December 24, 2020 – One of New York mob power Anthony (Gas Pipe) Casso’s men entered the Witness Protection Program in 1992, only to reemerge as a mob associate in the Motor City less than a decade later, per federal records and first-hand accounts.
In September 1999, Lucchese mobster Bobby Molini was rechristened Bobby Sorrento and relocated to Rochester Hills, Michigan, an upper middle-class suburb north of Detroit, after serving nearly 8 years in prison for dealing drugs.
It didn’t take him long to get into trouble in his new town. Or find Italian organized crime figures to pal around with in his new identity.
The maniacal and murderous Gas Pipe Casso, 78, died behind bars earlier this week of complications related to the COVID-19 virus. Rising to underboss of the Lucchese crime family in the 1980s, Casso became drunk on violence and mayhem before flipping and joining Team USA himself upon his arrest in 1993.
Bobby Molini came up in the Lucchese family’s famed Vario crew, immortalized on the silver screen in the movie Goodfellas and headquartered out of the Canarsie section of Brooklyn. Crew patriarch Paul Vario was played by Paul Sorvino in the Martin Scorsese-helmed classic gangster flick.
Molini specialized in narcotics trafficking. Through his first-cousin, Lucchese soldier, Anthony (Tony Monroe) Grado, Molini was introduced to Lucchese loanshark and enforcer Thomas (Tommy Red) Anzeulotto and borrowed $35,000 (at 20 percent interest) in what was supposed to be a short “bridge loan” for ten days in the spring of 1991 as a means of securing a large shipment of marijuana from Texas.
The drug deal fell apart and Molini fell deep into debt to an unsympathetic Tommy Red Anzeulotto.
On June 8, 1992, Molini agreed to meet Grado and Anzeulotto at a Brooklyn drug store and pharmacy to make a payment on his loan. Anzeulotto was dissatisfied with the $1,000 dollar amount and dragged Molini out to the parking lot for a beating.
Tommy Red rained down blows on Molini’s face, head and neck and smashed his car windows. Grado and Anzeulotto pushed Molini into Tommy Red’s car and drove him to an isolated patch of a local park where Tommy Red placed a gun in his mouth and threatened to kill him if he didn’t make a lumpsum payment to clear the debt in the days to come.
Instead of clearing the debt, Molini went straight to the feds and signed up for witness protection.
Molini’s cousin Grado (nicknamed “Tony Monroe” because he lives in Monroe Twp., New Jersey) and Tommy Red were both nailed in an extortion case revolving around the debt and its attempted collection. Grado did time for that case and then more recently took a drug pinch for pushing pills and is back in the can until 2027.
Per wiretap evidence in his drug case, Grado threatened to feed a doctor he was using to write prescriptions “to the lions at the zoo,” if he ever thought about freelancing. Furthermore, Grado told the doctor he “would put a bullet in his head,” if he took orders from anyone else. “Tommy Red” Anzeulotto, 57, has been clean since walking free from his extortion conviction in early 2001.
It was around this time, Bobby Molini, renamed “Bobby Sorrento,” resurfaced in mob circles, only it was in Michigan and he was an official member of the Witness Protection Program and receiving federal funding to live (Molini’s WITSEC identity has been changed for this story). Molini’s mom and the grandmother he shared with Tony Grado were relocated with him to the Detroit area and provided houses on the same street he lived on in Rochester Hills.
According to federal records, Molini linked up with a group of Motown Goodfellas working for Anthony (Tony Z) Zerilli, the Detroit mafia’s then underboss. Molini was soon “put on record” with Zerilli, who despite being the Tocco-Zerilli crime family’s No. 2 in charge since the 1970s, still ran his own crew of soldiers, scamsters, bookies and bandits and operated autonomously from his first-cousin, Detroit’s stately and distinguished Godfather Giacomo (Black Jack) Tocco.
Molini ruffled feathers pretty quickly.
At some point in 2001, Molini began having a romance with the girlfriend of an associate of reputed wiseguy, Eugene (Genie Boy) Baratta, a son-in-law of Tony Zerilli, per federal records and more than one person familiar with the situation on a first-hand basis. Molini, per sources, also began bad-mouthing Baratta and Zerilli, resulting in Baratta being “irate.” At least two sit downs were called to iron things out, per sources.
Molini and the group of Zerilli crew members he was running around with were indicted in an extortion and burglary case in 2003, but the case would get tossed and Molini disappeared from sight, whisked away by the feds in the dead of night and deposited into another part of the program outside Michigan. The case was centered around the attempt to collect a $50,000 gambling debt from the son of a Metro Detroit restaurateur.
Zerilli was found guilty in his own federal racketeering case in 2002 and sent to prison for five years. The one-time mafia prince – son of Detroit’s longtime beloved Godfather Joe Zerilli and the son-in-law of New York don Joe (The Olive Oil King) Profaci – was stripped of his underboss position by Jack Tocco when he was released in the late 2000s and subsequently put “on the shelf.” Tocco blamed Zerilli for the 1996 Operation GameTax bust they both would up having to do time for.
Zerilli’s brother-in-law, New York mob figure, Salvatore (Jersey Sal) Profaci, a retired capo in the Colombo crime family, allegedly attempted to broker a peace between Zerilli and Tocco, but was unsuccessful. Zerilli retaliated by telling the FBI that slain Teamsters union boss Jimmy Hoffa was buried on Tocco’s property in Oakland Township, Michigan, less than a 10 minute drive from where Molini was placed in the WITSEC program and resided in Rochester Hills for close to five years. A 2013 search of the property came up empty.
Zerilli and Tocco died less than a year a part. Tocco died of heart failure in the summer of 2014. Zerilli died of natural causes in Florida the following spring in March 2015. “Jersey Sal” Profaci passed away in 2018.
Molini, 56, is living under another identity on the west coast, according to sources.
This article was originally posted here