The cause of death is still unknown although he had reportedly been in poor health of late suffering from various ailments including emphysema. He was currently housed at a medium security federal prison in Butner, N.C. The 85-year-old New York Mafia boss reportedly took control of the family back in the 1970s. He rose through the ranks of the Cosa Nostra family after being recruited into the mafia by Profaci crime family captain Frank Abbatemarco. The Profaci family was the forerunner to today’s Colombo crime family. His historical rise through the ranks of organized crime has been well documented.
Persico wasn’t nicknamed “The Snake” by accident his pension for treachery and deceit pushed the Persico family into power. After the murder of former boss, Joseph Colombo in 1971 Carmine orchestrated the murder of rival mobster Joey Gallo. He had turned on the Gallo brothers years before during an internal family war meant to take down boss Joe Profaci. This paved the way for the Persico’s to take control of the NY Mafia family. He was now the boss of a powerful organized crime family which only made him a bigger target for law enforcement and he would spend more time behind bars than he did on the streets.
Carmine relied on family ties to maintain his grip on the Colombo family during his time as a guest of the government. His brothers Alphonse and Theodore held down leadership positions in the family in the 70s and 80s while Carmine was away. In 1984 he and most of the Colombo family hierarchy were indicted on racketeering charges. After going into hiding he was eventually taken into custody in 1985 and while he was in prison was indicted again. This time it was along with several of the other alleged bosses of the Mafia in New York in what came to be known as the Mafia Commission case.
Carmine decided to serve as his own lawyer which ended in disaster and he was found guilty in both the Colombo and Commission trials. He was sentenced to a staggering 139 years behind bars. Even though he was clearly going to spend the rest of his life in prison his hold on the Colombo family continued. He would name multiple acting bosses including his brother Allie Boy and his son Little Allie Boy keeping the family in the hands of the Persico faction.
The Colombo family would once again find itself at war as an internal beef broke out between rival factions. One faction was loyal to Persico and another to rival mobster Victor “Little Vic” Orena whom Persico had installed as acting boss. Orena made a move to wrestle control of the family from the Perisco clan which led to multiple murders on both sides. It also attracted the attention of law enforcement which led to over 60 indictments and 50 convictions severely crippling the crime family.
Alphonse “Allie Boy” Persico would eventually be sent to prison for life just like his father after being found guilty for the murder of William Cutolo. The Persico family reign was slowly weakening although it seemed clear the beleaguered crime family wouldn’t be completely out from under until Carmine Persico was gone. With fewer and fewer family members and allies on the streets, the Persico families control seemed to be nearing the finish line. Now the NY Mob family finds itself without an official boss for the first time in many years and in search of new leadership and direction.
There will undoubtedly be plenty of speculation as to who is next in line to take the reigns as the organization moves into a new era. It seems as though current acting boss Andrew “Andy Mush” Russo may be the right man for the job. He seems to be well respected on the streets and could step in as the new official boss of the family in what would seem to be a fairly smooth transition. Although there may be other candidates that emerge once the dust has settled.
The Colombo family is still the weakest of New York’s five families but they have steadied the ship some in recent years. They are believed to still have anywhere from 50-70 made mobsters and are still a very viable organized crime family with reports of their demise being a bit premature.