“When people say, ‘What do you do for a living?’ I say, ‘I manage the Diamond Collar, a grooming dog center in Brooklyn, New York.’ But what do I do all day? I rescue animals. I get a lot of calls every week to run out and grab whatever: possums, raccoons, turtles, dogs and cats.
“I see myself in those animals every day, because I was those animals. Before I was 35, my life was rough, I was robbing and stealing. I was sniffing 500 dollars of cocaine a week, drinking every day – no tolerance for anything. I was dead, a train doing 120mph at a brick wall, life was hard.
“As a [Gambino family] enforcer, you’re there for your group. If somebody needs to be knocked out, you’re willing to do it. If someone owes money, you’re willing to go get that money. If someone’s car needs to be burned, you’re willing to do it – I was willing to do anything for the crew.
“I had every conviction besides murder; gun charges, kidnapping, assault, possession, dealing, conspiracy charges for murder.”
“I had every conviction besides murder; gun charges, kidnapping, assault, possession, dealing, conspiracy charges for murder. People didn’t want me around, I was a dark person, but I didn’t want to change. When I met my wife Lena, I moved to Brooklyn – it was miles away from my neighbourhood but I started to do the same thing there; selling cocaine and illegal cigarettes, doing everything. I wasn’t going to stop, and no one was going to stop me. My mother begged me on her dying death bed, ‘Please stop,’ and I wouldn’t do it. If I wouldn’t do it for my mother, I wouldn’t do it for anyone.
“Brother, you will never know it until it hits you. A little dying dog on the street, that’s what made me decide to stop.