Guns, gems, $725K in mob boss's basement

March 25, 2010 4:37:58 AM PDT
The FBI raided Frank Calabrese Sr.'s home in west suburban Oak Brook Wednesday and found guns, jewelry and hundreds of thousands in cash.

Calabrese is already serving life in prison.

Federal agents went into Calabrese's home looking for anything of value that might help satisfy the $27 million he owes the government as part of his racketeering life sentence. What the FBI found was an Outfit treasure trove - some hidden in a hole in the wall.

"I guess the feds got lucky today," said Joe Lopez, Calabrese attorney.

It was a rare understatement from Calabrese's lawyer, Joe "The Shark" Lopez. Just how lucky the feds were at Frank Calabrese's west suburban home will be up to a federal grand jury that continues to look at Outfit evidence, more than two and a half years after Calabrese was convicted of racketeering murder in Operation Family Secrets.

It was a Calabrese family montage that federal agents say concealed some of the mob treasures, a stockpile stashed inside a basement wall.

Authorities removed seven loaded guns wrapped in paper towels and, they say, wiped clean of prints. Investigators believe the guns were used in Outfit crimes. They found envelopes, each stuffed with cash totaling $728,481. And, according to an FBI affidavit, they also found 1,000 pieces of jewelry, including loose diamonds.

"I don't know whose it is. My client hasn't been in that house since 1995. He's been in continuous custody," said Lopez.

Indeed, the last time we saw Calabrese, Sr. as a free man was 15 years ago running from the I-Team's camera.

Even when Frank "The Breeze" catches wind of what happened at his house Tuesday morning, it won't affect him as it could John "No Nose" DiFronzo and other current leaders of the Outfit who are still on the street and in the feds' cross hairs. That is because of what may be heard on numerous microcassette tapes, 10 to 15 tapes, according to the affidavit, found hidden behind a wall. The FBI believes Calabrese himself probably recorded the conversations with other top hoodlums over the years as he rose through the ranks. Those conversations could finally do them in.

"I don't see any further charges or anything being put against Mr. Calabrese. If the government's theory is that material all belongs to Mr. Calabrese, that's something from the past that he's already been convicted of," said Lopez.

Federal agents and prosecutors did not comment on Wednesday's development or answer questions such as: could the loose diamonds have once been part of the famous 45-carat Marlborough diamond stolen by the mob in 1980?