After almost forty years, a former high-ranking member of Detroit’s La Cosa Nostra says he knows where Jimmy Hoffa is buried and he wants to end his silence about it once and for all.
Tony Zerilli, who at one time rose to the ranks of “underboss”–or second in command–in the infamous crime family, says that while he was in prison when Hoffa was killed, he knows what happened, who did it, and where the body is buried. And while he maintains that he’s not a stool pigeon and won’t give up any names, he does want to put an end to the mystery of what happened to the legendary mafia figure.
Zerilli says that Hoffa went to meet two people–an alleged member of the Detroit mafia and a teamster from New Jersey–at a restaurant in Detroit that summer day in 1975, and ended the day buried less than twenty miles away from that diner. He says he was close to the boss and still regrets that he’d just been pinched for illegal activities in some Vegas casinos.
“If I wasn’t away I don’t think it ever would’ve happened, that’s all I can tell you,” said Zerilli. “I would’ve done anything in the world to protect Jim Hoffa.”
While there have been many, many stories and “leads” concerning the whereabouts of Hoffa’s remains over the years, FBI agents say they are hopeful that this could be the lead that actually goes somewhere. Certainly Zerilli would have been informed of what happened once he was out of prison.
“Clearly when he returned he would’ve been a person, based on his position in the hierarchy, who would have been able to learn the facts and circumstances surrounding the disappearance of James Earl Hoffa,” said U.S. Attorney Keith Corbett.
One very big thing working against Zerilli, however, is the fact that he is now 85-years old and in desperate need of money. He is working on a book about his story and hopes he can cash in when Hoffa’s body is found where he says it was buried.