Crime and Toking in Wyoming: How Wyo’s arcane cannabis laws could spell the end for a notorious 81-year-old mobster

By on November 1, 2017

The traffic stop that took place around noon on September 24 should have been routine. The car with Georgia license plates was only traveling about 10 miles over — 85 in a 75, and then down to 65 in a 45 mph zone — on I-80, just outside of Cheyenne in Laramie County.

The driver, 81-year-old Henry Robert Sentner, probably seemed harmless enough when he exited the vehicle. How much trouble could the old man be, anyway?

Turns out, quite a bit. A quick background check revealed that Sentner wasn’t your typical octogenarian. The elderly man standing on the side of I-80 in southern Wyoming was a well-known mobster with a lengthy criminal record — one that included the shooting death of Emanuel “Manny” Gambino, the nephew of New York City Godfather Carlo Gambino.

Sentner’s mob ties weren’t the only thing that piqued Wyoming Highway Patrol officer Joshua Gebauer’s interest that day, though. The black duffel bag on the backseat, the only item in the car other than a bottle of motor oil, a roll of paper towels and a fly swatter, also seemed suspect.

When questioned, Senter told the officer he was on his way back home to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina after a cross-country trip from California, where he’d been visiting family.

That story didn’t seem quite right, though. Officer Gebauer thought it odd that the 81-year-old man would be making such a long trip alone — it seemed “implausible,” according to Gebauer’s affidavit.

The drive across the nation didn’t seem like a time or cost effective way to visit family, either.

Something seemed off with Sentner’s answers, too. Gebauer said. He noticed Sentner had deceptive behavioral responses to simple questions, prompting Gebauer to ask if there was any marijuana in the car.

Sentner told the officer that he had “a small amount” in the black duffel bag, and more in the trunk, but how much more, he wasn’t quite sure. He didn’t load the car, he said, but he does this run for a third party quite often in exchange for his personal stash — the cut that was stowed away in the backseat.

Upon further investigation, patrol officers found an additional 35 pounds of weed in the trunk of the car, according to the charging instrument filed by the State of Wyoming.

Sentner was charged with three counts stemming from the September 24 traffic stop: Count I: Possession with intent to deliver marijuana; Count II is felony possession of over 3 ounces of marijuana; and Count III is for the speeding ticket.

Those charges carry a hefty penalty in the state of Wyoming. Sentner faces up to 10 years in prison and a total of $10,000 in fines for the delivery charge alone. The felony possession charge carries up to 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine, and the speeding ticket has a maximum penalty of 20 days in jail and a $200 fine.

Should he receive the maximum penalties for the three charges, Sentner is looking at more time than he spent in prison for offing Manny Gambino, just for transporting some weed.

It looks like even a Jersey-bred mobster is no match for Wyoming’s antiquated cannabis laws.

A Questionable Route

Wyoming has some of the strictest cannabis laws in the nation, making it pretty darn unlucky that Sentner was pulled over in this state.

Had Sentner dipped down into the Centennial State rather than opting for I-80, he likely would have been home free. There are laws in place in Colorado to curb driving under the influence or with open containers, but even with the amount that Sentner was carrying, a jaunt through nearby Fort Collins would have been much less risky.

Sentner didn’t take that route, though, and is now in a heap of trouble in Wyoming instead.

When mapped out, the route Sentner said took from California to Cheyenne makes even less sense.

Sentner said he was heading home to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina via I-80 after visiting family in San Francisco and nearby Petaluma, California. He told the officer he’d also stopped in Reno, Nevada and Evanston, Wyoming — a predominantly Mormon town of about 12,000 people that sits right on the Utah-Wyoming border — before the traffic stop in Cheyenne.

The corridor of I-80 where Sentner was busted has long been the target of contraband busts by the Wyoming Highway Patrol, and has been identified as one of the eight main drug transportation corridors by the National Drug Intelligence Center. Drug busts along the stretch of I-80 between Laramie and Cheyenne are common.

In fact, a few weeks after Sentner was busted on I-80, 65-year-old Larry Gibson was caught by troopers along the same stretch of I-80 with 197 pounds of marijuana inside a horse trailer.

According to the affidavit in Gibson’s case, he was being paid to transport the marijuana from Redding, California to Alabama.

A drug bust on the same stretch of highway on October 30 yielded the seizure of approximately 63 pounds of marijuana worth about $126,000, another massive bust for Wyoming troopers.

According to the Wyoming Highway Patrol, the marijuana was being transported 41-year-old Vickey Hamilton, 21-year-old Lorenzo Hamilton, and 18-year-old Champainge Rucker, who told officers they were en route to the Tennessee area from California.

Three significant busts, all on the same stretch of I-80 in Wyoming, and all were headed from California.

Given the intense focus on that stretch of highway as a drug corridor, it seems a risky proposition for Sentner to have taken that route instead of dipping down through legal Colorado after the stop in Evanston. Perhaps Wyoming was the scenic route.

The Gambinos, the Godfather and Sentner

Why Sentner chose to take the route he did remains unclear. His mob ties, on the other hand, are indisputable. They start and end with the Gambino family, one of the most notorious mob factions to have ruled New York City.

While Sentner’s name may not be readily associated with the mob, perhaps the name Carlo Gambino rings a bell. From the 1950s to the 1970s, Carlo — known as Don Carlo — was the head of the Gambino family, one of the “Five Families” in New York City. He was also the inspiration for Francis Ford Coppola’s 1972 film The Godfather, a movie widely regarded as one of the greatest of all time.

At the height of the Gambino reign, Carlo’s family had a hand in just about every facet of business and life in New York City, from illegal gambling rings and loansharking to labor racketeering.

A low key crime boss, Carlo was adamant about keeping his dealings out of the public eye, and the one thing he refused to touch was narcotics trafficking, deeming it too risky for his crime circuit.

“Heroin and Cocaine are highly lucrative, but were dangerous, and would attract attention. The punishment for dealing drugs is death,” Carlo has been credited with saying.

Carlo’s ability to keep business “cleaner” than the other families, coupled with his secretive nature, helped him become one of the  most powerful mob bosses of all time.

Sentner had been working as a “numbers runner” for Carlo’s 27-year-old nephew Emanuel “Manny” Gambino for about six months before Manny disappeared on May 18, 1972, the victim of an apparent kidnapping for ransom plot.

While the kidnapping was likely concerning for the Gambinos, it wasn’t exactly unusual for Manny’s line of work. In fact, a member of another NYC mob family — Frankie “The Wop” Manzo — had been kidnapped by a group of Irish mobsters just before Manny’s disappearance.

The group of mobsters — James McBratney, Eddie Maloney, Tommy Genovese and Richie Chaisson — held Frankie on $150,000 in ransom. Frankie was released, unhurt, after the money was paid.

And Manny’s case seemed to be following closely to Frankie’s, at least initially. His wife, Diane, received a ransom note demanding $350,000 for Manny’s safe return shortly after he disappeared.

If you want him back alive, this is your last chance. If he dies, the killer will be you for not paying. The sum of $350,000 placed in a triple‐strength garbage bag. One more call will be placed at 9 o’clock on Wed. Yes or no is to be the answer. If yes, be ready to move and have a full tank of gas. No tricks. No cops. If no, good luck, widow,” the ransom note read.

It would soon become clear, though, that Manny’s kidnapping was anything but ordinary.

The initial ransom amount was out of the question. The Gambino family either couldn’t or wouldn’t pay $350,000, and negotiated down the price of Manny’s return to $40,000, a mere portion of the demand.

The money was dumped over the railing of an overpass on the Palisades Parkway, and right into the hands of one Henry Robert Sentner.

Manny Remains Missing

After the ransom payment was made, the Gambino family waited for Manny’s return. It quickly became clear that Carlo’s nephew was in serious trouble, though.

Unlike Frankie “The Wop,” Manny wasn’t quickly released by his kidnappers, and on June 2, 1972, his blood‐stained Cadillac was found abandoned at Newark Airport.

A ticket on its windshield indicated it had been parked on May 30, according to an article printed in The New York Times on December 5, 1972.

Given the condition of Manny’s vehicle, it became clear that Manny wasn’t coming home. It would be another month or so before his body was recovered.

“A partly decomposed body believed to be that of Emanuel Gambino, nephew of Carlo Gambino, the reputed Mafia boss, was found wrapped in a blanket in a four‐foot‐deep grave in Colts Neck, N. J., yesterday afternoon by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” The New York Times reported in January 1973.

A mat from his Cadillac, a pair of yellow rubber gloves, and a pair of eyeglasses were found in the grave with him, FBI sources told the Times.

Rigor mortis had presumably set in before Manny’s body was disposed of, and he was found buried in a sitting position.

It wasn’t long before the FBI made the connection between Sentner and Manny’s kidnapping. A van rented by Sentner was identified near the ransom drop spot, and an informant leaked to an FBI agent that the runner for Manny’s loansharking business also owed his boss a hefty sum of change.

With the help of the informants and the Gambino family, the FBI managed to pinpoint Sentner and his associates, John Edmund Kilcullen, William J. Solin and John P. Harrington, as Manny’s kidnappers — and surprisingly, Sentner didn’t dispute his involvement.

He was arrested along with Kilcullen on December 4, 1972, several months after Manny’s body was found. Both men were charged with kidnapping.

According to the F.B.I. kidnapping complaint, Sentner had been accompanied by Kilcullen when he rented a van‐type of truck in Fort Lee, N.J. Solin and Harrington were also named in the complaint as accomplices, but neither were taken into custody.

Sentner admitted to the feds that he’d killed Manny, stating that he’d been driving Manny’s car when the young mobster had threatened his younger sister’s life over that looming $78,000 gambling debt.

He’d pulled a gun out of fear, he said, and Manny lunged for it. It went off, and the bullet hit Manny in the head.

Manny was dead — accidentally, Sentner said — and he’d buried the body in a remote part of New Jersey.

A Story Evolved

Well, that’s one version, anyway.

The story about what happened to Manny changed, and changed, and changed again, with different versions given by not only Sentner, but also informants close to the mob.

The story eventually became so murky that no one seemed to know what happened to cause Manny’s death. Questions even surfaced about whether Manny had helped plot his own demise — questions that remain to this day.

When Sentner first confessed to shooting Gambino, he told the FBI officer he’d been driving Manny Gambino’s car when Manny threatened him — and his baby sister — over the nearly $80,000 in gambling debts.

Sentner responded to the threat by taking out a .22 caliber gun, which he had in his pocket, sticking it behind Gambino’s left ear, and when Gambino lunged at Sentner, he accidentally pulled the trigger, killing him.

The second version surfaced shortly thereafter, and was quite a bit different from Sentner’s story. Informants told the FBI that while it was true that Sentner owed Manny the money, Sentner wasn’t after the ransom.

Sentner had used the gambling debt to lure Manny to a deserted Navy base in Monmouth County, NJ, where he claimed to have the money he owed hidden. Instead of handing over the nearly $80,000, Sentner shot Manny in the head and killed him, erasing his debt.

A third version of the story surfaced soon after, this time in court, courtesy of Sentner and Kilcullen’s attorneys.

Both Sentner and Kilcullen’s attorneys provided the same defense to the court about Manny’s killing: While their clients had been involved in the “kidnapping” of Manny Gambino, the kidnapping had been a “hoax” conjured up by Manny himself.

There was never a real kidnapping, the attorneys said, because Manny had grown tired of juggling two households — one with his wife, the other with a blonde girlfriend — and had arranged his own kidnapping.

He was planning to disappear because of the “trouble with his girlfriend,” they said, and their clients were just trying to help that happen.

A report published in 1972 in the Asbury Park Press outlined the bizarre story of Manny’s supposed kidnapping, referring to it as a hoax meant to give Manny a new life with his blonde girlfriend:

“Henry Robert Sentner, held as the mastermind in the reported kidnapping in the spring of a Mafia boss’s kin, lived in a small white frame house here 50 yards from the beach not far from the National Guard training camp,” the Asbury Park Press reported.

“Sentner, indicted in a bizarre abduction that may or may not have been a hoax, apparently lived quietly here with his wife in the third house from the beach at 4 Seaside PI.

An alleged flimflam artist and gambler. Sentner, who is in his late 20s or early 30s, reportedly was involved in the kidnapping May 18 of Emanuel Gambino, who is the nephew of Carlo Gambino, sometimes called the boss of bosses in the nation.

The area of modest homes in the borough’s south end was quiet and seemed pearly deserted in yesterday’s drizzle wafting in from the ocean. A reporter who talked to a tradesman and the only nearby neighbor who was home learned that Sentner’s wife now used the surname “Gordon” and lives in the house with her mother, also “Mrs. Gordon.”

The unlisted telephone at the address is in the name of “B. Gordon.” The reporter rang the doorbell, knocked on the door, arid called out but got no answer.

Sentner, who reportedly studied at both Georgetown and Fordham universities, is being held in New York in lieu of $100,000 bail. Federal authorities say he concocted the Gambino kidnapping to extort money from the mob to help pay off gambling debts over $700,000. Sentner, however, told officials the abduction was a hoax devised to give Emanuel Gambino, the alleged victim, a chance to go away with a blonde girlfriend.

But authorities, who found Gambino’s blood-stained car at Newark Airport June 2, believed Emanuel Gambino may have been slain despite payment of $31,500 in ransom.

Gambino, in any event, has not turned up.

Sentner’s accused accomplice is John Kilcullen, Brooklyn, described as a onetime bar bouncer in New York. Others reportedly involved were William J. Solin, described as a former CIA agent, who dropped out of Harvard Law School and works as a New York bartender.”

Third Story’s a Charm?

While it seems unlikely that a mob heir would stage his own hoax kidnapping, there is some evidence to support that version of the story.

Anthony Villano, an FBI agent who worked with the Gambino family to solve Manny’s disappearance, wrote a book, “Brick Agent,” a couple of years after the case.

In the book, Villano refers to Manny helping set up the kidnapping to solve his girlfriend issues.

According to Villano, he became involved in the case when he received a tip that Manny Gambino had been kidnapped shortly after he disappeared. The FBI agent offered to help the Gambinos but was turned away. Things changed, though, after a first attempt by the Gambino family deliver the ransom failed.

Villano received a call from the Gambino family attorney a few days later asking the FBI for help. The agency agreed.

Once the family received new ransom orders, Villano and a business partner of Tommy Gambino went out to make the drop. Villano hid on the floor of the partner’s Cadillac, with fellow FBI agents tailing the car from a distance.

According to Villano, the duo first stopped at a telephone booth at 82nd and Madison Avenue before crossing the George Washington Bridge into New Jersey, where they waited at a gas station on the Palisades Parkway for a call from the kidnappers.

Shortly after, they received a call on the gas station pay phone instructing them to drop the money over a metal railing about a mile down the road, where — unknown to agents and the Gambinos — Manny’s former employee Sentner was on hand to grab it.

The plan was for the FBI agents tailing Villano to stake out the drop area, but the drop went down before the FBI agents were able to get into position. As luck would have it, though, an agent was able to capture the license number of a van in the area, which was traced back to a “Robert Sentner.”

The name didn’t initially ring a bell to Villano or the other agents working the case, but over the next several weeks and months, Manny remained missing, and Villano continued investigating.

He learned during that time that Manny did have a girlfriend, and he was having his fair share of trouble with her.

“Manny had fallen in love with a show-biz blonde,” Villano said. “He wanted to leave his family because the girl refused to have anything more to do with him unless he gave up his wife and went full-time with her. Manny was advised by his betters in the clan to grow up and forget the blonde. In his circles, it was okay to have a mistress, but it was bad form to leave your wife, particularly if you were a nephew of Carlo Gambino.”

There wasn’t an easy out for Manny, who apparently wanted to take up a new life with his girlfriend. Gambino family members were family men — especially his uncle Carlo, who reportedly stayed faithful to his wife throughout his career in the mob — and leaving Diane would have been a big black mark on Manny’s record.

That, according to Villano, is what led Manny to plot a fake kidnapping with the help of Sentner and his men. The plan was apparently for Sentner to “kidnap” him, demand a ransom and then never return him to his family. In turn, he’d be free to live a new life with the blonde.

The investigator also found out that Manny had some financial problems, presumably from supporting two households while loansharking large sums of money on the street.

Villano’s sources identified Sentner as one of the people who owed Manny money, and Villano put two and two together, realizing that the “Robert Senter” on the van’s rental receipts may be worth looking at.

“It took five interviews with him (Sentner) over a period of months before we finally reconstructed the entire venture. The snatch began as a hoax. Manny Gambino worked out the scenario with his debtor Sentner, a friend of Sentner’s, and two others,” Villano said. “Midway through the plot, Gambino’s accomplices began to have their doubts. They could see that if things went sour Manny Gambino would give them up, either on a contract to LCN friends or to the law. There was an argument in Gambino’s Cadillac, and Sentner settled the dispute with a bullet in the back of Manny’s head.”

Villano’s version does veer slightly from Sentner’s, though. According to Villano, it was the hoax kidnappers’ fear of being turned on — not threats over the gambling debt — that acted as the catalyst for Manny’s killing.

The FBI Files

A transcript of a 2005 interview with Former Special Agent of the FBI Paul J. Brana doesn’t clear up the controversy surrounding Manny’s supposed kidnapping, but it does outline how Sentner was caught and pinned for Manny’s death.

Brana worked for the FBI from 1954 to 1978, a time when the bureau didn’t even have an organized crime division. There was a squad or two squads that were handling organized crime work, and Brana ended up working with them, becoming crucial in the case against Senter.

“Maurice Roussell and I get involved in the murder of Manny Gambino. And this was a straight out investigation,” Brana said. “And we had an individual who was suspect as the killer of Manny Gambino but we had no evidence. Because we couldn’t… We had no evidence. We could not find the Gambino’s automobile until about four or five months after. His automobile was found parked at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey. No body. He’s disappeared. Oh, and what had occurred was that there was an attempt to… There was an alleged kidnapping of Manny Gambino and they attempted to extort money from the Gambino family. We know that he’s dead, you know, because he has disappeared.”

“We came up with this Robert Henry Sentner as an individual suspect. The way that we came up with him… On the night of the payoff, which was made at Fort Lee, New Jersey. I think there was, maybe, $130,000 was paid off. A ransom was actually paid at Fort Lee, New Jersey,” Brana said.

“The police at night would go around and check the license, would take the license numbers of all the vehicles that were parked in the area. And they come up with a license plate that’s a rental license plate to a van rented to this Robert Henry Sentner. And somehow or another, Sentner is known to Maurice Roussell. And Maurice Roussell and I contact Sentner. And we bring him into the City, and we start talking to him. And we would talk to him, sometimes… once a week we’d bring him in. Sentner was a young guy. Georgetown University graduate. And we would interview him very, very frequently. We had a hotel.

We would get a six-pack of beer and we would go up and kind of try to relax him. The vehicle… Gambino’s vehicle had not been found. It was subsequently found at Teterboro Airport. All the glass is taken off the vehicle and sent to Washington for fingerprints. After about five months from the initial alleged kidnapping and payoff, the window on the driver’s side is found to have Sentner’s thumb print inside the window quite a distance from the edge. So I tell Sentner, “You were driving the vehicle because your thumb print is in the vehicle.” And I kept breaking his chops. He finally admits to killing the guy. We had no evidence whatsoever that there had been a killing.”

According to the interview transcript, Sentner confessed to pulling the trigger and killing Manny.

“(Robert Sentner) tells us that he was driving the vehicle and that (Manny) Gambino had threatened him, because he owed Gambino like $80,000 from gambling debts. And that Gambino said to him, “Hey, you don’t come up with the money, your sister’s baby is going to have problems.” Or words to that effect.

At this time, Sentner takes out a .22 caliber gun, which he had in his pocket, sticks it behind Gambino’s left ear and kills him….”

At that point, though, Brana had Sentner’s confession, but they didn’t have a body. Luckily, Sentner agreed to lead FBI agents right to it.

“Now of course we have no body. ‘Come on I’ll take you to the body.’ He takes us down to Redbank, New Jersey. And, of course all the senior Resident Agents… Nobody wanted to get involved in digging up the body, so I had to call up New York and bring one of my agents over. Wayne Orrell, an Indian. And Sentner takes us over and he says, ‘This is where the body is.’ And I got Wayne, and he digs up the body. Which makes the first page of the Daily News, because I called up Norma Abrams, who was a reporter for the Daily News. And they sent a photographer out, took a picture…”

The Outcome

Hoax or not, the outcome was the same. Manny was dead, and Sentner admittedly pulled the trigger.

He eventually pleaded guilty to seven counts of extortion and one count of manslaughter for crimes related to his death.

A New York Times story published in February 1973 outlined the terms of Sentner’s plea.

A man who Federal authorities say confessed to killing the 29‐year‐old nephew of Carlo Gambino, the reputed Mafia chieftain, pleaded guilty yesterday in Federal District Court in Brooklyn to seven counts of extortion.

Henry Robert Sentner, 37, of Sea Girt, N. J., said he was a “runner” in the gambling operations of Emanuel Gambino, Carlo Gambino’s nephew. He stated matter‐of‐factly as he stood, well‐dressed and casual, before Judge George Rosling, that he understood the nature of his plea.

In urging that the plea be accepted, Denis E. Dillon, director of the Brooklyn Strike Force Against Organized Crime, stressed Sentner’s cooperation. He added that he would recommend a minimum 25‐year prison sentence.

Judge Rosling did not set date for sentencing, and Sentner was returned to his cell in lieu of $100,000 bail.

The indictment was voted Dec. 4 by a Federal grand jury in Brooklyn six months after young Gambino’s bloodstained Cadillac was found at Newark International Airport. Sentner and Kilcullen termed the alleged kidnapping a “hoax.” Gambino’s body was found Jan. 26 in a shallow grave near Colts Neck Township, N. J.

The kidnapping complaint also named William J. Solin and John P. Harrington as accomplices. Neither was taken into custody. They were understood to be “cooperating.”

Mr. Dillon explained, outside the courtroom, that the kidnapping charges were no longer valid because, he said, Gambino had “voluntarily” accompanied Sentner to New Jersey on the promise that Sentner would pay Gambino a $76,000 gambling debt.

Mr. Dillon said Sentner had driven Gambino to a deserted section of the Earle Naval Ammunition Depot in Monmouth County, N.J., ostensibly to spot where he had, hidden money to pay Gambino.

There, according to Mr. Dillon’s account, Senter, while transferring a gun from one pocket of his jacket to another, fired a fatal shot that lodged in Gambino’s skull when Gambino, apparently seeing the gun, attempted to flee the car..

The extortion charges resulted from ransom demands totaling $350,000. On May 25, seven days after Gambino was shot to death, his wife, Diane, received a letter at her home at 144‐55 27th Avenue, Flushing, Queens, demanding that sum for the return of her husband..

The only reference in court to Gambino’s demise came when Judge Rosling asked where the man was on May 19. “He was buried in New Jersey,” Mr. Dillon responded.

Sentner was sentenced by the court to 15 years in federal prison — but not before the former numbers runner managed to get in a word or two about Manny.

In a letter read by his lawyer, Richard Wynn, Sentner contended that Manny was, amongst other things, an evil man:

“I shot an evil man by accident, a man who was hated by many people, a man who caused extensive suffering through illegal traffic in drugs, bookmaking, loan-sharking and muscling into legitimate business.”

Sentner’s attorney petitioned the court to allow Sentner to serve out his sentence in an Alabama prison, claiming the Gambino family had placed a “$100,000 contract” on his life.

The judge sent him to serve his term in the Federal House of Detention in New York City instead.

Revenge: A Dish Best Served in Cocoa

Perhaps the court would have been wise to acquiesce to the plea for detention in Alabama, though.  Just two years into his sentence in the Federal House of Detention, Sentner had to be rushed to St. Vincent’s Hospital after he ingested strychnine in his prison cocoa.

“On November 22, 1974, while Sentner was housed in the old Federal House of Detention on West Street, he drank strychnine-laced cocoa that someone had kindly offered him,” the Times reported shortly after the incident.

“He fell violently ill and was rushed to the now-defunct St. Vincent’s Hospital. There, doctors pumped his stomach, and nursed him back to health….”

“A hospital spokesman said Sentner was brought to the emergency room that night suffering from poisoning by strychnine, which federal officials’ said apparently had been given at the prison,” the Asbury Park Press reported in December 1974.

“His stomach was pumped, the spokesman said, and he was released after further treatment. Detention Center Warden Lewis Gengler said center officials were aiding the FBI in its investigation. Sentner, he said, has been moved to an unknown location.”

The poisoning was never formally pinned on any member of the Gambino family, although it was widely believed to have been in retribution for killing Manny.

Sentner’s transfer to Alabama was granted shortly after the poisoning.

The Quiet Life, Post-Prison

Sentner is nothing if not lucky. The Gambino affiliate not only survived the strychnine hit but also his subsequent years in prison — an impressive feat for a man who shot the Godfather’s nephew.

He was released from the detention center in Alabama in 1988 and somehow managed to stay above water for decades.  While Sentner’s criminal record has blips here and there — he was accused of crimes in California and was issued a few traffic tickets in his hometown of Myrtle Beach — he really doesn’t appear to have been in any major trouble following the first prison stint.

In fact, it wasn’t until the 81-year-old was popped for cannabis in Wyoming that he started making headlines again. Perhaps people aren’t used to 81-year-old ex-mobsters getting caught with dozens of pounds of marijuana, especially in rural Wyoming.

Mob expert and journalist Ed Scarpo has been following Sentner’s case closely since his arrest in Wyoming. Scarpo is editor of Cosa Nostra News, an online mob site that documents both historical and current news about the mob.

Scarpo said he wasn’t exactly surprised that Sentner was popped for transporting cannabis.

He was surprised to see that Sentner made it this far after copping to shooting Manny, though.

“I was surprised that he’d plead guilty to killing Manny Gambino, nephew to one of the most powerful mob bosses in the USA, Carlo Gambino,” Scarpo said.

After all, it’s not every day someone shoots a bullet into the head of the Godfather’s nephew and lives to tell about it.

But that’s precisely what Sentner did. He whacked the original Godfather’s nephew – and survived.

“He’s lucky he’s alive — the mob already supposedly tried to kill him once — apparently knew what he was doing when moved far from New York City,” Scarpo said.

Laramie County District Attorney Jeremiah Sandburg also weighed in on Sentner, calling the octogenarian’s history “colorful.”

Sandburg said that while Sentner’s criminal history may be extensive, there’s no indication that the 81-year-old from Myrtle Beach still has any ties to the mob.

At the time this story went to print, Sentner was free on $3,000 bail. He waived his preliminary hearing in mid-October, which sent his case to District Court, where he will be asked to enter a plea in the case.

Sentner’s Fate in Limbo

It will be interesting to see how Sentner’s fate plays out. Wyoming is a cruel mistress when it comes to cannabis laws, but this is Henry Robert Sentner we’re talking about, so perhaps he can make lightning strike twice.

He did successfully live through a strychnine poisoning and go on to dodge decades of mob vengeance, after all.

Will the man with all the luck manage to dodge Laramie County’s bullet, headed right for his pot-loving little heart? Or will it be Wyoming’s antiquated pot laws — not the feds, the Gambinos, or strychnine — that will take the old mobster down? At this point, it’s just a roll of the dice. PJH

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