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Bulger, Gandolfini: Mob makes headlines this week

FILE - This undated publicity photo, released by HBO, shows actor James Gandolfini in his role as Tony Soprano, head of the New Jersey crime family portrayed in HBO's "The Sopranos." HBO and the managers for Gandolfini say the actor died Wednesday, June 19, 2013, in Italy. He was 51. (AP Photo/HBO, Barry Wetcher, File)FILE - This undated publicity photo, released by HBO, shows actor James Gandolfini in his role as Tony Soprano, head of the New Jersey crime family portrayed in HBO's "The Sopranos." HBO and the managers for Gandolfini say the actor died Wednesday, June 19, 2013, in Italy. He was 51. (AP Photo/HBO, Barry Wetcher, File)

The death in Italy of James Gandolfini, who played Mafia boss Tony Soprano on the popular HBO show "The Sopranos," was part of an unusual convergence of mob-related news making headlines this week. Here's a look:

JAMES GANDOLFINI'S DEATH

Gandolfini, whose portrayal of an emotionally delicate mob boss on one of TV's greatest drama series earned him three Emmy Awards, died Wednesday while on holiday in Rome, HBO and his managers said. Gandolfini, who was 51, played Soprano on the HBO series from 1999 to 2007. He also appeared in movies including "Zero Dark Thirty" and "Killing Them Softly."

THE SEARCH FOR JIMMY HOFFA

FBI agents with shovels on Monday began combing through dirt and mud in a weed-grown field north of Detroit looking for Hoffa's remains or clues to the disappearance of the former Teamsters boss, who many people suspect ran afoul of the mob. Detroit FBI chief Robert Foley said Wednesday he was disappointed the excavation failed to turn up anything linked to Hoffa, who's been missing since 1975.

Investigators stand at the scene in Oakland Township, Mich., Wednesday, June 19, 2013 where officials attempt to restore the field to its natural condition after the FBI stopped the search for Jimmy Hoffa's remains. The FBI had been digging and searching for three days for the remains of Teamsters union president Hoffa who disappeared from a Detroit-area restaurant in 1975. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)Investigators stand at the scene in Oakland Township, Mich., Wednesday, June 19, 2013 where officials attempt to restore the field to its natural condition after the FBI stopped the search for Jimmy Hoffa's remains. The FBI had been digging and searching for three days for the remains of Teamsters union president Hoffa who disappeared from a Detroit-area restaurant in 1975. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

JIMMY THE GENT'S HOUSE

In New York, an FBI excavation turned up possible human remains at a home once occupied by gangster James "Jimmy the Gent" Burke, the inspiration for Robert De Niro's character in "Goodfellas." Burke, who according to mob lore orchestrated a nearly $6 million robbery, one of the largest cash heists in American history, at Kennedy Airport in 1978, lived at the home while an associate in the Lucchese crime family. The dig, apparently unrelated to the Hoffa dig, started Monday, and an FBI spokesman confirmed Wednesday agents found organic material they want to test. The FBI isn't discussing the investigation.

A woman ducks under crime scene tape in front of a New York city house once occupied by a famous gangster, Tuesday, June 18, 2013, in New York. The work started Monday at the home of James Burke, a Lucchese crime family associate known as "Jimmy the Gent." He was the inspiration for Robert De Niro's character in the 1990 Martin Scorsese movie "Goodfellas." Burke died behind bars in 1996, two decades after authorities say he masterminded a nearly $6 million robbery at New York's Kennedy Airport, one of the largest cash thefts in American history. The Queens house is still owned by the Burke family, but others now live there. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)A woman ducks under crime scene tape in front of a New York city house once occupied by a famous gangster, Tuesday, June 18, 2013, in New York. The work started Monday at the home of James Burke, a Lucchese crime family associate known as "Jimmy the Gent." He was the inspiration for Robert De Niro's character in the 1990 Martin Scorsese movie "Goodfellas." Burke died behind bars in 1996, two decades after authorities say he masterminded a nearly $6 million robbery at New York's Kennedy Airport, one of the largest cash thefts in American history. The Queens house is still owned by the Burke family, but others now live there. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

WHITEY BULGER'S TRIAL

In reputed Boston mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger's racketeering trial, a former hit man who admitted killing 20 people, including a close friend, insisted Wednesday he told authorities the truth when he implicated Bulger in 11 slayings. Earlier in the week, the ex-hit man, John Martorano, was unemotional when describing his work but said he was heartbroken when he learned Bulger had become an FBI informant. Bulger's lawyers deny he was an informant and say he didn't kill 19 people.