#27: Interview with Gary Jenkins


We sat down to talk with Gary Jenkins, who is a retired Kansas City Police Detective, lawyer, as well as the host of the extremely popular mob podcast, Gangland Wire.

In this episode, we discuss the following topics:

  • 2:00 Introduction of Gary Jenkins
  • 03:47 His early years, family, and upbringing
  • 07:22 Joining the Kansas City Police Department
  • 21:30 His promotion to Detective within the KCPD
  • 26:45 The key players in the Kansas City Mafia (Nick Civella, Carl "Cork" Civella, and Carl "Tuffy" De Luna)
  • 30:35 Surveilling the Kansas City Cosa Nostra family
  • 42:00 Kansas City's involvement in the Las Vegas skim
  • 44:00 His work surveilling and the wiretaps related to the Las Vegas skim
  • 46:00 Comparisons of real life versus the movie Casino
  • 59:30 Bringing down the Kansas City mob
  • 1:04:18 The Spero-Civella War (late 1970's and early 1980's)
  • 1:13:40 Retiring and becoming a lawyer for 20 years
  • 1:15:55 Starting and running his popular podcast, Gangland Wire

Links to Gary's documentaries, podcast, website, and YouTube channel:

Episode Transcript

Jacob Stoops (00:01.27)

Hello everybody and welcome back to another episode of the Gangland History podcast, formerly the Members Only podcast. Got another great episode today, very excited. I've been waiting to talk to this guest for quite some time. They're one of the originals in the mob podcasting genre and because I've heard the feedback and I'm trying to listen to...

Get out of the way, shut the heck up and let my guests talk. I'm just gonna introduce it and we're gonna jump right in. The guest today is Gary Jenkins, retired Kansas City police detective and author, documentarian, runs his own podcast of which now my name is very similar, the Gangland Wire. And I'll just say welcome, Gary. Thank you for coming on.

Gary Jenkins (00:54.88)

Well, thanks Jacob. Thanks for inviting me. I'm always happy to tell my story.

Jacob Stoops (01:00.398)

And I'm excited to hear your story and we're kind of going to get into it front to back, cover to cover. I'm excited to talk a little bit about Kansas City. It's not a subject we've talked about a lot yet on my podcast. It has a really, really interesting history all the way from the beginning. And then Gary comes in, you know, right in the middle of a lot of chaos, some of which has been portrayed on the big screen.

If you've listened to Gary's podcast Gangland Wire for any amount of time, one of my favorite qualities about Gary is, and I believe he kind of downplays how interesting his life has been. You've lived a really, really interesting, interesting life that for people like me that literally come from small town nowhere who have an interest in the genre but have no real connections.

I'm just fascinated by it. And if you listen to your show, you really downplay it. You don't make too much out of yourself. And I think some listeners like myself really appreciate your modesty.

Gary Jenkins (02:11.212)

Well, thank you. Thank you. I try. I guess I was raised that way. I don't know.

Jacob Stoops (02:16.042)

Yeah, so, you know, let's just jump right in. Let's talk a little bit about that. So, tell us about your early life. Where do you come from? How were you raised? What were your parents like? And tell us about a young Gary Jenkins.

Gary Jenkins (02:32.492)

Oh, well, I come from small town America myself. Talking about coming from small town, it was about 1600 people. And my people were farmers and I did not want to farm. I'll tell you what I wanted. We had horses and I grew up in the 50s and cowboy. The way cop shows are now. Well, that's cowboy movies and cowboy TV shows were that they were the thing. Radio shows that go back to the original Lone Ranger on the radio. And I wanted when I grew up.

I knew I wanted to be a cowboy. I wanted to have a horse. I wanted to have a 30-30 Winchester lever action rifle. I wanted to have a Colt 45 pistol and go out and save the settlers or the townspeople or whoever. And be the good guy, wear the white hat.

And you know, I did that. I grew up, I didn't get the Colt, the horse, or the Colt 45, or the Winchester, but I got like a 70, 71 Plymouth Fury. And I got a Winchester 12 gauge shotgun and I got a model 59, Smith and Wesson 38, and they send me out to save the settlers or help the townspeople. So, some of my childhood dreams came true. Other than that, it was a pretty uneventful childhood.

Jacob Stoops (03:46.083)

It reminds me a little bit if you've watched some of the Christmas movies that they show every year, it kind of reminds me of a young Ralphie from The Christmas Story. You had those kind of visions in your head of the Red Rider BB gun. Yeah.

Gary Jenkins (03:55.341)


Gary Jenkins (04:00.528)

I did. I saved up and bought my own BB gun. I had a BB gun and a BB pistol pretty early.

Jacob Stoops (04:07.17)

I see you didn't shoot your eye out. So good job with that. So, sounds like you grew up in the Midwest. And I can't remember if you've mentioned this before on your show, what city and state did you grow up in?

Gary Jenkins (04:09.282)

I didn't shoot my eye out.

Gary Jenkins (04:21.928)

It was Plattsburgh, Missouri. It's about 50 miles north of Kansas City. So as soon as I turned 18, 19 years old, I came to the city to get a job. I was not sticking around in a small town. I could not, I wasn't going to farm. My people were farmers. We had quite a little bit of farmland, actually, and my brother farmed it all his life. I had two younger brothers that they didn't farm.

Jacob Stoops (04:25.666)

50 miles north of Kansas City.

Jacob Stoops (04:41.928)

And do you come from a big family or small family?

Gary Jenkins (04:46.156)

Four brothers, we had four brothers. Three, I had three brothers. So it was sports, fighting, going, you know, hunting and fishing and all the things that boys do. My mother must have been a saint to put up with us.

Jacob Stoops (05:03.818)

And do they, did they become farmers? Did they get involved in the family business?

Gary Jenkins (05:10.361)

My oldest brother, he farmed all of his life. And he died about four or five years ago. He was a little older than me. And my younger brothers didn't really. So right now, I have some land. My other brother has some land. My other brother sold his. And

Jacob Stoops (05:13.107)


Gary Jenkins (05:31.236)

So, you know, our cousins, we've got a cousin that farmed all his life. So he's a big, what they call a contractor, contract farmer. He plants all the beans and corns and everything. And, you know, I go up and look at it, but I don't really do anything with it. My other brother has horses and he lives up there. That's the extent of the farm.

Jacob Stoops (05:51.262)

Okay. So you grew up pretty normal childhood. At what point did you, you know, when you graduated, did you, did you go to school? Did you go directly into law enforcement? Tell us about your path after becoming a becoming an adult.

Gary Jenkins (06:07.83)

Well, I had a checkered path. I took the long way around. I was always going to do everything my way. And I got very, very young and had a child very young and got a job, never went to college. I was always the smart one. Matter of fact, one of the memories, one of the most vivid memories I have is my mother.

dad standing there talking and looking down at me and saying, well, my mom says, well, Gary's going to go to medical school. My dad says, oh, no, he's going to go to law school. And so, you know, they had, everybody had big plans for me along those lines, but I just, I had other plans. And so I got a job at a factory. First thing I did get a job at a factory because I was always going to do everything on my own. Everything, it was always about doing everything on my own.

And so I worked at the factory in 1970. I'd been there about five years and it's horrid work. I mean, it's good work in as far as benefits and money for a young, uneducated guy, but it's horrid work. You just felt like when you came home from a day on the assembly line, somebody had been whacking you on the head with a two before all day. And...

I saw this ad for the Kansas City Police Department. They wanted to hire 350 guys. They got a big tax passed in the city and were gonna increase the strength of the force by 350 people. They had all kinds of money for new programs and things they were gonna do. They did one of the early first cop show ever. They had a newsman ride along in a district car and patrol car one night and made it into like a 30 minute show on the news one night.

And I saw that and I thought, you know, this looks right down my alley. This looks like fun. And there was a few cop shows on by then and kind of knew, you know, I always wanted to be this cowboy and I always wanted to carry a gun and help save people and protect them from the bullies.

And so I applied and kind of a funny thing is I walked up the steps to the headquarters and a good friend of mine, Bobby Arnold, was walking down the steps. He's a year older than me but we had been from adjoining farms. We rode horses together as kids. He wanted to be a cowboy too and he wasn't going to farm. And he's walking down the steps and I said, Bob, what are you doing here? And he said, I just got a job. I said, well, I'm going to end up alive for one. So, you know, we spent hard.

career a lot of time together actually in the intelligence unit he was my partner in the intelligence unit for several years but you know got on and takes about a year so time they do all the background and all that but no problems there I didn't have I had a checkered history but none of it really yeah I there I got away with it my little discrepancies all my life I

I was kind of a rounder when I was young. But to be that as it may, you know, I got on with the academy, the usual thing, go to the academy, spend an hour or longer, it was three months, I think, at the academy, and then you go out and you get a break-in officer. I'll never forget my break-in officer. He told me, he said, it was pretty unstructured in 1971. It was a lot different than it is today. So folks, this is not the way it is today, but in 1971, it was different.

And this guy is kind of a veteran. He probably had eight or nine years on, but he was kind of a veteran. And he told me, he said, yeah, he said, the only reason that I've got you to break in is because the captain wants to keep me under control and not keep me from doing some of the things I wanna do. I said, oh, well, that's interesting. He said, well, okay. And I didn't take, I never liked a guy, but you know.

I'm a pretty bright guy. I can work around a lot of things. And he was the kind of guy, the first little bit of corruption I ever saw that I ever took part in. We all have our little corruptions. Everybody out there has got little corruptions. And the first little corruption I saw, we stopped by the liquor store at 9th and State Line.

And he said, I'm going to go in here and see this guy. He said, you smoke? I didn't smoke. He said, you smoke? And you smoke Winstons? I said, OK. And he smoked. And he smoked Winstons. So we go in, and we talk to the guy. And they chat back and forth. It's a kind of new evening. And we're getting ready to leave. And the guy says, oh, he said, you want a pack of cigarettes? And he said, well, yeah, I'll take a pack. And the guy looked at me and said, how about you? I said, well, yeah. He said, well, what do you smoke? I said, Winstons. So.

My break-in officer got two packs of Winston's that day instead of one. But you only had to be with him about six weeks, I think, or a month. Like it wasn't a long time and went out on my own, had my own district car. Right off the bat, I got my own.

actual district was west side of downtown down into the west bottoms, stockyards at the time and a lot of warehouses down there. And then downtown was in 71, it was really hot when there was a ton of people downtown, banks downtown, they'd have a bank robbery once in a while and a lot of events downtown. I was working days. So it was pretty exciting. I learned a lot. But a few months later, it wasn't like working what we call the east side. It wasn't like working

trying to be politically correct here. I wouldn't like working in the ghetto. I wouldn't like working in the more poor neighborhoods. And that's where the action was. That's where the shooting was going on. That's where the robbing and stealing, a lot of robbing and stealing. We'd have a bank robbery once in a while, but you'd swing by about 15 minutes after the bank robbers had left, usually. Although there was one guy, we had one guy that got shot.

interrupted the bank robbery downtown during that time. I was off that day or something. But Sergeant says, anybody want to go to 150 Sector? I said, throw me, put me in coach, put me in. Go out there to 150 Sector, and it's a pretty small district, 35th to 39th Paseo to Prospect, but it was hopping. I mean, it was lively. It had liquor stores on every corner and just, you know.

Just a ton of criminals living within that boundaries and within the drug houses and it had it all. And I got a district car out there in 154 and I worked that for the next couple of years. I loved fun. I really started, what I always liked was, a lot of guys like to make arrests. A lot of guys like, tack guys, they like to kick in doors.

Jacob Stoops (13:11.127)


Gary Jenkins (13:11.404)

I like to develop information and find out who's really doing stuff and then try to set them up or make them on a case rather than just stopping car after car after car and that kind of thing. And then so, you know, out there we had, I had real deal criminals living out there and you'd see with the warrant sheet come out and there'd be people that, you know, had warrants on them.

Then you'd like hear about somebody have, I remember this one little crew of bad check writers and one of them lived in my district and one of them, one of their partners lived real close. And I don't remember how I found out about it. Maybe one of them had a warrant on him at one time and I started checking into them. I thought, well, these are real criminals and they were professional.

fraudsters or professional bad check writers that go, that go steal, break into a business, steal a, what they called a check protector machine. They steal a whole bunch of blank checks and then they'd have other people that would go around and cash those checks.

And so I figured out where one lived. I'd sit on him for a little bit, find out what kind of car he drove, who came over to see him, and then figure out where his other buddy lived and see him around the neighborhood. And maybe I stopped one of them one time and he was like, he started resisting them. I don't know, he didn't, check riders are not like armed robbers. He resisted a little bit, but he cut it short. He was carrying some stolen credit cards.

And so, you know, I started working on that. I found where they had a secret apartment where they kept their stolen check protector and their extra checks. I got a guy, I turned a guy who I knew was running with him and kind of charmed him into saying, he gave me an approximate area, 27th and Troost.

So I just went over 27th and Trouston just started knocking on doors and finding this old guy, said he was a landlord of an apartment building. He said, oh yeah, yeah. He said, they don't really live up there. They just come and go once in a while. So I thought, ah, I've got them now. This is their stash house. So I go down to the fraud unit and they get a search warrant and go and break in or, you know, kick in the doors, whether you're not gonna, nobody's gonna dare to even let you in. Actually, on that case, they didn't have to kick it in. The landlord was there, he let them in and found the check protector and the checks and all that and made some cases on them. So that was, you know, that really gave me a taste for that. Being a detective really gave me a taste for investigations.

You know, just kept working on things like that, came up with some other schemes that people were doing, found a drug house. My buddy that lived, that had 153 just north of me, we got a, we were district officers, so we had to answer calls. And so we'd take turns, we wanted to watch this drug house. We didn't really know what a drug, nobody too much knew what a drug house was in 1971, 72, 73 by then. Nobody really knew what a drug house was.

unless you were out there. And our narcotics unit, they didn't work black narcotics. I didn't work African-American neighborhood for narcotics back then. They worked with white boys over in the east, at west side, the hippies. They were after hippies for narcotics back then. And I found this drug house and had some informant told me and was always working on developing informants.

And so we'd go across the street to an abandoned house. One of us would get on the second floor and watch and write down license numbers and see what was going on, while the other one would handle both. You know, the call came out for 154, 153, he'd jump in there and handle it if he could. And if he couldn't, then I'd hear it on my walkie talkie and I'd just run down out the back door and go handle the call. And then I'd do the same thing for him and he'd do the same thing.

And finally one time, we were so stupid, we didn't know what we were doing, but we missed a drug delivery. Nobody was telling us what to do, we were just making it up on the fly. No rule book and no experience. And I saw this lady walk by and she had a big grocery sack.

And she kind of walked, as she drew my attention, she was, I didn't know what the deal was, but there was something just, you know, you just draws your attention, something she doesn't fit in the neighborhood. She walked about three or four steps by the sidewalk that went up the front door, and all of a sudden she just stopped, turned around.

made almost like a kind of a hurried rush up to the front door. And then she hit the top of the porch, the door opened, and she just went right in and closed right behind her. I said, oh, it's like called, well, I said, come on. I said, there's something, they just did something. They just got a delivery, I think. In my mind, that was a delivery, and I'm sure it was.

He comes flying down there and we go over there, and you know, we didn't have a search warrant. We didn't even know anything about a search warrant. I'd heard of it, of course. And we bang on the door and somebody comes to the door and we just push our way on in, but they're really resisting like heck. And you know, now you're on really shaky grounds as far as, you know, just like searching all through the house and everything. And we finally, they resisted so much and it was gonna get out of control that, and we were on such shaky grounds.

Nobody even knew we were down there. We had, you know, my sergeant, our sergeant, we had the same sergeant, he didn't know what we were doing.

Our captain didn't know what we were doing. None of the other guys around knew what we were doing. And so we just finally let it go. So that was, you let you live and learn. And I got transferred from that. I made my bones. Everybody knew, hey, this Gary, he's a hotshot. And they started a station detective unit. And who are they gonna select out of the 50 sector? And they wanted somebody from each sector. So of course I went to that. We wore suits and made cases and went, took them to court, felony charges on for burglaries, house burglaries and larcenies and other kind of smaller crimes out there in the neighborhood. So did that for the next couple years.

Jacob Stoops (17:17.046)

No rule book. And, uh, that's definitely, definitely a lot to, to unpack. So cut your teeth. This is 1970s timeframe throughout the, probably the beginning and middle of the 1970s worked your way up. Uh, got training, learned how, learned how to become legit police officer. Sounds like you got into a few kind of danger, potentially really dangerous situations, working drugs, nabbing criminals, just like the kind of the good guy you always wanted to be. And then you get noticed by the right people, you've got potential and they say, all right, Gary, you're a detective.

Gary Jenkins (19:35.704)


Jacob Stoops (19:55.994)

At what point do you go from being a detective and working normal cases to working the Kansas City mafia?

Gary Jenkins (20:22.384)

Well, that's again, you know, I have pretty good run in that unit. We did some fun things and kind of worked some of the bigger cases that those guys might have worked and got noticed. And during this time, my friend Bobby Arnold from my hometown.

He'd been in the tech unit and they had a big shootout and then they ended up busting up the tech unit and, and he threw a series of connections. And this is kind of important. I know it's doesn't seem important to a lot of people, but to go to the intelligence unit and work the mob.

The intelligence unit is a small unit, 12 guys, two sergeants, one captain, and you work directly for the chief, for the chief's office. There was no real chain of command between us and the chief, other than two sergeants and the captain. The captain would meet the chief, talk to the chief all the time. There was a major and a colonel, but they didn't really, they were just kind of there. They had other responsibilities and they didn't really get too involved in what we were doing.

And so it was a secret unit. It was kind of a unit that, you know, there was working the mob, there's always potential for corruption. And you also had to be trusted because they gave you a lot of freedom. You could just, you did, I used to say, you could do whatever you're big enough to do. And the only thing you're constrained by is the law. Don't break the law in doing what you're trying to do. Other than that.

You got free rein when I became a sergeant later on. That's what I tell my guys. And that's the way it was. So you needed somebody you could trust. Well, Bobby's wife had worked with this Ray Kenny's wife. Ray Kenny had been one of the founding members of the intelligence unit when they first found it back in, I'm gonna say 1960 maybe. And so they needed a guy and they wanted younger guys. The sergeant had some older guys that weren't doing anything.

And they didn't want to do anything and they were looking for younger guys who were more aggressive. And so, Race told Sergeant Wisher, he said, you know, here's a guy. I know a lot about him. I know his wife. My wife has known his wife for a long time. And he comes from a small town and he's, you know, he's honest and he doesn't seem to have too many bad habits anymore than the normal.

And I suggest you take him. And he's been a really aggressive young policeman, made his bones in his own way. And so they took Bobby down there, and then when they had this opening...

And Bobby tells his sergeant, said, here's a guy that I know, and I've known him since we were little kids, and if you ask around to buy him, you'll find he's an aggressive, good policeman. And, you know, so they asked me to come down there and take this next opening, and then Bobby and I work in the same sector and partner up. So that's how I got down there.

And then we just, we are the young aggressive guys. I remember I had this one older guy, let's go out for a beer after work. Gary said, okay. I kind of liked to drink back in those days. And we went to this bar and he's talking and he finally said, you know, Gary, he said, you don't have to work as hard as you're working. You really don't have to work near that hard. I looked at him, I said, Lee.

I said, you know, I'm going to work just as hard as I want to work. Oh, oh, okay. He never asked me out for a beer again. See, but, you know, they just, they just, you know, they tried to make fun of us. That didn't work because our work was good. Sergeant's loved us. The captain loved us. And so they tried to make fun of us, but I just turned around and made fun back of them. I never forget.

said, well, you guys, some guy was doing something. It was stupid what he was doing. He didn't know what he was doing. I said, Oh, you're flogging that dead horse again. I had a, there was a poster board up there and I drew a dead horse with, was a guy on his back with his legs up and the guy standing there with a whip. And he said, I said, Oh, you're flogging a dead horse again. Not Len. Oh my God.

So see, I just throw it back at him. And Bobby wasn't as bad as me. I'm a little bit bad about that. But he's a much nicer guy than I am. But that was our... Yeah, right.

Jacob Stoops (24:40.21)

Yeah, they were the old guard and you newcomers at that point in time trying to do the right thing and be aggressive and making them, you know, probably those old timers who had gotten comfy in their job and in their role and potentially with a certain amount of corruption, didn't want anybody to come in and rock the boat and well, you young guys were probably making them look a little bad and look like maybe they weren't doing their job so well.

Gary Jenkins (24:50.744)

Man, man. Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And their only, their defense, their only corruption was they were just lazy. They didn't want to do anything. They were just lazy.

Jacob Stoops (25:14.634)

Lazy. Yeah. No defense against that. So who were some of the characters at the time in the mob that you guys were really focused on?

Gary Jenkins (25:19.002)

Hahaha. When I went down there, of course, we've got a family, a crime family for the young listeners that don't, and viewers don't really know. Kansas City has a real deal, old school mob family, La Cosa Nostra family, Sicilian based, have the making ceremony, the whole nine yards, have maid men, have associates. They're not very big, so it's like they're really not even as big as one big crew in Chicago, but we've got it all. We've got an under boss and who kind of doubled as a Consigliere.

The Civella family, Nick Civvella. And Nick and his brother "Cork" kind of jointly, but Nick really ran the family. And then they had this underboss guy named Carl "Tuffy" DeLuna. And then there was, you know, associates and they were connected to different businesses around.

Like one guy was a real moneymaker for him. He was a made guy and got caught in the middle of a hit one time. They didn't get the guy killed in that deal. He actually was a made guy and he ran a record store, Tiger Cardarella. And every booster in Kansas City fanned out throughout the whole Midwest stealing record albums. Back when record albums were really easy to steal and bring them in and fill that record shop up. And he was, everybody in Kansas City of a certain age, you ask him in a joint setting, I like Duke programs. And if I say something about Tiger, how many people here ever bought a record from Tiger or Carter or Tiger's records? Almost every hand will go up. Well, I bought one, you know, he was buying for about $0.25 to $0.50 on the dollar and selling them for like $0.00. 75 cents on the dollar out to the public.

So, you know, you had all that, and it was mainly down around what we call the North End. It was close to downtown, the city market. Little Italy's all down in this, it's kind of geographically small area adjacent to downtown and all around the city market, which most Italian sections, they all came from Sicily. They all settled in a Little Italy area around a big Catholic church and close to the city market getty joints as they used to call them. They got produce businesses and other things like that because government jobs, when they first got here, government jobs, Irish already had them, the Germans had the better government jobs because they've been here a little longer. And so they had to make do. They were kept pushed out of everything. Every new immigrant society is like that even today. Your new immigrant, he has started at the bottom. And so he got all these young bright guys and moved to come to Kansas City and prohibition comes along. I mean, it's the same story in every city. And they kind of push out the old guys and Nick Civella kind of comes up through that. He's a real young guy during that time. And so we've got this mob family.

And then I come in, well, Sergeant Wisher, Larry Wisher, he gives us an assignment. He has heard it. I don't know where he heard it. Probably from the Bureau, because we worked real hand in glove with the FBI. Whenever one squad or the organized crime squad would get a new detective, new agent, they'd send him over to the intelligence unit to get to know us. And the real old timers over there, they were always back and forth and really close with our sergeants and the captain. And because we fed all of our information to them, because we were out looking and writing down license numbers and seeing who was where and what businesses they were going to and who their girlfriends might have been and trying to develop informants and, you know, just everything they were doing. The Bureau didn't do that quite so much.

And there's this one guy that I imagine somebody at the Bureau maybe told Larry, I don't know, but he called Bobby and I in. He said, you know, there's a guy who just got out of the penitentiary named Jimmy Duardi, D-U-A-R-D-I. And he is a made guy, and he supposedly is hanging out at this use car lot at Gregor and Truss which was kind of, it was a south side compared to the city market, it was about 70 blocks south of downtown.

And so we go out there and you know first thing you do you do drive-bys and Write down some license numbers. Maybe it's a car lot So maybe you go in act like you want to buy a car just kind of look around Let me find out who a salesman is there and get a car drop pick up a few tags Go back the next day pick up a few tags Maybe this was a hard place to sit on was sat down the street for a little bit He didn't want to sit too long because you did see a spot if it turns out to be a hot spot it because then they'll quit going. So you have to be slick.

And so we picked up enough tags that we picked up Jimmy Duarte's tag. We picked up a couple other kind of mob associates tags. So we know, okay, this is a mob location. We do a background check on the business who has the licenses. We find another guy who's an associate. By that time the bureau gets back and said, yeah, we got a case working on some fraudulent business loans or some fraudulent loans connected to that guy, Joe Siviano,

lot. Interesting. So we just keep poking around for a couple of three weeks and then we want to and Jimmy D'Ori is there a lot and we want to get some pictures and you know we you know these other guys they never use the cameras they never did anything. I sound kind of arrogant here when it comes to this and I don't want to keep putting them down that'll be the last thing I say about it but we had these cameras with you know 500,000 millimeter lenses but they never use them.

So we went to the, there's one reason it was so hard to sit on, right across the street for a block, both ways was a funeral home. I mean, not a funeral home, but a cemetery. So you can't really sit out in the cemetery because you stick out like a sore thumb if you just sit there. So we went to the guy that managed the cemeteries, Bobby's idea.

And we asked him if he'd set up a cemetery tent, like there was going to be a service, and it was cold enough that you could kind of get away with this. And we said, just close it in on all four sides. So then we'd drive up early in the morning before anybody would really get around. And we'd get in the tent and with our camera and our tripod, and we'd just take pictures directly. And we're looking right down their throat from just across the street, and they didn't even notice. We did that for about a week and got a ton of pictures and got some great pictures of Jimmy Duarte.

one of them, I should have taken some of those home with me. And, you know, documented all the other things. There was a guy in there that, all of a sudden, we weren't seeing anymore. He had a tow truck, and I had his license. So I had the name of a tow company, and I checked the business license on the tow company, found out he had a body shop about 10, 15 blocks away over on Prospect. And, like I said, all of a sudden, he's there every day, and then all of a sudden, he's not ever there. Something happened here. So we just go over there and just walk in and this was unheard of for the intelligence unit at the time they always just sat back and watched and wrote license numbers down.

We just walked in I put a badge on I was so used to doing that anyhow and say hey you know I'm Kansas City Police what we doing over at the car lot? Oh oh this guy he's like oh those are some bad people, I don't want anything to do with them. Okay, so how you doing? How's your business here? What do you do here? Who do we know in common? I mean, you know, those usual kind of things, we haven't been in common, but in common and you know, do you have any problems here? You know, anything I can help you with? You got any tickets I can take care of? And talk to his wife, works there with him, kind of butter her up a little bit. Leave and come back and just, you know, talk to him about maybe detailing the car out.

And then he had a car for sale. He was kind of a half-assed used car salesman himself. He'd find a deal on a car and fix it up a little bit. He'd do body work and had a body man working for him. Fix it up, slick it up, and Bobby started talking to him about buying a car from him. He ended up buying it from him actually, and I ended up having him detail my car in the end, but over that, all of a sudden he really started liking us, and he had something on his mind, and finally one day he said, well, he said, I might as well go ahead and tell you.

I said, well, John, what's that? He said, well, he said, you know, Carl Sparrow was hanging out over there a lot. And he started telling us about some other guys, a guy named Leonard Crago. He said, they call him the A-Rab. He says, the scariest man I ever saw. And he said, what I used to do when they'd have meetings there, and there was another guy who was some kind of a professional criminal. I called him Strong, I think, Red Strong or something like that.

And he said he's some kind of professional criminal from out of town. He said this ARAB guy, he's some kind of a killer guy. And he and Carl Sparrow used to go back in a little meeting room back there and have meetings. And actually, the office for the car salesman, a car dealership, or used car dealership, was just kind of a big shack is what it was. He said, but we had a garage there, and we had a parts department in the garage. It was adjoining that. And he said, I'd go back in the parts department and listen through the wall to what they're saying.

He said, man, he said they work like heck to get this Leonard Krego out of jail and to come up here and do something. He said, I don't know what he's going to do. So hey, this is good. And then he tells us that he has his tow truck and his big secret. He said, you probably already know this. I better go ahead and tell you. He said, I got a call from Carl once, and he wanted me to meet him down here in South Central Missouri.

and he needed me to pull some truck out of a ditch. He said, I don't know exactly what he meant, but I knew there was something wrong about it. He said, I got down there and they had a trailer, a tractor and a low boy trailer with a bulldozer on it. And he said, I pulled him out of the ditch. And he said, that bulldozer was stolen. So I started searching reports in the metro area and I found about

This was about a month or so before this happened. And so I knew about what date it was within a few days. And I found a stolen bulldozer just like he described. And we ended up, actually ended up tracing down that bulldozer a few months later. So he had sold it to some guy down there in the country.

Jacob Stoops (36:30.026)

So did you ever have any surveillance work or personal interactions with the Savellas themselves, the top guys? Or did they stay pretty kind of far away on the periphery, not interacting with the day to day? Because by this point in time, Nick Savella was long time in power at the end, I would say of his reign. And we'll get into some of the problems that came along.

Gary Jenkins (36:41.39)


Jacob Stoops (36:59.986)

with that. Did you ever have any personal interactions with those guys?

Gary Jenkins (37:06.561)

Nick Savello was an interesting guy. He was quiet. He had a driver, a guy named Pete Tamburello

He might come to City Market, you'd see him talking to somebody down there. I personally never walked up and said, hey Nick, how you doing? Tell me something. FBI, a couple of FBI's that would do that once in a while. But I never did that. But you know, you just see him and Pete down there and then they drive off. You might follow them a little bit and see where they went. They never really went too many places. Nick stayed back. He was like the Godfather. He was the puppet master of the Godfather. He pulled the strings.

back behind. He had this "Tuffy" DeLuna Luna who was out there and he would go to tell people, talk to people and see what they were doing. "Tuffy" was a tough one to follow and find out what he was doing. There was always, you know, follow him to some business then you would have to go research everything about that business and see who always maybe do a short quick surveillance on it and see what kind of a spot it was.

And so you would, you know, just track them around and see what kind of their, what their pattern was. We like, they would go to this Villa Capri a lot. It was the pizza place. It will become famous later on. The reason why I mentioned this, it would go to the Villa Capri a lot, both day afternoon, maybe, and nights. Uh, they had the social club, they called it the trap. It was the Northview social club, but they really, they called it the trap. For some reason, I never knew what the etymology of why they called it the trap.

And so they would go down there and they'd play cards down there and we'd write down like, write license numbers down, maybe pick up on somebody else who was down there we hadn't seen for a while, follow them away and see where they were going. And that was, you know, those were our days and hit some other spots that, you know, they would be at. And, uh,

Gary Jenkins (38:59.972)

So, you know, really we'd never really talk to any of those guys. We may try to find, they went to some business, there might be somebody there that could enlighten you more about what they were doing, like I did with this John guy, this tow truck driver. Might go in and try to talk to them, but there was no use us even trying to talk to these guys.

And so that's, you know, that was kind of the extent of, you know, if they saw him meet with Willie Commisano for a while, that would be an unusual meeting. Because what happens is you document these different meetings, you document where they're going, and then something else a month from now, or maybe they've already got it documented or some other informants telling the bureau something, because the bureau had some informants that were.

pretty highly placed. And so, all of a sudden, what that informant's saying or what they hear on another wiretap somewhere will then make sense because they've got these reports. And so, at the time, there was a lot of activity, shall we say, going on. There was more than anybody could keep up with.

Jacob Stoops (40:06.454)


Gary Jenkins (40:10.116)

during by 1975. And some of it had to do with the Savellas, some of it had to do with the Comisanos, some of it, and then there was this whole other mob war between the Spiro brothers and the Savella brothers. So it just got crazy. Just we were constantly running around trying to figure out what was going on, who was meeting who, and there were bodies being found and it was just nuts.

Jacob Stoops (40:35.754)

In Kansas City by this point in time, and probably for some time by the mid 70s, had been big into Vegas in combination with Chicago, Milwaukee, and most other families across the country had a piece of Vegas. But the edge of the Midwest was Chicago, Kansas City, Milwaukee, and possibly St. Louis as being...

the closest from the Midwest to Vegas and really kind of really running things. And Kansas City was a big, a big part of that. And you've done, you've done a lot of work yourself with respect to documenting. I mean, you were involved in a lot of the, the investigations with respect to the Vegas skim. Uh, so tell us a little bit about that connection and kind of where you fit into the picture with respect to investigating, uh, Kansas City and Vegas.

Gary Jenkins (41:33.292)

I was kind of like the low rung on the ladder here, but the lowest figure on the totem pole in that investigation. But I was in there and I was part of it. I mentioned the Villa Capri where they would go to. We had like probably a year or two worth of surveillance reports of them meeting at the Villa Capri.

So we have this mob war going on, and they're stalking each other, these other two brothers, other brothers, the Spiro brothers and the Savellas, Spiros, and they're stalking each other. We catch them doing that every once in a while too. Like you catch Carl or Mike or somebody at a place.

Jacob Stoops (42:11.182)

The Spiros. Yeah.

Gary Jenkins (42:22.636)

And then you'll see one of these other guys driving, you know, just like a policeman like us. They were just like us. They would drive around and see, you know, where they were. And they were out trying to find people who were informants for them to help set down these upstart Young Turk Spiro brothers. And the Spiro brothers, they didn't even know about the skim. We didn't know about the skim. The Bureau knew, you know, it was probably going on, but they didn't know exactly how.

They knew more really about, and not our office, St. Louis office and Las Vegas office in Detroit, knew about something that Detroit and St. Louis had going on out there at the Atlanta, I think, or Atlanta, but Kansas City, you know, they didn't know exactly what it was.

knew we had a really close relationship with the teamsters, but you didn't know, you know, you can guess, but you don't really have the inside information. And so you got, that's where the wiretaps and the bugs come in. And, and so we hear, the Bureau hears that, especially that they always talk about some of their plans at this Villa Capri, which is restaurant.

at Independence and Prospect, Rossi Strada, a long time mob associate in sports book, owns it. And they always sit at the same table. You know how people like, they go in a restaurant all the time, they'll many times sit at exactly the same table. And these guys are like, you know, God over there in that area where they went into Villa Capri, so nobody else sat at their little banquet and tables. And the bureau had picked up from an informant that

Jacob Stoops (43:55.406)

creatures of habit.

Gary Jenkins (44:05.728)

You know, he had some what we call dirty talk at this one table about planting a bomb on a strip club owner that they wanted to extort some money from. So to get probable cause to put a microphone in there where they're making these plans about different things and hopefully hear them talking about, you know, making some plan or getting some clue on a murder plot, you know, they get a Affidavit and order.

to put a bug in the Villa Capri, which is the famous bug that's in the movie Casino. It may make it look like it's in a corner store and it's up in a vent. Well, this was down on the floor, I think, somewhere in that table. And so they get that bug in there and they start hearing stuff. And as an agent, my friend Bill Owsley said, I never heard the song Staying Alive so much in my life. Listen to that bug.

Jacob Stoops (44:40.046)


Gary Jenkins (45:02.98)

tape from that bug, but finally one night, it gets kind of quiet and you can hear Tuffy DeLuna and Corksobela.

Talking and they're talking about Las Vegas and they're talking about $25 million and they're talking about lefty and they're talking about the genius and they're talking about Jay Brown. Oh yeah, he was he cashed that check at the stardust. Remember. Oh, you know, and then somebody said, well, we in on that with them. I think that was shortly after the $25 million and the teamsters and something about paying the teamsters and so that was enough to say, oh, well, we got there's something going on here. We don't know what it is.

start figuring out who Alan Glick or the genius was Alan Glick and they get a little background on him real quick and find he's got a teamsters loan and he's bought four casinos.

And Jay Brown was Oscar Goodman's law partner. And he was a corporate counsel for Alan Glick at the Stardust. And the Argent Corporation owned these four casinos. So it's building. And one of the next times, Tuffy's in there, and they're talking about getting hold of somebody in Las Vegas. And Tuffy says, well, I've got to find a phone.

But there was a phone right there and he didn't use it. So, you know, when he says, I gotta find a phone, you know, you gotta find that phone. We gotta find that phone. And right, and Bureau, I tell you what, they had, I think three pilots, two of them, they brought in, they had one here. They had one plane here, they brought in another plane from another office. They always had one on the ground and one in the air.

Jacob Stoops (46:22.99)


Gary Jenkins (46:39.496)

One ran out of gas, the other one could then get up. They brought in about 20 agents. They got a whole bunch of us from the intelligence unit and gave us FBI walkie talkies. And we laid on Tuffy and Luna and a couple other guys that were close to him, Cork, Sabell, I think, and maybe Joe Ragusa. We had codes, had all these codes that, like, I remember Cork was cognac. It was always some kind of, Ragusa was rum. Tuffy was tequila. And so it was some kind of a booze that had the same first initials,

you call these people. And so we just started finding them. Finally, they sat Tuffy down at this hotel. It was in an industrial area. It's kind of a nicer hotel, but it was an industrial area, but right next to I-435, right next to the beltway freeway that goes around the city.

And so, catch him down there and he goes in and somebody, maybe probably not the first time, but when he stayed in there a long time, somebody probably got out and went up and just walked in the lobby and they seemed back on the payphone. So then, okay, here's the payphone. So now you got a pattern. Anytime he would leave his house, you just sit close and watch him leave his house, get somebody down there on that hotel and you don't really have to follow him all the way down. Follow him around a little bit, but don't get burned.

Let him go if you think, you know, there's a problem at all because he was real, real tail conscious, real tail conscious. He was looking for the airplane. He'd stop and just stare up in the air. If he'd see that airplane making a lazy circle around him, he'd just, you know, he'd go on. He'd drive down in the airport. We have an older airport that's close to downtown. He'd drive down the airport and then drive out real fast because he knew a plane couldn't come into there. But...

Jacob Stoops (48:05.23)


Gary Jenkins (48:25.236)

I got him sat down and you didn't have to then follow him down there. And they got enough probable cause to put a wire on those phones. And then all they had to do is catch him, just leave somebody down there.

And when they'd see him pull up and go in, you know, from a van or a business, I don't remember exactly where they sat down there, then just call down the wire room, say, okay, he's in. And then they just start listening to all four phones, and whichever one he gets on, then they start listening to that phone and they can turn on the recording device as soon as they hear a little bit of dirty talk. So he's talking to this Joe Agosto, who works at the Tropicana. So we're all focused on the Stardust and Lefty Rosenthal and Alan Glick, but he's talking

this guy at the Tropicana. So in the end, it really got confusing for everybody. In the end, there's two streams of skim, one coming from the Tropicana directly to Nixa Vela. He developed that skim himself without any help from Chicago. No teamsters money, no help from Milwaukee. It was just him and this guy Joe Augusto who was now

Jacob Stoops (49:21.929)


Gary Jenkins (49:30.676)

He was the show manager of the Follies-Béger show. And all he was, he was from Sicily. He had a great Sicilian accent and he'd just been a con man all his life, but he was good. And he worked his way in with the people at the trap and they wanted, and how he did this, he convinced them that he had connections to the Teamsters and of course, threw the mob.

You know, those guys that ran it, there were several principals that ran it, but they knew he had connections to the mob in Kansas City and they could get the Teamsters loan that they wanted. And they wanted to expand and they needed a Teamsters loan to do it. And so they thought Joe Augusto would do it. So they let him have this position of authority and power at the casino. And so Nick Savella, first thing he does is tell his Teamsters people, don't give them a loan.

until I tell you to." And so he just withheld the loan and Joe, you know, he just string them along. Like I said, he was a great con man so he could string them along. And so we're hearing all these conversations. Well, Joe...

is repeating gossip because he hates Lefty Rosenthal and Lefty is really showing his butt at this point in time. This is during the time when the Nevada Gaming Commission is trying to kick him out. He's having hearings and he's already been to court, been kicked out of the casino and then had an appeal, won on appeal and came back into the casino.

And so, and Nick, he knows that he does not want this guy to keep all this stirring, stirring up, everything stirred up and in the newspapers. And Lefty was a guy who wanted to be in the newspapers. He wanted to be bigger than life. And

Gary Jenkins (51:23.228)

And he wants to stay in that casino because he knows that's his, you know, that's his golden ticket. He's already making 250 grand a year in like 1970s to be the casino manager. Plus he liked that control of four casinos. I mean, he was, this was like, I got my dream. I got my horse and my gun. He got his dream. He owns four, he's running four casinos and he puts the sports book in the one. He starts a sports book and hires women dealers and the blackjack tables. He was kind of an innovator.

for his time. He really was. He was also a top echelon informant during all this time too. And I think he probably jerked the FBI off as much as he gave him good information because he was that guy. He was that guy. You could not trust that guy. So Joe is reporting all this gossip about Lefty and it really gets interesting because we get, then we got another hidden microphone with Nick Savella meeting Tuffy DeLuna.

Jacob Stoops (51:53.556)

An innovator. Yep.

Jacob Stoops (51:59.908)

most of the time.

Gary Jenkins (52:23.112)

and a lawyer's office, his lawyer's office downtown. And they got the probable cause to put a bug in that lawyer's office. When the lawyer wasn't there, you could listen, because they weren't talking law business. They weren't talking court cases. They were talking Lefty Rosenthal a lot.

And they were also talking about setting up a meeting with Joy Ayoopa in Chicago and a lot of really cool things. And so, you know, we'd hear them talking about, well, you know, we need to go talk to Lefty. And one of the really cool things I heard on those tapes was, Lefty, I mean...

Tuffy Luna and Nick Savelle are talking about whether Nick can call Lefty directly, or does he have to go through Chicago. They'd already talked about how Chicago didn't want to believe anything bad about Lefty. And Joe Augusto is telling him he's a snitch. And Tuffy's telling Nick that, hey, Joe says he's a snitch, but I don't really believe that.

And Nick, he's saying, well, you know, in some ways he is because he tried to, in a way, blackmail Harry Reid, who was the president of the

Jacob Stoops (53:34.378)


Gary Jenkins (53:36.484)

gaming control board, he tried to kind of like blackmail him by saying, well, you know, we had lunch one time, you know, you're, you know, you're with me, you know, what's going on here? And, and, and next mine, that's being a snitch. He said, you know, he said, you're going to make those people mad. So we've got to cool this lefty down. So they were counseling back and forth and lefty was, and, and

Tuffy was always counseling Nick and he said, and finally he said, you know, he said, we had a meeting in Chicago about this. I think you can talk to him directly. So then they started figuring out how to get the message to Lefty without anybody else knowing and then Lefty, eventually he did call Nick and they got that phone call. And Nick is nice.

But he keeps telling me, he said, you know, you're gonna hurt a lot of people if you keep this up. You know, there's a lot of money at stake here and you're gonna hurt people. And after that phone call, lefty acts like he always said, okay, I'll calm down, I'll cool it. But he can't cool it because if he does, he's just gonna get kicked out of the casino. And so they come back and Nick is telling Tuffy about the call and he said, I told him just cool it, cool it.

And Tuffy's going, yeah, but I think he might lie to you, Nick. So it was really enlightening about how Nick Savello worked, how he was a diplomat. He was willing to talk and talk and talk and convince people to do the right thing before he ever resort to any.

Jacob Stoops (55:13.494)

resorted to violence.

Gary Jenkins (55:14.436)

violence and Tuffy counseled with him on that. It was really enlightening to listen to those tapes.

Jacob Stoops (55:22.946)

And we ultimately know that Rosenthal does eventually get blown up. He lives and lives out the rest of his life, but he does eventually get blown up. Most people believe that was out of Chicago, possibly to do with Tony Spilattro, of course, to do with all of the things going on with the skim. One thing I will say is a lot of people watch Casino and they see the scenes with the politician who then...

Gary Jenkins (55:29.483)


Jacob Stoops (55:51.066)

Uh, turns Robert De Niro's character away who is lefty Rosenthal from the gaming board and kicks him out. People don't know that that's based on Harry Reid, Harry Reid, who became very famous, I believe is a, uh, either a Senator, uh, or a representative. I can't remember. Yeah. Senator. Yeah. And people don't know that he had a bit of a dastardly past that was, he was that guy. Um,

Gary Jenkins (55:55.34)


Gary Jenkins (56:05.24)

He was a Senator, yeah. He was a Senator. He was a Senator. He was the big time Senator.

Jacob Stoops (56:19.73)

Now, one question, we're kind of along the lines of the movie, the movie Casino a little bit. And I was curious if you know, if are you aware that your name is mentioned in the book Casino?

Gary Jenkins (56:31.276)

Yeah, there's a nice shopping area. I used to live close to it over in the city. And I'm walking down the street and there's this young policeman I knew. He said, hey, Gary, what's going on? Hey, how you doing? He said, hey, and he said, did you know that I was reading this book about the mafia and your name's in there? I said, what?

could see though, yeah. I said, what is he out? He told me the name of it. So there's a Barnes and Noble down the street. So I ran over to Barnes and Noble, I started thumbing through and I found my name in there. It's in there, folks, just because I was there, helping serve the search warrant on Tuffany Luna at the underboss's house. And that's the place where they found the famous, very famous records that he kept.

Jacob Stoops (57:00.29)

That's right.

Jacob Stoops (57:14.918)

Yeah, and that's the funny thing is so Uh, if you if you equate to the movie, i'm just gonna read it for those people that have this book It's page 303 and i'm gonna say, uh, so I had listened to gary's Yeah, yeah, so I had listened to gary's podcast for quite a while, of course big movie buff. So I had watched the movie um, and when you when I first started listening to gary's podcast I was like, oh it's

Gary Jenkins (57:25.774)

I used to know that page number.

Jacob Stoops (57:40.39)

That's pretty cool. He was a detective. He worked against these guys, but it never really registered exactly to what level. And again, I think Gary underplays it a little bit until I started reading this book and I get, I'm pretty deep into the book and it's page 303. And I come across and I'm just going to read it. I come across the excerpt that says, quote, less than three months after the Marlowe meeting,

And Gary Jenkins of the Kansas City Police Intelligent Unit knocked on Carl DeLuna's door and presented him with a search warrant, allowing them to look for records and papers. And this, this actually, this scene is in casino. And, well, that's, that's you. This scene of, of serving the warrant, it's Artie Piscano in casino. Well, that's Tuffy DeLuna and that's, that's Gary.

Gary Jenkins (58:26.4)

That was me.

Gary Jenkins (58:32.684)

Yeah. Yeah, that was me. Yeah.

Jacob Stoops (58:35.266)

That was pretty cool that like everything just kind of, uh, just kind of like snap together in my brain and I, and I, that's when I kind of pieced it all together. And I was like, holy crap. Yeah. So.

Gary Jenkins (58:48.734)

Tuffy was actually a pretty nice guy. He was a good mobster. He was a real mobster, just like Nick Savella, and he modeled himself after Nick Savella. Nick's brother, Cork, was fiery. He was angry, he was blustery, he would yell at you, and kind of crazy kind of stuff. But Tuffy was just like that. Tuffy had been an armed robber when he was young,

Supermarkets on paydays on people's payday supermarkets used to have a 10 15 20 thousand dollars in them on the weekend to cash checks before ATMs and that was kind of what he did at first and he you know came up through the that is his Sister is married to Tony Ripecivelas Nick's nephew. So he's blood in the blood

Which that's what those guys like, is you're not gonna write out somebody and testify against them when you got family. Let's think about Kansas City, a small town. Nobody ever testified, nobody ever became a witness. They might have given a little information down then, but nobody ever became a witness. Partly because you have all these extended family and it's kind of a small community. And so they know each other and for the next, the rest of their lives, they're gonna be going to weddings and funerals and

grocery store, you know, your rap family, your non rap family. And so it's, and so he was married into the family and Tuffy was, he was quiet. He told his wife, he said, Sandy said, make these officers some coffee. She made us some coffee. His kid came in and he like got all out of hand was yelling and, and he's told Sandy said, Sandy said call so and so and have him come over and get Rick. And he's just quiet as heck. And I never forget at the last.

I'll tell you a little story about where that came from in a minute. But he told Shay air he knew Shay, Shay had been a mob.

Gary Jenkins (01:00:49.32)

investigator for a long time. He and Bill Owsley were the main mob investigators for a long time in Kansas City. And he said, Shay said, you might as well come downstairs. That's where the good stuff is. And that's where they found the notes. So yeah, here's how Nick, I never talked to Nick Pileggi. I tried to get him to be on my documentary and then he bailed out at the last minute. I tried to get him to come on the podcast and then he just simply refused to. But he, uh,

Jacob Stoops (01:01:00.174)


Gary Jenkins (01:01:20.1)

There was a newspaper article written on the 10th anniversary by a local reporter named Bill Norton, and he lifted all that directly from that newspaper article.

Directly and I don't thank you. I don't know if he attributed to it or not. I've never gone back and looked I don't think there's any footnotes in that book, but maybe there is but he lifted all that there's another guy Harold Nichols, I think he quoted him and you know It's just it was all directly from Bill Norton interviewing us and write that newspaper article So but not taking thing away from Pledgy other than he stood me up twice to be on my show

He did call me. I talked to him. I said, you know, I'm the guy that you're, you know, putting my name in there. And that's when he said he'd be in my documentary, but then he wouldn't, he bailed out. Cost me a round trip airfare that for myself and for a cameraman, I was gonna fly back to New York. But...

He did do his work. He'd come to Kansas City and this retired FBI agent, Bill Owsley, had taken a lot of stuff home and he was the case agent on all this and he spent like three days in Kansas City talking to Bill and going through papers and all that. So he did do his work, but he did lift that article directly from that star.

Jacob Stoops (01:02:38.422)

So eventually Nick Savella dies in 1983. Eventually these guys go down in one way or another. But before they go down, and you know, maybe without getting too far into it, because I want to be respectful of time, they have the Spiro Savella war, which you've covered in a documentary. I believe it's called Brothers Against Brothers, which is on Amazon. You can go.

Gary Jenkins (01:03:02.221)


Jacob Stoops (01:03:04.79)

buy it for I believe $9.99. It's pretty reasonable, pretty... Well, there you go. You can rent it for $2.99. And it was, I think you did it about four or five years ago. So it's still there. I'll put the link in the video description. But for those who are unaware of Kansas City's history in this particularly violent time, can you give us a little bit about the Savella-Spero War?

Gary Jenkins (01:03:08.725)

No, you can rent it for $2.99. So.

Gary Jenkins (01:03:17.45)


Gary Jenkins (01:03:33.304)

So like I said, all this time, you know, they put the bug in, then they figure, and they get the wiretaps going, and really they kind of back off. All they got to do now is listen and trace it to other cities, and a lot of work farmed out to Chicago and Milwaukee and Cleveland because they know they're involved, and then in Las Vegas.

And so it's kind of, there's not so much need for a lot of manpower, but at the same time, this Sabella-Sparrow war kicks off. And so we go into that, and our job was to do nothing but follow this one Sparrow brother around. See, they had a, what really kicked it off, this was before the arrest or anything came down. It was, when was it? It was, it was before...

I think it was after we served the search warrants, but anyhow, I think it was 78. And the three Spiro brothers, they'd already killed the oldest brother several years before. Somebody had. And he was a guy that Nick Savella would have to approve of his murder. The three younger brothers were in a tavern called the Virginia Tavern. And they had been plotting. They wanted to move in on Savella's a little bit, and they wanted.

revenge, I believe, for the oldest brother that had been killed. So, Nick Savella, yeah.

Jacob Stoops (01:04:57.454)

Can I stop you for a second? Were these, uh, were the Spiro brothers upstarts? Were they younger than the Savellas or were they the same age? Younger.

Gary Jenkins (01:05:03.212)

Yeah, they were younger. See, like Nick Savella is more like my mom's age. And Carl DeLuna and Cork were more like my mom's age at the time. And Cork Tuffy was more like he was probably 15 years older than me. So they were the older. These guys were more like my age at the time. I think Carl might even have been a couple years younger. So they were younger guys. They were coming up. They were never taken in.

close into the mob. They were always kind of outsiders. They were like the blue collar. They were like the blue collar crew. And they were pretty good thieves, especially the youngest brothers. Really good thief. And the oldest brother was too. And they made a lot of money off of them, but they were never in close. Right, right. And so they're...

Jacob Stoops (01:05:35.498)

They were not made, guys.

Jacob Stoops (01:05:50.05)

They were just associa, it's not made. Okay.

Gary Jenkins (01:05:55.9)

Like I said, they want revenge for Nick and they want to move in. He's, Carl Spiro was interviewing people, if you will. I talked to a Peckerwood, a non-Italian guy that he interviewed about, you know, come with me, because he was getting non-Italian guys. He got this Leonard Kriego out of jail just to be on his team, shall we say, and his crew, and he sent Leonard Kriego that my informant told me about.

He sent him in on a Savella bookmaker and a partner in a business that Nick Savella owned, another meat market, and he robbed him.

And Kregel was so crazy that he put the guy in the trunk of his car after he robbed him. He got about 10 grand off him because he was a bookie and he had a lot of cash there. And he started, he had two guns and he fired into the trunk of this big old Lincoln a whole bunch of times. He never hit the guy. The guy got behind his grandson told me, he said, he got, I got behind the tire in there that was loose.

And he never hit him. And the stupid guy yells out, you tell Nick Savella that the A-Rab's back in town. And that's what everybody called him was the A-Rab. And everybody knew the A-Rab was with Carl Sparrow by then. So, you know, they figured out that Sparrow was making some kind of moves here. And so then they start putting together guys and they start stalking the Sparrows. The Sparrows are stalking them.

And like Joe Sparrow hides outside of Tuffy's house and shoots at him with the deer rifle one night, misses him. They got a bomb, Sparrow's got a bomb they're gonna plant on Tuffy DeLuna. Well, Tuffy and a couple other guys, we know, we're pretty sure it was Tuffy. He takes three guys one night to the Virginia Tavern and all three Sparrow brothers that are still alive are in there and they come in the back door.

Gary Jenkins (01:07:45.26)

and they see Carl, I mean, Joe and Mike sitting at a table to their left. And two guys spin off towards that table and just start shooting at them. And they go down. Carl Sparrow is across the room by the front door on the phone. And the guy with the shotgun who turned was probably Tuffy the Luna, chases him out the front door. And they're like running down to Admiral Boulevard, which is a four lane wide, pretty good sized street. It was night. So there wasn't a lot of traffic. So he's out there with his 12 gauge.

shotgun, pump shotgun, chasing Carl down the street. And finally, he fires around at him and he takes him down. But he doesn't go up and give him the coup de grace. And Carl is crippled and he's paralyzed from his waist down the rest of his life. So it's really on now. I mean, the gloves are off and it's full on war now, after this.

That's when the Spiros, they get this remote control bomb. Carl gets a dynamite from Arkansas, and he gets another professional criminal to make the remote control detonating device. They get it under Tuffy's car, but it won't go off. They're not close enough to it. But we had an informant in with Joe at that time, and we ended up recovering the bomb and taking off Joe and getting him a conviction. Well, right after his conviction, he's over at a

storage facility and he goes to go in it and he has dynamite stored in there and guns and the dynamite explodes and it looked like maybe dynamite started on the outside but there's sympathetic explosion on the inside and it just blew out the whole end of the storage facility plus his car was sitting there and blew it out all the pieces killed him

They killed Mike at the Virginian, so now there's only Carl left. So it's still war on Carl. There's still a planted bombs on him once.

Gary Jenkins (01:09:36.068)

And his nephew found it, but finally in like 1884, about the same year I got promoted to sergeant, they got a bomb underneath Carlsboro with a remote device and blew him up. He had a used car lot going. He was, he wasn't really selling cars. He was selling drugs and guns and buying swag from boosters and reselling it to people. And, and he had a delighted dealer by that point in time. And, and it blew him clear out of the top of the shack, him in his wheelchair and dumped them out in the parking lot. It was.

It was unbelievable. So that's the end of the Spiro War. And the Savellas are under end trial about this time with the guys from Chicago, Cleveland, and Milwaukee. And they end up that the leadership all goes to prison for quite a while. They're done really. Nick Savella dies just before the trial.

Jacob Stoops (01:10:23.867)

Yeah. Yep.

Yep. And, uh, you know, the, the KC mob, uh, limps on, I believe it's, uh, Willie the rat camisano steps up next. And I think eventually his son, uh, steps up, uh, who's I believe his son recently passed away in the last, uh, year or two years, um,

Gary Jenkins (01:10:37.57)


Gary Jenkins (01:10:47.344)

He did. A couple years. When COVID started, he got COVID early on. Then he had a stroke while he was in the hospital from really bad long-term COVID. And then he had a stroke, and he died out of that. So they say Johnny George Shortino is the boss now. I don't know how much. Those guys still get together. There's still kind of a structure around. There's something going on. There's probably a sports book going on. We don't have legalized gambling yet here.

Jacob Stoops (01:11:03.71)

Yeah, I think it's.

Jacob Stoops (01:11:12.319)


Jacob Stoops (01:11:15.586)

But it's certainly not like the heyday in probably the 60s and 70s under the Savellas, much like most other families across the country, with the exception of a few. Many have become defunct. Sounds like Kansas City is not quite there. I don't wanna say it's on its last legs, but it's not where it was in the heyday. Eventually...

Gary Jenkins (01:11:21.741)


Jacob Stoops (01:11:43.275)

You get promoted and well, you work out the rest of your career and you retire in the 90s.

Gary Jenkins (01:11:50.213)

I came back to the intelligence unit for a couple of years, but it was kind of anti-climatic by then.

Jacob Stoops (01:11:58.006)

Yeah, you've taken, took down, take down the, uh, the big bosses, so to speak. Um, it's probably kind of like, well, who else, who else is there to take down? I'm sure there always was, uh, you know, the, the next guy up from a criminal standpoint, but the mafia is a pretty big, pretty big target. Um, so eventually you retire and you become.

You go back to school and you get your degree to practice as a lawyer. What made you do that?

Gary Jenkins (01:12:28.432)

Oh, because I never lived up to my potential when I was young. I never did what I was capable of doing, and now I've got time to do it. At my retirement ceremony, at my retirement ceremony, this guy, he was kind of running, his friend of mine, Colonel Lynch, and he said, well, he said, I got in Gary's file. And he said, you know, it took him 30 years to get his undergrad degree. And it did. I started, I started 30 years before that.

Jacob Stoops (01:12:32.821)

I'm sorry.

Jacob Stoops (01:12:38.586)

And what kind of law did you practice?

Gary Jenkins (01:12:57.672)

and finally got it just as I retired and then went to law school. It took me three years to go to law school. And I worked for myself. I had an offer from a judge to be his clerk, but I told him, I said, I've had enough of working for the government. I just worked for myself. And I did. I tell you what I did. I did a lot of used car.

fraud cases, Missouri Merchandising Practices Act. So it was a good, you know, I had a bad guy now and I had the good guys who had bought the cars and been cheated. And so I did that, but I, you know, I did a ton of police divorces and traffic tickets for sons and grandsons of cops and then their friends. And you know, just kind of build a practice and just a general practice. I, you know, just whatever came my way. And by the end I did some wills and some estate plan stuff, simple stuff. You know, if you had a lot of money, I'd send them to somebody else.

If it was like most of us, you got an IRA, you got a pension, you got a home, maybe you have a vacation home, that's pretty straightforward kind of stuff.

Jacob Stoops (01:14:01.102)

Do you still practice?

Gary Jenkins (01:14:02.192)

No, I don't. I finally gave it up a couple, three years ago. Second retirement, yeah. I practiced from, what, 2000 till about 20. I practiced 20 years. So I was 25 years on the police department, 20 years as a lawyer.

Jacob Stoops (01:14:04.158)

retired, second retirement.

Jacob Stoops (01:14:17.31)

I mean, most people would consider either one of those things to be incredibly accomplished. And well, you did both. So kudos to you. And well, for the last 10 years, it seems like I get the impression that you're somebody that likes to stay busy. And for the last 10 years or so, you've been, I would say...

Gary Jenkins (01:14:23.204)


Gary Jenkins (01:14:37.862)

You would be right.

Jacob Stoops (01:14:44.302)

You know, at the bleeding edge of what has become podcasting in the mob genre, uh, you run Gangland Wire and you've done last count, I think something like four or 500 different episodes, which I could only aspire to at this point. That seems so far off on the horizon. Um, what made you start a podcast?

Gary Jenkins (01:14:49.602)


Gary Jenkins (01:15:00.721)

Yeah, something like that.

Gary Jenkins (01:15:07.884)

Well, I don't know, I did the first movie, Gangland Wire, and I'd done a couple of other movies and kind of Civil War subjects of what it would be, Niggeros to hire would be like what it would be like to be a slave in Missouri, and Freedom Seekers, stories from the Western Underground Railroad, written a couple of young adult fiction companion books to those pieces about the Underground Railroad out here in Missouri and Kansas.

And then I did Gangland Wire and I don't know, I guess I was just looking for something to do. You know, I had a website already for Gangland Wire. My wife could do websites and she made me a website. I was, I tell you what, Jacob, I was listening to a podcast. You start hearing about this podcast thing and so I'm interested and I listened to cereal.

Jacob Stoops (01:15:59.019)


Gary Jenkins (01:16:01.792)

one of the early ones and I'm listening to it and it's, man, this is great, this is cool. I really like the podcast. And then I thought, well, you know, they're just telling stories. And I was going around by that point in time, I had to promote my movie, you budding documentary filmmakers out there. It's really hard to make any money. I've been blessed to pretty well break even on all everything I've done, but you only do it by...

going out and promoting it. And how you promote it is you go to any group that'll have you and talk about your subject. Oh, there's a ton of groups out there. Mostly they don't pay anything.

Rotary Club and all kinds of service organizations and churches and that. So I've been doing these programs and talking about my experiences in the mob and showing clips from the movie or maybe showing the whole movie and at a library and then taking questions and talking afterwards. I kind of noticed that people, they seemed to like to listen to me talk. Now, they were.

thought about that before, but it seemed like they do. I noticed they were just real quiet and nobody was getting up to leave. And so I thought, well, maybe I have a little bit of skill here. Then I listened to this podcast and I thought, man, well, how do you make a podcast? I could tell some of my own personal stories. And then, you know, I didn't really know how far I was gonna go.

thought I'd at least do that. And I knew this guy that had a little internet radio show. I got ahold of him. He said, yeah, we can come down and record that. So I went down and recorded what I just said in more and more detail and several episodes and threw them up there. And it seemed OK. And it was fun. I liked doing it. I was practicing law. But frankly, it's the highest paying part time job I ever had, which is what I kind of wanted out of it. I'd done it.

Gary Jenkins (01:18:01.368)

to go into it hammer and tong. I just, I don't know, it was just, it never really, it was okay. I liked helping people, but it's extremely hard. And it's, you gotta work at getting paid all the time. And I just, I was never that comfortable. I'm more comfortable working for the government, I guess.

Jacob Stoops (01:18:19.722)


Gary Jenkins (01:18:25.02)

And so I go into this and so I do the podcast and you know, I've got time and I'll go research and I'll go research another story. And then I figured out you could call people up that had a book and get them on the phone and we had rudimentary kind of ways to.

tape a call, that's what I used. And then this guy could tape calls a little bit. It was always dicey that he was not rigged very well for taping calls, but I'd tape these guys and we'd do a show and tape them. Next thing I know, I've got 50 or 60 episodes in, I'm getting a little bit of a following and people are commenting and getting some feedback and a few people like it. And I'm getting, building more episodes or listen to, got those analytics and more and more.

So I just kept it up and, you know, I split, flip ways with him and just do it out of my house now and say, I mean, all you really needs a decent microphone and a computer, you're in business. You're going to have a, the entry level is, is low and it's, and now you're getting out on YouTube, I didn't used to even mess with YouTube, but now I even put it on YouTube, but the

Jacob Stoops (01:19:22.943)

Yeah. These days. Yeah.

Jacob Stoops (01:19:34.29)

I would say 80 to 90% of my audience is on YouTube. So YouTube is a critical component, but it's also the thing that takes me the longest because I'm very particular about my editing approach and dubbing in pictures and things of that nature. And I'm terrible in front of a camera, so I'm always cutting out my mistakes. And as I've gotten...

Gary Jenkins (01:19:40.919)


Gary Jenkins (01:19:47.364)


Gary Jenkins (01:19:52.684)


Gary Jenkins (01:19:58.344)

Well, you can cover yourself up with a picture and some B-roll stuff.

Jacob Stoops (01:20:02.266)

Yeah, well, I do believe me I do that I do that and uh, what i've been doing this year One getting more into interviews and I plan to do that because just as you said Uh, there are there's no shortage of people to talk to that have stories and quite frankly The thing that has surprised me most is most people are like if you just ask them They'll say yes to coming on your show. That's exactly how you know how you came on my show

Gary Jenkins (01:20:16.535)


Jacob Stoops (01:20:31.874)

is I reached out and said, hey, I'm changing the name of my podcast. It's a little bit similar to your podcast. I don't mean any offense. I hope you don't mind. And by the way, I would love to have you on my show as a longtime listener. And it just, you know, it worked out. But yeah, it's the barrier to entry for podcasting is so low right now. There are platforms that are just so tailor made that make it so easy. And all you have to do is computer.

Gary Jenkins (01:20:39.798)


Jacob Stoops (01:21:01.122)

decent microphone setup and if you're feeling like frisky, if you wanna work on your background for YouTube, that's not that hard either. You can buy most of this stuff on Amazon and what people don't see outside my background is just the pure chaos going on around me, but the background looks good. But yeah, it's been fun and you've been doing it for 10 years, I can only hope to.

Gary Jenkins (01:21:18.818)


Jacob Stoops (01:21:28.894)

you know, to do it for that long and pump out as many episodes as you have. What has been your either your favorite guest or your favorite episode that you've worked on?

Gary Jenkins (01:21:41.26)

Well, I don't know about a lot of yeah a lot of fun guests I'm trying to think of

Jacob Stoops (01:21:44.286)

Tough question with that much content.

Gary Jenkins (01:21:52.245)

You know, I, and this isn't a famous guy, but I started working with this guy named Cam Robinson. And it was really fun, Camilus Robinson and Camilus. I don't know how you pronounce it. I find out, I said, can I call you Cam? He said, yeah. And he was a lot of fun to work with. I haven't done anything with him for a while. So yeah, he wrote that book with the wife of Frank Calabrese Jr. He was a Chicago.

Jacob Stoops (01:21:57.906)

Mm, Camulus.

Jacob Stoops (01:22:10.422)

He just wrote a book.

Gary Jenkins (01:22:22.841)

Swan song, a Chicago mob wife story, Elisa Swan, and I interviewed them of course and so you know I'm trying to think of mob guys that I've interviewed that were a lot of fun.

Jacob Stoops (01:22:26.733)


Gary Jenkins (01:22:42.672)

I know there's somebody out there. Oh, Sal Polisi, I love Sal Polisi. I still talk to him every once in a while. He's a good guy. He's gone another, he got kind of tied in with, guy wanted to have him like be on there all the time. And I don't really want a mob guy to be my co-host. I mean, no offense at all, but.

Jacob Stoops (01:22:49.694)

Yeah. He's-

Gary Jenkins (01:23:04.384)

But I just don't want that, you know, I'm a policeman. I'm the only policeman that has a podcast. I'm the only law enforcement that has a mob podcast. There's an FBI lady that has an FBI podcast and there's some other true crime things that have some law enforcement people on them. I'm the only law enforcement guy in the mob genre and I'm just, I'm gonna keep it that way. But I really like Sal and I talk to him every once in a while today. So he was one of my more favorite podcasts, yeah. They're one of my-

Jacob Stoops (01:23:11.604)


Jacob Stoops (01:23:29.846)

He's got some good stories. Yeah, and he's a great, he's a really good storyteller too. He's been featured on documentaries. The only thing I ever question about, not just Sal, but other people who were in the life, who were in formants, who are now out of the life, are just the validity of some of the stories and just, are they embellishing, are they not? And I think that's part of the fun of it.

Gary Jenkins (01:23:33.121)

favorite guest.

He is, yeah.

Gary Jenkins (01:23:51.564)


Gary Jenkins (01:23:55.976)

Well, sure. You never let the facts get in the way of a good story, Jacob. You got a lot to learn, man. Oh, you have to stick pretty close to the facts. But if it's your personal memoir, you're going to have to do it.

Jacob Stoops (01:23:58.71)

But Sal Polisi, definitely a good... Right, right, right. I know, I know, you're right, you're right. This is entertainment, nobody cares about the facts.

Gary Jenkins (01:24:13.932)

then you might drift off a little bit. I don't know, I don't really care. And to me, it's just fun. Nobody's footnoting to this work. There's no academic papers are gonna be written out of this podcast, so. I...

Jacob Stoops (01:24:29.49)

Yeah, I'll tell you, I don't know if you get this. Um, one of the biggest things since the outset of the podcast, points of feedback that I've gotten and I've gotten so much better, but pronunciation, the, the pronunciation police come out in full force anytime I make an error. And I did make, um, one, one error in my Raymond patriarchy. And I'll explain that in a minute, my patriarchy episode. Uh, so there's a.

Gary Jenkins (01:24:40.624)

Oh God. Yeah.

Gary Jenkins (01:24:47.289)


Jacob Stoops (01:24:57.794)

There's a city in Massachusetts that is Pronounced Worcester some variation of that But it's spelled W O R C E S T E R Worchester it's spelled Worchester to 99% of the country you would read it phonetically as Worchester and I did that and it was in like the first three minutes of part one of my Patriarcha episode and

Gary Jenkins (01:25:02.543)

Wooster, yeah, Wooster.

Gary Jenkins (01:25:10.368)

More Chester. I didn't know that. More Chester. Yeah.

Gary Jenkins (01:25:22.36)


Jacob Stoops (01:25:25.514)

Within a couple of minutes of posting it, it was immediately comment after comment after comment Going it's wusta you idiot and that Yeah, well, yeah that and that one was a big mistake So i've had to like, you know If I leave the video up, I just have to own up to the fact that was definitely a mistake But there are people that are so particular And I hear uh patriarchy. I hear lots of people say raymond patriarchy pay

Gary Jenkins (01:25:33.614)

Well, that's good. That means a lot of people are listening.

Jacob Stoops (01:25:54.118)

And I have so many people that are like, it's not pay, it's pa, patriarchy. And I'm like, really? Like that out of all the content I'm producing, and I love that people are listening and are interested and really passionate, but that's the thing you focus on. And again, I don't, I'm not trying to like put down my, my audience. I, you know, I'm building a small following myself and they're very passionate and very particular about their pronunciation. So I'm just trying to keep.

Gary Jenkins (01:25:56.964)

Pat, patriarchy, I didn't surprise him, patriarchy.

Gary Jenkins (01:26:08.792)

Well, that's true.

Gary Jenkins (01:26:19.128)

Well, yes.

Jacob Stoops (01:26:22.215)

I don't know if you ever get that.

Gary Jenkins (01:26:23.768)

Oh God, I just have had two recently. One was Bobby. I said DeCiccio. He was Gambino's. He was Gotti's underboss that got blown up as DiCicco. And then I did... Oh God, I just had it on the top of my tongue. I did... DiCicco and...

Jacob Stoops (01:26:34.918)

Ah, the Chico, yeah.

Gary Jenkins (01:26:46.968)

God, I just slipped my mind, but I did another one just here. Oh, Napolitano, sunny black, it's Napolano, Napoltano. They don't pronounce the I, the I is not pronounced according to his, the guy that's married to his cousin and somebody else mentioned it, I pronounced it wrong, Napoltano. It's not, you don't pronounce that I, not Napolitano, it's Napoltano.

Jacob Stoops (01:26:55.528)



Jacob Stoops (01:27:06.623)


Jacob Stoops (01:27:10.22)


Jacob Stoops (01:27:14.802)

Wow, well then that means that...

Gary Jenkins (01:27:15.532)

And it's almost said like one syllable. One guy said, I've never heard that name pronounced in three syllables before. Of course, I've been a little more southern. I might draw something out. So Napultano. More than likely, yeah.

Jacob Stoops (01:27:27.106)

That means 99.9% of content creators out there are mispronouncing it. So yeah, I always find it interesting. So it's just funny stuff that you don't expect to run into when you're producing a podcast. And I guess I should have expected it, but myself coming from Midwest, and quite honestly, like not having grown up anywhere near Italians in any way, shape or form and never having to say anything, but very plain.

Gary Jenkins (01:27:45.685)


Jacob Stoops (01:27:56.558)

names coming into this genre and you've got you know very you know very creative names multiple syllables it took a while to like just get used to saying it and it took practice so I'm sure that sounds really awful but it's it is true so anyways so Gary I want to thank you for coming on

Gary Jenkins (01:28:08.833)


Gary Jenkins (01:28:13.563)

It's just the way it is.

Gary Jenkins (01:28:19.017)

Okay, Jacob.

Jacob Stoops (01:28:20.894)

Amazing stories your life, although you again, I'll just say you downplay it incredibly interesting. You're incredibly Accomplished and you know, I was very excited to get a chance to speak to you and get to know you So thank you so much for coming on my show

Gary Jenkins (01:28:34.142)

Well, thank you, Jacob. Thanks for having me on.

Jacob Stoops (01:28:38.874)

And everybody else out there, if you're still listening in, I really appreciate it. Don't forget, as I always say, to like, subscribe, you know, turn on the bell, get notifications, share the episode wherever you can. And then, of course, as soon as you're done watching this, if you haven't already listened to Gary's podcast, please go over to Gangland Wire. I'm going to drop the link to his documentary Brothers Against Brothers on Amazon in the description.

this video so please go check it out go rent it go buy it and yeah share Gary's work and go follow him he's got a Facebook page we didn't talk about it's got 50,000 members that post really amazing mob historical mob photos almost daily so please go check that out but as I you know as I end every episode Grazie

Gary Jenkins (01:29:35.501)


Jacob Stoops, the host of The Gangland History Podcast

Jacob Stoops

Host of the Gangland History Podcast

This podcast sits at the intersection of my life-long love for history, my love of mob movies, my now decades-long fascination with the Mafia, as well as my passion for content creation.