Salvatore Briguglio – “Hoffa Hitman Gets Hit!”

Salvatore Briguglio leaves a federal grand jury in Detroit probing the Hoffa disappearance.

Salvatore Anthony Briguglio – aka “Sally Bugs”- was born on February 4, 1930 at 406 Palisade Avenue in Union City, New Jersey. By 1963, he was residing in the Hamilton Towers apartment complex at 700 Boulevard East, Weehawken, in Apt.# 5-H, with his wife Mildred and two small children (a son John, and a daughter).

He stood 5-feet 9-inches tall and weighed a solid 160 pounds, with black hair, dark brown eyes and a dark olive complexion. He had a medium frame that gave him a compact appearance. Sally wore tinted eyeglasses as he aged.

He had multiple tattoos on both arms (right arm): a bird with the word Florida; “Good Luck” with a horseshoe and the name “Sal”; two hearts pierced by an arrow with words “Mom & Dad”; sailing ship with year 1946. (left arm): two hearts with word “Mom”; tattoo of a woman and year 1946.

Briguglio had also served in the U.S. Army between 1950 to 1952, receiving an honorable discharge. He typically always drove a late-model black Cadillac courtesy of Teamsters Local # 560, befitting his lofty position in the union. His was one of eight such automobiles the union leased…all Cadillacs.

FBI # 381989A, Hoboken PD # 11651B, NYPD # B-502088

Briguglio was known to be actively engaged in the following criminal activities: bookmaking, numbers, shylocking, extortion, strong-arm and suspected murder, terror tactics (arsons, bombings), labor-union racketeering, truck hijacking and related fencing of stolen cargo.

Anthony (Tony Pro) Provenzano – top NJ Labor racketeer and Teamsters boss.

In late 1961, he was named the “business agent” of Local #560 – International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), then located at 707 Summit Avenue in Union. His salary was reported at $18,000 a year. A tidy sum in 1961.

Union official Anthony (Three Finger Tony) Castellito, himself an active hoodlum with a long criminal record, had served as business agent and Secretary-Treasurer until his disappearance and presumed murder in July of 1961, directly upon leaving the union hall after an executive board meeting. Briguglio was considered by both federal and local law enforcement, and the New Jersey underworld as the prime suspect in Castellito’s killing.

Further adding to this assumption was Briguglio being appointed as a top union official shortly after the murder, taking Castellito’s former position in the local as the primary business agent, and secretary-treasurer.

Side Note: Tony Pro was conveniently vacationing in Miami at the precise moment of Castellito’s disappearance, returning to NJ the very next day….providing him the perfect alibi.

Teamsters President James R. Hoffa seen here at the height of his power in front of union headquarters in Detroit.

Sally Bugs was also the prime suspect in the gangland murder of Walter Glockner, a brash Irish hoodlum based in Hoboken, active as a strong-arm, shylock, and union dissident who had been a shop steward at the Dora Transportation company (Sally’s former employer), who was shot to death near his residence in Hoboken in May of 1963.

Briguglio quickly gained a reputation as, and was widely considered, Tony Pro’s top strong-arm enforcer and hitman in the Genovese mob’s New Jersey Provenzano faction.

The Genovese Family powerhouse Anthony (Tony Pro) Provenzano long considered Briguglio his “righthand man”, and Sally Bugs was known as Tony’s chief conduit regarding the executing of orders and handling of street matters for Provenzano. Provenzano himself (and the men under him) were said to originally have been “with” Anthony (Tony Bender) Strollo, underboss to Vito Genovese.

But after Strollo’s own disappearance and presumed murder, Pro, his brothers and crew members became subservient to Jerry Catena, reporting directly to Gene Catena, Jerry’s brother and the captain of his brother’s crew while Jerry served as “Acting Boss” of the entire Genovese borgata upon the jailing of boss Vito Genovese in 1959.

1979 Newark – Tony Pro leaves federal court “shackled” after the first day of testimony in his labor racketeering trial.

Briguglio had previously worked as a truck driver for the Dora Transportation Co., between 1957-1960. He also owned and operated a Hoboken, N.J. junk yard until 1961.

In 1957, he decided to buy into the Satellite Bar at 111 Monroe Street in Hoboken as a co-owner. He later renamed it the Intimate Room.

He started out as a cargo thief and truck hijacker. By the mid-1950’s police viewed him a runner, loan collector and strong-arm man working for a notorious Jewish loanshark named Harold (Kayo) Konigsberg.

Side Note: Unbeknownst to the mob, Konigsberg had become what the FBI called a “Top Echelon” informer by at least the late 1950’s. Because he was very well “plugged in” to the NJ underworld, he was able to provide loads of sensitive information to them over the years. All the while committing serious crimes himself such as extortion and murders.

In 1961, Briguglio was arrested with fellow labor union officials Nunzio Provenzano and Eustace Roper for the attempted shakedown of $10,000 from a W. 35th Street Manhattan business firm, J.G. Braun, to help insure “labor peace”. The owner Hubert Braun ran to the D.A.’s office after he was promised a “sweetheart contract” in return for $10,000.

Upon handing over a downpayment of $2,000 cash in marked bills by the owner of the ornamental iron and brass manufacturer (provided by the police), undercover NYC detectives swooped in and arrested the hoodlum trio at the direction of Manhattan district attorney racket buster Frank Hogan. They were convicted after a jury trial and Briguglio received a jail term of 2-4 years in state prison.

In another racket scheme in 1961, informants named Briguglio as a master controller of a “Garden State Sweepstakes” lottery book racket. This was an large illegal numbers-type lottery that was run weekly by members of the Provenzano group and Brooklyn’s Gallo Gang (among others). The lottery tickets sold at $2 each. A book of eight sold for $16 and were sold and distributed throughout all the various truck terminals and trucking companies in Jersey weekly. This policy sweepstakes racket operated for several years. It boasted a top prize of $50,000. Shop stewards at these terminals in Union, Essex and Hudson Counties acting as “runners” received $6 commission for every book of 8 tickets sold.

His criminal arrest record started in 1950 and included:

  • 1950 – fugitive from justice
  • 1950 – malicious mischief
    • disorderly conduct
  • 1950 – disorderly person
  • 1957 – kidnapping, theft from interstate shipment
  • 1957 – possession of stolen goods
  • 1961 – attempted grand larceny by extortion, conspiracy (2-4 years)
  • 1977-78 the Castellito murder conspiracy and various racketeering counts (?)…not sure if he was actually indicted or just about to be at that time.

His immediate, close associates primarily included the following Garden State hoodlums: 

• Anthony (Tony Pro) Provenzano – boss of Local #560, and a top member of the NJ Genovese faction. Considered the most important labor racketeer in New Jersey, he headed the largest Teamster Local on the east coast, with a rank and file membership of over 13,000.

• Salvatore (Sammy Pro) Provenzano – vice president of Local #560, brother of Tony. A “made” member and convicted counterfeiter.

• Nunzio (Nunzi Pro) Provenzano – kid brother of Tony and Sammy. A key member of their faction. He was the vice-president of IBT-Local #522 in Newark, another local under total mob control.

• Eustace Roper – the corrupt president of IBT-Local # 660. Associated with this faction in labor extortion activity against NY/NJ trucking firms and other businesses.

NJ Teamster official Gabe Briguglio

• Gabriel Briguglio

• Armand (Cokey) Faugno

• Frank Romeo

• Harold (Kayo) Konigsberg

• Thomas Andretta

• Stephen Andretta

New Jersey Hoodlum brothers Tommy and Steve Andretta seen here leaving a grand jury proceedings probing the Jimmy Hoffa disappearance.

• Joseph (Pepe) Vangelakos

• George (The Greek) Vangelakos

• Philip (Brother) Moscato

• Anthony (Stretch) Truzzo

• Ralph Picardo

• Thomas Principe

• Salvatore Sinno

• Robert (Bobby) Luizzi

…. all of the above named were key members or close associates of the Provenzano faction. They served as Tony’s personal drivers, bodyguards and enforcers as they wrested control of labor-union activities throughout the northern New Jersey area throughout the years.

• Joseph (Bayonne Joe) Zicarelli – top Bonanno Family soldier, political corruptor and NJ mob leader. A friend of Briguglio.

• Angelo (The Gyp) DeCarlo – oldline Captain in the Northern New Jersey Genovese faction, and primary functionary of their borgata. One of the most respected mafioso in the Garden State, and close dedicated follower of Vito Genovese himself.

NJ Teamsters official, Genovese hoodlum associate, and the brother of Sally Bugs, Gabriel Briguglio seen here approaching the federal court building.

Briguglio, the Provenzanos and their crew originally made their headquarters in the back room of a nondescript tavern located at 376 Duncan Avenue, Jersey City, where Sally Bugs was reportedly intimately involved in the bookmaking, numbers and shylock operations run by this crew. They were thought to have approximately $500,000 out in shylock loans alone. It was thought he was directly partnered with Nunzio Provenzano, Faugno and Romeo in these rackets.

He also operated a second active shylock business in partnership with his brother Gabe, the Andretta brothers and Vangelakos brothers headquartered out of his Hoboken bar, The Intimate Room. After the 1963 Glockner killing, he started spending less and less time at this bar and the Hoboken area in general in an attempt to keep a lower profile.

International Brotherhood of Teamsters Joint Council # 73, based in Northern New Jersey, was headed by Anthony Provenzano, who served as its overall president, and its absolute Czar. It made Provenzano the most powerful Teamsters leader in the country behind James Riddle Hoffa himself.

Provenzano was also a 12th Vice President of the International headquarters in Detroit, which allowed him to wield tremendous influence over the powerful International and Hoffa himself, making Provenzano a pivotal figure in the control over, and support of, Hoffa’s very presidency.

This powerhouse joint council wielded near absolute power over its jurisdictional territory. Among the key 38 Teamsters Locals that were governed by, and fell under the purview of Joint Council #73 were as follows:

Stephen Andretta – one of two hoodlum brothers and Provenzano henchmen seen here at federal court after a grilling by investigators.

Local # 4 – Newark

Local # 35 – Trenton

Local # 37 – Newark

Local # 97 – Newark

Local # 102 – Newark

Local # 111 – Jersey City

Local # 125 – Newark

Local # 134 – Newark

Local # 177 – Newark

Local # 194 – Union

Local # 408 – Newark

Local # 416 – Garfield

Gabriel Briguglio appearing at federal court you testify before a grand jury investigating the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa.

Local # 423 – Hamilton Square

Local # 459 – Jersey City

Local # 460 – Perth Amboy

Local # 478 – Newark

Local # 522 – Newark

Local # 518 – Hoboken

Local # 560 – Union City

Local # 575 – Newark

Local # 617 – Jersey City

Local # 614 – Jersey City

Local # 660 – Jersey City

Local # 680 – Newark

Union official Steve Andretta with his attorney – Teamster lawyer Bill Bufalino seen leaving the grand jury.

Local # 701 – New Brunswick

Local # 723 – Passaic

Local # 843 – Newark

Local # 863 – Newark

Local # 866 – Passaic

Local # 867 – Jersey City

Local # 892 – Jersey City

Local # 907 – Union City

Local # 945 – Clifton

Local # 999 – Paterson

…. and he also held sway over many other union locals not “technically” under his official jurisdiction. In both the Teamsters, as well as other industry unions; Bartenders, Laborers and Dock Workers to name but a few. …Basically, “Tony Pro” and his superiors in the Genovese Family back in New York, ran the whole show.

Sally Bugs getting grilled about Jimmy Hoffa’s suspected kidnapping and murder.

By virtue of his close relationship to Provenzano, and Briguglio himself serving in the powerful role of secretary-treasurer of Local # 560, Sally Bugs became an important man. He was a formally (inducted) Mafia soldier to boot. The power that those two positions provided, made Sally an almost indispensable figure within the mob hierarchy and a future “comer”….. Almost!

The notorious disappearance and presumed gangland murder of infamous Ex-Teamsters International president James Riddle Hoffa in 1975, brought unprecedented law enforcement pressure and publicity to Sally Briguglio and his boss Tony Pro, as well as their entire crew of New Jersey hoodlums and mafiosi. All became prime suspects in “Hoffa’s Houdini Act”….and any future grandiose plans of theirs were soon derailed for good.

Sal Briguglio became the prime suspect as the actual “trigger-man” in the Hoffa killing…… and although not initially realizing it at the time, this was the beginning of the end for Tony Pro, Sally Bugs, and their entire crew of labor goons, extortionists and killers.

Over the next several years, each were grilled before numerous local and federal grand juries in New Jersey, New York and Detroit, probing the disappearance. They were subjected to 24-hour surveillance, seven days a week, tapped telephone lines, planted “bugs” and various probes that uncovered a litany of organized crime violations. Law enforcement utilized and came down hard on every informant “source” they had and developed new “rats” every day in hopes of unraveling the Hoffa “mystery”. No lead was too small or insignificant.

Leaving federal court after pleading the “fifth amendment” before a grand jury, Sally Bugs Briguglio ducks news reporters.

Tony Pro himself would be arrested, tried and repeatedly convicted of labor extortion, Teamster Union corruption, and the decades-old murder of Anthony Castellito. He would die behind bars in federal prison while serving multiple jail terms.

Other Provenzano mob associates the FBI felt were involved in Hoffa’s murder, or held inside information about it or other related mafia activities were also constantly hounded and jailed for any offense that would stick. Bringing the full weight of the federal government down on them in hopes of cracking an almost impenetrable “wall of silence” that seemed to surround the Hoffa case.

But the coup d’grace was saved for Sal Briguglio himself. In either a settling up of old mob accounts, or more likely to sever ties from Briguglio in order to protect mob higher-ups should Sal choose to “go bad” and look to make a deal for himself with prosecutors, the end came for Sally Bugs one chilly March evening in 1978.

Side Note: It was reported (no way of knowing it’s validity), that Sally was attempting to forge a deal with prosecutors in order to avoid murder charges in several gangland killings he’d been involved with, the Castellito murder most prominent.

The beginning of the end. Convicted of the Anthony Castellito murder, labor leader and racketeer Tony Provenzano forces a smile with the brackets on, headed to federal prison.

Salvatore Briguglio finally met his maker when he was assassinated by two men March the 21st, as he exited the popular Benito’s II Ristorante along Mulberry Street in New York’s “Little Italy” section. Not far from the Andrea Doria Social Club where he was alleged to have done a “piece of work” years before, which helped him “make his bones”.

He had just finished enjoying a supper reported to have consisted of Linguine w/white clams, Veal Piccata and a few glasses of vino with several associates. As he pushed open the front door of the eatery and stepped out onto the sidewalk, he was quickly set upon by two well-dressed Mediterranean looking men who knocked him to the pavement while pumping shots from several .38 caliber handguns into the mafioso’s face and chest…it was over in seconds.

So ended the illustrious underworld career of Salvatore Briguglio… he was only 58 years old.

Side Note: The federal government eventually brought multiple civil racketeering (RICO) lawsuits against the Teamsters Union, placing Local # 560, as well as, many other Teamsters Locals across the country into “receivership”, which stayed under the guidance of “government trustees” appointed by federal judges in order to oversee and clean up the union. It smothered the union’s operations for years to come, keeping them under a federal microscope to prohibit a resurgence of underworld mafia domination.

And that was that… It’s 2020 and the wiseguys have yet to wrest back control of “their” beloved Union.

This was just another fabled mob tale…a very historical one at that!

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