Joseph Gallo was at one time a powerful mob captain in the Cleveland Mafia under then boss Angelo “Big Ange” Lonardo. He passed away in federal prison medical center with cause of death yet to be released at the age of 75. The Cleveland mob story thirty years ago played out in the media with bombings, mob hits, and indictments that became routine. Today the Cleveland mob story is told in the obituaries of those who once ordered these mob slayings and ran its criminal enterprises. Gallo ascended quickly through the mobs ranks in Cleveland after the bombing death of Danny Greene ending a bloody war between rival factions which claimed the lives of many mobsters and lead to indictments of many more.
Gallo sat atop the ranks of the Cleveland crime family and ran a $15 million dollar a year drug ring which was also responsible for death of at least seven people. He was the up and coming guy with in the family and the right hand man for Lonardo. He handled the day to day operations of the Cleveland mob along with close friend and fellow mobster Tommy Sinito. Lonardo ran the show from the background as he didn’t like getting involved with day to day things and getting his hands dirty. This all came tumbling down when he was sentenced to life in prison in April of 1983 for his part if the mob run drug ring. Along with Gallo three other were convicted in the scheme including then mob boss Angelo Lonardo and mob enforcers Hartmut Graewe and Kevin McTaggart.
The 1983 trial lasted 11 weeks and saw testimony from Cleveland mobster turned rat Carmen Zagaria who also played a big role in the drug ring. Along with his testimony investigators had wiretap and surveillance evidence that doomed the mob crew. Just months into their prison sentences Lonardo the former boss decided to also cooperate with the FBI. He would become one of the highest ranking Mafia turncoats in history and his cooperation led to the take down of mob figures across the country. Lonardo passed away in 2006 but mob enforcers Graewe and McTaggart remain in prison.