Famous Unsolved Crimes Disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa Part 2

About a famous unsolved crime involving the disappearance of labor leader Jimmy Hoffa, history of the investigation, clues, and unanswered questions.


Jimmy Hoffa Disappearance (1975)

Clues: The FBI eventually came up with an informer who, on a pledge of secrecy, spilled a story of Hoffa's assassination. His name was "Little Ralph" Picardo, and he was doing 17 to 23 years for procuring a murder. (Picardo's identity was not a mystery for long; Tony Pro learned it right away.) Obviously, Picardo was looking for a reduction of his "heavy time," but he did have an insider's knowledge of affairs in Tony Pro's New Jersey Local 560. Picardo said those involved in Hoffa's death were Tony Pro and several Teamster muscle men, including Gabriel Briguglio, 36, his brother Salvatore, 47, and Thomas Andretta, 38. A man sitting beside Hoffa in the backseat of the car probably hit him over the head, and he was then permanently dispatched either in the car or elsewhere. Hoffa's body, Picardo said, was popped into a 55-gallon oil drum and transported east for disposal in a Jersey City, N.J., garbage dump. An FBI hunt at the dump did not yield Hoffa's body. Finally, the agency assumed the body had never left Michigan, but instead had been disposed of in a large trash shredder, compactor, or incinerator at Central Sanitation Services in Hamtramck--a refuse company owned by two Detroit crime figures, Peter Vitale and Raffael Quasarano.

Unanswered Question: Unfortunately, the government has failed to get confessions to back up this version. Salvatore Briguglio reportedly started to sing but was murdered in front of a New York restaurant in March, 1978. O'Brien, reputed to be unwaveringly loyal to Hoffa, denied having done anything to hurt him. More importantly, the plot, as expounded by the FBI, had odd aspects. For example, why would Giacalone and Tony Pro link themselves in advance with a meeting where Hoffa was to be assassinated? They risked Hoffa's talking about it--as he did to a number of parties. Not surprisingly, both Giacalone and Tony Pro produced alibis for the time period involved; Giacalone was in a health club, and Tony Pro was in faraway Union City, N.J. The likely explanation is that the pair was carrying out orders of higher-ups and had to proceed with the plan despite being forced to be "up front." An even better question, never raised apparently, is Why, if a rub out was planned, did the hit men arrive 45 minutes late, risking Hoffa's angry departure? Hit men seldom lack the virtue of punctuality.

Still, the FBI version beats a version advanced by another target of the Hoffa inquiry, teamster official Roland McMaster, who said: "Teamsters have professional ethics just like reporters. We don't shoot people and kill people." He theorized that Hoffa "ran off to Brazil with a black go-go dancer" to avoid continued "persecution" by the government. "I hired a soothsayer and asked her where Jimmy was. That's what she told me," said McMaster. With that it seemed clear that Missing Person #75-3425 will stay one for some time to come.

Whom to Notify: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Pennsylvania Avenue between 9th Avenue and 10th Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C. 20535.

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