BOSTON – Former New England Mafia boss Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme has been arrested in the murder of a federal witness, prosecutors said Wednesday.
A document filed in court said Salemme is charged with the murder of a witness on May 10, 1993, but it does not name the witness.
However, another former high-ranking member of the New England mob was charged in June with lying to federal officials about the May 1993 killing of Boston nightclub manager Steven DiSarro. Robert DeLuca’s indictment said he arranged with Salemme to have DiSarro’s body buried in Rhode Island.
Salemme was indicted in 2004 for denying knowing anything about DiSarro’s killing while negotiating a plea deal in 1999. He was sentenced to five years in prison.
The indictment alleged that Salemme and his son had a hidden interest in DiSarro’s nightclub, The Channel.
Salemme, who headed the Patriarca crime family in the early 1990s, has previously denied a claim by another mobster that he watched his son strangle DiSarro and helped dispose of his body. Salemme’s son died in 1995.
Salemme, now 82, is expected to appear in U.S. District Court on Wednesday afternoon.
His attorney, Steve Boozang, said he did not have details on the specific allegations against Salemme.
“We’ll vigorously fight these charges,” Boozang said. “Knowing he’s a fighter, he’ll be very involved in his defense.”
Prosecutors said Salemme was arrested in Connecticut. The charge against him carries a sentence of death or life in prison on conviction. Prosecutors have not said whether they will seek the death penalty.
DeLuca was among the mobsters captured on an FBI tape being inducted into La Cosa Nostra in 1989 during a ceremony in Medford, Massachusetts.
DiSarro’s remains were found behind a mill building in Providence in March.