Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • How much do you really know about your neighbors?

  • You know that Mr. Malarkey likes to sunbathe in a speedo every morning around 8AM - just

  • as you're going to get the paper.

  • You know that Mrs. Bellingham will call the police at the slightest unusual sound in the

  • neighborhood - even if it's just you dropping a plate in the kitchen.

  • But then there's the guy at the corner, Mr. Smith.

  • You brought him a fruit basket when he moved in, but he seemed tense and didn't want

  • to talk.

  • You don't know where he works, where he comes from, and he doesn't seem eager to

  • share.

  • You wonder - is he just a normal, shy guy in the neighborhood, or is he hiding a secret?

  • Is he even who he says he is?

  • The federal witness protection program was founded in 1971 to protect high-value witnesses

  • in criminal trials from retaliation or assassination, and it does this by giving them new identities

  • and placing them anonymously around the country in quiet communities - like yours.

  • There are over 19,000 witnesses in the program since its founding, and it's estimated that

  • 95% of them are criminals themselves.

  • Most are low-level members of criminal organizations who decided to save themselves from a prison

  • sentence by turning on the boss, but not all of them.

  • The federal government has cut sweetheart deals with some of the most dangerous criminals

  • around - and they might be living right next door.

  • Here are ten of the most dangerous criminals in witness protection you should keep an eye

  • out for

  • 10.

  • John Kelley

  • John Kelley was one of the most prolific robbers and hit men the Irish mob had ever seen, and

  • he was notorious in the community for his patience - they called himSwiss Watch

  • due to how meticulous and careful he was.

  • So careful, in fact, that he was involved in some of the most famous robberies of the

  • 1960s, including the Plymouth Mall robbery and the Boston Brinks holdup.

  • Both times he was arrested and put on trial after people fingered him as playing a role,

  • but he had a secret weapon - his lawyer, F. Lee Bailey.

  • The legendary trial lawyer was able to cast doubt on Kelley's involvement, and he walked

  • free both times.

  • But Kelley's careful planning didn't work out for his mob bosses.

  • When mob boss Raymond Patriarca went on trial for murder, John Kelley saw the opportunity

  • to get out before his luck ran out.

  • He fingered Patriarca and several other associates for two murders, and they all went to prison.

  • Kelley was now a marked man, and he went into the witness protection program under the protection

  • of the FBI.

  • Where did he go?

  • No one knows, but he stayed under the radar for more than thirty years until his death

  • - but many of the others in the program are still alive and living quietly around the

  • country.

  • #9.

  • Sammy Gravano

  • John Gotti was one of the most notorious mobsters in American history, but there was one thing

  • he hadn't planned for - someone taking down his crime syndicate from within.

  • His underboss, SammyThe BullGravano, had worked for both the Colombo and Gambino

  • families, and even successfully plotted to kill Gambino boss Paul Castellano.

  • That earned him a promotion, but the ambitious and ruthless Gravano was always looking for

  • a better deal.

  • He became the highest-ranking mob boss to ever turn government witness, and confessed

  • to being involved in 19 murders.

  • While John Gotti went to prison for life, Gravano got a light five years - and was out

  • in one due to time served.

  • He went into the federal witness protection program, but as someone who could never stay

  • in one place long, it didn't surprise people when he decided to leave and resume his old

  • life.

  • Despite being a hunted man, he took advantage of his celebrity to collaborate on a biography.

  • And from there, he stayed law-abiding...for a few years.

  • In 2000, he and forty other people were arrested for involvement in a massive drug ring.

  • One trial later, he returned to prison for a much longer stretch - but was released in

  • 2017.

  • The Bull is out there under his own name, but many notorious criminals are still completely

  • anonymous.

  • #8.

  • Rayful Edmond

  • One witness protection resident that you don't need to worry about being right next door

  • - yet - is drug trafficker Rayful Edmond.

  • In the 1980s, Washington DC came under threat from a new scourge - crack cocaine.

  • This potent drug led to a rising crime rate, even causing the capital to be calledthe

  • murder capital of the United States”, And it all traced back to one man - Rayful Edmond,

  • a heavy-duty trafficker who had deals with some of the most notorious cartels in the

  • world.

  • A go-between who sold his wares to low-level drug dealers, he was notorious in the city

  • for his fancy clothing - and he had no problem keeping his power by hiring people to murder

  • rivals.

  • He was only 24 when he was arrested for multiple counts of drug trafficking.

  • His trial was top-secret, with the jurors' identities hidden and their panel behind bulletproof

  • glass to protect them from retaliation.

  • He was convicted on all counts - and promptly sentenced to life in prison, where he became

  • a dealer behind bars.

  • Why did he turn government informant?

  • No one knows, but he was transferred to a top-secret new prison where he remains to

  • this day.

  • He's still locked up, but a growing movement wants to see his sentence commuted due to

  • his cooperation.

  • Coming to a neighborhood near you?

  • #7.

  • Abdul Majid Giaka

  • In the 1980s, the regime of Muammar al-Gaddafi was one of the most feared in the world, and

  • its security force had a wide reach that allowed it to commit crimes around the world.

  • The most notorious of these was the downing of Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988, which led to

  • a decade-long manhunt.

  • They finally arrested Abdelbaset al-Meghari for the crime, but the prosecutors in Scotland

  • were worried about evidence - until they were approached by a man on the inside.

  • Abdul Majid Giaka, a pseudonym for a member of the Libyan intelligence service, approached

  • the CIA and said he wanted to become an asset.

  • But was he trustworthy?

  • He gave them a lot of information about the inner workings of the Libyan government, but

  • he overstated his importance.

  • And for every bit of information, he had a new demand.

  • He wanted the CIA to pay him a salary, to pay for a surgery that would get him out of

  • military service, and to finance a car rental business idea of his.

  • His theories became more and more outlandish, claiming a powerful Masonic conspiracy behind

  • Gaddafi's regime - but his testimony about seeing Meghari plant a suitcase on the plane

  • was enough to get a conviction.

  • Was Giaka a turncoat or a scammer?

  • No one knows, but the CIA took a risk on him - and some even more dangerous criminals.

  • #6.

  • Marion Albert Pruett

  • Not everyone who goes into the witness protection program works out for the government, but

  • they rarely have a high-profile disaster as bad as Marion Albert Pruett.

  • He was a federal inmate in 1979 when he witnessed a murder, and agreed to testify.

  • His sentence was commuted and he was given a new name - CharlesSonnyPearson,

  • and set free to begin a new life.

  • But that was only the beginning of his crime spree, and wherever Pruett went, death followed.

  • He robbed a bank, kidnapped teller Peggy Lowe, and killed her.

  • Bobbie Jean Robertson, a convenience store clerk, soon followed.

  • By the time the government caught up to Pruett, he had racked up five deaths, including his

  • common-law wife.

  • Convicted individually for each murder, he received three life sentences and a death

  • sentence for Robertson's murder.

  • As his execution date awaited, he didn't change his colors a bit - he tried to extort

  • the media for information on murders he supposedly committed in Florida.

  • But all of Marion Albert Pruett's scheming couldn't get him out of his meeting with

  • Arkansas' death row in 1999.

  • He's not coming to a neighborhood near you, but that's not the case for some of the

  • following criminals...

  • #5.

  • Jorge Salcedo Cabrera

  • South of the border, the drug cartels hold a lot of power, and there are whole sectors

  • of Columbia where they're in control.

  • It's notoriously hard for the federal government to stem the tide of drugs when many of the

  • powerful dealers are out of their reach.

  • But that changed with Operation Cornerstone, which took down the deadly Cali Cartel.

  • At the center of this operation - their head of security, Jorge Salcedo Cabrera.

  • A skilled civil engineer recruited into the cartel as a young man, he was involved in

  • a near-assassination of rival cartel leader Pablo Escobar.

  • When an attorney close to the cartel was arrested, Cabrera saw an opportunity to get out before

  • it was too late.

  • He consulted with the DEA and developed a plan to arrest leader Miguel Rodriguez Orejuela.

  • It took two tries, but Cabrera's information was accurate.

  • He waited six and a half years for permission to come to the United States with his family,

  • where they entered the witness protection program - where they've been since 1995,

  • living in quiet obscurity.

  • Something the next criminal knows very little about.

  • #4.

  • Mickey Featherstone

  • Few names invoked more fear in the middle of the 20th century in New York than the Westies,

  • a ruthless Irish mob based in Hell's Kitchen.

  • And one of their most notorious members was hitman FrancisMickeyFeatherstone.

  • A member of James Coonan's gang, he came back from the Vietnam War and had a reputation

  • for unstable behavior.

  • When he came home, he promptly picked a fight with some New Jersey gangsters moving in,

  • and shot one of them in the arm.

  • Coonan took a liking to the ruthless young man, and he bounced in and out of hospitals,

  • usually getting away with his crimes by being found unfit to stand trial.

  • But his luck took a turn when he was convicted for the murder of Michael Holly.

  • He hadn't actually committed this murder, but he was facing twenty-five years in prison.

  • And suddenly, having a wild card like Featherstone wasn't looking so good for Coonan.

  • Featherstone turned informant, had his sentence overturned, and gave the government everything

  • they needed to convict Coonan of racketeering.

  • His own sentence was suspended, and he was released into the witness protection program.

  • His current whereabouts are unknown, but by all accounts the man dog of Hell's Kitchen

  • is still out there.

  • Our next undercover criminal was once one of America's most bitter enemies...

  • #3.

  • Stanislav Lunev

  • Most witness protection residents have the fate of a crime syndicate in their hands,

  • but one had the fate of the entire world.

  • It was the height of the cold war when Stanislav Lunev rose to prominence in the Soviet military.

  • He traveled the world, being stationed in Singapore, China, and the United States undercover.

  • But in 1992, he shocked the world when he became the highest-ranking Soviet officer

  • to ever defect to the United States.

  • And what he told US authorities was a game-changer.

  • Everyone knew the Soviets and Americans were in an arms race, but Lunev had information

  • on an elaborate series of nuclear sabotage operations including the possibility of hidden

  • tactical nuclear weapons.

  • He also alleged that these bombs could be used to assassinate US leaders.

  • He even alleged a plan to poison the Potomac River.

  • While many speculated that Lunev's stories were exaggerated, he was considered a credible

  • witness, and disappeared into the witness protection program.

  • The spy in the United States had become one of its secret assets.

  • Our next undercover witness would be the inspiration for one of the best tv shows ever.

  • #2.

  • Vincent Palermo

  • Who doesn't love The Sopranos?

  • Even if we still don't know what happened at the end.

  • But the real-life inspiration for Tony Soprano took a very different path.

  • Vincent Palermo was a New Jersey mob boss, head of the DeCavalcante crime family, and

  • the owner of a strip club named Wiggles which was notorious for being a hub of mob business.

  • He was a family man in more ways than one, and if you crossed either of his families,

  • he was notorious for getting violent.

  • But the power struggle in the family was getting hotter, and no one was sure how long Palermo

  • could hold on as his allies and enemies were gunned down.

  • When his associate Ralph Guarino was arrested and became an informant to avoid prison, Palermo

  • was arrested and faced capital offenses.

  • He was not going to die in prison, and so Palermo took the only route he could - he

  • confessed and offered up the entire De Cavalcante crime family on a silver platter.

  • He disappeared - but he was one of the most high-profile informants in the program, and

  • in 2009 he was found in Houston, Texas, under the name Vincent Cabella.

  • He was out of organized crime, but some things never change - he was running a strip club

  • that was a hub of illegal activity.

  • Our number one criminal could be both a mass murderer, and living next door to you right

  • now!

  • #1.

  • Michael Townley

  • The regime of Augusto Pinochet in Chile during the 1970s was notorious for its brutality,

  • and for one Iowa-born young man, he looked at its atrocities and said - I want in.

  • Michael Townley had gone back and forth between Chile and the United States, working for Pinochet's

  • secret service in collaboration with the CIA.

  • The US government was affiliated with Pinochet's regime for anti-communist reasons, but Townley

  • went much further than most of their American allies.

  • He went around the world, assassinating enemies of the regime in exile.

  • In 1974 he killed Carlos Prats in Buenos Aires, and made an attempt on other lives in Italy

  • and Washington.

  • It was his assassination of Chilean diplomat Orlando Letelier in Washington that proved

  • his undoing, as he was extradited to Washington in 1978 after being convicted in absentia.

  • He wasted no time cutting a deal, offering everything he knew about the operations in

  • Chile.

  • He served 62 months in prison for the killing, but was released into witness protection - where

  • he lives to this day.

  • The number of people he killed is unknown, and he's even suspected in the death of

  • Nobel Prize winning Chilean novelist Pablo Neruda.

  • Townley's current whereabouts are unknown, and one of the Pinochet regime's most brutal

  • killers could be anywhere.

  • Want to know about more criminals still out there?

  • Check outMost Wanted Americans by Interpol (2019), or check out this video instead.

How much do you really know about your neighbors?

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

B1 witness protection kelley prison program murder

Most Dangerous Criminals In The Witness Protection Program

  • 2 1
    林宜悉 posted on 2020/12/22
Video vocabulary