Roy DeMeo, The DeMeo Crew, and the Notorious Gemini Lounge
Roy DeMeo’s journey into the underworld began in the gritty streets of Brooklyn. Born in 1942 into an Italian immigrant family, DeMeo displayed an early knack for business, albeit on the wrong side of the law.
By 17, he was running a profitable loan-sharking operation, attracting the attention of the Gambino family. His small-scale criminal activities were just the start of a notorious career that would shake the New York underworld.
Roy DeMeo Joined the Gambino Family
Roy DeMeo’s loan-sharking caught the eye of Anthony Gaggi — also known as Nino Gaggi — a member of the influential Gambino family. Gaggi saw potential in DeMeo and brought him under the Gambino wing, significantly boosting his criminal operations.
This partnership was pivotal, marking DeMeo’s formal induction into the mafia and setting the stage for his rise to infamy within the criminal hierarchy of New York City.
Formation of the DeMeo Crew
With the backing of the Gambinos, Roy DeMeo began assembling his own gang, the DeMeo Crew. The DeMeo Crew members included Anthony Senter, Chris Rosenberg, Vito Arena, and Henry Borelli.
Starting with car theft and drug trafficking, the crew quickly expanded into various criminal activities. They mastered the art of laundering money and devised sophisticated schemes to steal from credit unions, laying the foundation for their future criminal empire.
The First Known Murder
The dark side of the DeMeo Crew surfaced in 1975 with the disappearance of Andrei Katz, a partner in their stolen car ring. Katz had made the fatal mistake of turning informant, leading to his abduction and murder by the crew.
This act marked a sinister turn for the DeMeo Crew, propelling them into a brutal series of crimes that would define their legacy.
The Gemini Lounge Murders
The Gemini Lounge in Brooklyn became synonymous with the DeMeo Crew’s most gruesome activities. This unassuming bar served as the command center for their operations, and more chillingly, as the site of numerous murders.
The Gemini Lounge—located at 4021 Flatlands Ave. in Brooklyn, New York—was a place where many entered but few left, becoming a symbol of the crew’s ruthlessness.
The Gemini Method Unveiled
The Gemini Method was a chillingly efficient technique for murder, developed by Roy DeMeo. Victims lured into the Gemini Lounge were shot and then stabbed in a way to minimize initial blood loss.
This methodical process was designed to ensure the crew could kill without leaving a trace, a horrifying testament to their cold-blooded efficiency.
The Disappearance of Victims
Post-murder, the DeMeo Crew’s (aka the Gemini killers’) precision continued. Bodies were taken to a bathtub, drained of blood, then dismembered and disposed of. The Fountain Avenue dump often served as their grim final resting place.
This gruesome process was so effective that many of their victims simply vanished, leaving law enforcement grappling with a growing list of missing persons.
Partnership with the Westies
Roy DeMeo’s strategic acumen shone when he brokered a partnership with the Westies, an Irish American gang. This alliance expanded the Gambino family’s reach and proved immensely profitable.
DeMeo’s role in forging this partnership solidified his standing within the Gambino family, marking him as a key player in New York’s organized crime scene.
The FBI's Growing Investigation
By the 1980s, the FBI’s focus on the Gambino family intensified. The Gemini Lounge and the mounting number of missing persons and unsolved murders led to increased scrutiny.
Law enforcement agencies, bolstered by tips from informants, began closing in on the DeMeo Crew’s operations, signaling the beginning of the end for their reign of terror.
The Hit on Roy DeMeo
As pressure mounted, rumors circulated that Paul Castellano, head of the Gambino family, had ordered a hit on Roy DeMeo. This speculation was fueled by FBI surveillance, which suggested that Castellano wanted to distance the family from DeMeo’s increasingly risky activities.
The once-valued DeMeo found himself isolated and vulnerable within the very organization he had served so loyally.
Roy DeMeo's Paranoia and Assassination
In his final days, Roy DeMeo was consumed by paranoia, aware that his life was in jeopardy. Despite previous arrests and acquittals, he sensed the tightening noose of law enforcement and feared retribution from within his own ranks.
This paranoia was justified when, on Jan. 10, 1983, Roy Demeo came to a violent end. His bullet-riddled body was discovered in his car’s trunk. Paul Cestellano’s body would also eventually be found after he was shot on Dec. 16, 1985—an order that was put out by his rival, John Gotti.
The Legacy of the Roy DeMeo Crew
The story of Roy DeMeo and the DeMeo Crew is a dark chapter in the annals of hit men and organized crime, and one that is recounted by Demeo’s son, Albery Demeo, in his book, “For the Sins of My Father: A Mafia Killer, His Son, and the Legacy of a Mob Life.” Their reign of terror left an indelible mark on New York’s criminal history, characterized by ruthless efficiency and brutal violence.
Even decades later, the legacy of the DeMeo Crew continues to haunt the streets of Brooklyn, a stark reminder of the city’s turbulent past. As for what remains of the crew, Henry Borelli is now eligible for parole, while Anthony Senter was granted parole in 2023 and is scheduled to be released in the summer of 2024.