The Philadelphia crime family is finally returning to its dysfunctional roots. After a decade of relative peace and quiet under the guidance of boss Joseph Ligambi, South Philadelphia was shocked on Wednesday by the first mob hit in years.
On Wednesday, around 3 p.m., gunshots were heard across Iseminger Street in Philadelphia. Gino DiPietro, 50, was shot several times in the back. Fatally wounded he was pronounced dead fifteen minutes later. Authorities allege DiPietro was a mob associate. A neighbor told the Philadelphia Daily News that “[DiPietro] was in and out of trouble. He'd been in jail for drugs.”
The Daily News also reported that “police were tight-lipped about the shooting Wednesday, but one law-enforcement source said DiPietro may have made enemies by cooperating with authorities while incarcerated. His brothers are known mob associates.”
Reputed Philly soldier Anthony Nicodemo (left), 41, is being charged with the murder after police matched a bullet fragment found on DiPietro's clothes with a gun found in Nicodemo's car. Nicodemo is a rising player in the Philadelphia mob, linked to many crimes. In 2009 he pleaded guilty to participating in running a sports bookmaking ring inside the Borgata Hotel Casino poker room. The FBI also thinks he was involved in the shooting death of John "Johnny Gongs" Casasanto in 2003.
The murder comes at a time when the leadership of the Philadelphia mafia is on trial for racketeering. Boss Joseph Ligambi was credited by many inside and outside the mob with bringing order to a chaotic crime family. After decades of bloodshed, Ligambi had started rebuilding what was left of the Philly mob.
Ligambi’s (right) low-key and nonviolent way of conducting business is reflected by the lack of violent acts in the charges he and his co-defendants face at their current racketeering trial. The brazen hit by a mob soldier on a mob associate, who is rumored to have turned rat, can only damage Ligambi’s defense.
But maybe Ligambi thinks differently. Maybe it’s time for a thorough damage control while he still has any control over his soldiers on the street. Of course, these are all theories. We will have to wait and see how this story unravels. In time all our questions will be answered. All it takes is one informant with an all-access pass to the Philadelphia underworld.
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