PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) - AttorneyRaymond Mansolillo, a former federal agent himself, is nowrepresenting the man state and federal authorities have pegged asboss of the New England crime family for the past 13 years,
"This is old history it's an old game and they just obsess. It'slike a big game hunter trying to get the white tiger that no longerexists," said Mansolillo, during an exclusive interview with Target12 Investigator Tim White.
When asked if Manocchio is indeed the boss, Mansolillo said,"It's a myth."
The attorney claimed the feds are wasting resources and taxpayermoney.
"It's time that Federal Hill stop getting the reputation as youknow, mobsters and lobsters, it's ridiculous," he said.
Manocchio, who turns 82 next month, has not been charged with acrime. However, he sought Mansolillo's representation after a
Law enforcement sources said Manocchio was at Euro Bistro, a Federal Hill restaurantManocchio frequents, when a worker from a Providence strip clubhanded him an envelope stuffed with several thousands of dollars incash.
Minutes after Manocchio took the envelope, two federal agents,including veteran organized crime fighter Joseph Degnan, moved inand seized the money. Investigators believe the cash is "tributemoney" or a payment made to a kingpin of a crime family.
Though Manocchio has not been charged with a crime, sources saidthe FBI is attempting to apply significant pressure.
Mansolillo would not get specific on the on-going probe, howeverhe said the FBI's "obsession" with cracking down on old schoolmobsters is tired.
"You have all these resources put on him and the agencies cantell you they follow him from one place to another to another toanother. What does that mean? What is it doing?" Mansolillo asked."We're wasting precious resources and taxpayer's money."
Mansolillo, who spent more than 15 years as a federal agent withthe U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, said law enforcement should befocusing on powerful Eurasian and Asian crime syndicates - crimefamilies the FBI itself calls the new face of organized crime.
Mansolillo: It's been over for 25 years.
Tim White: The mob doesn't exist here?
Mansolillo: The mob is defunct here.
Mansolillo's assessment of organized crime in New England is notshared by
"It is the top priority for organized crime for the New Englandregion," Sallet said.
Sallet runs the Providence-based New England Organized CrimeOffice for the FBI. He said the agency assesses threats region byregion.
"Because we have people working one threat does not mean we donot have the appropriate amount of people working another threat,"Sallet said. "Just because [La Cosa Nostra] is not leaving peopledead in the streets does not mean they are not having an impact onthe state or society that we live in."
Sallet would not discuss the investigation into Manocchio.However, Mansolillo said he's reached out to the Providence officeof the FBI to let them know he's now representing the boss.
"If they have an issue with him, we'll walk through the frontdoor and we'll walk right out the front door after that," hesaid.
Click here to see what Mansolillo said about Manocchio's nameappearing in court documents surrounding the alleged assassinationattempt by reputed capo Anthony "The Saint" St. Laurent.
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