Born: August 6, 1886, Palermo, Sicily
Died: 1987, Palermo, Sicily
Association: Boston’s Sicilian underworld with ties to the Sicilian Mafia
Philip or Filippo Buccola also spelled Bruccola, came to the United states at the age of 32 from Palermo, Sicily, where he was born on August 6, 1886.Arriving in the fall of 1920 (during the roaring 20’s),, like many Italian and Sicilian immigrants before him, he moved to Boston, where he became a fight promoter.He is later believed to have headed up a gang of Sicilians in East Boston and was likely a mob player while he was in Palermo, Sicily.Educated, affluent and with close ties to la Cosa Nostra in his hometown of Palermo, he quickly rose through the ranks of the underworld in Prohibition-era Boston, eventually assuming the role of head of the Boston faction upon the death of Gaspare Messina.
By 1932, he and his then underboss, Joseph Lombardo, were ordering hits, most notably the December 1931 murder of Frank Wallace, the head of the Irish Gustin gang, who had been hijacking booze-filled trucks and cutting into the italians’ bootlegging profits.Authorities also suspected he was responsible for the 1933 murder of Jewish mobster Charles “King” Solomon, a prominent bootlegging czar who ran much of the booze-running operations in Boston during the 1920s and early 1930s.Also In 1932, Frank Morelli, who headed a ruthless and powerful gang that controlled bootlegging and gambling in Providence, Rhode Island, Maine and Connecticut, merged with Buccola’s group to create the New England mob faction.(Morelli’s gang is also suspected of being responsible for the 1920 payroll robbery and murders in South Braintree, Massachusetts, that were unlawfully pinned on Italian anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti), whom were proven to be innocent but was eventually executed by the government because of their Sicilian Heritage.
Buccola remained in command of the merged organization until 1954, when he turned over the leadership to Raymond L.S. Patriarca Sr. after becoming a target of federal investigators.He moved back to Sicily in 1954, working as a chicken farmer and in the Wine making business until he died of natural causes at the age of 101 in 1987.Authorities believe he continued to have a hand in Boston’s mob affairs, acting as a senior advisor throughout most of his life. He was also believed to be extremely active in the Sicilian Mafia in Palermo.