Bobby Kennedy — Double Cross

When Bobby Kennedy was appointed attorney general by his brother, he went after the Mafia in a big way. His two main targets were New Orleans boss Carlos Marcello and Teamsters head Jimmy Hoffa. Bobby made it his mission to take on organized crime, unaware of the serious repercussions his actions may generate. Increasing the federal budget for Mafia busting, the Justice Department under Bobby Kennedy was gearing up for a major battle. In looking at the Mafia-did-it theory, the most popular motive is that the Mafia was not happy with the double cross its members felt they were getting from the Kennedys.

Marcello on the Plane

The first casualty of Bobby's war on the mob was Carlos Marcello. Marcello had never bothered to become an American citizen. As a result he was subject to deportation. To combat this, he had a bogus birth certificate created that said he was born in Guatemala. He did not want to be returned to Italy or to his actual birthplace, Tunisia, in North Africa. Bobby Kennedy took this opportunity to rid the country of one of its top wise guys. He deported the Cajun don to Guatemala. Marcello was humiliated. He had a terrible ordeal trying to get back into the United States, including being stranded in the Central American jungles by the local military and wandering lost in the rain forests for three days. He was not without influence, however, and eventually made it back to the United States. He sued Robert Kennedy for illegally deporting him. Mafia informants maintain that he spoke openly of killing not the pesky Robert but his brother President John Kennedy.


Robert Kennedy also angered Jimmy Hoffa. The Teamsters president had ties with mobsters from all over the country. He shared a lawyer, Frank Ragano, with Santo Trafficante Jr. In the early 1990s Ragano came out with an unbelievable story. He maintained that he delivered messages from Hoffa to Marcello and Trafficante, setting in motion the plot to kill President Kennedy. Hoffa was a hothead, but he would have had to go through Mafia channels to pull off an assassination this large.

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