Ex-Philadelphia Cosa Nostra Drug Dealer (And Long John's Son) Now Sells Legal CBD-Infused Beverages

Three days prior to the Department of Justice's October 8, 2015, announcement that 6,000 federal inmates would be released “to reduce overcrowding and provide relief to drug offenders who received harsh sentences over the past three decades,” a man who pleaded guilty to running an alleged $75 million-a-year drug dealing operation for the Philadelphia Cosa Nostra was released from federal prison.

 George Martorano
Former dealer George Martorano, son of Long John.

George Martorano — the son of late Philly mobster Raymond “Long John” Martorano —served 31 years in a series of “supermax” prisons and prior to his October 5, 2015, release from Florida’s Coleman Prison was described as the longest incarcerated non-violent offender in the federal prison system.

“I was told the only way I’d get out was in a body bag,” Martorano said recently. “I proved them wrong.”

George Martorano has used his years of freedom to set himself up in a business that’s not altogether dissimilar to the one he was forced to leave behind decades back, though it’s decidedly less dangerous. Martorano, now a legal cannabis entrepreneur, runs the Hip Hemp Cafe coffee shop in South Philadelphia, where he serves CBD-infused hot drinks, lollipops, and muffins.

Once described by the FBI as a drug kingpin, Martorano now operates that small 600-square-foot retail space, located just off South Street, as per a recent Philadelphia Inquirer story. Martorano, however, does plan to expand his one-shop operation into a chain of about a dozen Hip Hemp Cafes spanning the East Coast from Staten Island to Fort Lauderdale.

Martorano was arrested in Philadelphia in 1982 and later pleaded guilty to drug charges (none of which were violent offenses) for which he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. As one profile noted, “the South Philadelphia man was considered to be one of the biggest casualties of Ronald Reagan‘s War on Drugs. Indeed, many murderers, rapists and child molesters have spent far less time in prison than Martorano.”

Still, Martorano wasn’t exactly dealing nickel and dime bags in the park, either. Back in the day, as per federal authorities, Martorano was at the reputed top of an organized crime drug empire that netted around $75 million per annum. The FBI nabbed him with, quite literally, a truckload of marijuana. (His guilty plea also included charges related to heroin and cocaine distribution.)

Why did he get such a frickin’ long-ass prison sentence? As per the guidelines in play back then, he should’ve only been sentenced to a three- to four-year bid. The judge, however, didn’t go along with the plan and instead decided to go full “law and order” on Martorano’s ass, doling out the life sentence that an appeals judge later confirmed.

His father was Raymond (Long John) Martorano, the aging mobster and one-time major moneymaker who apparently outlived his usefulness to the mob. Long John was shot and critically wounded on Jan. 17, 2002 His murder is one of three that the Fed's supposedly have been probing for years in an attempt to finally nail Joseph (Uncle Joe) Ligambi for when he was Joseph (Skinny Joey) Merlino's acting boss.

Martorano, 74, was driving to a doctor's appointment that afternoon when two gunmen ran up on him and opened fire, hitting him several times in the chest and arms. Still, he drove the car another six blocks to his doctor's office before crashing his Lincoln Towncar into a fire hydrant.

He remained in critical condition for three weeks and died on Feb. 5.

A police officer who talked to Martorano said the dying mobster claimed he had no idea who had shot him.

One law-enforcement source believed the shooting was connected to an attempt by Martorano to reestablish himself in the underworld. Martorano had once been a major methamphetamine dealer. A source noted that the veteran mob soldier had tried to move into the gambling business in South Philadelphia after his 1999 release from prison.

Raymond "Long John" Martorano
Long John Martorano in court.

Why didn't Long John simply hang up his spurs?

"He can't help himself," said an underworld source. "It's like people who can't retire. They have to have something to do. There's money in gambling. It's the easiest and it's the best money."

Federal and state investigators said that then-acting mob boss Ligambi and Martorano were both soldiers under mob boss Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo in the early 1980s. Both were convicted of gangland murders, and both were released from prison after those convictions were overturned.

While in prison, Martorano reportedly had a falling out with Little Nicky Scarfo, who was very possibly the last American outlaw you'd ever want to have any kind of falling out with....

Like Father....
Long John Martorano served more than 17 years in prison on drug-trafficking and murder charges before his release in November 1999. The release came after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling overturning his 1984 conviction in the murder of Philadelphia Roofers Union boss John McCullough. The conviction was tossed out based on prosecutorial misconduct.

Martorano once owned a popular South Philadelphia restaurant, Cous' Little Italy at 11th and Christian Streets. He also served as point man for the mob in its control of the South Jersey Bartenders' Union in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Martorano had been an associate of mob boss Angelo Bruno in the 1960s and 1970s. Bruno, who was killed in 1980, was a salesman for John's Vending, a cigarette-vending machine company run by Martorano and his brother.

A Cosa Nostra News mob source once told us: "Long John was from the old regime and had no respect for nobody and started stepping on the wrong toes. He had no help to make a move... all his guys were in jail or dead. They were letting him earn... (and he apparently wasn't satisfied with that.)"

As per son George's recent Inquirer interview, “there were only two places in South Philly (that Martorano) said hadn’t changed in the years since he was locked up: His mother’s house on Fitzwater Street, where he lives and takes care of her, and his favorite restaurant, the Saloon, where he’s a regular.”

The story also notes that “Martorano looks nothing like the Philly street hustler he once was. He exudes warm confidence and a sense of refined style more akin to a tanned and fit Hollywood character actor. He doesn’t deny his past.

“I’m not saying I was innocent,” Martorano said. “For three years, I was a weed dealer. But I was never a part of Cosa Nostra. It was my father who was in with those guys. Not me. I was never a ‘made’ man.”

Actually, George’s new business is more racket than psychedelic—-CBD is a marijuana-specific chemical but it’s NOT THC, which is another marijuana-specific chemical —- the one that gets you high, actually. CBD gummies, beverages — whatever form you consume, it does absolutely nothing to you. Yes, I know what they say about CBD's benefits. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Gabbish?