Image of FBI 1995 mugshot of mob leader "Cadillac Frank" Francis Salemme, who died in federal prison last week. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia
Dec. 19 (UPI) -- Former New England mob boss "Cadillac Frank" Francis Salemme, head of the Patriarca crime family, died in federal prison in Missouri at 89 last Tuesday.
A spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Prisons did not comment on Sunday when news broke of Salemme's death. He had been in prison since being convicted in 2018 for the 1993 murder of South Boston nightclub owner Steven DiSarro.
Prosecutors said at the time that Salemme feared that DiSarro might cooperate with federal authorities for their mob activities, leading to him and Paul Weadick carrying out the death.
Salemme was part of mafia pop culture lore, taking over the Patriarca crime family in 1992 when its boss was imprisoned after a wide-ranging FBI investigation. He would later be indicted in another FBI investigation with famed mobster James "Whitey" Bulger and Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi.
Following his sentencing, Salemme started cooperating with the FBI after learning Bulger and Flemmi were themselves secret FBI informants. His testimony led to the downfall of Bulger's handler and rogue FBI agent John Connally.
Salemme himself was the target of an assassination attempt by a rival crime family in 1989 at a Saugus, Mass., pancake house but survived after being hospitalized for several bullet wounds.
The assassination attempt sparked a mob war in the region that ended in the arrest of then-boss Raymond "Junior" Patriarca in 1992, leading to Salemme's rise as the group's leader.
"The world is better off without him," DiSarro's son Nick DiSarro told WPRI-TV after learning the news of Salemme's death. "Good riddance."