Showing posts from February, 2013

Camorristi: On the Highway to Hell, Via Naples


In an effort to help this blog expand its horizons, Charles DeLucca will be writing an ongoing series of articles about his observances and thoughts regarding organized crime, Italian-style, in all its various guises and locals.
My name is Charles DeLucca and I’m a semi-retired member of the Neapolitan Camorra. Born and raised in Naples, I have spent more than 20 years living and breathing for the structure of clans that make up the so-called Camorra. I was a member of the ruthless Casalesi Clan.

Exclusive: ‘Mafia Prince’ Leonetti Speaks Out

EXCLUSIVE from CBS Philly:

In a CBS 3 exclusive report, the man who calls himself a “mafia prince” is speaking out for the first time.

The body bags were constant reminders of a bloody mob war.

There were the men gunned down in the street, a bomb on the front porch of a house.

In all, there were more than two dozen gangland killings.

And in the middle of it, there was Phil Leonetti, who would rise to second-in-command of the Philadelphia mob.

“If they got out of line, we kill them; they shoot at us, we shoot at them,” he told Walt Hunter.

In Philadelphia and back when Atlantic City was the newest gambling destination, Leonetti was a powerful man.

“When the Philadelphia mob had to do business with the Genovese crime family in New York, with the boss of the Gambino family, John Gotti, it was Phil Leonetti who was sitting at the table for Philadelphia,” said John Miller, a CBS News correspondent who covered organized crime for years, to Hunter.

Now, Leonetti is breaking his silence and d…

'Uncle Joe' Denied Bail Pending Retrial

Mob guys, for the most part, are among the most dependable defendants to be put on trial. They are not about to run -- except maybe for members of the Colombo family -- because their "turf" is everything to them.

Even uber-mob boss John Gotti was the doyenne of punctuality for his many sojourns through courthouses.

What is really annoying, no doubt, for most trial watchers is the fact that Ligambi and Co. probably should never have been put on trial in the first place...the charges are simply small-time stuff, not a single homicide or charge related to bodily harm.

From Big Trial: "Uncle Joe" Ligambi will remain a "guest" of the federal government while awaiting a retrial on racketeering conspiracy, gambling and obstruction of justice charges.

U.S. District Court Judge Eduardo Robreno, in a ruling that drew sarcastic comments from several friends and family members who packed the courtroom for today's bail hearing, turned down Ligambi's request for …

DeMeo Car Ring Far Outperformed 'Untouchables'

Ray Merrole and his crew considered themselves as untouchable car thieves -- and even claimed a big budget Hollywood movie was based on their exploits (we strong disagree with this, as we noted )

Roy DeMeo, who also ran a stolen-car ring, had a much bigger operation than Ray did. Roy's went all the way up to mob boss Paul Castellano, who was actually on trial for this auto-theft operation when he was whacked by John Gotti and company.

Big Paul, not trusting Roy to "stand up," had had him whacked months earlier.

Construction Boss Touts Friendship with Rizzuto Sr

From the Montreal Gazette:

RCMP surveillance video shown during the Charbonneau Commission last September allegedly shows Nick Rizzuto Sr., (R) exchanging tens of thousands of dollars with Nicolo Milioto (L), then the head of Mivela Construction Inc. and Rocco Sollecito. Milioto told the commission today that he had no regrets over his friendship with Rizzuto.

Nicolo Rizzuto (February 18, 1924 – November 10, 2010), also known as Nick Rizzuto, was the crime boss of the Sicilian faction of the Italian Mafia in Montreal who later pushed out the CalabrianCotroni family. Nick's son Vito Rizzuto is allegedly the godfather of the Sicilian Mafia in Canada.

On November 10, 2010, Nicolo Rizzuto was killed at his residence in the Cartierville borough of Montreal when a single bullet from a sniper's rifle punched through two layers of glass in the rear patio doors of his Montreal mansion. His death, at the time, was believed to be the final blow against the Rizzuto crime Family -- until V…

The Chin's Bathrobe Now Hangs in Gangster Museum

The Villager Newspaper reported that The Museum of the American Gangster was to have this week received Vincent “the Chin” Gigante’s iconic bathrobe -- the very one the often-called “Oddfather” wore when stumbling around the streets of Greenwich Village perpetrating what he eventually admitted was a faked "crazy" act to keep the Feds off his back.

His daughter Rita Gigante was to have been on hand for the presentation of the garment as well as to read from her autobiography, “The Godfather’s Daughter.”

Gigante's feigning of mental illness went on for decades and did help to keep him out of prison for about that long. He started the act In 1969, escaping conviction on bribery charges by producing a number of prominent psychiatrists who testified that he was legally insane. The doctors said Gigante suffered from schizophrenia,dementia, psychosis, and other disorders.

Even the government's many psychiatrists and doctors who examined the crazy-as-a-fox Genovese boss had …

Notorious Gang Land Hits

Listicles are lists with a thematic structure; lists, essentially, that are complete enough (supposedly) to tell a story.

Here's a piece, I lost the source link, but there's some interesting material on the other end of the hyperlinks in this piece, which outlines "the most notorious mob hits (well, some of them maybe)  from a gruesome payback to the stool pigeon who couldn't fly."

THE ST. VALENTINE'S DAY MASSACRE: Considered the "most infamous of all gangland slayings in America," seven men were lined up against a Chicago garage's wall on February 14, 1929 and executed by machine gun-wielding men who posed as police officers.

The victims, whose bodies were ripped apart by the gunfire, were members of Bugs Moran's North Side Gang, who had been encroaching on Al Capone's territory. Months earlier, Moran also orchestrated a drive-by shooting, attacking Capone at a diner, giving Moran the dubious distinction of innovating the "drive-by…

Phone Ties Rizzuto to $1B Bonanno-Linked Drug Dealing Ring

Vito Rizzuto apparently has been tied to the billion-dollar drug ring involving a Bonanno family member here in New York.

According to a story by the National Post, the Montreal mob boss's "personal" phone number was "found saved in the telephone" belonging to a high-level member of the Canadian-based operation.

It is not clear what, if any, action law enforcement will take based on this intelligence as regards Rizzuto. It is clear that both U.S. and Canadian officials are aware of the mob war being fought in the streets of Montreal, which has been ascribed to Rizzuto's efforts to consolidate his power base and take revenge on those who turned against him while he was serving a sentence in the U.S. for helping the Bonanno crime family take out three renegade capos decades ago.

Canadian drug kingpin Jimmy “Cosmo” Cournoyer, awaiting trial in Brooklyn federal court, is charged as being the brains behind a “vast international drug-trafficking enterprise that …

Paulie Walnuts' Funniest Scenes From 'Sopranos'

Genaro Anthony "Tony" Sirico Jr. (born July 29, 1942) played Peter Paul "Paulie Walnuts" Gualtieri, my favorite member of "The Sopranos" fictional New Jersey mob family. In the above YouTube bit, you can see a compilation of some of Paulie's funniest highlights from the series.

Sirico aced his role in the Sopranos because he had some real-life experience to inspire his performance. In other words, "Paulie Walnuts" was played by an alleged real-life former gangster.

Before turning to acting, Sirico was a fast-rising mob associate of the Colombo crime family under Carmine Persico; he'd had been arrested 28 times."

A Sopranos reference seems to give nod to this fact: the episode near the end of the last season in which Paulie Walnuts says, "I lived through the seventies by the skin of my nuts when the Colombos were goin' at it."

What is factual is that in 1967, Sirico was sent to prison for about a year for robbing a Broo…

GFella's First Single Off 'St. Valentine Massacre'

G Fella's first single off the "St Valentines Day Massacre Mixtape"
"G'd Up"
Produced by Suits for Trackateering Music

Gov Christie Leads NJ Toward Legal Internet Gambling

New Jersey, driven by its enormously popular Gov. Chris Christie, has made a great stride to make gambling so easy that "you don't even have to get out of bed," as put it in a recent article.

This week marked the debut of a new "amenity" that the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City is offering its guests: the ability to gamble by way of the television set in their very own hotel room.

Called the "E-Casino" program, it enables some guests to set up electronic accounts and gamble up to $2,500 a day by way of their boob tube. Slot machine and video poker games are the spearhead of an eventually larger -- probably much larger -- offering.
The casino has reportedly said that the technology can be expanded to include gambling over any hand-held device located on the casino's property.
This new program was authorized by the state of New Jersey, with full Internet gambling -- meaning, never mind the casino -- up for state-approval n…

Uncle Joe Not Guilty in Mob Mistrial; Retrial Possible

From A judge declared a mistrial Tuesday in the trial of reputed Philadelphia mob boss Joseph Ligambi, after jurors acquitted him on five counts but said they were hopelessly deadlocked on four others, including the key charge of racketeering conspiracy.

Three of Ligambi's codefendants, including reputed underboss Joseph "Mousie" Massimino, were convicted of the racketeering conspiracy and could face substantial prison terms. But jurors found them and the others not guilty of 45 other counts, mostly extortion and loan-sharking counts. One defendant, Joseph "Scoops" Licata, was acquitted of the only charge against him and was to be freed immediately.

Ligambi's lawyer called the verdicts "a victory" and a repudiation of a case he called overblown.

"It's a failure for the government," lawyer Edwin Jacobs Jr. said.

Prosecutors noted they won three major convictions and said they would consider retrying other defendants on the…

Jury Deadlocked on Ligambi But Three Found Guilty

From Big Trial Blog:  The jury in the racketeering trial of mob boss Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi delivered a split verdict today leaving courtroom observers and attorneys scrambling to make sense of a mixed bag of predominantly not guilty and undecided pronouncements.

Three defendants were convicted of racketeering conspiracy, the most serious charge in the 52-count indictment, by the jury which deliberated a staggering 21 days before declaring that it could go no further.

One defendant was acquitted and the jury announced that it was hopelessly deadlock on the conspiracy charge against Ligambi and two others.

The only other guilty verdicts were two counts of loansharking conspiracy against Anthony Staino, a top Ligambi associate.


Colombo Underboss Brokester Sentenced

UPDATE: NY Daily News: "A judge Wednesday handed down a 63-month prison sentence to a Colombo gangster [Benjamin "The Claw" Castellazzo] who tried to get off easy on a racketeering rap by saying he’s just a struggling schmoe who lives in a trailer park."
Colombo underboss Benjamin "The Claw" Castellazzo, 75, has been crying poverty in a move to gain the judge's sympathy and get less time than he could for his conviction for extorting La Quila construction company in Brooklyn and a Staten Island pizza joint, The Square.

Castellazzo, who lives in West Creek, N.J., and his wife apparently survive on food stamps and social security checks, the Colombo underboss said in court papers, adding that he also suffers from physical ailments, according to the New York Post and other newspapers.

We have written about brokesters in the past, but The Claw is one of the first Mafia bosses we know of who has laid claim to living the lifestyle of one -- the term basica…

Church Janitor Was Mob Soldier in Colombo War

From NY Daily News:

A reputed hit man who quit the mob to work as a janitor at a Manhattan church pleaded guilty Monday to lying about his participation in a 1992 shooting during the Colombo family war.

Anthony Colandra will be sentenced to five years in prison under the plea agreement hammered out with the Brooklyn U.S. Attorney's office.

Colandra, 42, was originally charged with falsely telling the FBI he did not gun down Colombo soldier John Minerva and innocent bystander Michael Imbergamo in Massapequa, L.I.

But the plea deal allowed him to admit to a different count in the indictment charging him with lying to the feds about whether he was present during a failed attempt to shoot Minerva five days earlier.

"I did witness shots being fired" at a car in which Minerva was believed to be inside, Colandra told Judge Brian Cogan.

Colandra is employed at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church on E. 93rd St. Though he did a brief stint as a snitch for the Drug Enforcement Administ…

$1B NYC Drug Ring Had a 'Murder Inc.' Fund

The drug alliance that we reported on between Bonanno associate John "Big Man" Venizelos and Canadian drug kingpin Jimmy “Cosmo” Cournoyer included the use of a $2 million “hit” fund – "so they could quickly hire henchmen to murder snitches, Brooklyn feds said today," an article in today's New York Post reports.

Venizelos used a BlackBerry to send messages to a colleague explaining that Cournoyer had funded the asset pool. (The BlackBerry is the gadget of choice for organized crime members, among other criminals, due to its purportedly unbeatable encryption capability. Message encryption and email privacy have long been key selling features for the BlackBerry service.)

The Bonanno associate, who was one of Cournoyer’s biggest customers in New York City, was arrested again today after using the hit fund to intimidate a witness, officials said in today's Post story.
The story noted: "Venizelos sent an encrypted message" to a co-conspirator, warning th…

Montreal Mob War: 20 Dead So Far

From The Globe and Mail: Montreal is in the middle of a bloody gang war and city police chief Marc Parent is desperately trying to hold on to federal funding for what he describes as a vital tool for fighting organized crime.

While the Charbonneau inquiry has grabbed all the attention by exposing corruption at city hall, nearly two dozen Montreal-area gangsters have been shot, and 20 of them have died, in the past 13 months. Mob hits accounted for at least 18 of Montreal’s 35 homicides in 2012. Three low-level players have fallen in the past week alone, and two of them have died.

Read full story

Now Two Shot in Montreal; Both Rizzuto Renegades

Earlier today we reported about the shooting death of Vincenzo Scuderi, a man with known ties to the Montreal mob. Since then, another mobster has been shot repeatedly, though it seems he will survive the attempt -- and authorities are revealing that this indeed looks like the continuation of the mob war that had been blazing up Montreal since Vito Rizzuto returned home from prison to take care of business. The article below notes: "They chose to side against the Rizzuto organization while its alleged leader, Vito Rizzuto, was imprisoned in the U.S."

From The Sûreté du Québec has taken over a probe into a Friday-morning shooting along a Laval restaurant strip just east of Highway 15.

A man was hit by gunfire in the parking lot between two restaurants, about 10:10 a.m.

It appears the man managed to make his way inside to one of them — the Youlios Restaurant at 2033 St. Martin Blvd. W., between Highway 15 and Le Corbusier Blvd. — looking for help.


Court Records Expose D'Avanzo Mob Ties

Last year, the Miami New Times obtained from a confidential source hundreds of pages of sealed court documents that reveal information provided to the FBI by former infamous South Beach nightclub king Chris Paciello -- and it seems Paciello dished up a lot more details on goodfellas and their crimes than was originally thought.

"Between December 2000 and May 2001, the FBI met with the fallen club king eight times and conducted 15 hours of interviews. During those meetings, Paciello detailed not only his own criminal history but those of dozens of his Mob colleagues," a New Times article notes.

Additionally, many secrets in the documents center on Lee D'Avanzo, one of Paciello's early criminal cohorts. In fact, Paciello is a large part of the reason why Lee went away to prison. [We are not sure if this is the sentence Lee is still serving or if it was an earlier conviction.]

It adds: "Most significant, Paciello fingered two made members of the Bonanno family, w…

Man With Mob Ties Shot Dead in Montreal

A 49-year-old man with ties to organized crime was shot and killed in St-Leonard last month.

According to Montreal's La Presse newspaper, the victim was Vincenzo Scuderi, a man arrested in December in a crackdown on a drug trafficking ring, but otherwise with no criminal record. The police could not confirm the identity.

“Our investigators have yet to positively identify the gentleman who was shot, but we have a pretty good idea who it is,” said Montreal police spokesman Daniel Lacoursiere.

A 49-year-old man was found near the orange cone in this picture in critical condition, he had been shot. The man was declared dead at an area hospital.

Montreal's 6th homicide took place on Robert Blvd. in St-Leonard on Thursday night.

Police found the man in critical condition near the intersection of Robert Blvd. and Bonnivet St. just after 6 p.m. Several neighbours called 911 after hearing gunshots and spotting the man slumped on a sidewalk. The victim was taken to hospital where he was…

Drita Wins Top Honors in 'Favorite Mob Wife' Poll

And the winner is Drita -- by a long shot.
It is clear from the results of the Cosa Nostra News poll "Who is your favorite Mob Wife?" that of the 360 people who participated, the lion's share, 45% (or 163 votes), went to the fiery Albanian Drita D'Avanzo.
Ranking in second place, with about half the votes that went to Drita, was Big Ang, who 24% (or 89 voters) chose as their favorite Mob Wife.
The rest of the Mob Wives were stuck in the 5% to 7% bandwidth, with Renee Graziano nabbing third place, with 7% (or 26 votes) and the lowest number of votes, 5% (or 18 votes), going to Love Majewski.
Between Renee and Love were the rest of the cast: with Carla at 6% (23 votes); and Karen and Ramona each in the 5% range, though garnering a slightly higher number of voters than did Love: Karen with 20 and Ramona, 21.

Renee   26 (7%) Carla   23 (6%) Karen   20 (5%) Drita   163 (45%) Ramona   21 (5%) Big Ang   89 (24%) Love   18 (5%)
* 360 readers …