PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — William “Blackjack” DelSanto, a retired capo in the Patriarca crime family, has died.

DelSanto, 78, had been in poor health and suffered a series of strokes in the past year, according to sources. He died on Sunday.

Living in Cranston at the time of his death, DelSanto was originally from Federal Hill and was a throwback to the days when La Cosa Nostra was a significant force in New England. Law enforcement sources say DelSanto became a made member of the mob in the 1970s, when Raymond L.S. Patriarca was the boss.

DelSanto made headlines in the 1980s when he was fired from his job as a sidewalk inspector for the city of Providence, charged with being a “no-show” worker. Police arrested DelSanto after watching him on Federal Hill during working hours. But the charges were later dropped for lack of speedy trial and an arbitrator awarded him more than $200,000 for back pay and interest.

DelSanto — who went by “Billy” — was on law enforcement’s radar screen for years as a significant player in organized crime, but investigators considered him retired from the mob for more than a decade.

Tim White ( is the Target 12 managing editor and chief investigative reporter at 12 News, and the host of Newsmakers. Connect with him on Twitter and Facebook.