Saladino's cousin imprisoned on weapon charges

Rockfordian Joseph W. Saladino Jr., 59, a cousin of reputed Mob hit man Frank G. “Gumba” Saladino, who was found dead in Kane County, reported to federal prison Jan. 25 in Sandstone, Minn.

Joe Saladino’s trip up the river to the Gopher State comes nearly eight years after being caught with a machine gun, butcher knife, hand saw and other weapons in the trunk of his car.

On Feb. 15, 1997, at 2:05 a.m, Joe Saladino was stopped by Illinois State Police for traveling 47 mph in a 35 mph zone on East State Street near Fairview Avenue.

According to court records, after a state trooper searched the trunk of Saladino’s vehicle, police found “a loaded 0.380 caliber handgun, an unloaded 0.357 magnum handgun, an unloaded 9 mm fully automatic machine pistol with no serial number, and in excess of 400 rounds of ammunition.

“In addition, defendant [Saladino] had two books on how to make silencers, a book on machine lathes, a billy club, two ‘slim jims,’ two bolt cutters, a tree trimming saw, one butcher knife, a pipe wrench, a stocking cap, and two face masks.”

Joe Saladino could have received up to 10 years in prison and $250,000 fine on the charges. Instead, he pled guilty in federal court in 2003 to possession of the machine gun and possession of a firearm by a felon. As part of the plea agreement, Joe Saladino will serve no more than 27 months in prison in spite of his violent past.

The agreement was negotiated between Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael F. Iasparro and Saladino’s attorney James W. Reilly of Arlington Heights.

Saladino’s original attorney was Jerry A. Lund of the law firm Vella and Lund, P.C. Lund withdrew from the case in March 2003 citing a “potential conflict of interest.”

Iasparro is the son of Rockford Police Deputy Chief Dominic Iasparro, longtime head of the Metro Narcotics task force.

The Rockford Register Star reported that in the early 1960s, Frank “often partnered with his cousin Joe.” Joe Saladino’s past includes the following:

Rape conviction with his cousin Frank G. Saladino of a Winnebago County woman on Oct. 22, 1964.

Pled guilty in Winnebago County to battery charges on Jan. 18, 1983, and was sentenced to one year of court supervision and a $90 fine.

Sentenced to two years probation, 200 hours of community service and $3,500 fine for unlawful use of a weapon by a felon on April 8, 1998.

However, none of those charges counted against Saladino when his 27-month prison term was negotiated with the government.

Michael Iasparro explained that time was the primary factor Saladino’s 1964 and 1983 crimes didn’t count against him. Iasparro cited the plea agreement to explain why the 1998 conviction didn’t count against Saladino.

That part of the agreement reads he received no points because Saladino was convicted in state court, had “no prior criminal convictions,” and accepted responsibility for his actions.

Iasparro also said Federal District Court Judge Philip G. Reinhard was required to follow “sentencing guidelines” in determining Saladino’s term of imprisonment. Reinhard was Winnebago County State’s Attorney from 1968 to 1976.

Michael Zemites, field supervisor for the FBI’s Rockford office, said he was “familiar” with the name of Joe Saladino.

Saladino declined to be interviewed for this article.

From the May 4-10, 2005 issue

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!