Showing posts from August, 2014

With Friends Like Bobby Sasso, Who Needs Hit Men?

Sasso, gang banger... It was not a mob hit; it was personal. Robert Sasso, 33, the grandson of a Teamsters boss who worked for John Gotti, allegedly shot another man four times early on Friday. The victim, who was described as a "pal,"  called 911 as he lay dying. Earlier, Sasso had picked up Dean Oku, 29, in a white Ford Fusion and drove him to the Whitestone jetty so the pair could smoke weed at close to 2:30 am. While parked, overlooking the water, Sasso pulled a gun and shot him in the chest and thigh. Sasso then drove off, leaving the man on the jetty. Oku called 911 and when the police finally arrived, he was asked, “Why’d he shoot you?” “An old beef,” Oku said. He was taken to New York Hospital in Queens and nearly died, but reached surgery in time to have his condition upgraded to critical.

Cosa Nostra Not Sicily's Only Mafia

Bet you didn't know Sicily has two Mafias. La Stidda ("star") There's Cosa Nostra, of course. And there's La Stidda (Sicilian for "the star"), a Sicilian-based Mafia group that's a direct rival to Cosa Nostra. All members wear the same star-shaped tattoo. La Stidda was created by "Men of Honor" (members of the Sicilian Cosa Nostra) who broke apart following the murder of Mafia-boss Giuseppe Di Cristina during a major Mafia war of the early 1980s. In addition to the Cosa Nostra , there are two other historical Mafias in Italy: the Neapolitan Camorra and the Calabrian Ndrangheta. A fourth also is recognized, the Apulian Sacra Corona Unita, which was originally formed in the 1970s to rival the traditional Camorra. La Stidda is something like Sicily's version of the Sacra Corona Unita. As noted in Excellent Cadavers: The Mafia and the Death of the First Italian Republic (Alexander Stille), it largely consists of &

Mafia Killer's Memoir Prompts Literary Critic's Resignation

From IBT : The autobiography of a jailed Mafia killer has been selected as finalist for a Sicilian literary award, prompting the resignation of a juror who claimed the choice offended the memory of the author's victims. Literary critic Gaspare Agnello said that the decision to admit a book by Cosa Nostra affiliate Giuseppe Grassonelli (titled Malerba ) to the final has soiled the name of the prize dedicated to Leonardo Sciascia, a late Sicilian writer who helped raise awareness on Mafia issues through his work. Noting that the mobster never repented of his crimes, Agnello said that awarding him "would be an offence to his many victims, whose blood is still fresh". To add to the controversy, one of the other selected finalists, Caterina Chinnici, is the daughter of a prosecutor killed by the Mafia in a 1983 bomb attack in Palermo.

Stephen "Most Dangerous" of Basciano Sons, Says Ex-Bonanno Capo

Vinny Gorgeous "Stephen has a nine millimeter handgun with a fitted silencer that I had given him before my arrest in 2005. That deadly weapon was mine." --Dominick Cicale, former capo under Vinny Gorgeous UPDATED: Former Bonanno capo Dominick Cicale , a key government witness against ex-acting boss Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano and other crime family cohorts in 2012, is calling for the judge to throw the book at his erstwhile boss's son, Stephen Basciano.

Video Offers Rare View of Ndrangheta's "Bizarre Rituals"

The Calabrian Ndrangheta held a small gathering in the Swiss town of Frauenfeld, outside Zurich. The event was filmed by Swiss and Italian police as part of a two-year investigation. Germany’s Der Spiegel was the latest to publish the video – released by Italian investigators – following the arrest last Friday of at least 16 Ndrangheta suspects by Italian and Swiss police. It marked the culmination of Operation Helvetia, launched in 2012. The video [seen on the jump page] offers a rare insight into the secret world of the Calabrian Mafia and its bizarre rituals.

Toto Riina Admitted to Meeting PM Andreotti in the 1990s

Andreotti died having been cleansed of Mafia-related crimes. “Riina changed Cosa Nostra from having a democratic, federal organisation to an authoritarian management style – and that’s a euphemism given that he would murder colleagues for making the wrong hand gesture at meetings.”  Toto Riina, the jailed 'boss of bosses' of the Sicilian Mafia, for the first time, claimed he met with seven-time Italian prime minister Giulio Andreotti. This revelation is released mere days before the Venice premier of La Trattativa, an Italian documentary about secret talks allegedly held between Cosa Nostra and the Italian government in the 1990s. According to the Telegraph Riina has long been accused of meeting the former Christian Democrat leader.

Interesting Quotes from Michael Franzese's Reddit IAmA

"Where Hoffa at?" "They will NEVER find Hoffa's body. trust me on that one." --Michael Franzese, in a Reddit  IAmA  subreddit Early in 2014, Michael Franzese participated in Reddit's much vaunted IAmA -- basically a real time session in which those on Reddit, called redditors, ask questions of someone who is famous or noteworthy for some kind of achievement or notoriety or both. Michael Franzese discusses the Mafia, Goodfellas and meatballs. Reddit [reddit] is an entertainment, social networking service and news website where registered community members can submit content, such as text posts or direct links. Also, registered users, called redditors, vote submissions "up" or "down" to organize the posts and determine their position on the site's pages.

When John Gotti and Sammy Bull Visited Brooklyn...

Gotti, left, Gravano, back in the good old days of "La Cosa Nostra." John Gotti and Salvatore "Sammy Bull" Gravano drove into Bath Beach in Brooklyn to visit Tommy "Karate" Pitera. At a diner, the trio -- the Gambino boss and underboss, and a soldier in the Bonanno crime family -- discussed a mob hit. (Why they'd enjoy a meal in a diner in the midst of so many delectable Italian restaurants, this writer doesn't know. This writer does have a strong notion what the agenda was, however. Read on, please...)  The Bath Ave. Crew noticed the three men seated at a table in the eatery and "showed their respect" with a bottle of bubbly."

Feds Want to Flip Galati To Nail Philly Mob Bosses

Galati's garage was a mob hangout, it is alleged. "I will kill him myself. I will strangle him. I will poke his eyes out. I am going to stab him right in the forehead with this thing."   -- Ron Galati quoted in recent court filings talking to one of his employees while waving an ice pick. Andrew Tuono was dating a raven-haired beauty named Tiffany, 33, when he was shot three times in the belly last year. He'd been warned by acquaintances that the lovely young lady was connected, and that he very well could find himself on the receiving end of an aimed pistol. But, hey -- love is blind.

Meet Former Colombo Capo Michael Franzese

Michael Franzese THIS POST IS OLD; the event closed. Wanna meet a gangster? An official inducted member of Cosa Nostra? I just received an invitation to extend to all my readers, who are free to extend the invitation to anyone they want. Readers of Cosa Nostra News (and anyone they care to extend this offer to) are personally invited to meet Michael Franzese and his wife Cammy in New Jersey to discuss the new movie about Michael's life and times in the Mafia, " God the Father ," over breakfast. To register click on this link: Attend Breakfast with Michael Franzese . Watch the trailer on the continuation; looks pretty cool to me...

Ndrangheta Raided as Part of Combined Law Enforcement Effort

Old time Ndrangheta boss Antonio Macri.  The Calabrian Mafia is ramping up illegal activity in Switzerland . Which says a lot, considering they have been operating in the Thurgau state of Switzerland for the past 40 years, with alleged involvement in cocaine, weapons dealing, extortion and trafficking. A video shot near Zurich from a hidden-camera was released after police arrested 16 people in Italy, two of whom live in Frauenfeld, the capital of the member state of Thurgau in Switzerland. The Swiss Federal Prosecutor’s Office is now expecting extradition requests from the Italian authorities.

FBI Ordered to Name Agent Tied to Mob Corruption

Lin Devecchio Courthouse News Service : The FBI must give a terminally ill mafia expert the name of a special agent allegedly involved in agency corruption, and other related information, a federal judge ruled. Forensic analyst Angela Clemente sued the FBI on July 21, 2008, alleging that Special Agent Lindley Devecchio and others helped cover up murders and other violent crimes committed by agency informants, like Colombo family capo Gregory Scarpa . Clemente has spent the last decade researching the FBI's relationship with Scarpa, aka "The Grim Reaper" or "The Mad Hatter," who served as an FBI informant since 1961. Devecchio was charged with aiding and abetting four murders in 2006, but the judge dismissed the case after finding that Scarpa's former mistress lacked witness credibility .

Bath Ave. Crew Member "Crazy Joey" Wants Story Told

Joey Calco Publishers Marketplace  reports: "The Joey Calco Story (former Bonanno hitman) by Richard Cagan (out May 2014)." Cagan is a published author of several books, including one mob book, Mafia Cop: The Two Families of Michael Palermo; Saints Only Live in Heaven . I've never read it or him. Looks like former Bath Avenue Crew member Joey Calco wants to tell his story. It was supposed to have been released already -- only, where is it? As many of you -- especially former and current residents of  Bath Beach -- no doubt recall, Calco — a turncoat with two murder convictions under his belt — had reinvented himself in the witness protection program as Joseph Milano, the owner of Goomba’s Pizza in Florida . But that version of life imploded on him back in 2009, when he made that infamous videotaped leap over the counter seen 'round the world after two customers had the balls to complain and then demand their money back because Joey screwed u

Stallone to Play Greg "The Grim Reaper" Scarpa

Scarpa in his strong days as arch enforcer and "special agent" for the Feds. Deadline Hollywood is reporting that a film about Colombo capo/lifelong informant Gregory "The Grim Reaper" Scarpa is slated to start filming early next year. Brad Furman will direct and Sylvester Stallone will play the lead role; it will be a Millennium Films production. Stallone could probably play a decent street guy. But can he play a decent Greg Scarpa? The script was written by Nicholas Pileggi, who wrote the book and screenplay for the acclaimed mobster film Goodfellas , which was nominated for an Oscar. Pileggi also was the wordsmith for Casino , which won many kudos from critics but not much else. (I agree with many others: Pileggi was robbed -- he also should have been nominated for Casino, which he adapted from his own book.) Both those films further benefitted from the immortal direction of Martin Scorsese, who is not involved with the Scarpa film, howev

Defamation Case Settled by "Undercover Cop" Publisher

COSA NOSTRA NEWS EXCLUSIVE We recently posted a story by Dan Goldberg  that ran in the The Star-Ledger about the book "Undercover Cop" by Mike Russell. In the book Russell writes that he was an undercover New Jersey state trooper who infiltrated the mob and brought down dozens of wiseguys -- but only after taking a .32-caliber bullet to the head. As noted in Goldberg's story: Russell did infiltrate the mob and did pass on valuable information... But [retired State Police Capt. Nick Oriolo, whose name is misspelled in the book] estimates that only about 20 percent of the book is true. He does not recall Russell being shot in the head, which the book describes as a very emotional moment for the State Police sergeant, who was “blubbering” at Russell’s bedside. 

Anonymous Jury Sought for "Lufthansa" Bonanno Trial

Tommy D, Bonanno acting boss. Prosecutors are asking the judge for an anonymous and partially sequestered jury for the trial involving reputed Bonanno acting boss Tommy "Tommy D" DiFiore , capo Vincent Asaro and other crime family members. This is revealed in a court filing made last month by Loretta E. Lynch, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. Specifically, the prosecutors requested that jurors' names, addresses and employment information not be revealed to the defendants or their attorneys. Also, it was requested that each juror be escorted by U.S. Marshals to and from court each day, and "at all times during recess."

Car Theft Isn't What It Used To Be for the Mob

Auto theft isn't the profit center it once was for Mafia families; the chop-shop would appear to be all but extinct today, too, according to a report in the New York Times . The bottom line as to why? "Stealing cars is harder than it used to be, less lucrative and more likely to land you in jail." Auto theft isn’t much of a problem anymore in New York City. In 1990, the city had 147,000 reported auto thefts, one for every 50 residents; last year, there were just 7,400, or one per 1,100. That’s a 96 percent drop in the rate of car theft. So, why did this happen? All crime has fallen, nationally and especially in New York. But there has also been a big shift in the economics of auto theft: Stealing cars is harder than it used to be, less lucrative and more likely to land you in jail. As such, people have found other things to do.

Bath Avenue Crew Rose High, Fell Hard

This story from 2014 is one of the most popular on this site—and we didn't even know it until very recently (for reasons stemming from the fallibility of generalized analytics data.) Members of the Bath Avenue Crew were as young as 8 years old when they began to align themselves with the biggest, baddest gang in America: Cosa Nostra, specifically the Five Families. Bath Avenue Crew founding members. They saw the wiseguys on the street pulling up to the curbs in their big shiny Cadillacs, loafing around social clubs wearing pricey suits and sporting hundred-dollar haircuts and manicured fingernails. But the guys presented more than just a cold, distant image to watch; Mafia members interacted with the kids, joked around with them and showed them there were other ways to make it through life. The wiseguys doled out twenty-dollar bills like they were nothing. The wiseguys patted them on the back, told them they were "good kids," and maybe asked them to watch the cars

Video Teaser for Buccaneer: The Odyssey of Jack Reed

As previously noted , Jack Carlton Reed , (September 30, 1930 – October 12, 2009) was a drug smuggler and co-defendant of Carlos Enrique Lehder Rivas, Colombian drug baron and co-founder, with Pablo Escobar, of the Medellín Cartel. Reed was a pilot for Lehder’s cocaine transport empire on Norman's Cay, an out island 210 miles away from the Florida coast, in the Bahamas. Reed flew the drugs for Lehder, who handled transport while Escobar handled production and supply.

Is There Even a Cosa Nostra in Philadelphia?

"Who knows him?" Ralph Natale --John Gotti, former boss of Gambino family, in response to Ralph Natale's question regarding if New York's families would support Sicilian-born John Stanfa as boss over Philadelphia.  "If the mob was really the mob, I'd still be a mob guy." --Big Ron Previte, former capo of the Philadelphia family. As we noted in a recent post , mob memberships in Philadelphia were for sale around 10 years ago. Someone could have made a cash payment to  George Borgesi , supposedly the family's consiglieri, as late as 2003, as well as  Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino , in the 1990s. Now we're learning that the problems go even deeper than that -- at least during the Philadelphia mob's Stanfa-Natale-Merlino period. In fact back then mobsters outside of Philadelphia questioned the bona fides of several members and the family hierarchy's legitimacy seems to have been a major issue. At least unti

Heartwarming Nostalgia: Ex-Mob Wife Talks About Her Arrest, Etc.

Another blog, which seems to either have an agenda or a very shallow editorial strategy (we wonder who is really behind the operation), inspired us to take a stroll down memory lane... Mob Wives memory lane, specifically. Alicia DiMichele joins Ricky to talk about what it was like to be a "Mob Wife" before she was arrested. Watch  Full Segment Here: Subscribe to HuffPost Live Today: While gauging the flora and fauna peppered beside the path, we noticed a couple more "updates" of sort...


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Hit Women: An Offer You Won't Want to Refuse

Revenge for hire is the concept behind the television series “Hit Women,” a dark comedy about four ruthless hit women  who carry out contracts for hire. The program is the brainchild of Ranelle Golden, an accomplished writer and producer. A seasoned Indie Film Maker with credits, her films have been showcased in film festivals across the country. In mid-2011 she began developing the first of two television concepts; one of which was Hit Women, which premiered at the international MIPCOM 2012 Event in Cannes, France. 

The Piromalli Ndrina of Gioia Tauro

The Calabrian port run by the Ndrangheta. Steven Trotter is the guest blogger who wrote the following story.  He also operates an organized crime news page on Facebook  called Global Mafia News. On a ridge above the Calabrian town of Gioia Tauro sits a house overlooking the coastal settlement and the surrounding area. Gioia Tauro is located in the middle of a long plain adjacent to the Tyrrhenian Sea in the deep south of Italy. The house occupies a position that feudal lords in medieval times would have envied as it dominates the local area. And that is exactly the point.

Sneak Peek: Ex-Mobster John Alite Speaks with Trevor McDonald

We now present a clip of John Alite talking to Sir Trevor McDonald for an ITV documentary about the Mafia titled " The Mafia with Trevor McDonald ." As we noted, the veteran broadcaster wants to show viewers the "reality" and not the "mythology" of the Mob in the show. Trevor will look at the day-to-day lives of men within the secret crime organisation as well as undercover law enforcement figures, the Radio Times reported.

In the Mob, Not Giving Credit Can Get Guys Whacked...

Punchy Illiano, RIP I feel like Rodney Dangerfield these days. I don't get no respect! That's a catchy lede for a blog story, but to be perfectly frank, respect has nothing to do with this. Credit does come into play -- in terms of credibility, and here we could all take a page from the mob; they certainly know the importance of giving credit where credit is due. People can suddenly die otherwise.

Italy's Kinder, Gentler Mafia in Expansion Mode

Mafia violence is on the wane. The Italian mafia is on the march, infiltrating new sectors of the country's economy, according to a new report. Newspaper articles have been seeking to offset this news with word that the Mafia has been keeping a lid on violence -- as if taking a page from its American brethren, which no longer sanctions murder. The report, by the government’s anti-mafia directorate (the Dia), adds that while Sicily’s Cosa Nostra faces a troublesome ongoing restructuring and the Naples-based Camorra is getting major attention from law enforcement, the Calabrian Ndrangheta has consolidated its position as the most powerful criminal organization in all of Italy, if not the world.

What's Going Rate for Mafia Membership? Ask Joey Merlino

Tired of being a mob associate and kicking up most of your earnings? Tired of constantly lying to your superiors about how much you earn so you don't have to kick up as much? Face it -- you wanna be a made guy... Well, friends, now that dream can be yours! You can become a full member of the Philadelphia mob for only a one-time payment of $10,000! (Cash, of course.) Chances are, you won't read an ad like that in 5,000 years. But buying your way into the Mafia was a sellable concept that certain mobsters such as Joseph Skinny Joey Merlino sought to benefit, according to two government witnesses. "No, I said $100,000...." Joseph Merlino, right. Someone could join the Philly mob by making a cash payment to George Borgesi , who belonged to the administration of the family his uncle lorded over and brought back from extinction for Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino , who also was selling mob memberships. (Merlino, however, was getting $100,000 per button

Memoirs of Modern Day Buccaneer Jack Reed

Escobar earned the Mafia's respect. "Italian-American Mafiosi, Sicilians and Neapolitans, we always thought that the Cartels were really nothing more than organized groups of nobodies. Excluding Pablo Escobar, no Latin kingpin was considered equal to a Mafioso." -- Charles DeLucca "I’m no goddamn rat! I’m a player. I’m a pirate. I’m a hedonist; and one hell of a good smuggler, but I’m no rat!" --Jack Carlton Reed The man who brought the cocaine from Colombia to the U.S. Jack Carlton Reed , (September 30, 1930 – October 12, 2009) was a drug smuggler and co-defendant of Carlos Enrique Lehder Rivas, Colombian drug baron and co-founder, with Pablo Escobar, of the Medellín Cartel. Reed was a pilot for Lehder’s cocaine transport empire on Norman's Cay, an out island 210 miles away from the Florida coast, in the Bahamas. Reed flew the drugs for Lehder, who handled transport while Escobar handled production and supply.

OK, You're in Witness Protection... Now What?

What Happens When You Enter the Witness Protection Program? : Gerald Shur was struggling to convince his witness to testify. The year was 1961, and Shur, an attorney focused on organized crime at the Department of Justice, was talking to the owner of a New York trucking company who claimed that  Johnny “Sonny” Franzese  demanded half the profits of his business. Protected witness... Franzese’s men had vandalized his trucks and beaten him unconscious with baseball bats until he complied, and now the owner hoped that Shur could offer him a way out. But when Shur suggested testifying against Franzese, the witness responded, “Testify?” He had good reason to be incredulous. For Franzese, a member of one of the “ Five Families ” of the New York mafia, extorting a small business owner represented low-level crime. An associate wearing a wire would later record Franzese discussing the best way to commit murder: he would cover his fingertips with nail polish, wear a hairnet, and dismember

Sicilian Mafia Meets Its Match in American Pop Culture

Domenico Palazzotto on the right? It was bound to happen. Once upon a time, Sicilian mobsters were known as "zips" and were imported to America for very specific reasons. They were believed to be tougher than American Mafiosi; they had no police records here; they'd kill anyone -- including women and children; and for them, Omerta was not a word, it was a way of life.

Gangster Feared Vito Rizzuto, Then Died

Gang leader Ducarme Joseph was shot dead in St. Michel on Friday night. A former gang leader with ties to the Canadian Mafia, Joseph allegedly was involved in the 2009 shooting death of Nick Rizzuto Jr., son of the deceased Vito Rizzuto , formerly the powerful head of the Mafia in Montreal. Deceased Cosa Nostra boss Vito Rizzuto, middle, flanked by his father and son, both named Nick. Joseph, who'd gone into hiding, may have started raising his profile in the months following Vito's death. It was a fatal mistake.

Boston Mob Highlights Patriarca Mob's Violent Past

From the Providence Journal : BOSTON MOB: The Rise and Fall of the New England Mob and Its Most Notorious Killer,” by Marc Songini. St. Martin’s Press. 369 pages. $27.99. This is a colorful, even gleeful, account of murder, mayhem and corruption during the heyday of the New England Mafia. As you can imagine, despite the title, a lot of it is about Rhode Island and Raymond L.S. Patriarca, who ran the “Office,” as it was called , from the Coin-O-Matic office on Atwells Avenue in Providence. Three strains run through the book by Boston-area journalist Marc Songini. The fast-reading narrative begins and ends with the turbulent history of Joseph Barboza, or Joseph Barboza Baron after he changed his name. Of Portuguese descent and from New Bedford, he worked with many of the other figures in the book.