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Breaking the Code


"I was in the place a couple of hours before the fight broke out,” Darin said. “Louis Balancio is already in the bar with another guy, who I know socially but I never did business with. At the same time Balancio’s friends are trying to get in, there is an Albanian crew trying to get in. But they had a fight outside the place too, and DiSimone don’t want to let them in. The Irish guys and the Albanian guys start to fight outside at the top of the steps. There is a rumble. I got out. We are 100 percent on the Irish guys’ side. DiSimone came out to help me and them. I am gonna fight this Albanian kid near the underpass, but he says he knows my brother. I run back past the bar, see Balancio bleeding on the ground. He’s going to die.

“We get in Anthony DiSimone’s car. We were ready to pull out of the parking lot, and Anthony pulled out a pistol to shoot people running. The kid was in a rage, I guess you could say. On the way to my house, we throw the knife out the window. Anthony’s driving. He has blood on his clothes and his hands. I take him into the house and bandage his hands in my bathroom. He says, ‘I killed an Albanian kid.’ I say, ‘That kid you killed, I don’t think he was Albanian, I think it’s a friend of one of the younger guys.’ He was thinking it was an Albanian he grabbed, because he never saw Balancio before. He just stabbed him up.

“I call the bar from my house and speak to one of the owners. He says, ‘Tell Anthony to get out of here; that kid’s dead.’ My roommate, Freddy Boy, walks in. We’re going to help each other any way we can.” They put all the bloody clothes in bags. “Freddy Boy leaves with the clothes, and he leaves with Anthony’s gun. He also leaves with the money we had in the house -- in case the cops get a warrant and find it -- about $100,000. Freddy leaves with the garbage bags.”

About twelve hours after the Balancio murder, FBI agent Calore, a former Boston cop, was sitting in his government-issue Chevrolet Caprice, eating a hamburger outside the White Castle restaurant on Bruckner Boulevard. He watched as a white Mercedes pulled into the lot and a man got out, looked around nervously, and dropped a paper bag in a Dumpster. At the time, Calore was working on an old murder case involving another mobster, and he was curious. The guy, who was with a woman, returned to the car and finished eating. Then he went back and dropped a second bag in the Dumpster. The agent waited until they left, and after running the plate and discovering it belonged to “Blue Eyes” Santorelli, expected to find gambling receipts in the bags. Instead, Calore found the bloody clothes.

“This part is amazing,” Darin Mazzarella told me. “Freddy is a street guy -- and he has to give the bloody clothes to his father? The father has to be the dumbest fucking wiseguy of all time. He has two fireplaces in his house -- and he drops them off in the Bronx and he doesn’t see the only other white guy in that neighborhood sitting in the parking lot in an FBI car? I am working with morons here. Anyway, we took Anthony to my friend Vinnie Russo’s house, who later gets arrested with his father and Junior Gotti. We waited until DiSimone’s father, Sally Bo, decided what to do. Sally Bo, a Lucchese capo, sent another person, who is also a made guy, to get Anthony. The last I seen of Anthony DiSimone, he was wearing my Raiders jacket. He says, ‘See you in about ten years, guys.’ Anthony DiSimone ain’t ever been seen again.”

The blood on the clothing Dave Calore found in the Dumpster was fresh, but he couldn’t connect it with a mob murder, and it took years to find out what really happened. Ultimately, he sent the clothes to the bureau’s lab in Quantico, along with a sample of Louis Balancio’s blood. It was a perfect match.

Mazzarella was arrested for the murder in December 1996. Jeanine Pirro, the Westchester D.A.; Mary Joe White, the federal prosecutor; and James Kallstrom, the former assistant director of the New York FBI office, announced the arrests. In August 1997, Darin’s future wife met with Calore on the sly and told him that Darin wanted to turn. In February, the D.A. quietly dropped the murder charges against Mazzarella. Two weeks ago, “Blue Eyes” Santorelli was convicted of disposing of evidence. Nicholas Mazzarella and agent Dave Calore were the main witnesses against him. The government is saving Darin for the bigger cases.

Earlier -- in January, after Darin had told me his story -- I met with Louis Balancio’s parents, Jeffrey and Dorothy, in the Bronx, and brought a transcript of my conversations with Mazzarella. Jeff Balancio had just been elected to the Yonkers City Council, having won by a margin of six votes. He read the account of his son’s murder aloud to his wife, a human-sexuality professor at Mercy College. By the time we all met, a murder indictment based on Mazzarella’s grand jury testimony had been issued for Anthony DiSimone, now 31.

“We thought God forgot about us,” Dorothy Balancio said. “Now we finally know what happened.”

The gangster spirit was shot out of Darin Mazzarella’s soul on June 30, 1995. He had played golf that day and was hanging out in the park with Johnnie Boy Petrucelli. A few nights before, Freddie Boy and Darin had beaten up a guy in a Bronx mob bar, knocking out his teeth with a bottle after the guy remarked, “There are no tough guys from Westchester.” They also beat up the sons of the jailed mobster who killed John Petrucelli. The Tanglewood Boys were getting out of control.

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