DETROIT – The decadeslong odyssey to find the remains of Jimmy Hoffa, a tenacious leader of the Teamsters union, apparently has turned to land next to a former New Jersey landfill that sits below an elevated highway.
The FBI obtained a search warrant to “conduct a site survey underneath the Pulaski Skyway,” said Mara Schneider, a spokeswoman for the Detroit field office.
“On October 25th & 26th, FBI personnel from the Newark and Detroit field offices completed the survey and that data is currently being analyzed,” Schneider said in a statement Friday.
She didn't indicate whether anything was removed.
“Because the affidavit in support of the search warrant was sealed by the court, we are unable to provide any additional information," Schneider said.
The FBI's disclosure is another turn in a mystery that has gripped law enforcement for more than 45 years.
Hoffa was last seen on July 30, 1975, when he was to meet with reputed Detroit mob enforcer Anthony “Tony Jack” Giacalone and alleged New Jersey mob figure Anthony “Tony Pro” Provenzano at a restaurant in suburban Detroit.
The focus now is in Jersey City, below a four-lane bridge where the sound of cars and trucks doesn't stop. Wild overgrown brush thrives in the gritty industrial area, and green dumpsters abound. No one nearby at Interstate Waste Services offered a comment.
“I’ve been assured that the body hasn’t been dug up yet,” journalist Dan Moldea told The Associated Press, referring to the FBI’s work in October.
Moldea, who has written extensively about the Hoffa saga, said he was contacted by the FBI in September 2020, months after speaking to Frank Cappola, the son of a key figure, and publishing a detailed account.
Cappola, who was a teenager in the 1970s, said he worked at the old PJP Landfill with his father, Paul Cappola.
Cappola said his father was dying in 2008 when he decided to reveal secrets. He explained how Hoffa's body was delivered to the landfill in 1975, placed in a steel drum and buried with other barrels, bricks and dirt, according to Moldea.
Paul Cappola, worried that police might be watching, dug a hole on New Jersey state property, about 100 yards from the landfill, and dumped the unmarked barrel there, Moldea said Friday.
“Then he put 15 to 30 steel drums on top of it, which were filled with toxic adhesives, and bulldozed the area flat,” Moldea said.
Frank Cappola spoke to Fox Nation and Moldea before he died in 2020 and signed a document attesting to his father’s story.
“I’ve pushed all my chips in on this thing. I believe that we’ve got it,” Moldea told the AP. “Certainly the FBI is taking this seriously. … This is wonderful, on the verge of total and complete vindication for their 46-year investigation. I’m hopeful they succeed.”
The search over the years has included various digs in rural Michigan and even the removal of floorboards at a Detroit house.
Hoffa was president of the 2.1 million-member Teamsters union from 1957-71, even keeping the title while in prison for trying to bribe jurors during a previous trial. He was released from prison in 1971 when President Richard Nixon shortened his sentence.
It has been long speculated that Hoffa, who was 62, was killed by enemies because he was planning a Teamsters comeback. He was declared legally dead in 1982.
White contributed from Detroit. Associated Press video journalist Ted Shaffrey in New York City also contributed to this report.