Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Last Rites for the Mafia? Fughedaboudit!

We were a little too quick on the trigger to give traditional organized crime its last rites. And why not?

Over the past 20 years, armies of Goodfellas have ratted out their fellow mobsters. And the men who stuck with omerta? They’re in jail or rotting in a graveyard.

In some U.S. cities, the mob is nothing more than a bunch of old boys playing pinochle, kibitzing about the good old days. But from the 1920s to the 1980s, the mob was “bigger than U.S. Steel” in the words of underworld sage, Meyer Lansky. As American as apple pie.

Two stories over the past week ended the fiction the Mafia is toe-tagged in the morgue.

First, New York’s Five Families were abuzz — and somewhat fearful — at the release of Gene Gotti.

You know the name. The 71-year-old younger brother of John “The Teflon Don” Gotti was sprung after a 29-year jolt in the big house.

What law enforcement insiders told the New York Post is that it’s taken the Gambinos and others 20 years to recover from the disastrous John Gotti years. That era kicked off with a spectacular rubout of Gambino mob chief Paul “Big Paulie” Castellano in front of Manhattan’s Sparks Steakhouse in 1985.

John Gotti brought a lot of unwanted attention to the crime empires and the downward spiral began.

That meant heat and the late 20th-century implosion of the Mafia as we once knew it. But like the Viet Cong, just when you think it’s over, they pop out of a bush and put a cap where the sun don’t shine.

Gene Gotti’s return would set back the clock of criminality. “The Gambinos are running smoothly – gambling, pills, construction unions, etc.,” one law enforcement official told the New York Post. “The last thing they want is someone to put them back in papers and on TV.”

And it’s not just the American Mafia’s Big Apple heartland showing new signs of life.

In Canada, it appears a bloody, old-fashioned gang war is unfolding from Montreal to southern Ontario.

The latest salvo was a classic gangland-style hit on Hamilton real estate broker Albert “Al” Iavarone, 50, shot to death in the driveway of his Ancaster home two weeks ago. Iavarone didn’t have a criminal record and wasn’t a member but as mom cautioned, “careful of the company you keep.”

That emerged on Thursday as Hamilton cops announced they had made an arrest in the 2017 murders of mob prince Angelo Musitano and veterinary assistant Mila Barberi. Musitano had reportedly found God and had long gone straight. Barberi picked the wrong boyfriend, Saverio Serrano, 41, the son of mob figure Diego Serrano. He was wounded in the Vaughan attack.

Cops say Iavarone was close to two of the accused killers. Very close to one.

Police have repeatedly alluded to a power struggle among the established Calabrese clans in the GTA and newer ‘NdrĂ ngheta upstarts. And there will be blood.

“Many ‘Ndrangheta cells in GTA and Italy are involved in a violent fight,” Dubro said.

“This is a big story of a major and very deadly Calabrian mob fight for coke territory and power in GTA/southern Ontario.”

Dubro adds that it’s all connected. He suggested an Iavarone relative may have pulled the trigger on Ang Musitano and it’s payback on drugs and a personal beef.

“There’s lots of moving parts in this mob war — a complex cast of characters from the GTA, Italy, USA, Mexico and Canada.”

Dead? Not by a long shot.

Thanks to Brad Hunter.

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