Reputed mob soldier Charles “Chuckie” Russell dies before sentencing
Charles “Chuckie” Russell once boasted to an undercover federal agent that he carried out thousands of burglaries over a four-year period.
And he bragged that his robbery victims never refused to open their safes for him. His tool of persuasion: a butane torch to the bottom of their feet.
Russell, 70, a reputed Chicago Outfit soldier, has died before he could be sentenced for gun possession in connection with a 2016 robbery plot, according to a filing in federal court Monday. He was suffering from prostate cancer, records show.
In late 2016, Russell was arrested when he bought guns from an undercover federal agent in Chicago. He pleaded guilty last year to possession of a revolver that agents found during a search of his home in Schaumburg.
Based on his criminal background, including convictions for murder and rape, he faced at least 15 years in prison.
Because of his illness, though, Russell was released from jail and allowed to live at home on electronic monitoring. He was never well enough to be sentenced.
According to court records, Russell had arranged to stay in a condo owned by his girlfriend, Patricia Spilotro, a relative of Anthony and Michael Spilotro, the Outfit members whose double murder in 1986 was featured in the movie “Casino.”
On Dec. 20, 2016, Russell, a reputed member of the Chicago’s mob’s Grand Avenue crew, met at a restaurant with a federal informant and an undercover agent with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Russell enlisted their help in a plot to rob a 70-year-old former attorney of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
At the same meeting, Russell also showed the ATF agent a photo of a car riddled with bullets, then handed the agent an Illinois driver’s license of a black man, saying, “He’s deceased.” Agents confirmed the man on the driver’s license was shot in November 2016. His killing remains unsolved.
Russell was arrested on Dec. 21, 2016, after buying eight guns from the agent.
Afterward, he supposedly said, “You guys did a really good job.”