Ilario Zannino was born to Joseph Zannino and Isabella LaGrada and was raised in a house on Shawmut Avenue in South End, Boston. He stood at 5'7 and weighed 160 pounds with brown eyes and dark brown hair. He is the husband of Isabella Tawa. He was one of the richest mobsters in the New England mob. The Boston Globe stated that that Zannino had a wallet that looks like the inside of the New England Merchants Bank vault and a bookmaking and loansharking operation more successful than most American car companies. He was often found bouncing with Stephen Flemmi. He lived for a time in Franklin, MA and graduated from Franklin High School in 1938. His relatives owned a pig farm in Stoughton, Massachusetts where it was believed that the body of murdered Greek-American mob associates James Bratsos was murdered and buried in 1954. No one has ever been charged in the disappearance of Bratsos. In his high school yearbook at graduation he stated intentions to attend medical school. His classmates called him "Zip" which later become ironically the same nickname of FBI Special Agent John Connolly who would later successfully prosecute him for his criminal activities. He allegedly stabbed a waiter to death in a South End restaurant for slow service. He was classmates with a future elementary school principal named Larry who were in the "Let's Go" youth gang together. In 1954, Illario attended his old friend Larry's wedding, pressed a $100 bill in his hand and said, "Buy yourself a necktie kid."
In 1985, FBI agents acquired details on the interiors of two Mafia controlled apartments in the Boston's North End. With court approval, agents picked the locks early in the morning and planted bugs that produced 800 hours of recordings. Ilario Zannino was heard explaining how dangerous it is to kill just one member of the Winter Hill Gang. "If you're clipping people," he said, "I always say, make sure you clip the people around him first. Get them together, 'cause everybody's got a friend. He could be the dirtiest motherfucker in the world, but someone that likes this guy, that's the guy that sneaks you." Zannino and Patriarca family soldier, John Cincotti were complaining to each other about the problems that they were having with the Irish American gang. Cincotti said: "They don't have the scruples that we have." Zannino agreed. "You know how I knew they weren't Italiano? When they bombed the fucking house. We don't do that."
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