Joseph Ruggiero Sr a top Fall River, Massachusetts businessman has been identified as a made man in the New England mafia. In 2012 Ruggiero was credited by Mayor Will Flanagan with saving hundreds of jobs with his purchase and restoration of a local Fall River ford dealership. He was then voted onto the board of Economic Development in Fall River after investing Millions in property deals which included the crumbling Bedford street police station. Ruggiero now had a celebrated public persona and a rising reputation as a respectable local business owner and investor. But court documents and members of law enforcement paint a very different image of Ruggiero. Rhode Island state police head identified Ruggiero as a made man of the New England mob.
“Joseph Ruggiero (up front)”
In 2011 documents filed in connection with the trail of former New England mafia boss Luigi “Baby Shacks” Manocchio identified Ruggiero as part of La Cosa Nostra. Manocchio along with eight others was convicted of leading a scheme to shake down local strip clubs in 1990’s. According to court filings in the case Manocchio was accompanied by a person identified as NELCN member Joseph Ruggiero on a trip to Italy in 2009 which Manocchio lied about taking. Another federal document filed in 2012 once again links Ruggiero to the New England mob in a special condition of probation for mobster Theodore Cardillo. Cardillo was ordered to stay away from five members of organized crime including Ruggiero as part of his probation conditions.
Mafia investigator and superintendent of Rhode Island State Police Col. Steven O’Donnell said that Ruggiero was also identified as a made member of the New England mafia during interviews investigators had with known mafia associates. O’Donnell also said that Ruggiero was known to be close to high ranking mobsters Frank Salemme and Robert DeLuca along with Manocchio. At one point Ruggiero had Salemme’s son working at one of his car dealerships and O’Donnell said Ruggiero and Salemme once the head of the New England mob before being indicted back in 1995 go way back.
In recent years law enforcement has decimated the New England mafia and many question if their is even a current leadership structure in place. But O’Donnell warns that even with the current state of the organized crime family that doesn’t mean some factions are not still trying to rebuild.