the name of Abe Gordon. Both of whom also went way back to Murder Inc., in the 1940’s.
This only strengthened his position and expanded his power within his Family hierarchy.
At his arraignment in 1969, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York charged that Di Lorenzo “uses gangster tactics” to control and monopolize air-freight at JFK, “threatening and sabotaging the trucks of those who don’t go along”.
The government called the indictment “the most important one to be returned against a mafia figure”.
Life magazine eventually published an extensive expose on corruption and the mafia’s infiltration of the air-freight industry at JFK. The labor rackets, extortions, truck hijackings, and strong-arm methods used by Di Lorenzo, Davidoff and the others.
Di Lorenzo’s other pursuits included gambling, shylocking, labor extortion, truck hijacking, and the fencing of stolen cargo from truck terminals and freight carriers.
Pilferage, or the “tapping” of cargo shipments, and the theft of internationally shipped mail sacks, were an important side racket for Hickey. His minions grabbed millions in negotiable securities, diamonds and other valuables over the years.
He had a wide roster of associates including:
• John (Gentleman Johnny) Masiello
• John (Johnny D) Digilio
• Frank (Funzi) Tieri
• Pasquale (Paddy Mac) Macchiarole
• Federico (Fritzy) Giovanelli
John (Johnny Dio) Dioguardi
• Harry (Little Gangy) Davidoff
• Joseph Zito
• Vincent (The Chin) Gigante
….as well as many others in his own Family and the other four New York borgatas. He became a very well known guy.
Side note: In 1962, ELSUR “bugs” (electronic surveillance devices), captured Di Lorenzo and his buddy, labor extortionist Masiello discussing the current state of affairs of Cosa Nostra with the current testimony of mob informant Joseph Valachi before Congress, and the U.S. Attorney General now pushing congress to pass new laws to combat the mob.
Di Lorenzo: “They’re gonna start to harass people and definitely try to pass that wiretapping law. They probably have miles of tapes already. If that law gets passed, forget about it! They’ll say this is what we got and start indicting our guys all over the place”.
Masiello: “This isn’t a free country anymore”.
Side note: Masiello was later convicted of defrauding the U.S. government while he was a major trucking contractor to deliver the U.S. mail. He later testified against Congressman Frank Brasco for accepting bribes from Masiello to use his influence in the awarding of government contracts.
Masiello was also a key freight-trucker at JFK, working in tandem with his “amici” including Di Lorenzo in monopoly, shakedown and collusion rackets there.
In the early-1970s, Di Lorenzo was sentenced to serve a 10-year long prison sentence after being indicted and convicted for the transportation of $1,000,000 in stolen IBM stocks in interstate commerce. From New York State, over state lines into the State of Pennsylvania. It was a federal offense.
A funny episode took place with Hickey several years into his prison stint.
One day in July of 1972, he was on temporary furlough from the Allenwood Federal Prison Camp at Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary in Pennsylvania under the supposedly tight security of jail guards (a practice that has largely been eliminated because of incidents as I will describe below).
Side note: Hickey had been listed as a “model prisoner”, and so was assigned to the prison “camp” for honor inmates. After this incident, authorities questioned why a top mob figure had even been assigned to the model prisoners camp in the first place.
He had petitioned the judge in his case to grant the furlough so Di Lorenzo could make required visits to a specialized dentist to have extensive and expensive dental work performed.
He agreed to pay for any special costs incurred to oversee his safe transport, to and from the dental office, back to the prison confines. So, he was temporarily shipped back to the House of Detention in Manhattan on West Street, to better coordinate his visits out to his Huntington, Long Island dentist.
That coming Monday he visited his dentist, later returning as the “model prisoner” that he was, back to the West Street jail.
The next day on Tuesday, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn’s Eastern District obtained a second indictment against him and two mob associates for the $190,000 shakedown of an air-freight company at JFK.
The very next day on Wednesday, Di Lorenzo returned for another round of dental work out to his Huntington dentist.
Once at the dentist office, Hickey got into the dentists chair and received several hours of work.
About noontime, he asked to take a break from the tedious work being performed. His wife drove him to a local diner for a snack before returning to finish the dentist work. He was supposed to return to the West Street jail by late afternoon.
DiLorenzo walked out of a side door of the diner and quickly disappeared…. and that was that! He pulled the mob’s version of the Houdini Act!
Hickey would go missing, and was listed as a fugitive from justice for several months, until his eventual capture on September 26th, by the U.S. Marshall Service.
He was brought shackled in chains before a federal judge. He was arraigned on the new extortion indictment, and additionally charged with escape from a federal penitentiary.
He was sentenced to additional jail time for his little charade, and returned to federal prison to compete all three prison terms.
Hickey was a character indeed!
Side note: What is written below is a verbatim transcript, while the FBI debriefed Lucchese acting boss Alphonse (Little Al) D’Arco about the DiLorenzo homicide. D’Arco provided information about how and why DiLorenzo was killed:
“He was murdered in 1988 because the family feared he had become an informant.”
According to Al D’Arco, both D’Arco and Anthony “Hickey” Dilorenzo had been incarcerated together in Raybrook Prison in 1985. He repeatedly “acted strange” by talking about drug deals and by associating with a prisoner believed by D’Arco to be a government informer.
D’Arco discussed the matter with another prisoner, Carlo Mastrototaro, a member of the Springfield, Massachusetts branch of the Genovese Family.
Mastrototaro stated: “We will straighten it out in the street.”
On November 25, 1988, Di Lorenzo was at his home in the town of West New York in New Jersey. Earlier that evening a jogger passing Di Lorenzo’s home saw a man firing a handgun through the screen door of Di Lorenzo’s house.
He also saw a idling car with New York license plates double parked in front of the house with a getaway driver waiting.
The jogger ran to call the police. The car was gone by the time the jogger returned from making his 911 call.
The police arrived at about 7:50 p.m. and discovered Di Lorenzo shot to death on his backyard patio.
The gun used to kill him was later found on the other side of the backyard fence by homicide detectives.
It was believed that James (The Little Guy) Ida, later elevated to be the consigliere of the Genovese family, but at the time of the murder a capo, orchestrated the hit on Di Lorenzo at the direction and orders of Genovese boss Vincent (Chin) Gigante.
……And that was the end of that!
Knowledgeable mob sources say that Hickey had actually flipped his wig, acting very strangely and talking whacky.
So, regardless of whether he had turned informant or not, he had become a loose cannon and an embarrassment to his borgata. He would have had to “go” either way!
Anthony (Hickey) Di Lorenzo rocketed up to Cosa Nostra’s stars just like one of those jet planes out of his JFK mob fiefdom. But just as quickly fell back to earth like a rock! …..He was only 65 years old!
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