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Tocco, believed to be longest-serving U.S. mob boss, dies in Detroit

By Brendan O'Brien

(Reuters) - Jack Tocco, believed to be the longest-serving mob boss in the United States and the last living person with first-hand knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the death of Jimmy Hoffa, has died aged 87.

Tocco, who died on Monday, was the godfather in Detroit for 35 years, longer than any current godfather in the country, according to Scott Burnstein, an author and expert on organized crime in the city.

"He is one of the last, if not the last, link to the golden era of the American Mafia," he said.

Since the 1930s, when Jack Tocco's father and uncle founded the Mafia in Detroit, a Tocco has led the mob in the city, Burnstein said.

With his passing, the leadership shifts from a boardroom, white collar gangster to blue collar leadership. "It's a huge changing of the guard," he said.

Tocco, known as "Black Jack," owned a race track and a business that provided linen to local hotels. He was convicted of federal racketeering in 1998 and sentenced to two years in prison, according to Burnstein.

Burnstein said Tocco had probably been the last person alive with first-hand knowledge of what happened to former Teamster President Jimmy Hoffa, whose disappearance has remained unsolved since he was last seen in 1975.

"With Tocco dying, any first-hand knowledge of that infamous crime goes to the grave," he said.

(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Alan Raybould)

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