With online streaming platforms getting all the attention these days, it is no surprise that Netflix is coming out with one great show after another, whether it be in the genre of drama, reality, romance, or true crime. To satisfy the fans of the latter category it recently released ‘Fear City: New York vs the Mafia,’ a limited documentary series that explored every aspect of the rise and fall of the five major mob families who ruled New York, by controlling its businesses and its people, back in the 1970s and 1980s. An individual who made his mark in the documentary, and history, because of his blabbermouth ways was none other than Angelo Ruggiero.
Who Was Angelo Ruggiero?
Born on April 29, 1940, Angelo Salvatore Ruggiero, Sr. was raised in the East New York section of Brooklyn, with future Gambino crime family boss John Gotti and underboss Sammy Gravano as friends. As a high school dropout, he got involved in the world of crime at an early age. In the 1950s, he was arrested for street fighting, public intoxication, car theft, bookmaking, possession of an illegal firearm, and burglary. Several of these recorded arrests as a juvenile were in the company of John Gotti.
In 1966, Ruggiero and Gotti were arrested for attempting to steal a cement mixer truck. In 1973, they, along with one another from the crime family, killed mobster James McBratney in a Staten Island bar, for which they were later convicted and sent to prison. In July 1977, both men were released on parole, and soon after that, got inducted into the Gambino crime family as made men. Paul Castellano, the boss of the family had just one rule, no trade of narcotics. Any member’s involvement in drug dealing would result in instant death.
However, John Gotti and Angelo Ruggiero didn’t like this rule and expanded a secret business in that field anyway. As the series mentioned, though, Angelo had one major problem, he had trouble keeping his mouth shut. While most people in organized crime take precautions and make sure that they aren’t being recorded or seen discussing the details of a case, like that of a massive heroin operation, for example, Ruggiero had no such hesitations. His endless talk and his duck-like stride even earned him the nickname “Quack Quack.”
After Paul Castellano was murdered and John Gotti became the boss, Ruggiero became a captain. Gotti no longer handled the actual specifics of the contract killings and assigned the job to his new captain. As time went on, though, Ruggiero and Gotti’s “friendship” became strained and the former stated being seen as who he was, an over-talkative enforcer type male who lacked the shrewdness to run lucrative rackets.
How Did Angelo Ruggiero Die?
Like many mobsters, Angelo Ruggiero liked to complain about his boss. Ordinarily, this would have had him killed long ago, but his association with John Gotti helped him. However, even though he worked with Gotti a lot and ran several rackets, by the end, he had lost the boss’ favor. The FBI surveillance bugs that were in his apartment, thanks to his gossiping skills, led to the dominoes falling and brought the Mafia to its knees. Along with that, the tapes also helped special agents open a brand new heroin trafficking case against his crew.
For the third trial of said case, in 1989, Ruggiero only served as a defendant in the case. He had been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. John Gotti was furious at him by that time and was planning to have him murdered for allowing himself to be recorded by the FBI. But, Sammy Gravano convinced Gotti to not do so. He even tried to urge Gotti to talk to Ruggiero near his death but to no avail. And so, in 1989, away from his childhood friends, Angelo Ruggiero passed away from his cancer at the age of 49.
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