There are many notorious figures in the history of Organised Crime in the USA, but despite the fact Joe Barboza was not a big name, does not diminish his horrifying reputation. A man so violent that many Police Officers were frightened of him. Barboza was born in 1932 to Portuguese- Italian immigrants and grew up into a bull-necked young man of ferocious violence. In 1950, he was incarcerated in jail and him and some other inmates broke out, but were only free for twenty four hours. Throughout the fifties and into the sixties, he built up a fearsome reputation that came to the notice of Raymond Patriarca, head of the New England Mafia.
It has been claimed but not proven that Barboza carried out 26 murders for the Mob and anybody who crossed him and even a victim being in the wrong place. Barboza did not care who his victims were. Facing weapons charges, Barboza was convinced to become a Government Witness, and was the first person to go into the Witness Protection Programme. He put numerous villains away, but he falsely claimed four men were responsible for the murder of a petty villain named Deegan. His word alone sent two to Death Row, the other two to life. His lies were uncovered some years later, but two died in prison and the others did spent a long time incarcerated.
The Government moved Barboza around, to keep any hitman at bay. They once housed him on a small island. This was turned into a film "Nowhere to Hide" with Lee Van Cleef as the U.S.Marshall in charge of security and Tony Musante playing the Barboza character. Musante played the man wrongly executed in the Frank Sinatra film "The Detective."
Barboza collaborated with crime writer Hank Messick on his autobiography "Barboza" in which there is the notable absence of most of the motiveless violence and mayhem Barboza reeked. Not being full Italian excluded him from being made up, but people like him are convenient for Mob guys to use, in the same way Paul Castellano used the Westies Gang for contract killings. In typical gangland style, Barbozas` violence came full circle when he was blasted with a shotgun in February 1976. Nobody mourned his death.