Showing posts from January, 2016

Philly Cosa Nostra Is A-Rockin and A-Rollin...

Philadelphia is seeing a "resurgence of the local crime family," George Anastasia noted on BigTrial.

Which may be why there's been talk about known members of New York's Gambino crime family showing up in Philly very recently. As we know from the dear departed Nicholas "Nicky Skins" Stefanelli, the Gambino crime family was known to break bread with the Philly guys. A soldier who flipped and was wired for sound by the FBI for two years, Stefanelli was 69 when he whacked himself in March 2012.

Stefanelli — who operated in New Jersey but reported to jailed New York capo Nicholas "Little Nicky" Corozzo — secretly taped countless cronies after he and his son were nabbed in a drug-dealing operation. Nicky Skins decided to cooperate to get his kid off the hook.
He made lots of tapes, however, and the recordings live on. (He even caught Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino in a conversation, though Merlino, saying afterward that he had sensed something …

New Boss Deftly Eluded High-risk Hit Order

Joseph Cammarano Jr. is "the top banana on the street for the beleaguered Bonanno crime family — or what’s left of it," as the Daily News reported.

(A source pointed out the odd timing of the new Bonanno boss story, arriving about a month or so following this blog's own story about New York having only three operational Mafia families, the Bonannos not being one of them. "... It seems that the families able to ... show power on the street ... are helmed by powerful and accessible bosses -- meaning they are out of prison," as we noted.)

Cammarano, meanwhile, is around to hold the top slot because of his ability to diplomatically get out of an order from Vinny Basciano to whack a Genovese associate, Cosa Nostra News learned. Cammarano did this by reminding Vinny B of another more-pressing hit the Bonanno boss had wanted done at the time.

At an arraignment hearing in Brooklyn Federal Court this month regarding three Bonanno gangsters sent back to prison for atte…

Bonanno's New Acting Boss Played Santa Too....

All happy Mafia crime families are alike; each unhappy crime family is unhappy in its own way.*

While I don't know whether that saying holds true, I can say that it certainly seems that, whatever else they have in common, crime families develop their own personalities over time.

Here's an overly simplistic analysis: The Gambinos were the high-profile guys, the mobsters with flash and dash and lots of drug cash. The Genoveses (aka The West Side) are viewed as the silent but deadly ones who live far off the radar screen while accruing vast fortunes. The Luchese family is somewhat difficult to characterize. I think of junkyards and auto repair shops (aka "chop shops"), though under Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso they were basically killers of rats (and anyone unlucky enough to be viewed by Casso with disfavor). The Colombos, thrice in "declared" wars, killed their own; and over their lifespan, anyone else, including cops. They're also considered the fam…

Revisiting New York's Whackiest Wiseguys, aka The Albanian Mafia

In January 2014, Bajram Lajqi was sentenced in Brooklyn federal court to six years in prison; he'd plead guilty on June 27, 2013, to drug trafficking and firearm use.

Lajqi was a "member" of an Albanian organized crime group that operated in the United States, Canada, and Europe.

On June 4, 2011, Lajqi attempted to murder another member of the gang.

“... Lajqi, in particular, exemplifies the violence tied to large-scale narcotics trafficking, as his drug-fueled quest for revenge led him to gun down a rival outside a Bronx restaurant,” the U.S. Attorney said in a press releaseNow the U.S. Attorney is doing an injustice to Lajqi right there, by making him sound, at the very least, like a competent hitman. The truth is, he's not.

We love how the gothamist wrote this one up:

"What with all the massive busts and small-time stabbings, the mob just ain't what it used to be. Nowadays nobody takes any pride in their work, as evidenced by a recent Albanian mob hit gone a…

Lee D'Avanzo Angered Carmine Agnello: Source


When wiseguys are in prison, does rank matter?

Opinions vary. On the inside all made guys are equal, some say, while others have said rank is less of an issue. Still, supposedly there are official Cosa Nostra bosses serving life sentences: Vic Amuso, Peter Gotti and Carmine Persico. So rank must matter, but it seems to depend on the place, the time and possibly the dynamic of those inside the unit.

I recently heard about something that happened involving Lee D'Avanzo when he was a resident of MDC Brooklyn. The source was there at the time, but on a different floor.
What happened made Carmine Agnello so furious with Lee, supposedly a sit down or two took place over the matter. (Agnello was made; Lee wasn't (or isn't.))

Agnello and D'Avanzo were housed in Brooklyn's MDC along with Francis "BF" Guerra -- the only three Italians on the main population floor at the time.

In terms of corroboration, I found a news story from October …

ISIS, Fear Rome As Well...

The book mentioned in this story, which is the source of the allegations mentioned below, probably is a hoax. I'd like to know: Who published it? It seems too consumer-friendly, and in my mind appears more like the fraudulent efforts of a savvy marketer, assisted by attention-seeking newspapers. Perhaps ISIS itself is perpetuating a hoax. These suicidal murderers have an affinity for propaganda. So let us move under the pretext that this "manual of hate" truly exists....and accept this at face value....

New ISIS propganda details a "brutal plan to march through western Europe and take control of Italy" claim new reports.

The hate manual, titled The Black Flags from Rome, ranks several of Italy's Mafias as ISIS militants' most feared adversaries -- yet the group seems unaware of Rome's own homegrown Mafia.

George Anastasia's Oldfellas AARP Story Online

Called When Mobsters Refuse to Retire, George Anastasia's story, which I read in the AARP magazine (don't ask how I got a copy), is online, I noticed.
Amusingly enough, the publication placed it in theWork Life Balance section. 

Here's a teaser to whet your appetite if you haven't already read it....

They shared a long lunch of filet mignon, yellowfin tuna, and chicken with broccoli rabe, washing it down with four bottles of expensive Tuscan red. Ten wiseguys sat at an Italian restaurant in New Jersey, laughing and joking and talking. It could have been a scene from TV's The Sopranos. The men, from New York, Philadelphia and Newark, dressed the part — open-collared shirts, pinkie rings and Rolexes. Outside on that May afternoon in 2010, the FBI had set up surveillance cameras. Inside, at the table, a federal informant wore a body wire.

Fugitive Mob "Rancher" to Return to Idaho

Boston mobster Enrico Ponzo, 47, after participating in a failed hit that was part of the New England Mafia war, fled Massachusetts in 1994, with law enforcement in hot pursuit.

Following years on the run, Ponzo finally settled in a small Idaho town under an alias. And for the next 10 years, the Boston wiseguy successfully played the part of a rancher named Jay Shaw.

In 2011, he was recaptured -- and two years later, following a trial in which he faced attempted murder and other alleged charges, Ponzo was convicted and sentenced to 28 years in prison. Nevertheless, next month, on Feb. 2, he'll return to his former adopted home state of Idaho to a courtroom to face 16 felonious counts involving unlawful possession of a firearm, aggravated identity theft, and possession of documents for intended fraudulent use.

Mobster Once Hot for Mob Wife Seeks Reduction

Gambino soldier Joseph Sclafani caught a break a year ago, when he successfully got his prison sentence reduced.

Now, according to a motion filed Monday, Jan. 18, in Brooklyn federal court, he's trying to get more time whacked off his sentence, perhaps as much as three years. 
In January of 2015, Sclafani's original 2013 sentence of 15 years for drug trafficking was reduced by about a year. This was a result of changes made to sentencing guidelines. Now, however, his lawyer is arguing that Sclafani still was improperly sentenced last year and deserves more time off his sentence.

What the F---k Is Up on Staten Island?

The NYPD was probing the Bulls Head shooting of a 30-year-old man that occurred early last Friday morning. A confidential source said this was mob-related, although there's no confirmation. The victim is not cooperating with law enforcement.

And considering what else has happened on Staten Island the past few days -- the fatal stabbings and supposed suicides -- the would-be mob-hit victim appears to be the lucky one.
The man (his name hasn't been disclosed) had been shot in the shoulder but reportedly is in stable condition. He privately made his way to Staten Island University Hospital around 1 a.m. Friday, said an NYPD spokesman.

Fed's Use Force Against Louie's "Skywalker"

Louis J. DiNunzio, 29, of Medford, and his co-defendants pleaded guilty to selling "Skywalker,” a forceful strain of marijuana. He's out on bail.

Federal prosecutors are seeking the force of a 21-month prison sentence for the reputed made member  of the ailing New England Mafia and his cohorts.

In US District Court in Boston, the Fed's filed a sentencing request on Wednesday; DiNunzio pleaded guilty in September to marijuana distribution conspiracy.

What the Mafia's Been Doing Lately....

New York’s mob families are truly living undercover these days, in a manner that almost seems to hearken back to the pre-Apalachin years.

An interesting report was quietly published following Vincent Asaro's startling acquittal that took a look at how the mob is trying to "invisibly" earn today.
“They don’t want the notoriety they once had," Inspector John Desenopolis, Commanding Officer of the NYPD’s Organized Crime Investigation Division, known as OCID, told the PIX report.  “These are secret societies that have learned,” Desenopolis added. “We were able to put people away for long periods of time. They realized, and learned how to adapt.”

Jimmy Lanza: West Coast's Preeminent Mobster

James "Jimmy the Hat" Lanza certainly earned his place among the pantheon of Cosa Nostra's wiliest bosses as will be revealed in Lanza's Mob by Christina Ann-Marie DiEdoardo, Esq., a criminal defense lawyer in San Francisco (who lived for years in Queens, New York). Available for pre-order now, the book will be released on July 31, 2016.

Lanza truly knew the old-school ways of hiding in plain sight. While there's much evidence that he was one of the attendees of the doomed 1957 Apalachin summit, he successfully avoided arrest unlike so many others. "It would have been child’s play for Lanza to evade the New York state police, as he apparently did," as the author writes below.

The book is based on extensive research by the author (who knows her stuff, folks!) and includes how major events such as the Castellammarese War impacted the Lanza crime family. The book details some lucrative and probably generally unknown scams from which the Lanza's reaped…

Nine New Charges Filed Against Mafia Boss

Nine new criminal charges were filed against Leonardo Rizzuto today at the Montreal courthouse, right before his bail hearing was to commence.

Rizzuto was identified by law enforcement as one of two bosses of the Montreal Mafia family previously run by his father, Vito, who died in December 2013. Leonardo was arrested on Nov. 19 as part of Projects Magot and Mastiff, a joint investigation into drug trafficking in the city.

Rizzuto was charged with drug trafficking and gangsterism, which was introduced into Canada's Criminal Code in 1997 as a way to apply longer sentences against organized crime members. Specifically it was designed following the bloody street battles between the Hells Angels and The Rock Machine MCs for dominance over Quebec.

Twist in $500M Mob-Linked Boston Art Heist

Note:I checked with Philly mob expert George Anastasia for confirmation: there's no historical knowledge regarding a New England branch of a Philadelphia mafia family.

Robert Gentile, "an aging, unremarkable wiseguy from Hartford [Connecticut]" grew from obscurity into infamy after the widowed wife of a dead longtime associate told the FBI that Gentile was linked to a half-billion-dollar heist that occurred some 25 years ago.

He'd been an off-the-radar mobster with a criminal history stretching back to the 1950s when he was suddenly publicly identified as the FBI's chief suspect in one of the world's most perplexing crimes, the "officially unsolved" robbery of Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in March of 1990. Experts to this day puzzle over why the robbers took certain artworks and not other more-valuable pieces. The Hartford Courier ran a story breaking the news.

A new wrinkle in this story was recently revealed, when a published repo…

Mob Corruption on Staten Island Circa 1969

The Staten Island Advance posted an archive page from a story it published on April 20, 1969.

The story names Paul Castellano as an "underboss" of the Gambino crime family.

"An Advance study shows numerous Staten Island real estate dealings are being investigated to see the potential role taken by various organized crime figures. These include Paul Castellano, underboss of the Gambino Cosa Nostra family, the largest Mafia organization on the East Coast."

NJ Luchese Capo, Sons Get 8-, 10-Year Sentences

Ralph Perna, the Luchese crime family's top capo in the Garden State and two of his sons were slammed with nearly a decade in prison each. Meanwhile, one of the North Jersey Luchese crew's leaders was sentenced to about half the amount of time in prison.
Matthew "Matty" Madonna, considered a close associate of the family's street boss, Bronx-based Stevie Crea, was a suspect in the the last Mafia hit (clarification: last in this case, meaning until the next one).

This past Thursday Ralph Perna, 69, of East Hanover, was given eight years in state prison; John G. Perna, 38, of West Caldwell,  and Joseph M. Perna, 46, of Wyckoff., were given 10 years apiece in state prison.

FBI Agent "Got People Killed," Judge Says

A federal judge voiced his belief that the former FBI agent who was Greg Scarpa Senior's handler had indeed passed on intel that resulted in murders.

Judge Edward Korman’s words were recently uncovered in a 2012 transcript of a court case related to Gregory Scarpa Jr. The judge was referring to murders that were part of the early 1990s Colombo crime family war.
“It was my view and remains my view that Lin DeVecchio provided information to Scarpa that got people killed,” Korman said, according to the transcript. 
“I found it pretty outrageous and the bottom line was, of course, nothing happened to Lin DeVecchio. He was permitted to retire and in his retirement was actually doing background checks for the (FBI),” the judge said.

Scarpa Jr. was seeking a reduction of his racketeering sentence as a reward for helping the feds find explosives hidden in the home of Oklahoma City bomber Terry Nichols, as noted back in August, when Scarpa Junior had been moved to a reentry facility in K…

An Offer You Won't Want to Refuse

Well, today's my birthday -- and I'm giving you all a gift. Join Amazon Prime now and get a 30-Day free trial -- then you can view over 40,000 movies and TV episodes via the program, borrow Kindle ebooks, and enjoy unlimited FREE two-day shipping on purchases, with no minimum order size.

But this deal includes a deadline -- you must join by Friday, January 10, to take advantage. (On jump page I present a list of Mafia- related films you can watch for FREE....but it's not only crime films -- films and tv shows in every genre are included. See list here. I'm a horror fan and you'll have access to an especially larger number of horror flix via Prime, including a recently made Giallo-style film from Italy, Sonno Profondo (Deep Sleep) Limited Edition .

Once the Amazon Prime Video 30-Day Free Trial is over, you can decide whether or not to sign on as a member for $9.99 a month or for one annual $99 payment (for me, this is a no-brainer, I've belonged to Prime since …