The Chicago Syndicate: Lorenzo Mannino
Showing posts with label Lorenzo Mannino. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lorenzo Mannino. Show all posts

Thursday, April 04, 2019

After Murder of Frank Cali, Who is Boss of the Gambino Crime Family?

Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.

Following the death of Gambino crime boss Frank (Franky Boy) Cali, experts say his successor will have 21st Century issues to deal with.

“Whoever takes over right now is a media magnet,” said Louis Ferrante, a former mobster with the Gambino family whose crew was investigated at one time for some of the most lucrative heists in U.S. history. “Look, you and I are talking about it ... in today’s world, a lot of (mobsters) don’t wanna be bothered with that."

He said it’s possible that whoever is in line for the promotion taps someone else to be the face, while they continue to pull in money from their rackets and influence the family’s operations from the proverbial shadows.

“If I were the underboss I would probably put someone there as a front for me. I would pick someone who’s in my crew that’s close to me,” said Ferrante.

In the days following Cali’s death, a convicted Genovese mobster and a former Gambino hitman -- both turned-informants -- expressed shock over Cali’s murder considering he was known as a non-violent mob boss who ran his crime family like a corporation, according to a USA TODAY report.

Experts say the “to-do” list for whoever takes over could include dealing with Cali’s suspected killer.

Police said Anthony Comello, 24, of Eltingville, smashed into Cali’s car outside the Hilltop Terrace home, then, shot him while the reputed mobster’s wife and children were inside the house. The motive remains unclear, but every theory at this point indicates Cali was targeted by his killer.

Mob experts and law enforcement sources say it’s unlikely the murder was related to organized crime, based on the fact there was no backup car to potentially finish the job in what would have been an ill-conceived plan. And if months or years from now it turns out it was a planned hit, “It was the most brilliant mob hit in the world," said Ferrante.

Sources have described Comello as a “mob-obsessed” conspiracy theorist, while former classmates have described him as aloof in class, but at times a hot-head who got into fights. A New York Times report quoted friends who claimed he wrestled with drug addiction.

Defense attorney Robert Gottlieb has pointed to right-wing hate speech as playing a factor in the incident, while stopping short of saying his client committed the murder.

One name tossed around by law enforcement experts and Mafia historians as a possible successor to Cali is Lorenzo Mannino, a Gambino capo and member of the family’s Sicilian faction. “Mannino is a Brooklyn crew boss who is Sicilian and was heavy in to drug (trade) with Franky Boy,” said Mafia historian Scott Burnstein.

Other names mentioned include Gene Gotti, the brother of John who recently was released from prison after doing 29 years on drug charges. “If I was a member of organized crime today, Gene Gotti would be the greatest boss I could have,” said Ferrante. “He’s a man of men, within the context of that life.”

Experts say the business of La Cosa Nostra has seen better days.

In terms of the drug-trade, New York City’s streets are now dominated by Dominican gangs paying lower prices to Mexican cartels who are able to ship the drugs by land rather than by sea, said James Hunt, formerly of the Drug Enforcement Administration, who worked as an undercover agent in the famous “Pizza Connection” drug case.

That being said, Cali had deep ties with the Sicilian Mafia, which along with Colombian cartels maintain a profitable heroin trade in Europe, said Hunt, which in turn could be a selling point for Cali’s successor.

Stateside, it can get messy when it comes to drugs, said Ferrante. “If you want to get in to that game, your playing with Asians, Russians, Albanians, Colombians,” he said. “There’s only so many pieces to that pie."

A drug trade still exists for mobsters, but more so on a local level -- unlike the 80s when they’d ship in the drugs from Turkey and Sicily, then sell in bulk to mid-level dealers in Harlem, experts said. And while the days of controlling unions and waste companies are all but over, loansharking and extortion continue to provide a steady stream of income.

“They’ll never stop trying to sneak their way back in,” said Hunt. “It’s harder for them to make a living than they used to, but they’re not going to get jobs.” And where there’s reward, there remains risk.

In the months leading up to Cali’s death, an associate of the Bonanno crime family was gunned down in a McDonald’s parking lot by shooters allegedly hired by an Albanian crime outfit.

Days prior to the murder, a reputed mob enforcer in Rhode Island was shot dead in a case with ties to the Gambino family, according to multiple reports.

Thanks to Kyle Lawson.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Pizza Connection Mobsters Cooking New Dish?

Sicilian mobsters - with their infamous history of violence and drug trafficking across several continents - are re-emerging as major powers in the Big Apple, The Post has learned. And their ranks within New York's crime families are only expected to grow with the recent release of notorious "Pizza Connection" Mafiosi, including a convicted heroin trafficker once linked to "Mafia Cop" Louis Eppolito.

The hardened mobsters giving the feds the most agita include the heroin-trafficking Gambino brothers Rosario, John and Joseph, who were once the Sicilian mob's chieftains here. They had been cooling their heels in jail since the mid-1980s and 1990s, refusing to squeal in exchange for deals with the feds and reputedly waiting to reclaim their lucrative organized-crime slots.

Now they're free to get back in the game.

The Post has learned that the resurgence of the Sicilian-led mob has been so strong that the FBI and the Italian government have established a special "cooperative venture" that involves stationing U.S. agents in Rome and having cops from the Italian National Police working at FBI Headquarters in Washington.

The initiative - dubbed "The Pantheon Project" - guarantees that the FBI and its Italian counterparts share surveillance and intelligence on developing cases and track the connections between La Cosa Nostra in Sicily and the United States, officials said. "Despite convictions and crackdowns both here and in Sicily, the Sicilian mob is still part of the Mafia culture and have been reconstituting their power bases in the U.S. and abroad," a top Mafia expert said.

Given that the Sicilian Mafia's single greatest asset is its ability to move narcotics, federal agents believe that the jail-hardened Pizza Connection-era gangsters - who had been trafficking heroin through pizza parlors around the country - will likely return to the narcotics trade now that they're out. But they will be shifting their enterprises into moving huge amounts of marijuana.

Selling pot is just as lucrative as heroin, sources said, but the penalties are far less severe than the decades-long sentences meted out to the Gambino brothers and rising crime-family star Lorenzo Mannino, who once tried to get Frank Sinatra to help crooner Al Martino find work in Las Vegas - evoking images from the book and movie "The Godfather." Martino, incidentally, played Johnny Fontane, a character loosely based on Sinatra, in the movie.

"Mafia Cop" Eppolito, whose father and other relatives were mobsters, was related to Rosario Gambino, an old-world mob figure. In 1984, Eppolito was brought up on departmental charges for allegedly passing confidential NYPD files to Gambino, but beat the rap. He's now in jail for carrying out hits for other big mobsters.

The trio of Gambino brothers, all relatives of the crime syndicate's namesake, Carlo Gambino, have been freed. Joseph was deported back to his native Sicily.

"Do you think they have been rehabilitated by prison?" a federal official asked sarcastically. Federal officials suspect these Gambinos, as well others due for release soon, will return to doing what they know best. "Narcotics is something they understand, they have the network and, as importantly, they have the respect," the federal source said.

Numerous Sicilian gangsters and associates - many targeted recently by the FBI and federal prosecutors - not only trace their heritage to the lush mountains of towns like Borgetto and Castellammare Del Golfo, their fathers and close relatives are key "Godfather"-like figures running the Mafia in their native land.

For example, Sicilian brothers-in-law Vito Rappa and Francesco Nania are presently under federal indictment for paying $70,000 to bribe a U.S. immigration official to keep Nania from being deported. The case also snared Gambino crime-family members, including mob captain George DeCicco, 78.

According to federal court records, Rappa's father is the "official head of the Mafia based in the Borgetto region of Sicily."

Nania, a fugitive wanted for mob-related crimes in Italy, is the son of an "influential member of the Mafia based in Partinico, Sicily," a long-established mob stronghold in Italy, Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Roslynn Mauskopf's prosecutors wrote in a detention memo.

And then there is Vito Rizzuto - dubbed the John Gotti of Canada and a leading figure in the Bonanno crime family. The 70-year-old Rizzuto is related by marriage to the godfather of the agrarian town of Cattolica Eraclea, where Rizzuto was born.

Rizzuto accepted a 10-year, plea-bargained sentence last week for his role in the spectacular 1981 rubouts of Bonanno captains Alphonse "Sonny Red" Indelicato, Philip "Philly Lucky" Giaccone and Dominick "Big Trin" Trinchera. The slayings were a murderous trifecta immortalized in the movie "Donnie Brasco" and carried out to stem an internal coup.

Despite these indictments and convictions, law-enforcement sources say the Sicilians still hold sway over a string of key New York spots.

Dominic "Italian Dom" Cefalu is currently considered the reputed underboss of the Gambinos, the largest crime syndicate in the nation, sources say. Cefalu, 60, a convicted heroin trafficker, was "made" by John Gotti 17 years ago.

Thanks to Murray Weiss


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