Following decades of silence, a man with ties to the mafia claims to know where the body of Jimmy Hoffa is buried.
The alleged gangster has come forward to claim that the Teamster was buried in a shallow grave in a field in suburban Detroit, about 20 miles north of the restaurant where he was last seen alive.
Zerilli says that the plan was to move the body at another time, however Hoffa's remains were never moved from the first spot where they were buried. Zerilli, 85, said:
"Once he was buried here he was buried and they let it go."
According to federal authorities, Zerilli has mob ties and would likely know detailed information about where Hoffa may be buried. Andy Arena, former head of the FBI for New York and Detroit, said:
"He actually had risen up at one point to the underboss – or second in command."
Former U.S. Attorney Keith Corbett, who prosecuted organized crime in Detroit for 20 years, said:
"The bureau had a short list of people they wanted to talk to about that and I can’t think of anybody on that list who was more highly placed then Anthony Zerilli. This is certainly the most interesting and attractive lead that has come up since I’ve been involved with this -- and I think the bureau would react the same way."
Zerilli, who is now broke and barely able to walk, wants to set the record straight about what happened to Hoffa, and make a few bucks in the meantime. He has a book project underway.
Zerilli denies being a part of the mafia or having anything to do with Hoffa's disappearance, noting:
"What happened to Hoffa had nothing to do with me in any way, shape or form."
At the very least, the feds are convinced that he knows what happened. Corbett noted:
"Clearly when he returned [from prison] 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."
On the day he disappeared, Hoffa was due to meet with a New Jersey Teamsters boss and a Detroit mafia captain. Hoffa had been seen at the restaurant, and then never again.
This is not the first time that someone has claimed to know where Hoffa, who had been investigated for dealings with the mafia, was buried. In 2004, police ripped up the floorboards at a Detroit home, and in 2003 they had searched beneath a backyard pool north of the city. In 2006, tips led police to excavate soil at a horse farm 100 miles north of Detroit. Just last year, a driveway in Detroit was dug up. There have even been rumors that Hoffa's remains were ground up and tossed into a Florida swamp, that he was entombed beneath Giants Stadium in New Jersey, or obliterated in a mob-owned fat-rendering plant.
Zerilli says that over the decades, he has been frustrated watching the FBI chase the numerous tips from people seeking attention by saying that they know where Hoffa is buried. Zerilli says:
All this speculation about where he is and he’s not. They say he was in a meat grinder. It’s all baloney."