The Chicago Syndicate: Salvatore Riina
Showing posts with label Salvatore Riina. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Salvatore Riina. Show all posts

Friday, November 17, 2017

Salvatore "Toto" Riina, Notorious Mafia #BossofBosses Has Died

Mafia “boss of bosses” Salvatore “Toto” Riina died early Friday in a hospital while serving multiple life sentences as the mastermind of a bloody strategy to assassinate Italian prosecutors and law enforcement officers trying to bring down the Cosa NostraBoss of Bosses Salvatore Riina, Italian media reported. He was 87.

Riina died hours after Italy’s justice minister had allowed the crime boss’ his family members bedside visits Thursday, which was his birthday, after he had been placed in a medically induced coma at a hospital in Parma. Italian media said his health had deteriorated after two recent surgeries.

News of the death was carried by the ANSA news agency, RAI state TV and all major newspaper websites. The Justice Ministry was not able to confirm the news immediately, and the prison would not take calls.

Riina, one of Sicily's most notorious Mafia bosses, was serving 26 life sentences for murder convictions as a powerful Cosa Nostra boss. He was captured in Palermo, Sicily's capital, in 1993 and imprisoned under a law that requires strict security for top mobsters, including being detained in isolated sections of prisons with limited time outside their cells.

Prosecutors accused Riina, who ruthlessly directed the mob's criminal empire during 23 years in hiding, of masterminding a strategy, carried out over several years, to assassinate Italian prosecutors, police officials and others who were going after the Cosa Nostra, when he allegedly held the helm as the so-called boss of bosses.

The bloodbath campaign ultimately backfired, however, and led to his capture.

Riina was born in the mountain town of Corleone in central Sicily. The town's name was borrowed for the main character in the “Godfather” novels by Mario Puzo, written years before Riina rose in the Mafia ranks.

Investigators believe that Riina, the son of a Corleone farmer, jockeyed his way to the top of the Mafia by pitting rivals against each other, and then standing out of the way of the bloodshed that felled one boss after the other in the 1970s.

He went into hiding in 1969 after being ordered by the state to leave Sicily after he had finished serving a five-year prison sentence for Mafia association. During his decades on the lam, the only picture authorities had of the fugitive was more than 30 years old.

More than one Mafia defector had said that Riina had come and gone as he pleased during the years as Italy's top fugitive. Riina was handed his first life sentence in 1987 after being tried in absentia on murder and drug trafficking charges.

For decades, Riina seemed to mock law enforcement as he reigned from underground over the mob's drug trafficking network and ordered the deaths of top anti-Mafia fighters.

But after bombs killed Italy's two leading anti-Mafia magistrates, Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, two months apart in 1992, the state stepped up its crackdown on Sicily's Mafiosi.

Anti-Mafia investigators worked with turncoats to zero in on the “capo dei capi,” locating Riina and blocking his car on a Palermo thoroughfare on Jan. 15, 1993.

Riina steadfastly refused to collaborate with law enforcement after his capture.

The archbishop of Monreale, which includes Corleone, said Friday that Riina's death “ends the delusion of the Cosa Nostra boss of bosses' omnipotence.”

“But the Mafia has not been defeated, and therefore we should not let down our guards,” Archbishop Michele Pennisi said in an email to the Associated Press.

Pennisi said he had no information on whether family members intended to transfer Riina's body to Corleone, but he said that a public funeral would not be allowed since Riina was a “public sinner.”

“If the family members ask, a private prayer in the cemetery will be considered,” he added.

Friday, June 26, 2015

National Geographic Channel Infiltrates Centuries of Deadly Secrets INSIDE THE MAFIA

Four-Hour Series Pierces Inner Workings and Violent History of the Criminal Corporation With Global Reach

Through a pop culture lens, the notorious and mysterious Mafia is typically seen as entertainment: The Godfather; The Sopranos; Goodfellas; Donnie Brasco. Now the National Geographic Channel (NGC) exposes the dramatic history and infiltrates the legendary secrecy of one of the world's most powerful criminal organizations in the four-hour world premiere event, INSIDE THE MAFIA.

Narrated by Ray Liotta -- star of the film Goodfellas -- INSIDE THE MAFIA will premiere Monday, June 13 and Tuesday, June 14, 2005 from 9 to 11 pm. ET/PT on the National Geographic Channel (encore Sunday, June 19 from 7 to 11 p.m. ET). Four programs -- Mafia? What Mafia?, Going Global, The Great Betrayal and The Godfathers -- chronologically trace the growth of the U.S. and Sicilian Mafias, as well as the determined American and Italian efforts to stop it.

"It's not personal; it's just business" is a popular catchphrase attributed to the Mafia's code of honor. And big business it is -- its global assets were on par with some of the richest corporations in the world, bursting for a time with billions in annual profits derived from much of the world's drug trade.

With remarkable access to FBI and DEA agents as well as members of crime families, INSIDE THE MAFIA provides the complete behind-the-scenes story of this powerful enterprise known for its ruthlessness and brutality.

Featured are new and original interviews with influential mobsters like Henry Hill, portrayed by Ray Liotta in Goodfellas, and Gambino family soldier Dominick Montiglio, and, on the law enforcement side, Joseph Pistone, the fearless real-life FBI agent who infiltrated the Mafia as "Donnie Brasco," and DEA undercover agent Frank Panessa, among many others.

Cutthroat deals, gangland assassinations and secret rituals within the infamous global mob are described by these insiders in intimate detail. "The bathroom door was slightly open and there were two bodies hanging with their throats cut," said Montiglio. "Everyone had butcher's kits and they sawed off everything ... chopped off the head, arms, etcetera. Then put them in a box and took 'em to the dumpster. Suffice to say, none of them were ever found."

In addition to inside access to important characters and events, the special uses contemporary and archival news footage, FBI and Italian police surveillance, telephone intercepts, transcriptions from major Mafia trials and dramatic reenactments of clandestine meetings and violent confrontations.

INSIDE THE MAFIA interweaves two parallel stories. The first is the emergence of a "new Mafia" after a historic deal between American and Italian mob families to control the international heroin trade. The second is the tale of the strong anti-Mafia campaign, spearheaded by a small group of law officers determined to permanently undermine the culture and infrastructure of the Cosa Nostra.

Over the course of the series, viewers will become familiar with a core group of warring protagonists. In the Mafia are men like Charles "Lucky" Luciano, a Sicilian immigrant who by 1931 murdered his way to the top of the American Mafia; famous mob leader Joe Bonnano; Salvatore "Toto" Riina, who emerged in the 1980s as perhaps the most ruthless and violent Mafia boss ever; Tomasso Buscetta, whose decision to break the Mafia's strict code of silence set in motion a series of events giving U.S. and Italian authorities the upper hand in identifying and tracking key mobsters; reputed Mafia godfather John Gotti; and soldiers like Hill and Montiglio, whose tales of living and working inside the Mafia are gruesome and often shocking.

Fighting the Mafia are Giovanni Falcone, Italy's legendary prosecutor who challenged the Mafia's power and paid the ultimate price; Pistone ("Donnie Brasco") who still has a mob contract out on his life ("Once folks found out about my cover, there was a contract on me," he says in the program. "It's not something I think about all the time ... if it happens, it happens ... and may the best man win."); Giovanni Falcone's sister, Maria, who was privy to much of her brother's strategy and key events in his life; and lesser-known law officers with colorful and suspenseful inside stories, like Panessa and Carmine Russo, who shadowed the Bonnano crime family.

The rise of the modern Mafia is a gripping and often tragic tale of corruption, crime, murder and betrayal by two distinct operations -- the Sicilian Mafia, running multinational efforts from Palermo, and the American Mafia, controlling one of the biggest marketplaces in the world. Their separate but symbiotic relationship is one that perpetually eluded and confounded U.S. and Italian authorities.

In 1957, a police raid on a Mafia summit in upstate New York revealed to the nation evidence of "organized crime." However, the Cold War took priority at the time, and mob activity continued to thrive. Major breakthroughs in the 1980s cracked open the Mafia's highly lucrative drug trade, and exposed the global reach and immense profits of its dealings.

In the U.S. today, the mob's activities have been scaled back, particularly now that narcotics are distributed via different mobs from the Far East and South America. John Gotti's prosecution created a domino effect, crippling all five of the crime families of New York. They are now a shadow of an organization that once claimed politicians as their friends; however, as recent arrests have indicated, the Mafia continues to operate in some capacity in the U.S. In the past few months, New York authorities indicted 32 people after a two-and-half year "Donnie Brasco style" undercover sting, and 14 Chicago Mafia members were indicted in April, a move authorities claim shed light on 18 previously unsolved murders dating back to 1970.

In Sicily, the situation is very different. The Mafia has largely abandoned its policy of violence in order to avoid attracting the attention of the authorities; however, according to the chief prosecutor of Palermo, they are even more dangerous now that many people believe that the problem is in some way over.

The days of the Mafia's massive, unchecked drug-dealing have gone, but INSIDE THE MAFIA shows that the organization -- particularly its blueprint for how national and ethnic groups can operate on a global scale -- continues to be a thriving and insidious role model for racketeering everywhere.

INSIDE THE MAFIA is produced for NGC by Wall to Wall Media. Jonathan Hewes is executive in charge of production; Alex West is executive producer; Charlie Smith is producer. For NGC, CarolAnne Dolan is supervising producer; Michael Cascio is executive producer; John Ford is executive in charge of production.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Godfather's Luxury Villa Converted to Restaurant and Bed and Breakfast

A LUXURY villa once owned by one of the Mafia's most ruthless godfathers reopened yesterday as a restaurant after being seized by the police.

Godfather's Luxury Villa Converted to Restaurant and Bed and BreakfastLovers of traditional Sicilian cuisine are expected to flock to the three-acre estate that used to belong to Salvatore 'the Beast' Riina.

The lavish property and its grounds have been turned into a farm-holiday restaurant and bed and breakfast.

Roberto Maroni, the interior minister, said the villa's transformation would boost the fight to convert not just property but also "consciences".

He added: "I hope this will be the start of a reaction in hearts and minds to achieve the final objective of definitively defeating the Mafia and giving this magnificent land back to honest citizens."

Almost £480 million worth of property has been confiscated in the province of Palermo this year alone, he said.

The villa was converted by the Pio La Torre Co-operative, named after a famous anti-Mafia land reformer shot dead in 1982. The manager, Floriana Di Leonardo, said it would be able to feed 90 people and had 16 rooms for anyone to stay over "if they've had a bit too much".

Riina unleashed a bloody assault on the state in the early 1990s, killing two anti-Mafia judges. He was caught in 1993.

Thanks to Nick Pisa

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