Richie the Boot, Little Pussy and Johnny Coca-Cola: N.J.'s real-life Sopranos



From bootlegging to racketeering, the mob has long considered New Jersey to be part of its playground. A gallery of some of the state's real-life Sopranos. 

Ted Sherman | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
 By Ted Sherman | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
           
Last week, funeral services were held for John M. Riggi—the 90-year-old former head of the Jersey-based DeCavalcante crime family who held a stranglehold over the construction industry for decades through control of local labor unions.
But while called one of the last of the old time mob bosses, Riggi was only one face of organized crime in a state that continues to be plagued by real-life versions of HBO's "The Sopranos."
In June, six members of the New York-based Lucchese crime family, including a ruling boss in New York and a top captain in New Jersey, pleaded guilty to running a $2.2 billion gambling enterprise that authorities said was built on extortion and violence.
In April, Stephen Depiro of Kenilworth, a reputed Genovese crime family soldierwho prosecutors say ran the mob's business on the New Jersey waterfront for decades, was sentenced to more than three years in federal prison after pleading guilty to racketeering charges for his role in extorting payments from members of the International Longshoremen's Association.
And last year, the state Attorney General's office charged 11 reputed members and associates of The Genovese crime family with orchestrating schemes ranging from loansharking to sports gambling, that raked in millions of dollars — evidence, said acting state Attorney General John J. Hoffman that organizes crime had "evolved and learned to exploit sophisticated financial systems to hide and launder the proceeds of traditional street crimes."
From the days of Dutch Schultz, gunned down in Newark in 1935, through Ruggiero "Richie the Boot" Boiardo, who ran mob operations in Newark until his death in 1984, to continuing corruption on the waterfront today, the mob has long seen New Jersey as its playground. A look back at some of those characters over the years.


Ted Sherman may be reached at tsherman@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @TedShermanSL. Find NJ.com on Facebook.