In Boston, home to the New England Mafia and a string of legendary former bosses like “The Cheese Man’’ and “Cadillac Frank,’’ Ralph DeLeo was a virtual unknown.
“Here, I’m nothing,’’ DeLeo said within earshot of an FBI bug.
But in New York, he said, “Everybody is holding the door for ya, helping on your coat, giving you hugs . . . kissing you, and all this type of stuff. ‘Oh, you gotta sit in front, you gotta do this, are you comfortable? Can I get you coffee?’ ’’
But to the FBI, DeLeo, 66, of Somerville was somebody.
Agents tapped his cellphone from January through November of last year, then he was indicted last month on a federal racketeering conspiracy charge. The indictment filed in US District Court in Boston alleges that he is the “street boss’’ of New York’s Colombo family and runs a small crew based in Greater Boston involved in drug trafficking, extortion, and loansharking.
DeLeo is being held in Arkansas, where he’s also facing charges of cocaine trafficking. An FBI affidavit filed last week in courts in Boston and Arkansas detailed DeLeo’s alleged position in the New York mob and offered snippets of conversations from his bugged telephone calls.