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Man convicted for involvement in Cleveland Mafia-controlled drug ring dies at 66

February 27, 2019

Man convicted for involvement in Cleveland Mafia-controlled drug ring dies at 66

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Frederick “Fritz” Graewe, a former Cleveland underworld figure convicted in the early 1980s for his involvement in a Mafia-controlled drug ring, died Sunday at the age of 66.

Graewe; his brother, Hartmut Graewe; and notorious Mafia underboss Angelo Lonardo were among six people convicted for their involvement in the $15-million-a-year drug ring operation in Cleveland, according to a 1983 story in The Plain Dealer.

Graewe was 29 years old at the time he was convicted of eight drug-related charges. He was sentenced to 42 years in federal prison, but was released in 1992, according to records from the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

An obituary published in The Plain Dealer does not say how Graewe died. His family could not be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.

Hartmut Graewe is still serving a life sentence at the federal prison in Leavenworth, Kansas, records say.

The brothers’ arrests were the result of a major crackdown on organized crime in Cleveland. The Strike Force Against Organized Crime and the FBI led the years-long investigation that involved the use of wiretaps, bugs, physical surveillance and testimony from former co-conspirators who agreed to become informants.

After his release from prison, Graewe enjoyed spending time with his friends and family, his obituary says. He was also an artist, and enjoyed hunting, gardening and fishing.

His mother, Rita Graewe, once operated a pickle stand at the West Side Market, a 1983 story in The Plain Dealer says.

Graewe’s funeral mass is scheduled at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Rocco Church on Fulton Road near St. Rocco Court in Cleveland’s Clark-Fulton neighborhood. He will be buried at Riverside Cemetery.

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