The Chicago Syndicate: FBI Agent assists Mobster?
The Mission Impossible Backpack

Friday, January 06, 2006

FBI Agent assists Mobster?

Friends of ours: Colombo Crime Family, Nicholas Grancio, Gregory Scarpa Sr.,

The Brooklyn district attorney's office is investigating whether a former F.B.I. agent may have helped a Mafia mole murder a rival in a 1992 gangland killing. Investigators are looking into whether the former agent, R. Lindley DeVecchio, may have helped a Colombo family gangster, who was working secretly as his informer, kill a rival in the mob, according to a law enforcement official who has been briefed on the case.

The investigation concerns the killing of Nicholas Grancio on the streets of southern Brooklyn on Jan. 7, 1992, after a joint F.B.I.- New York Police Department surveillance team was called off of a mission to watch him. The official said investigators were trying to determine whether Mr. DeVecchio, a former organized-crime investigator for the F.B.I., was the one who withdrew the surveillance team and, if so, whether that withdrawal was timed to allow his Mafia informant, Gregory Scarpa Sr., to sweep down on Mr. Grancio with a well-armed hit squad and assassinate him.

When Mr. Grancio was killed - in his car, by a shotgun blast to the head - it was at the height of the Colombo family wars, an internecine squabble in which two factions of the family murderously fought each other for control. According to court documents, Mr. Scarpa was seeking revenge that day against Mr. Grancio: He was under the impression that Mr. Grancio had had a role in an attempt on his own life, the documents show. But the investigation by Brooklyn prosecutors is the first real indication that law enforcement officials are at least concerned that Mr. DeVecchio may have had a role in Mr. Grancio's murder. In the mid-1990's, Mr. DeVecchio was investigated for more than two years in an internal F.B.I. inquiry concerning allegations that he had had an improper relationship with Mr. Scarpa. Mr. DeVecchio was exonerated by the F.B.I. in 1996, and he retired shortly after the investigation ended.

Yesterday, his lawyer, Douglas Grover, said the current inquiry was baseless and "laughable." "He was innocent then," Mr. Grover said, "and he's innocent now."

The law enforcement official said prosecutors from the district attorney's office have already gone to Washington to brief the F.B.I. on their investigation, which adds yet another chapter to a tale long told among mob connoisseurs. Indeed, the tangled bond between Mr. DeVecchio, one of the agency's top mob investigators, and Mr. Scarpa, one of the Mafia's most brutal and ingenious killers, is one of the stranger relationships in Mafia lore.

The two started working together in the early 1980's, court documents show, when Mr. DeVecchio found Mr. Scarpa's name in a file of dormant Mafia informers and reactivated him. The two were close, with Mr. Scarpa giving his handler wine and freshly baked lasagna, the documents show. They spoke often, and Mr. DeVecchio often used the code name "the girlfriend" when calling his source, the documents show.

The relationship was close enough that some of Mr. DeVecchio's fellow agents complained to their superiors, which led to the internal F.B.I. investigation. That inquiry, however, never included allegations that Mr. DeVecchio might have played a role in the Grancio assassination. Mr. Scarpa died of AIDS in 1994.

Thanks to Alan Feuer

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