KC Mob Boss Dies

July 24, 2008 12:37:15 PM PDT
A Kansas City mob boss, whose meticulous record-keeping inadvertently helped to bring down top Chicago Outfit bosses, has died at the age of 81. Carl DeLuna, known in crime syndicate circles as "Tuffy", was a fixture. DeLuna served 12 years in federal prison on multiple racketeering and other convictions related to skimming profits from Las Vegas casinos in the 1970s and '80s. He was released in 1998.

Deluna began his mob career as a street tough, armed robber and occasional hit man, according to federal agents. Prosecutors once described him as "One of the most feared organized crime figures" in the country. At the same time, he was considered one of the most trusted leaders in the American mob. He rose to the position of Underboss and was thought to be a "made member" of the Kansas City Mafia, having been once initiated with a blood oath.

An eavesdropping device planted by FBI agents in Kansas City in 1978 was the beginning of the end for DeLuna and the ranking members of the Chicago mob at the time.

The feds were investigating a local murder when one of their listening devices recorded a conversation between DeLuna and his boss Carl "Cork" Civella. The discussion centered on mob activities in Las Vegas. It was learned that the KC mob, the Chicago Outfit and other crime families were attempting to buy into the Argent Corporation of which Allen Glick was president and sole stockholder.

In late 1978, federal agents bugged the home of a Civella relative. They obtained a six-hour-long recording of a mob meeting that took place between Civella, DeLuna, Joseph Vincent Agosto, and Carl Wesley Thomas during which they plotted skimming profits from the Tropicana. The money siphoned off the top of gambling proceeds would be split between the Kansas City and Chicago mob factions.

On St. Valentines Day, 1979, FBI agents arrested a courier at the Kansas City airport carrying $80,000 in skim money. Later, in DeLuna's home, authorities found his "meticulous" record keeping of illegal transactions. Former Chicago FBI agent, the late William Roemer wrote that the records "turned out to be devastating evidence, implicating mobsters in several cities, connecting them to the skim. Their seizure played a key role in the two major trials that would result from the investigation." One entry in DeLuna's record from October 1977 records the a sitdown meeting in Chicago, during which top mob executives determined how the skimming operation would work.

Art imitated some of DeLuna's life with the movie "Casino." In the film, a character named Artie Piscana was based on DeLuna. The character died of a heart attack during an FBI raid on his home. In real life, DeLuna survived the raid, prison and lived ten years after his release.


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