October 21, 2020 – Buffalo mafia captain Frank (Butchie Bifocals) Bifulco died of natural causes over the weekend at 76 years old. The jack-of-all-trades mobster will be remembered for being intelligent, innovative and uniquely entrepreneurial in his rackets.
In the late 1990s, Bifulco branded his own line of fine cigars (the “Frank J”), filed a pair of patents for inventions of his and used the rooftop of a building he owned in downtown Buffalo to grow vegetables (specializing in different kinds of basil) that he would sell wholesale to local produce markets. During his career in the mob, the FBI in Western New York tied well-liked Butchie Bifulco to everything from drug dealing, to bookmaking and loan sharking, to assault.
The feds never nailed on him any major cases until 2001. And even that case could be argued was far from major, even though it came with a harsh sentence.
Bifulco did nine years in federal prison for arson, stemming from torching a friend’s car in an insurance scam. He got out in 2012.
In 1998, Bifulco was booted from the notoriously mobbed-up LIUNA Local 210 for his affiliation to the Magaddino crime family. Retired FBI agents describe Butchie Bifocals as personable, quit-witted and tough to dent as a criminal due to his street savvy. One former Buffalo police detective speculated that Bifulco had been helping reputed Magaddino family boss Joseph (Big Joe) Todaro run the organization since his release from behind bars eight years ago.
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