Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Details of Mele's death revealed
During a recent bail hearing for a reputed Bonanno Crime Family underboss, prosecutors referred to the Jan. 16 death of Louis "Louie Cigars" Mele, according to stories by John Marzulli of the New York Daily News and Stefanie Cohen of the New York Post.
Mele (right), believed to have been a soldier in the Bonanno family, reportedly died of a heart attack during a Texas Hold 'Em poker game at a private social club at Long Island's Alpha Plaza. He was 71. Supervising that poker game is one of the charges federal prosecutors have brought against reputed underboss Nicholas "Nicky Mouth" Santora and reputed consigliere Anthony "Fat Anthony" Rabito.
Mele's death was mentioned in court after Santora's lawyer asked to have his client freed on bail because of recent heart surgery. Prosecutor Greg Andres noted that the heart surgery had not prevented Santora from attending Mele's wake. Andres tossed in the comment: "He actually died, I believe, at the Texas Hold 'Em game."
Mele's claim to fame was serving as driver for the late Bonanno chieftain Carmine "Lilo" Galante, who was shot to death at Joe & Mary's Italian American Restaurant on July 12, 1979.
No autopsy was performed on Mele, as the death was not suspicious.
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- Editor/publisher of crime history journal, Informer. Publisher of American Mafia history website mafiahistory.us. Moderator of Mafia-related Yahoo discussion group. Author of Wrongly Executed? Coauthor of Deep Water: Joseph P. Macheca and the Birth of the American Mafia and DiCarlo: Buffalo's First Family of Crime. Contributor of American Mafia history to Australian-published Mafia: The Necessary Reference to Organized Crime. Writer/co-writer of crime history articles for Informer, On the Spot Journal, Cigar City Magazine, Tampa Mafia Magazine.