Archive for January 2011

7 Mafia Families Caught Up in a Major Mob Sweep

January 21, 2011 In a massive operation, the FBI and police have arrested 127 people allegedly connected to the mob in New York, Rhode Island, and New Jersey. It’s the “largest single-day operation against La Cosa Nostra,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a press release on the arrests. Seven families associated with organized crime are represented in the sweep, including all of New York’s “five families.”

 So who are these real-life Soprano clans? Surge Desk introduces you to them.


One of New York’s “big five” Mafia families, the Genovese family allegedly specializes in labor racketeering and construction, according to The New York Times. Some of those arrested today were past and present union officials who were charged with racketeering and extortion related to dockworker unions. They are believed to be connected to the Genoveses. Just last month, officials got their hands on a cooler containing more than $50,000, allegedly a Christmas gift to the family from a union local.


Another of the New York five families. The Gambino clan is famous for John Gotti, who was the boss for years. The Gambino family has allegedly been involved in everything from racketeering to prostitution, even being mentioned in connection with the Eliot Spitzer scandal in 2008. Gambino family higher-ups Joseph Corozzo and Bartolomeo Vernace were both charged in the indictments unsealed today.


Active since 1928, the Colombo family is now on the smaller side of the five families. In 2005, there were an estimated 75 to 85 members. But they allegedly remain active in racketeering, fraud and other mob-related activities. “[T]he entire leadership of the Colombo family not currently in prison” was included in today’s sweep, according to a Department of Justice press release. FYI: Two former Colombo associates are now ministers, working with a group called Goodfellas4god.


The fourth of the New York families, the Luchese family has taken some hits — metaphorically speaking — in recent years. Said New York magazine in 2005, “Since 1991, the feds have convicted five Luchese leaders, including Vittorio ‘Vic’ Amuso and acting bosses. Two stand-in leaders, Alphonse ‘Little Al’ D’Arco and Joseph ‘Little Joe’ Defede, became turncoats. Another, Louis ‘Louie Bagels’ Daidone, is serving life for murder.” Yet the group remains powerful, according to The New York Times.


The last of the five families, the Bonanno family has also struggled over the past decade or two, with many arrests and prosecutions for crimes, including murder and racketeering. Today’s indictments related to the Bonanno family include a murder charge connected to a 1992 home invasion robbery.


The family, known for its alleged control of parts of New Jersey, spent “decades as the ugly stepchildren of the New York mob,” said New York magazine.


The Providence, R.I.-based crime family works primarily in New England, particularly Boston. Former boss Luigi Manocchio, who is 83, was charged in today’s roundup with extortion and extortion conspiracy; an associate was also named. The group allegedly extorted several pornographic stores in Providence.