House of Representatives Committee on the Assassination of John F. Kennedy
III. CARLOS MARCELLO
o The position of Marcello within the National Crime Syndicate
o Marcello: A Kennedy administration target
§ Deportation efforts
§ Increased Federal pressure
o Alleged assassination threat by Marcello
§ FBI investigation of the allegation
§ Committee investigation of the allegation
§ Becker's statement to the committee
o Analysis of the evidence
Following the completion of its investigation of organized crime, the committee concluded in its report that Carlos Marcello, Santos Trafficante, and James R. Hoffa each had the motive, means, and opportunity to plan and execute a conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy. On the basis of the available evidence, the committee concluded that it was unlikely that any one of them was involved in such a conspiracy. Nevertheless, the possibility that one or more of them was involved could not be precluded.
While the committee's investigation established evidence of association between Jack Ruby, the murderer of the President's assassin, and acquaintances or associates of Marcello, Trafficante, and Hoffa, similar evidence was difficult to establish in the case of Lee Harvey Oswald. Despite this, some such associations--both direct and indirect-were in fact indicated in varying degrees between Oswald and various figures having at least some affiliation or association with the organized crime network of Marcello, the long-time leader? of the Maria in New Orleans and surrounding regions.
Marcello was, as noted in the consultant's report, one of the major leaders of the national crime syndicate. Certainly, he was one of the most successful at evading the intelligence-gathering efforts of law enforcement agencies and at avoiding conviction, at least in recent years. He became a prime target of the Kennedy administration, which was determined to conclude the very protracted deportation proceedings that had been initiated against him in 1953. The seriousness of Robert Kennedy's intent was evidenced by the successful, albeit brief, deportation of Marcello in 1961. The Federal Government also stepped up other investigative efforts, principally in the area of tax evasion and intelligence gathering.THE POSITION OF MARCELLO WITHIN THE NATIONAL CRIME SYNDICATE
Carlos Marcello, now 68, has been identified by Federal authorities as the leading Marfa figure in New Orleans, La., for almost 30 years. (1) His criminal syndicate has long provided a classic illustration of the destructive impact that organized crime has on American society.
The exact place of Marcello's birth on February 6, 1910, has long been in doubt, and at one point was a central question in a lengthy deportation proceeding. Nevertheless, it is generally believed that Marcello was born in Tunis, North Africa, with the name Calogero Minacore.
Marcello's first contact with the law came on November 29, 1929, when he was arrested at the age of 19 by New Orleans police as accessory before and after the robbery of a local bank.(3) The charges were subsequently dismissed. Less than 6 months later, on May 13, 1930, he was convicted of assault and robbery and was sentenced to the State penitentiary for 9 to 14 years. He served less than 5.
(4) It was during his prosecution on these charges that Marcello first came to the attention of the public and press. Testimony disclosed that he had personally planned the crime -- a grocery store robbery -- using an interesting method of operation. (5) In testimony before the McClellan Senate committee in 1959, Aaron M. Kohn, the managing director of the Metropolitan Crime Commission of New Orleans and a former FBI agent testified that Marcello had shielded his own complicity in the crime by inducing two juveniles to carry out the robbery. (6) Kohn testified that Marcello and a confederate had supplied the juveniles with a gun and instructions on their "getaway."(7) The plan had gone awry when the two were later apprehended and pressured by authorities to identify the "higher-ups."(8) Kohn also noted that Marcello "was referred to as a Fagin" in press accounts at the time, in an apparent reference to the Dickens character who cruited juveniles to carry out his crimes. (9)
In 1935, after receiving a pardon by the Governor of Louisiana, Marcello's early underworld career continued,
with charges being filed against him for a second assault and robbery, violation of Federal Internal Revenue laws, assault with intent to kill a New Orleans police officer, and yet another assault and robbery.(10) Marcello was not prosecuted on the various charges.
In 1938, as part of what Federal agents described as "the biggest marihuana ring in New Orleans history "Marcello was arrested and charged with the sale of more than 23 pounds of illegal substance.(11) Despite receiving another lengthy prison sentence and a $76,830 fine, Marcello served less than 10 months and arranged to settle his fine for $400.
(12) Other charges were brought against Marcello over the next several years, stemming from such alleged offenses as narcotics sale, a high-speed automobile chase, and assaulting an investigative reporter; these were never prosecuted, and the records have since disappeared.
During the 1940's, Marcello became associated with New York Mafia leader Frank Costello in the operation of a slot machine network. (14) Costello was then regarded by some authorities as one of the most influential leaders of organized crime in the United States and was commonly referred to in the newspapers as the Mafia's "boss of all bosses" or "prime minister of the underworld." Marcello's association with Costello in various Louisiana gambling activities had come about following a reported agreement between Costello and Senator Huey Long that allowed for the introduction of slot machines into New Orleans. (15)
Marcello was also involved in Louisiana gambling through his family-owned Jefferson Music Company, which came to dominate the slot machine, pinball and juke box trade in the New Orleans area. (16) By the late 1940's, in an alliance with Joseph Poretto, Marcello had taken control of the largest racing wire service in New Orleans, the Southern News Service and Publishing Co., which served Louisiana's prosperous gambling network.
(17) Marcello and other associates also gained control of the two best-known gambling casinos in the New Orleans area, the Beverly Club and New Southport Club; the Beverly Club brought Marcello into partnership with the syndicate financier, Meyer Lansky. (18)
By the late 1950's, the Nola Printing Co., of New Orleans, gambling wire service controlled by the Marcello interests, was serving bookmakers and relay centers throughout the State of Louisiana, as well as areas as diverse as Chicago, Houston, Miami, Hot Springs, Indianapolis and Detroit and cities in Alabama and Mississippi. (19)
In a statement prepared for the House Judiciary Committee in 1970, Kohn outlined the continuing expansion of Marcello's holdings during the 1940's and 1950's:
Marcello and his growing organization developed their capital or bankroll through extensive gambling, including casinos, slot machines, pinball, handbooks, layoff, football pools, dice, card games, roulette and bingo; also narcotics, prostitution, extortion, clipjoint operations B-drinking, marketing stolen goods, robberies, burglaries, and thefts. Their criminal enterprise required, and had, corrupt collusion of public officials at every critical level including police, sheriffs, justices of the peace, prosecutors, mayors, governors, judges, councilmen, licensing authorities, State legislators, and at least one Member of Congress. (20)
When Marcello appeared as a witness before the Kefauver committee on January 25, 1951, he invoked the fifth amendment and refused to respond to questioning on his organized crime activities. (21) Subsequently convicted of contempt of Congress for refusing to respond to the directions of the chair, Marcello was later successful in having his conviction overturned. In its final report, the Kefauver committee concluded that Marcello's domination of organized crime in Louisiana had come about in large part due to the "personal enrichment of sheriffs, marshals, and other law enforcement officials" who received payoffs for "their failure to enforce gambling laws and other statutes relating to vice."(22) The Kefauver report further noted that "In every line of inquiry, the committee found the trail of Carlos Marcello." (23)
The Kefauver report also raised the question of why Marcello, who "has never become a citizen," "had not been deported."(24)
In early 1953, partly as aresult of the national attention he received from the Kefauver committee investigation, Marcello finally became the subject of deportation proceedings; these proceedings continued for over 25 years and were still being conducted in 1979.
(25) Federal officials have noted that Marcello has expended more legal resources in his two and a half decade fight against deportation than in any other such case in American history.
In the years immediately following the Kefauver investigation, Marcello apparently decided to try to escape his public image as Louisiana's "rackets boss." As the New Orleans Crime Commission noted, he took several steps to that end:
Not until Carlos Marcello became a subject of deportation . . . did he start publicly conducting himself in a manner intended to substantiate his claim that he was a legitimate businessman. But this was contrived public relations having little relationship to fact. He continued to direct his underworld government and to press further expansion. He became involved in a series of motel transactions involving millions of dollars, and land negotiations of even greater worth. But for the most part, he kept his name off the record, using members of his family and trusted lieutenants for that purpose. (26)
Marcello did not attend the national Mafia "conference" at Apalachin, N.Y., of November 14, 1957. Instead, he sent his brother Joseph, the family's underboss, as his personal representative. When the State police discovered the gathering, Joe Marcello was one of those identified as having attended, along with Vito Genovese, Santos Trafficante, Carlo Gambino, Joe Bonanno, Sam Giancana, Russell Bufalino, and Gerardo Catena. Joe Marcello, however, was able to evade arresting officers and escaped from the scene along with Sam Giancana and Carmine Galente. (27) Carlos Marcello was called to testify before the McClellan committee on March 24, 1959, during the committee's extended investigation of labor racketeering and organized crime. Serving as chief counsel to the committee was Robert F. Kennedy; his brother, Senator John F. Kennedy, was a member of the committee. In response to committee questioning, Marcello again invoked the fifth amendment in refusing to answer any questions relating to his background, activities, and associates.(28)
At the conclusion of Marcello's appearance before the committee, Senator Sam Ervin of North Carolina requested of the Chair permission to ask the New Orleans underworld leader one final question:"I would like to know how you managed to stay in the United States for 5 years, 9 months, and 24 days after you were found ordered deported as an undesirable person."(29) Marcello's response to the question -- "I wouldn't know" -- provoked Ervin to state that "the American people's patience ought to run out on this" and that "those who have no claim to any right to remain in America, who come here and prey like leeches upon law-abiding people * * * ought to be removed from this country." (30) Senator Karl Mundt joined in Ervin's denunciation, urging prompt action by the Attorney General, and Senator Carl Curtis further remarked to Marcello that "I think you ought to pack up your bags and voluntarily depart? (31)
By the early 1960's Carlos Marcello was widely recognized as one of the 10 most powerful Mafia leaders in the United. States; he was a La Cosa Nostra boss whose businesslike approach, political influence, and power were particularly respected within the national underworld. His 30-year record of advancement in the organized crime hierarchy, together with his influence in Louisiana and neighboring States, secured a position of special respect for him among his syndicate peers.It was this same record of underworld achievement, as will be discussed later, that also led to Carlos Marcello's becoming a special target of investigation by the Department of Justice while John F. Kennedy was President and Robert F. Kennedy, Attorney General.
In February 1964, the Saturday Evening Post reported additional information about the growth of Marcello's criminal enterprises, disclosing figures prepared by the New Orleans Crime Commission. Of particular note was the prominent role which the New Orleans Mafia had come to assume under Marcello's direction by 1963:
One of the things that distinguishes this branch is its talent at high finance. So adept has it become at handling large sums of money -- both for itself and for the national organization -- that it is sometimes called the Wall Street of Cosa Nostra. Its annum income runs to $1,114,000,000, making it by far the State's largest industry, according to * * * the metropolitan crime commission * * * The sum is all the more remarkable in that it compares with the estimated $2 billion racketeer take in Chicago and environs, and area with more than five times the population of metropolitan New Orleans.(32)
The crime commission had estimated that the Marcello controlled syndicate generated at least $500 million annually from illegal gambling; $400 million from diverse "legitimate interests" in the fields of transportation, finance, housing, and service industries; $100 million from illegal activities in over 1,500 syndicate-connected bars and taverns; $8 million from professional burglaries and holdups; $6 million from prostitution; and another $100 million in the form underpayment of taxes. (33) The size of the Marcello organization's annual income is significant in the context of the reported national income of organized crime. Former Attorney General Ramsey Clark has noted that the most conservative estimates indicate that "the profits for organized crime [are] comparable to those of the 10 largest industrial corporations combined * * * General Motors, Standard Oil, Ford, General Electric, Chrysler, IBM, Mobil Oil, Texaco, Gulf, and U.S. Steel together. * * *"(34) In testimony before the House Select Committee on Crime several years ago, Marcello provided a significantly different account his income, stating that he earned "a salary of about $1,600 a month" as a tomato salesman, traveling to various fruit stands and markets in the New Orleans area.
He also testified that he made a living through various land investments. (35)
While Marcello's influence and stature as a Mafia leader was well-known to both his underworld colleagues and Federal and State authorities by the early 1960's, another significant aspect of his careers -- his relationship with the Mafia's national governing commission -- was not confirmed until several years later. While it was known that the New Orleans Mafia had been the first branch of the Mafia in America (the Sicilian La Cosa Nostra had entered the United States through the port of New Orleans during the 1880's
) whether it had extraordinary special privileges within the national syndicate had long been mystery. During the late 1960's the FBI learned new and substantive information regarding its unique position. Sensitive Bureau reports on La Cosa Nostra set forth the details obtained from a highly reliable source. Among them were the following:
* * * he learned that the first "family" of what has now become known as La Cosa Nostra (LCN) came from Sicily and settled in New Orleans * * * the source noted that inasmuch as this "family" was the predecessor of all subsequent "families," it has been afforded the highest respect and esteem, and because of its exalted position, the New Orleans "family" could make decisions on its own without going to the "Commission." (36) * * * the source learned that the New Orleans "family" could have, on its own, "opened the books," [admitting new members into the organization] but because of the tact and diplomacy of Carlos Marcello he sought "Commission" approval in making new "soldiers," which the "Commission" naturally granted * * *.(37)
Aaron Kolm believed that Marcello's underworld syndicate had "a more than autonomous combination of circumstances because of the remoteness of New Orleans" (37) and thus enjoyed an unusually independent relationship with the ruling commission of the Mafia. (38) Patrick Collins, an FBI agent who investigated the Marcello organization during the late 1960's, expressed a similar view regarding Marcello's relationship with the underworld commission. He told the committee that the New Orleans Mafia family "was unique among all the mobs" (39) in that it "didn't have to consult the commission in the same way as the other families did; there was a unique independence of sorts."(40) Collins said further that "the commission wouldn't question Marcello about making new members. He was not subject to the necessity of clearing such things with the commission, like the other families were."(41) In addition Marcello "is probably the single most respected boss among all of the others" in La Cosa Nostra and "has been for years."
In late 1966, Marcello's status in organized crime was underscored when he was arrested in New York along with Carlo Gambino, then the Mafia's reported "boss of all bosses" at a summit meeting of La Cosa Nostra leaders. (43) On September 22, 1966, New York police arrested those two, Santos Trafficante, Joe Colombo, Thomas Eboli, Mike Miranda and several others at the La Stella restaurant on Long Island; this mob gathering was quickly dubbed by the newspapers "the Little Apalachin" conference. (44) While authorities came to believe that the La Stella "luncheon" was actually a pro forma gathering following a more serious meeting (probably of the night before), the assemblage has never been fully explained. (45) In his testimony before the committee, Marcello stated there had been no substance to the gathering:"We just walked in. When we walked in we got arrested. We didn't have time to eat or talk."(46) None of those arrested were convicted of a crime. The seating arrangement was as follows:Seating Arrangement at La Stella
Eight days after, the La Stella arrests, upon his return to New Orleans International Airport, Marcello committed the only Federal offense for which he has been tried and convicted in recent times. On September 30, 1966, as he made his way through the crowd of newsmen and spectators who had gathered to watch his return, Marcello had a verbal exchange with a man in the crowd who he believed was impeding his way. (47) Shouting "I'm the boss here!", Marcello took a wild swing with his fist at the man.(48) The man turned out to be FBI Special Agent Patrick Collins.(49) Arrested by FBI agents on the following day and charged with assault, Marcello was eventually tried in Laredo, Tex. The trial resulted in a hung jury (the New Orleans Crime Commission subsequently conclude that "There were substantial reasons to suspect jury tampering had occurred."). (50)
Under the vigorous direction of the New Orleans strike force, Marcello was retried and subsequently convicted in Houston, Tex., on August 9, 1968. (51) Originally sentenced to 2 years in Federal prison, Marcello served less than 6 months, he was released on March 12, 1971. As the New Orleans Crime Commission noted at the time the large number of prestigious individuals who sought to intercede on his behalf, urging clemency, further underscored the depth of his influence in Louisiana. (52)
During the late 1960's and early 1970's, Marcello and his organized crime activities were the subject of renewed public attention. He was referred to by the chief of police in Youngstown, Ohio, as "the archetype of the devious pattern of the Mafiosi." (53) On September 1967, Life magazine also identified Marcello as one of the "handful" of men who controlled organized crime throughout the Nation.(54) In a special investigative report, the magazine reported that Marcello was personally directing a national La Cosa Nostra scheme to secure the release of Teamster leader James R. Hoffa from Federal prison through attempts to bribe the former chief prosecution witness against him to recant his testimony.(55
) Life said that various key Mafia leaders in the east had given the alleged free-Hoffa assignment to Marcello, along with personal pledges of between $1 to $2 million to effect the plan. (56) (The effort was to fail.) In its following issue, Life went on to portray Marcello as "King Thug of Louisiana." reporting that he was one of the State's wealthiest men and "the lord of one of the richest and most corrupt criminal fiefdoms in the land." (57)
In August 1969, Look magazine reported on Marcello's political and criminal influence in the Gulf States region. (58)
On March 1, 1970, UPI stated that there were indications that Marcello might be preparing to leave the United States, rather than submit to the forthcoming imprisonment growing out of his conviction for assaulting the FBI agent. (59) According to the story, Marcello's attorney, G. Wray Gill, had denied the rumor, stating, "This is where Marcello wants to be and nobody can put Marcello out of the country unless they put a shotgun to his head."
(60) On March 2, amid television reports in New Orleans that Marcello would in fact flee the country, the New Orleans States-Item reported that there was no firm evidence to support the rumors. (61) In fact, Marcello never did leave the country.
In its April 10, 1970 issue Life published a followup to its investigation of Marcello of 3 years earlier, concluding that "Marcello, now 60, not only continues to dominate [Louisiana] but grows vastly richer each year at public expense."(62) The magazine detailed various alleged relationships between Marcello and key State officials and reported on two recent organized crime murders attributed to the Marcello organization. (63) The following month, in May 1970, labor columnist Victor Riesel reported that Federal organized crime investigators had concluded that Carlos Marcello had become one of the two most powerful Mafia leaders in the Nation, second only to Carlo Gambino, the actual "boss of all bosses."(64) Riesel stated that Federal officials had come to view Marcello as the single most influential organized crime figure in the Nation outside of New York. (65)
In the fall of 1970, the Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times published further accounts of Marcello's more recent activities, with the Times reporting that his criminal organization had expanded to unprecedented dimensions. (66)Appearing before the House Select Committee on Crime in June of 1972 Marcello repeated his claims that he was not involved with organized crime. He testified that he did not know what a racketeer was
; (67) did not have any business interests outside of Louisiana; (68) had never contributed any funds to political figures in an effort to gain influence; (69) and had not been significantly acquainted with any national organized crime leaders with the exception of Santos Trafficante (70) and the late Frank Costello. (71)
In response to a question by a member of the crime committee as to how he could "account for the fact [that] you have been repeatedly identified as a significant figure in organized crime by apparently responsible people," Marcello responded that he had been the subject of "false statements" ever since the Kefauver committee investigation of 1951. (72) Marcello testified that although numerous Federal and State investigators had caused him to be the subject of negative publicity, "I am not in no racket. I am not in no organized crime."(73)MARCELLO: A KENNEDY ADMINISTRATION TARGET
Deportation efforts Carlos Marcello and his syndicate became a primary target of investigation by the Department of Justice during the Kennedy administration. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy viewed him as one of the most powerful and threatening Mafia leaders in the Nation and ordered that the Justice Department focus on him, along with other figures such as Teamsters president Hoffa and Chicago Mafia leader Sam Giancana. (74)
In Marcello's case the intent of the Kennedy administration was made known even before Inauguration Day, January 20, 1961. On December 28, 1960, the New Orleans States-Item reported that Attorney General-designate Kennedy was planning specific actions against Marcello. (75) An FBI report from that period noted:On January 12, 1961, a [source] advised that Carlos Marcello is extremely apprehensive and upset and has since the New Orleans States-Item newspaper on December 28, 1960 published a news story reporting that... Robert F. Kennedy stated he would expedite the deportation proceedings pending against Marcello after Kennedy takes office in January 1961. (76)
The Bureau's La Cosa Nostra file for 1961 noted that Marcello flew to Washington, D.C., shortly after the inauguration of President Kennedy and was in touch with a number of political and business associates.(77) While there, he placed a telephone call to the office of at least one Congressman. (78)
Bureau records further indicate that Marcello initiated various efforts to forestall or prevent the anticipated prompt deportation action. An FBI report noted that Marcello may have tried a circuitous approach. (79) Through a source, the Bureau learned of another Mafia leader's account of how Marcello had reportedly proceeded.(80) Philadelphia underworld leader Angelo Bruno discussed a specific attempt by Marcello to forestall an action by the immigration authorities.(81) According to the Philadelphia underworld leader Marcello had enlisted his close Mafia associate, Santos Trafficante of Florida, in the reported plan. (82) Trafficante in turn contacted Frank Sinatra to have the singer use his friendship with the Kennedy family on Marcello's behalf. (83) This effort met with failure and may even have resulted in intensified Federal efforts against Marcello. (84)
In response to Attorney General Kennedy's strong interest in Marcello, the New Orleans FBI office prepared a report on him and his Mafia associates for FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover on February 13, 1961. (85) A report prepared under the direction of special Agent Regis Kennedy, the New Orleans office stated that "Continued investigation of Carlos Maxcello since December 1957, has failed to develop vulnerable area wherein Marcello may be in violation of statutes within the FBI's jurisdiction." (86)
This assessment by the New Orleans office illustrated why Justice Department and other law enforcement officials viewed as less than satisfactory its performance prior to the mid-1960's in investigating organized crime.
While the committee carefully examined numerous areas of information pertaining to the proficiency of the FBI in investigating organized crime during the 1950's and early 1960's and found various areas in which Bureau performance was significantly deficient, the city of New Orleans was a special case. The indications are that the Bureau's limited work on the Marcello case may have been attributable to a disturbing attitude on the part of the senior agent who supervised the case, Regis Kennedy. He had been in charge of the Bureau's work on Marcello and the New Orleans Mafia for years and also directed much of the FBI investigation in that city of President Kennedy's assassination. In an interview with the committee several months before his death in 1978, Kennedy had stated that he believed Marcello was not engaged in any organized crime activities or other illegal actions during the period from 1959 until at least 1963. (87) He also stated that he did not believe Marcello was a significant organized crime figure and did not believe that he was currently involved in criminal enterprises. (88)
Kennedy further informed the committee that he believed Marcello would "stay away" from any improper activity and in reality did earn his living as a tomato salesman and real estate investor. (89)
In response to the question of why Marcello had been consistently identified as one of the Nation's most powerful Mafia leaders by Federal authorities for over 20 years, Kennedy stated that the New Orleans FBI office did not know why Marcello was so identified. (90) He further stated that the New Orleans office had simply responded to periodic directives from Washington instructing it to monitor Marcello, but had not selected him from investigative attention on its own.(91)
In November 1978, the managing director of the New Orleans Crime Commission, Aaron Kohn, testified that agent Kennedy's surprising views about Carlos Marcello were well-known to him during that period. (92) While Kennedy had served the Bureau with distinction in other areas, his attitude toward investigating the organized crime syndicate in New Orleans was one of negativism and ridicule; (93) it was also accompanied by a belief that Carlos Marcello was not in any way a significant criminal figure. (94)
In an interview with the committee on November 15, 1978, Kennedy's successor as the FBI organized crime case agent in New Orleans, Patrick Collins, stated that Kennedy "had taken the Deep South approach to organized crime; it's up North but it sure isn't down here." (95) Further, Kennedy and other agents "didn't see Marcello for what he is. It is incredible to think, but they didn't understand that this was a Mafia family down in New Orleans." (96) While stating that he had a high regard for Kennedy's other work, Collins said he believed Kennedy's attitude was one of "boredom" over having to file periodic reports on Marcello and organized crime. (97)
While the New Orleans FBI office's assessment of Marcello and his activities did not significantly contribute to the Federal efforts against him, other agencies were pressing the drive in a more substantive way. On March 3, 1961, General Joseph Swing of the Immigration and Naturalization Service advised the FBI that: . . . the Attorney General had been emphasizing . . . the importance of taking prompt action to deport notorious hoodlums. In this connection, the Marcello case is of particular interest. A final order of deportation has been entered against Marcello but this fact is being held in strictest confidence. (98) On the afternoon of April 4, 1961, 8 years after he was ordered deported, Carlos Marcello was finally ejected from the United States. As he walked into the INS office in New Orleans for his regular appointment to report as an alien, he was arrested and handcuffed by INS officials. (99) He was then rushed to the New Orleans airport and flown to Guatemala.(100) Marcello's attorneys denounced the deportation later that day, terming it "cruel and uncivilized," and noted that their client had not been allowed to telephone his attorney or see his wife.(101)
On the following day, April 5, 1961, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy stated that "Marcello's deportation was in strict accordance with the law."(102) Justice Department officials noted that while Marcello had not been allowed to call an attorney, one of his attorneys was present with him at the time, and that INS officials had unsuccessfully tried to bring Mrs. Marcello to the airport to meet him. (103) The officials noted that special security precautions had been taken to insure against Marcello's escape prior to actual deportation(104) because he had disappeared several times in the past when deportation proceedings were reaching critical junctures. (105) (As will be seen, such precautions were unable to prevent Marcello's return to the country 2 months later.
In testimony before the committee on January 11, 1978, Marcello stated that he had not been surprised that Attorney General Kennedy had decided to press his deportation. (106) He noted, that "he [Kennedy] said * * * he would see that I be deported just as soon as he got in office. Well, he got in office January 20 * * * and April the 4th he deported me." (107)
As he had in the past on several occasions, Marcello referred to his 1961 deportation as an illegal "kidnaping."
(108) In his [MISSING] ance before the committee, he testified that "two marshals put the handcuffs on me and they told me that I was being kidnaped and being brought to Guatemala, which they did, and in 30 minutes time I was in the plane."(109) He further testified that "they dumped me off in Guatemala, and I asked them, let me use the phone to call my wife, let me get my clothes, something they wouldn't hear about. They just snatched me and that is it, actually kidnaped me." (110)
On April 10, 1961, 6 days after he was deported, the Internal Revenue Service filed a $835,396 tax lien against Marcello and his wife. (111) On April 23, news reports disclosed that Marcello was being held in custody by Guatemalan authorities in connection with what were reported to be false citizenship papers he had presented on arrival there April 6. (112) On May 4, Guatemalan President Miguel Fuentes ordered that Marcello be expelled; he was driven to and released at the El Salvador border late that night. (113)
On May 19, 1961, a Federal court in Washington ruled that Marcello's deportation was fully valid and denied a motion by his attorneys that it be declared illegal. (114) With that ruling, Marcello's reentry to the country was prohibited. (115 ) Less than 2 weeks later, Marcello secretly gained entry into the United States. On June 2 1961, confirming widespread rumors that their client had somehow slipped back in, Marcello's attorneys announced he had returned and was in hiding.(116) Federal investigators have never been able to establish in detail his means of entry.
On June 5, 1961, after Attorney General Kennedy dispatched 20 Federal agents to Shreveport, La., to conduct a search for Marcello, the Louisiana crime leader voluntarily surrendered in New Orleans and was ordered held in an alien detention center at McAllen, Tex.(117) On June 8, a Federal grand jury indicted him for illegal reentry;(118) on July 11, the INS ruled he was an undesirable alien and once again ordered him deported. (119)
On June 16, 1961, the FBI received a report that a U.S. Senator from Louisiana might have sought to intervene on Marcello's behalf. (120) This Senator had reportedly received "financial aid from Marcello" in the past and was sponsoring a Louisiana official for a key INS position from which assistance might be rendered. (121).
In July 1961, the Justice Department's organized crime section with the assistance of codebreaking specialists of the FBI, made an effort to decode what was believed to be a secret communication involving Marcello and an associate.(122) While senior aides to Attorney General Kennedy sought to decipher the reported Marcello message, the FBI Laboratory concluded that:
Because of the brevity of the text, no determination as to the meaning of the possible code * * * could be made. It is possible, however, that the names in the text * * * represent double meaning, wherein certain words are given arbitrary meanings by the correspondents. (123) While the various court actions and appeals on Marcello's deportation and illegal reentry were continuing in the fall of 1961, he was again called before the McClellan committee to testify about organized crime gambling activities in Louisiana. (124) In response to committee questions Marcello invoked the fifth amendment, refusing to provide any information other than his name and alleged place of birth. (125)
On October 30, 1961, Attorney General Kennedy announced the indictment of Marcello by a Federal grand jury in New Orleans on charges of conspiracy in falsifying a Guatemalan birth certificate and committing perjury. (126) Marcello's brother, Joseph was also charged in the alleged falsification of the birth certificate. (127)
On December 20, 1961, with Marcello free on a $10,000 bond, the five-member Board of Immigration Appeals upheld the deportation order against Marcello, denying another appeal by Marcello attorneys that it be declared invalid. (128)
In October 1962, a Bureau of Narcotics report described Marcello as "one of the Nation's leading racketeers" and noted that he was "currently under intensive investigation by the Internal Revenue Service Intelligence Division for tax fraud."(129) The report also noted that Marcello was then instituting a further legal step to forestall deportation. (130) Marcello's attorneys had filed a legal writ in an effort to set aside his Federal conviction on narcotics charges from years earlier.(131) This conviction was one of the key factors in the ongoing deportation proceedings against him.(132)
On October 31, 1962, a Federal court ruled against Marcello's attempt to have the 1938 drug conviction nullified. (133) The court said that his claim that he had not had counsel present when he pied guilty to the narcotics charge on October 29, 1938, was false, (134) as was his claim that he had not known of his rights and could not afford an attorney. (135)