Aniello "Neil" Dellacroce


"His eyes had no if his soul was transparent", is how a news reporter once described Aniello Dellacroce. In many ways his murderous reputation would require such characteristics. Dellacroce had "clipped" many during his day and would command an army of allegiance from many soldiers. His most devoted would be the eventual Gambino crime head John Gotti.

Dellacroce was born and raised on the streets of Manhattan's Little Italy district. A street thug, he was "made" into the family led by Vincent Mangano and served as captain under the reign of Albert Anastasia. Dellacroce was a known murderer. He possessed rather Anglo features, as opposed to Napoltiano and would often use this too for his murderous deeds. He was known to travel great lengths, disguised as a priest and use the alias "Father O'Neil" in a murder plot.

Dellacroce, who was once described by the federal government as being involved in "gambling, labor racketeering, loansharking and bootlegging", wasnt pleased when Anastasia was murdered in 1957. The new boss, Carlo Gambino, made it clear he was in charge when he had Dellacroce loyalist Armand Rava made to dissapear the following year. Dellacroce quickly called off the pursuit.
In 1965 Joe Biondo was broken down from his underboss spot. In a further effort to smooth the matters, Gambino reached out to Dellacroce and made him an offer he couldnt refuse. He would allow Dellacroce, as the new underboss, a bulk the of earnings derived from the crews in the boroughs of Queens and Manhattan. Dellacroce would then use a no show or "ghost job" as truck driver to vouch for his earnings. He couldn't be on the road too often because by the early 1970s he was found operating at the Ravenite Social Club on Mulberry Street, Little Italy.

In 1976 Dellacroce was sentenced to one year in prison after an income tax evasion conviction, having preceded an episode where the underboss locked himself in his social club's bathroom and refused to be arrested. This was his first and only severe jail time. While in prison Gambino died and just prior had named his cousin/brother in law Paul Catellano as the new head. Upon Dellacroce's release he agreed and returned as underboss. His prior agreement over the crews' earnings remained. If Dellacroce seemed pleased, others werent, mainly John Gotti who was acting capo over the Ozone Park, Queens crew and saw Dellacroce as being passed over.

Dellacroce appeared not to have minded being passed over for Gambino's kin. He was pretty busy in the following years. He had sent loyal soldier Anthony "Tony Plate" Plata to Miami to establish a loanshark racket. Plata was indicted, along with Dellacroce, in 1979. He never saw his trial and Dellacroce was severed from the charge, allegedly due to Gotti's crew making Plata dissapear that year. So much for loyalty.

Dellacroce in session with
loyal capo John Gotti
Dellacroce was also busy shaking down the popular night club "The Hippopotamus" with Bonanno crime soldier Tony Mirra. Also on July 12, 1979 Bonanno mob boss Carmine Galante was murdered while ordering lunch. By the end of the day law enforcement observed Bonanno capo Alphonse "Sonny Red" and his son Anthony 'Bruno" meeting with Dellacroce at his Little Italy social club. All the while the "blue collar" crews kicked earnings derived from narcotics trafficking. arson, hijacking, gambling and loansharking. All the while John Gotti paid him undying loyalty.

In 1982 Gambino LCN Family soldier Angelo Ruggiero was arrested for heroin trafficking. He had been tapped by the FBI since 1980. The taped phone conversations were now in transcript form for evidence submission and available to Ruggiero's defense. Paul Castellano demanded copies and Dellacroce acted as a buffer. Ruggiero knew he was a dead man, Gotti was possibly too and mob soldier Pete Tambone had become the boss's prime target for his role. Dellacroce would stall for the next two and a half years.

In 1985 both Castellano and Dellacroce were indicted for The Commission Case. Later in the year Dellacroce developed an inoperable brain tumor. The FBI then planted a bug in the underboss's home, ultimately by his death bed and Dellacroce still continued to reprimand Ruggiero, school Gotti and meet with soldiers. He was active until the end. Aniello Dellacroce, whose name when translated to Latin means "Innocent Lamb on the Cross", died at a Jamaica, Queens hospital under the name "Timothy O'Neil". His death sparked the murder of Castellano.

Dellacroce left behind a war and lived a life of chaos. His only son, Armand, would die of a drug overdose the next year. His beloved crime family was dealt with an unsanctioned hit against their boss. Just as he lead a life of murder and mayhem, from his grave it would haunt others.
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