Antonio “Toto” Ruggirello died this week from COVID-19 at the age of 83. Ruggirello was a soldier in the Detroit mob and the last of the notoriously tough Ruggirello brothers who once controlled the organized crime in Genesee and Washtenaw counties.
One of the secrets Toto may have taken to the grave is what he knew about the death of labor union chief, Jimmy Hoffa. Toto was a “person of interest” in the government’s investigative report on the murder and kidnapping of Hoffa. For four and half decades, it has been suspected that the Ruggirello crew was involved in disposing of Hoffa’s body. To this day the Hoffa case file remains open with the Detroit FBI.
FBI and Michigan state police records show that the Ruggirello brothers were top Lieutenants for years in the Detroit mafia. In fact, it was on June 10, 1979, just outside of the Washtenaw county seat of Ann Arbor, at the Ruggirello’s Timberland Game Ranch in Dexter, Michigan that longstanding don, Giacomo “Black Jack” Tocco was elected boss. It was a highly secretive meeting attended by all of the Tocco-Zerilli crime family capos. It was also secretly photographed by the FBI.
In 2014, “Black Jack” died of a heart condition. “Big Toto”, the Ruggirello brother’s father, was a bodyguard for Tocco’s father in the early 1930s during the Crosstown Mob War. The Detroit mob was founded in 1931 by William “Black Bill” Tocco, emerging from a claimed victory in the war that broke out towards the end of prohibition.
“Black Jack” Tocco rose up through the crime family ranks by using the Ruggirello brothers as muscle, according to the FBI. As per the Tocco files, Luigi “Louie the Bulldog” Ruggirello and Antonino “Tony Cigars” (sometimes “Tony the Exterminator”) Ruggirello were considered co-crew bosses. Meanwhile, Tony managed to maintain control in the industrial town of Flint in Genesee County and Louie ran Ann Arbor from Timberland Game Ranch.
In 1977, Toto Ruggirello, alongside his brother Tony, were convicted for the attempted murder of a Flint banker who refused to cooperate with the mob. They attempted to blow him up in his car but failed. After that, Tocco’s FBI file states that they tried to kill one of their own crew members who was in a state-prison protection unit, after finding out he had turned state’s evidence.
Louie Ruggirello died in 1987 after being ill with cancer. Tony Ruggirello, 85, Died from natural causes in 2019. Joseph “Jo Jo” Ruggirello passed away from natural causes in 2013 at the age of 81.
Throughout the years, the FBI has received various tips that Jimmy Hoffa’s body is buried at Timberland Game Ranch. The fact of the matter is that Hoffa vanished on July 20, 1975, on his way to a meeting with Detroit and New Jersey mobsters at a Bloomfield Township, Michigan restaurant called the Red Fox. The distance from The Red Fox to the Game Ranch is only 35 miles.