The Philadelphia mafia is in a state of resurgence, although some believe the infamous Cosa Nostra family may have fractured into multiple factions.
According to reports the Philly mafia has approx 25-35 made men on the streets the most since the Scarfo era in the late 1980’s. The fact that the family is once again growing seems obvious, although the big question by those with eyes on the organization is its stability. Some believe there may be as many as three or four factions currently operating on the streets each led by a veteran Philly wiseguy. The leaders of these factions are believed to possibly include Joseph Merlino, George Borgesi, Phil Narducci, and Joseph Pungitore.
“Joseph Ligambi, Joey Merlino, Phil Narducci“
Many, including some in law enforcement, still believe that Joseph Merlino is the official boss of the Philly mob from his new home down in Florida. Joseph Ligambi who was rumored to be semi-retired after beating a federal RICO case is thought to have resumed his role as acting boss of the resurgent Philly mob. The hierarchy of the mafia family is believed to also include underboss Steven Mazzone and consigliere Joseph “Chickie” Ciancaglini. Could this established hierarchy point to the fact that the family may not be as unstable as some have thought. The Merlino faction wiseguys still seem to have a grip on the core of the family, despite the historic rift between this faction and Scarfo era guys in Narducci and Pungitore.
Perhaps the high ranking posts of Ligambi, Mazzone, and Ciancaglini who seem to be respected across the board have been able to bring the family together under a single flag. If Ligambi and his current lieutenants have been able to calm the waters and dilute the bad blood between the old and new era factions the mafia in Philadelphia could be more organized than many believe. It seems just as likely that the crews led by Narducci and Pungitore could be on the streets doing their own things refusing to recognize the established hierarchy under Merlino. There have even been rumors of Borgesi with the help of a newly established crew making moves to re-establish his position within the family as well after internal disagreements with other high ranking wiseguys in the Merlino faction over his old rackets.
Perhaps Merlino is retired and no longer in the mob life as he has repeatedly said since being released from prison and is simply down in Florida living the good life. If so then the friction between the Scarfo era mobsters and his old faction may no longer exist, making the crime family a more tight nit group. Has the theory of the family being split into different factions been overblown? The Philly mafia may not be a well-oiled machine but perhaps it’s regained more of its traditional structure then recent theories suggest.