The Chicago Syndicate: Mob's Eto Dies Long After Surviving Hit

Friday, June 09, 2006

Mob's Eto Dies Long After Surviving Hit

Friends of ours: Ken "Tokyo Joe" Eto , Ernest Rocco Infelice, John Gattuso, Jasper Campise

A noted Chicago mob figure who ran gambling operations for the Outfit, survived a botched hit and turned government informant and witness has died after a long stint in the federal witness-protection program, a federal official confirmed.

Ken Eto turned on the mob after he survived being shot in the head in a Northwest Side parking lot in 1983 and went on to testify against mob boss Ernest Rocco Infelice in 1991. After a news report Wednesday on WLS-TV Ch. 7 that said Eto died in Atlanta in 2004 in his 80s, federal officials in Chicago said they had been aware of his death, which had not been reported by the media before Wednesday.

First Assistant U.S. Atty. Gary Shapiro, who for years headed the U.S. Justice Department's Chicago Organized Crime Strike Force, said Wednesday that he knew of Eto's death, but he did not know when he had died.

Eto, known as "Tokyo Joe," survived three gunshots in the head in February 1983 in an attempted assassination that came after he was convicted of a gambling charge and the mob feared he would become a turncoat.

Former FBI agent Jack O'Rourke said Wednesday that Eto was a gambling expert who for decades ran games and books for the mob's North Side crew. Eto learned gambling in the service while riding a troop train to Alaska during World War II. After returning to Chicago, he took up with the mob and handled not only their games and books, but also paid bribes to police, O'Rourke said.

In 1983, the mob turned on Eto and ordered him killed.

Inside a car parked along Harlem Avenue on the North Side, two men fired three shots into Eto's skull. The men, whom Eto later identified to federal agents as mob soldiers John Gattuso and Jasper Campise, then left him for dead, O'Rourke said. But Eto didn't die, and after awaking from unconsciousness, dragged himself to a nearby pharmacy, where he called 911, O'Rourke said.

FBI agents and then-Assistant U.S. Atty. Jeremy Margolis rushed to the hospital where Eto was taken, O'Rourke said. During his recovery, Eto agreed to "flip" for the feds, O'Rourke said. "He really had nowhere else to go," O'Rourke said

Eto not only fingered Gattuso, a Cook County sheriff's officer, and Campise, as the gunmen, but he also provided intelligence about mob activity to the FBI. O'Rourke said he learned that soon after the shooting, the mob planned to murder Gattuso and Campise. O'Rourke said he and then-U.S. Atty. Dan Webb tried to persuade the men to cooperate with the government, but they refused.

On July 14, 1983, their bodies were found in the trunk of car in Naperville. Eto, meanwhile, was placed in the witness-protection program, O'Rourke said.

In 1989, Eto testified against a state legislator implicated in the Operation Greylord investigation. Eto was 72 when he testified in 1991, telling the court he had spent 40 years in the Chicago Outfit.

"I've never seen a witness like him," Shapiro said. "Completely unflappable."

Thanks to Jeff Coen, Rudolph Bush and Matt O'Connor

1 comment:

  1. Eto was wacked because of his involded in a drug system

    ReplyDelete


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