Sunday, December 1, 2013

To Blow Up an Irishman (Ray Ferrito: Part II)

The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that gangsters from the past were a different breed. Gangsters today are just not cut from the same cloth. Young guys coming up no are no longer willing to put the time into being a gangster.  If we were talking about success in any other field I would defer to the book Outliers which promotes the thesis that in order to become successful in any field one has to put in 10,000 hours doing what they want to succeed. It is not just the 10,000 hours, it is practising the craft.

Ray and his friends had put in the time and they had become a traveling crew of top rate burglars that hit places all over the country. They were able to hit businesses and crack their safes as if they owned the places.  Ray and his friends soon bought an apartment building in the San Fernando Valley just over the hill from Los Angeles.

Jimmy Frattiano wrote about staying at Rays apartment and the guys there like Julius Petro using it as a base of operations.

A large bookie in Santa Monica named Sparky Monica asked Ray to murder Juli Petro because he kept shaking him down.  Sparky offered Ray 20k and half his book to handle the murder.  Ray agreed and after failing to blow him up with a bomb, he drove him to the airport and when a plane was taking off shot him in the head.

Sparky, being like a lot of bookies, decided that he didn't have to pay Ray for the hit or give him anything from the book.  When Ray called, he invoked the name Tony Plate, a made member of the Gambino family living in Florida.  This is the way of Organized Crime, bookies like to try and play both sides, Sparky thought by partnering up with Tony Plate he could get out of paying Ray.  He would pay.

Ray was not only a burglar and a hitman, he was also a gambling genius who had clubs in Erie including The City Squier Club and The Calabrese Club.

The early 1970's is when Ray went to Russel Buffalino with the idea of putting together a massive sports betting empire that would use tips right from the locker rooms of professional sports teams.  This made it possible to play with the odds and lay off what they needed to.  Russel Buffalino and his friends each put in 200k and they were off and running.  They settled on a code name for the business "Ameche13" and it would soon span 12 states.

Things started to change in Cleveland when the longtime boss Jack Scalish died during an operation on his heart.  Scalish had been at war with a rogue band of criminals including the self proclaimed Celtic Warrior Danny Geene.  Scalish had been content with his family and had not made any new guys in the family, so they didn't have the same manpower as those families in Chicago or New York.  The new Boss James "Jack White" Licavoli would send numerous hit teams after Danny Greene, but he truly had the luck of the Irish.  Danny had dodged 8 attempted hits by the Cleveland Combination when Jack White took over.  Danny Greene had orchestrated the disappearance of Leo "Lips" Moceri the Underboss of the Combination. Leo was a close associate of the Los Angeles Family and Jimmy Frattiano.  The war in the streets of Cleveland raged on and they finally were able to murder Danny's partner Union Boss John Nardi.  They found out that Nardi parked his car in the same spot day after day, so they parked a car rigged with a directional bomb and when he walked to his car they detonated the bomb killing Nardi instantly.

Greene Dead

The bosses from Murray Hill finally called in Ray at the urging of Jimmy Frattiano and they made Ray an offer.  Ray rejected their offer and asked for 25% of the rackets in Warren and Youngstown.  At first they balked and then they came around.  They bugged Danny Greene's phone and they soon learned that Danny, like many gangsters, was playing both sides.  Danny was an FBI Informant and this would explain all his bravado.  Ray and his team planted a remote controlled bomb outside an apartment building where Danny frequented, but on the day of the hit there were a number of elderly people sitting nearby so Ray called it off. The wiretap soon picked up Danny making a dental appointment and they knew that was where they could get him.  The Cleveland guys supplied Ray with two cars. One was tne was the bomb car and the other was the getaway car.  Ray had them registered to a fictitious person in Pennsylvania to take some of the heat away from Cleveland.  Ray and his confederates soon wielded a steel "Bomb Box" that would direct the blast right at Danny from the door of the bomb car.  It would be like a huge Claymore mine spewing death in one direction.   Ray waited nearby and as soon as they spotted Danny about to get into his car he detonated the bomb, right when he touched the door handle.  This time Danny was blown to bits.

A short time later in Cleveland, Ray was summoned to a secret location where Jack White and the Administration of the Combination held a ceremony to induct Ray into the family.  They had the pistol and the knife, the saint card and Jack White rattled off the words to Ray.  Jimmy Frattiano was also present during the Ceremony and in his book he would claim that it had been so long since the family had inducted anyone they forgot how!  

Ray was happy and with good reason.  Every street hood knows that being a made guy is the highest honor.  They used to be held in high regard and they were highly respected.  

Ray had no idea at the time that these men of honor actually met hours before the ceremony and had voted to kill him as soon as the heat died down.  The ceremony was just to pacify him until they could kill him.  It was pure greed, because Ray had been a loyal soldier for years. Jimmy Frattiano, who was an informant at the time, also agreed that Ray should be killed. He had been locked up with many of them and he put in the work, yet they decided to kill him.

If you look at the things that happened next it also looks like they tried to hedge their bets by setting Ray up at the same time.

The first clue came from a young couple who just happened to be driving by after the explosion.  They claimed that they saw the fleeing bombers and the woman just happened to be a police sketch artist.  All they saw was a car leaving the area, they did not see Ray holding the remote.  Lets look at this statement, a bomb explodes if you are in the area what do you do?  Stay there or flee.  All you have to do is watch video from any explosion or shooting and watch people run in every direction.  So the women showed the sketch to her father who just happened to be a Detective and he had investigated Ray.  The Feds were soon after Ray and he found out at the same time that Cleveland had put out a contract on him.  

Jack White
Ray walked into the Pittsburgh FBI office and gave himself up. He spent a few hours there under heavy guard until the agents let Ray listen to wiretaps they had on the Combination.  Ray heard with his own ears the bosses and Jimmy Frattiano casually talking about his fate.  That was all Ray had to hear and then he decided to cooperate with the FBI.  He would take down the whole Family in Cleveland and Jimmy Frattiano.  Ray’s cooperation would destroy the Cleveland Combination and decimate the LA Family and even topple a boss in New York. All because of these greedy old men.

Ray would leave WITSEC and continue to work the Ameche 13 gambling organization until 1993!  This would be the first that I heard of a guy getting out of WITSEC and picking up where he left off.  Sammy The Bull tried it and failed, but look at him.  I know that many people still talk to me so I know Ray did it.
The best part of this story?  Ray retired to Florida where he lived out his last days a free man with his loving wife.  On May 9th, 2004 Ray was too weak to get up but he whispered to his wife " I beat'em, didn’t I honey?"  Ray had beat them all, and died a free man in his home.

If you would like to read Ray's whole story in detail please pick up a copy of Ferritto: An assassin scorned.

Ferrito: An Assassin scorned


  1. Gangsters today are not cut from the same cloth ,,thats saying it midly ,, there is such a lack of morals with almost all the guys today , never mind honor and loyality your very very lucky to find one that carries either . The problem is the boss now days even isnt cut for the job they get there cause of lack of good men and even then the qualified guys dont want the job . I don't know what they have to do to get things in order but it has to be something big.

  2. Bufalino -- with one f.