TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Four days before he traveled to Dallas and destiny, John F. Kennedy visited Tampa.
Kennedy met with local politicians and waved at thousands of adoring fans as his motorcade drove through Tampa.
Some believe Tampa has a much darker connection to Kennedy’s assassination than a quirk of timing.
Santo Trafficante Jr. was a well-known mafia figure from Tampa.
Trafficante’s long time attorney and friend, Frank Ragano, claimed that before his death in 1987, Trafficante confided in him that he had been involved in ordering Kennedy’s murder.
Ragano’s son Chris says his father heard the confession from Traficante as they were driving down Bayshore Boulevard just days before the mob boss died.
“You got to understand that my father was not only Santo’s attorney, but he was his friend,” said Ragano.
The theory is that the mafia had been angered by the Kennedy family because mob bosses had used their influence to have Kennedy elected as president and then after he took office, Robert Kennedy worked to prosecute members of the mafia when he became U.S. Attorney General.
“He was on record over and over and over, his number one priority was to wipe out organized crime, the mafia, the mob,” said Ragano.
Ragano says Trafficante’s friend, Carlos Marcello, was angry at the Kennedys because they had him deported to Guatemala and that anger grew into an assassination plot.
“Carlos Marchello was the one that detested the Kennedy’s the most. He’s the one that was the catalyst to create the idea of it,” said Ragano.
Ragano also believes the once the Kennedy documents are released, it will show a connection between the CIA, Trafficante and a plot to kill Fidel Castro.
“Who did the CIA go to? They went to the mob, they went to the mafia, went to Santo Trafficante because he’s the one who could get someone close to Fidel without being killed,” said Ragano.
He also believes Trafficante had the means to have Kennedy killed.
“He’s the one, the most prominent figure, the most vocal figure that agreed with my father that it was Jimmy Hoffa, Carlos Marcello, Santo Trafficante had the means, the motive and the opportunity to assassinate the President of the United States,” said Ragano.
Scott Deitche is the author of “Cigar City Mafia” and has extensively researched the relationship between Trafficante, Kennedy and other mafia figures.
He also interviewed Frank Ragano’s wife about the Trafficante confession.
“There were a lot of details, there was a lot of information and when he came back from that drive, his wife said that he looked like he had seen a ghost, he had a very pale expression,” said Deitche.
He believes the Ragano theory may have some merit.
“I think there is a lot of circumstantial evidence to back up some involvement in the conspiracy,” said Deitche.
He’s not convinced the documents that are to be released will reveal any stunning new details about the assassination.
“Well, what I would love to see is the smoking gun, but that’s never going to happen, that’s not in the documents,” said Deitche.
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