New England mobster Anthony "The Saint'' St. Laurent, who was convicted of trying to hire someone to kill a rival mafia member, died Monday, two weeks after being released from federal prison. He was 75.
St. Laurent died at a hospital in Providence of what appears to be natural causes, said Richard Tamburini, police chief in Johnston, where St. Laurent lived.
"He had well-documented illnesses for a long time,'' Tamburini said. "He was very sick when he was released from prison.''
Tamburini called him "one of the old-school wise guys.''
St. Laurent was a captain in the Patriarca crime family and had a long criminal record dating to 1961, including convictions for running a multistate gambling operation from a Kentucky prison cell and for conspiring to extort $50,000 from two men by threatening them with physical violence.
He pleaded guilty in 2011 to attempting to orchestrate a hit on rival mobster Bobby DeLuca after DeLuca accused St. Laurent of being a government informant, which St. Laurent denied.
When he entered his plea, St. Laurent acknowledged trying to hire a person who ended up being an FBI informant to carry out the plot.
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According to court documents in the case, the informant secretly recorded their conversations. A partial transcript showed St. Laurent wanted the hit man to shoot DeLuca in the head but not before delivering a message.
"Say: `This is from The Saint,''' he told him.
The hit never happened. St. Laurent, who appeared in court in a wheelchair and using an oxygen tank, said he only intended to "scare'' DeLuca. His lawyer told the judge his client was penniless and the plot was the product of a ``senseless feud'' between two older men that never came close to being carried out.
The judge described the plan as "clownish,'' then sentenced St. Laurent to seven years in prison.