As we reach the halfway point of 2019 we stop to take a closer look at the current status of the various New York Mafia families.
There has been no shortage of New York mafia news to report so far this year having to do with all of the Five families and more. While the Mafia as a whole isn’t the force it once was it remains a viable criminal enterprise worth millions and the NY Mafia still leads the way. The mob has always found a way to adapt and survive and over the last year in New York may actually be back on the rise at least to an extent. While we await more breaking New York Mafia news we stop to take a look at how each of the families has fared of late and debate about who’s currently the strongest. This year we will also include a bit of a twist tossing the hotly debated Buffalo Mafia family into the mix!
Some of the New York Mob families have benefited from recent events while others may have taken a step back. A decreased presence from law enforcement whos main focus over the last several years has been terrorism has given the Cosa Nostra families a small window to stabilize and even rebuild somewhat. Some families have benefited more than others behind new administrations and 2019 mafia leaders. But as the times continue to change the mafia in New York will have to continue to find ways to survive although they certainly aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. So let’s take on each of the families one by one to see Who’s up, Who’s down, Who’s the strongest…
Genovese Crime Family: The Ivy League of Organized Crime is a phrase we still hear tossed around when talking about the Genovese family. They have done a better job than most at keeping the identities of their current administration a mystery. There were reports back in 2016 that Liborio “Barney” Bellomo has taken the reigns and was new boss which seems to be the case.
They are still one of the largest crime families in Gotham in terms of numbers although there is some moderate debate as to whether or not that makes them the strongest. They have made more headlines in the year or so than in the past although they have seemingly been able to avoid any major blows to the hierarchy. They have taken hits to their crews in both New Jersey and Springfield of late and had some recent unwanted exposure from a case that included Vincent Esposito the son of former boss Vincent (The Chin) Gigante.
It showed the family may still have ties to lucrative union rackets and that they continue to have a presence both inside and outside of the Big Apple. With a veteran wiseguy like 62-year-old Bellomo calling the shots the family is in good hands and probably still leads the way in NY.
Gambino Crime Family: The Gambino’s have had their share of bumps and bruises of late including the murder of Francesco “Franky Boy” Cali. The infamous Cosa Nostra family has been on the rise again in recent years behind the leadership of their influential Sicilian faction. They rank only behind the Genovese family in terms of made guys and associates and have certainly put themselves into the conversation when it comes to the strongest of the NY families today. But Cali who was gunned down in front of his home in what doesn’t seem to be a mafia related event was a huge loss.
He was highly respected locally and his influence extended outside of New York due to his family ties to mobsters in Sicily. His low key approach and old school attitude had turned him into one of the families biggest earners and strongest voices. It’s still unclear as to what rank he held in the families hierarchy at the time of his death but he was likely in control of the families day to day operations behind alleged boss Domenico “Italian Dom” Cefalu.
The family moved quickly to fill the void adding veteran mobsters Lorenzo Mannino and Michael Paradiso to its new administration. It will be interesting to see if the loss of Cali has any short or long term effects on the family. While the Sicilian faction remains strong within the family behind Cefalu and Mannino the winds of change can turn quickly when it comes to the mafia especially when an opportunity presents itself. We will definitely be keeping a close eye and seeing whether or not the Gambino’s can avoid turmoil and maintain their recent momentum.
Bonanno Crime Family: It’s never really a dull year when it comes to covering New York’s Bonanno family. The families current acting boss Joseph Cammarano Jr and consigliere John Zancocchio recently beat the feds getting acquitted of racketeering and conspiracy to commit extortion charges. Plus charges were filed earlier this year after a joint US-Canadian operation exposed potential links between the Bonanno family and the mafia in Canada. An acting Bonanno capo named Damiano Zummo was caught on tape presiding over a 2015 NY Mafia induction ceremony that took place in Canada.
It remains unclear as to exactly what the current relationship is between the Bonanno’s and Canadian mob families but the Bonanno family name has been linked to the current unrest in both Montreal and Hamilton. It seems like a stretch that the Bonanno’s would still have any real influence across the border but the historical ties are there and if nothing else it’s an interesting new twist into the Bonanno families current drama.
This year also marks the return of Michael Mancuso the alleged official boss of the family. He has been behind bars since 2008 and it will be interesting to see how his return affects the current Bonanno family administration. The Bonanno’s will definitely be one of the families we keep a close eye on moving forward. More Bonano family unrest wouldn’t be out of character for this dysfunctional group but it would be big New York Mafia News.
Lucchese Crime Family: With long-time leaders Matthew Madonna and Steven Crea still awaiting trial the beleaguered crime family has been keeping a fairly low profile of late. The landmark 2017 case took down three members of the families hierarchy and multiple captains bringing to a halt what was a fairly good run. According to the feds and some reports, imprisoned mobster Vittorio “Vic” Amuso is still the official boss of the family.
It remains unclear as to who has stepped up to fill the current power void but Anthony Santorelli, Joseph “Joey” Giampa, James “Froggy” Galione, and Joseph “Joe C.” Caridi is some names that have surfaced of late and may be in play. Whoever is put in place within the new administration whether it be in an acting or official capacity certainly has some work to do after losing more proven veterans from the ranks.
It’s never a good spot to be when you are teetering on possibly falling behind the Bonanno’s when it comes to stability. Although there still seems to be some talent left in the pool for the Lucchese’s so the potential to make it past a rough patch remains. If the feds are successful in getting convictions against all of the administration members in the upcoming trials then it seems clear a new era of sorts may be upcoming for the Lucchese family.
Colombo Crime Family: The Colombo’s have long been the runt of the litter when it comes to the Five Families of New York. Yet they have always been one of the more interesting ones. The death of longtime boss Carmine Persico signals the end of an era for the crime family although Persico family members and loyalist remain throughout the family. The Snake may be dead and gone but it may take the Colombo’s a few more years to break free from the Persico family grip.
Who’s next up to take over as boss of the Colombo’s is still unclear although there are some seemingly capable wiseguys in the mix. Some of the names that have surfaced since Carmine’s passing include Andrew “Andy Mush” Russo, Ralph Lombardo, William Russo, and Theodore “Teddy Boy” Persico, Jr. The feds still consider Carmine’s son Alphonse “Little Allie Boy” Persico to be the families official acting boss although with him behind bars for life and his father gone it’s unclear as to how much input and influence he can maintain.
There will definitely be some watchful eyes on the Colombo family in the months to come to see who takes the reigns. It could very well be a sign as to whether or not the Persico families dominance is ending with the death or the longtime godfather which would certainly grab headlines and be big New York Mafia news. While the family remains profitable and still controls a share of viable mob rackets it hasn’t been able to benefit as much as some of the other families have over the last few years in form of growth and expansion from the downturn in law enforcement scrutiny.
Buffalo Mafia: The status of the Buffalo mafia family also known as the Todaro crime family has been a hot topic of debate recently. There have certainly been some interesting developments of late surrounding the family including the recording of Hamilton mobster Domenico Violi claiming to be the families new underboss. According to court documents he was hand-picked for the job by alleged Buffalo mob boss Joseph Todaro Jr. after a meeting in Florida back in October of 2017. In those documents was also a reference to the Luppino-Violi crime family.
This has sparked renewed interests and even led to new theories that the Buffalo mafia may still be active and functioning. When commenting on the state of the Buffalo Mob in 2017 the FBI field office said scattered remnants that are no longer believed to be active or organized remain. The Cosa Nostra family was considered to be defunct and all but dead. But the recent arrest of alleged members of the Todaro family in Canada and the Violi wiretap recordings seem to bring those assessments into question.
There have been rumors of their increased influence across the border and alleged links to their involvement in the ongoing Hamilton mafia war. While there is no corroborating evidence to support any of these claims the debate over them is alive and well. Is it possible that the mafia in Buffalo is not only active but still powerful enough to be involved in Canada? It seems like a bit of a stretch that in this day and age a crime family of that capacity could stay off the Fed’s radar. But even those who remain skeptical seem to be keeping an eye out just in case. It would be some of the biggest 2019 New York Mafia News!
So where do you rank each of the New York Mafia families as of today? Please feel free to comment below and let us know what you think. We will, of course, be bringing you the latest in New York Mafia News and more as the year continues!