NEW YORK — The 24-year-old Staten Island man facing murder charges in the killing of the reputed Gambino crime boss flashed pro-Trump slogans that were scrawled on his right hand in court on Monday.
FOX40 sister station WPIX reports the suspect, Anthony Comello, appeared in green and white prison stripes before an Ocean County judge on Monday, ready to be returned to Staten Island to face murder charges in the killing of alleged mob boss Frank Cali.
The phrases written in ink on his hand included "MAGA Forever," "Make America Great Again" and "United We Stand MAGA."
As Comello prepared for extradition, a WPIX law-enforcement source said Comello has been struggling with opioids.
"The kid definitely has a very bad drug problem," the source said.
When asked if it was heroin or another type of opioid, the source responded, “You’re on the right track.”
WPIX first reported Saturday that some investigators believe Comello confronted and killed reputed Gambino crime boss Frank Cali last Wednesday using 10 bullets and his pickup truck because Cali didn’t want Comello dating his niece.
Early on in the investigation, many in law enforcement didn’t believe this was a traditional mob hit. As one source told WPIX, “There’s always more than one person there (in hits on bosses), and they’re not using their own cars. None of it makes sense.”
WPIX learned Monday from the same law enforcement source that Comello used the Outerbridge Crossing Wednesday night to make his getaway in his blue pickup truck from Staten Island to New Jersey.
When members of a fugitive task force found Comello early Saturday morning, his truck was with him at his parent’s house in Brick, New Jersey, near the Jersey Shore.
This led some New York tabloids to label Comello a “dumbfella” for using his own vehicle and leaving his fingerprints on the license plate of his alleged victim.
Despite revelations of Comello’s interest in Frank Cali’s niece, another law enforcement source told WPIX Monday that not everyone inside the NYPD buys this as a motive.
“Some people don’t believe it.”
Certainly, hundreds of people who have responded to WPIX’s reports on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter don’t fully believe the picture that’s emerging of events leading up to the brazen murder.
Even the NYPD chief of detectives isn’t publicly married to one version of events. On Saturday, Chief Dermot Shea noted, “Let me reiterate. This is far from over!”
Shea said key questions concerning Anthony Comello were: “Was he acting alone? Was he acting for other people? Are there others involved?” As Shea put it, “Oftentimes, the first story is not the final story.”