Monday, April 29, 2013

Boston Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev at Federal Prison Hospital That Was Past Home for Several Mobsters

When Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev entered the federal prison hospital at Devens, he became the latest high-crime prisoner name to take up temporary residence at the former Army base.

The Federal Medical Center Devens, which opened in 1996, serves as a federal Bureau of Prisons hospital for inmates needing specialized or long-term medical or mental health care. The facility is on the site of the former Cutler Army Hospital.

Inmates treated there have been mobsters, corrupt politicians and people convicted of financial crimes.

Among the mobsters to spend time in the hospital was Sicilian crime boss Gaetano Badalamenti, who died of heart failure in 2004. He was convicted as ringleader of the $1.65 billion drug smuggling operation known as The Pizza Connection.

Other mafiosi at the hospital have included John Franzese, an underboss of the Colombo crime family convicted of racketeering; and John Riggi, former boss of the DeCavalcante crime family, released in November after 22 years at various prisons. He was convicted of conspiracy in the murder of acting mob boss John D’Amato. Also serving time at Devens was Frank Locascio, a former underboss of the Gambino crime family.

The 1,000-bed medical center opened its doors in Devens at 42 Patton Road in 1999, three years after Fort Devens formally ceased to be an Army base.

The base served as the Army’s New England headquarters for 79 years. It was conveyed to the Massachusetts Development Finance Agency for redevelopment as Devens, a residential and business community made up of property formerly part of surrounding towns. The army still has its reserve forces training center on sections of the former base.

Among the better-known soldiers to serve there was Gen. Colin Powell, who met his wife while assigned to Fort Devens.

The U.S. Marshals Service said that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had left Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center overnight and been transported to Devens.

Thanks to George Barnes.

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