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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Rhode Island

Friday, November 4, 2016

Former NELCN Member Pleads Guilty to Obstruction, Making False Statements

BOSTON – A former New England La Cosa Nostra (NELCN) caporegime pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Boston to obstructing a federal investigation into the murder of a Boston nightclub owner in the 1990s.

Robert P. DeLuca, 70, pleaded guilty to one count of obstruction of justice and two counts of making false statements.  U.S. District Court Judge Denise J. Casper scheduled sentencing for February 1, 2017.  In June 2016, DeLuca was arrested in Florida and indicted.

DeLuca pleaded guilty to lying to federal prosecutors and investigators regarding the 1993 disappearance of Stephen DiSarro who operated The Channel, a South Boston nightclub.  In March 2016, authorities discovered DiSarro’s remains behind a mill in Providence, R.I.  According to court documents, DiSarro disappeared in May 1993 after then LCN boss Frank Salemme and Frank Salemme, Jr.’s involvement with The Channel became the focus of a federal grand jury investigation. 

DeLuca also pleaded guilty to lying about his knowledge of other organized crime murders.  He made false statements in connection with his cooperation deal with federal authorities in Rhode Island after his 2011 racketeering arrest and indictment.  Despite a cooperation agreement with federal authorities, DeLuca lied about his knowledge of DiSarro’s disappearance and other LCN-perpetrated murders. 

DeLuca has also agreed to plead guilty in Rhode Island Superior Court to conspiracy to commit the 1992 murder of Kevin Hanrahan. 

The obstruction of justice statute provides for a sentence of no greater than 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000.  The false statements statute provides for a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000.  Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties.  Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorneys Carmen M. Ortiz of the District of Massachusetts and Peter F. Neronha of the District of Rhode Island; Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin; and Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division, made the announcement today.  The Massachusetts and Rhode Island State Police provided assistance with the investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Fred M. Wyshak, Jr. of Ortiz’s Public Corruption Unit and William Ferland of Neronha’s Office are prosecuting the case.


Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 
Updated November 4, 2016