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Somerville ‘street boss’ sentenced to 19 years

A leading member of the ­Colombo crime family was sentenced Wednesday to more than 19 years in federal prison for racketeering and possessing firearms and ammunition.

Ralph F. DeLeo, a “street boss” of the Colombo family of the Mafia, pleaded guilty to running a criminal enterprise known as the DeLeo crew, which engaged in cocaine and marijuana dealing, extortion, and loan sharking. The crew operated in areas of Massachusetts, Arkansas, Florida and New York, prosecutors said.

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DeLeo, 69, of Somerville was sentenced Wednesday by US District Judge Douglas P. Woodlock to 235 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and a $50,000 fine. DeLeo has already served 36 months in prison. DeLeo pleaded guilty to a federal indictment naming him and his associates in May.

The sentencing of DeLeo, who has a history of involvement with La Cosa Nostra, came a week after the head of the New England Mafia was sent to prison. Anthony DiNunzio, 53, was sentenced in federal court in Rhode Island to six years in prison.

“Our office continues to investigate and prosecute organized crime wherever it attempts to establish a foothold in the Commonwealth,” said US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz .

Richard DesLauriers, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Boston division, which has a task force investigating organized crime in New England, added, “It is undeniable the FBI and our law enforcement partners have broken the LCN’s code of silence.”

Timothy Watkins, DeLeo’s lawyer, said: “Ralph DeLeo stood up to take his punishment in federal court for the things he has done, things he has now put behind him. He did so with much equanimity and grace.”

“As an aging and ill man,” Watkins added, “he is looking forward to maintaining his health as best as he can within the difficult confines of the federal prison system. He hopes for eventual release to be with his family and friends in his declining years.”

According to prosecutors, DeLeo ran rackets here to increase his status in the Colombo family. Prosecutors say they would have shown at trial that on one occasion, he orchestrated a cocaine deal of 2 kilograms.

Milton J. Valencia can be reached at mvalencia@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @miltonvalencia.
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