The Mafia is all but dead, So what killed it?

Post Reply
User avatar
A Ghost
Posts: 2381
Joined: August 14th, 2008, 11:00 am

The Mafia is all but dead, So what killed it?

Post by A Ghost » March 21st, 2017, 2:04 am

The Mafia is all but dead in Western New York. So what killed it?

Pallbearers carry the casket of Stefano Magaddino out of St. Joseph’s Church in Niagara Falls in July 1974. “He was a good family man, loved by a lot of people, but he was also a killer,” said retired mob investigator George E. Karalus. (Mickey Osterreicher/Special to The News)

By Dan Herbeck
Published Sun, Mar 19, 201

(Stefano Magaddino died at age 82)

Stefano Magaddino, “the old man” who lived in a nondescript ranch house in Lewiston, once ruled the mob in Buffalo and Niagara Falls with an iron fist.

One signal to his underbosses – raising his hand above his head at the mention of a name – and Magaddino had men killed. As many as 26 during just one short period of time, according to one retired investigator whose expertise was the Mafia.

The local mob raked in millions of dollars every year through gambling, prostitution, loansharking, pornography, extortion, robbery, burglary and other crimes that touched thousands of families all over Western New York, federal and state agents said.

Magaddino died almost 43 years ago at age 82.

Now, the Mafia itself is all but dead in Western New York.

The local FBI once had a large squad of agents working full time on mob cases, but the agency no longer considers the Mafia a presence in this region, according to Adam S. Cohen, special agent in charge of the Buffalo FBI office.

“Some of the individuals who were leaders of the Mafia are still around,” Cohen said. “But their organized crime activities don’t exist anymore. Some of them have legitimate businesses that we know of.”

Though several local men succeeded Magaddino as leaders following his death, no one leads what is left of the mob in this region, Cohen said. Several retired state and local law enforcement officials who specialized in Mafia investigations agreed.

So what killed the mob?

The federal crackdown on Laborers Local 210 and New York state’s proliferation of gambling. And perhaps a successful pizza enterprise, too.

“The Mafia, and the way of life that fostered the Mafia, is pretty much gone,” said Lee Coppola, 73, a former federal prosecutor and news reporter who grew up among mobsters and their families on Buffalo’s West Side.

“Most of the men who were responsible for the mob murders in Buffalo are dead,” he said. “The hit men who committed the murders are dead.”

And no young people have emerged to replace them, Coppola said.

The Quiet Don

There is no dispute over who was the most dominating figure in Buffalo’s organized crime history.

That would be Magaddino, a frugal, anything-but-flashy individual who lived in an unremarkable ranch home on Dana Drive in Lewiston. His mob dynasty extended far beyond Western New York into Ohio, Ontario and parts of Pennsylvania.

The Sicilian native was a Mafia soldier in New York City before moving to Western New York. He was quiet by nature, but he was an astute leader who did not hesitate to use violence, said George E. Karalus, a retired mob investigator with the State Police who wrote a book on Magaddino with Buffalo News reporter Matt Gryta.

“They called him ‘the old man.’ He didn’t say all that much. But when a man’s name would come up for discussion at a meeting, if Magaddino gave a signal by raising his hand up over his head, that man was a dead man,” Karalus said. “He had that much power. He was a good family man, loved by a lot of people, but he was also a killer. We had information that he once ordered 26 different men to be killed because he heard they made remarks making fun of him.”

Mob leaders all over America held Magaddino in such high esteem that, at his request, they gathered for a rare meeting in the small town of Apalachin, west of Binghamton, in November 1957.


“People thought they were there to break up the country into different territories for criminal activity,” Karalus said. “What they really wanted to do was to plan a takeover of the entire U.S. economy – the clothing industry, unions, the food industry, entertainment and everything else. Magaddino was a big part of that. He was the boss of bosses, the most powerful mob boss in America at that time.”

The meeting turned out to be a fiasco. Troopers learned about the meeting and were waiting. They arrested 58 mobsters, including some of the most powerful Mafia leaders in the nation.

Magaddino lost some face with his fellow mob leaders after Apalachin, Karalus said, but he continued to wield a lot of influence in Western New York.

“He truly was a godfather,” said Coppola, who wrote many stories about Magaddino for The Buffalo News in the 1960s and 1970s. “Just like the one you saw in the movies.”

The 1960s may have been the peak of the Mafia influence in the Buffalo region. As many as 200 “made men” – officially sanctioned mob members – ran criminal operations in Buffalo and Niagara Falls during that decade, all answering to Magaddino, Coppola said.

By 1989, the FBI counted 45 “made men” in Buffalo and Niagara Falls.

Today, both Cohen and Coppola estimate that there are no more than a handful of surviving mob members in the area, with no viable organization to unite them, and no leader.

“There are a few remnants of the mob that still exist in Buffalo,” said Ronald Fino, a former union leader who helped the FBI investigate the local mob, “but it’s not the same.”

Local 210

(Ronald Fino played an instrumental role breaking the Mafia’s grip on Laborers Local 210. (Derek Gee/Buffalo News file photo)

The Buffalo Mafia’s power base and most valuable asset for decades was Laborers Local 210. Control of the laborers union gave the mob an inside role in multimillion dollar construction projects all over the region. While many of the union’s members were honest and hard workers, others did little or no work by virtue of their connections. Mobsters were able to get well-paid jobs – including some no-show jobs – through the union for Mafia soldiers, their friends and family members.

And the Mafia ruthlessly controlled the union.

In 1980, when one union member started giving information to the FBI, a team of assassins gunned him down in broad daylight at a Main Street construction site.

Later that year, the body of man who served as a consultant to a mob-tied dental clinic that provided treatment to Local 210 members was found in the trunk of a car. Police never learned why.

“For at least the past 25 years, the Buffalo La Cosa Nostra has exercised considerable influence, if not complete control, over the affairs of Local 210,” an attorney for the international laborers union declared in late 1995.

Fino played an instrumental role breaking the Mafia’a grip on Laborers Local 210. His late father, Joseph, had been a powerful mob figure. And Ronald Fino held a leadership position in the local for 15 years. But he abruptly left his union job in 1989 and disappeared from Buffalo.

Fino later revealed that he had been helping the FBI with information for years, even advising agents on where to install listening devices in the old Local 210 union hall on Buffalo’s Franklin Street.

With Fino working as a paid expert and government witness with inside information, the government crackdown on the union began in 1995 and ended in 2006. Dozens of individuals with alleged mob ties were booted out of the union. Joseph Todaro Jr., the late Leonard Falzone and Frank “Butchie Bifocals” BiFulco were among those forced out of union leadership positions.

“Once we got them out of Local 210, that was the beginning of the end for the Buffalo mob,” said Andrew Goralski, a former Buffalo FBI agent who retired in 2007. “That was their power source in Buffalo.”

The federal government then had oversight of the union. John J. O’Donnell, a retired FBI agent, spent six years working with union leaders as a court-appointed liaison officer.

In 2006, Justice Department officials declared that the mob no longer ran the Local 210.

Fall of the bookmakers

Gambling – on sporting events, horse racing, dice games, card games and numbers – provided a huge source of revenue for the Buffalo mob.

Mobsters also made big money off gambling-related crimes, especially loansharking rings that loaned money to gamblers at gigantic interest rates. Those who didn’t meet their debts knew that broken legs, or worse, were penalties.

At one time during Magaddino’s reign, according to Coppola, the mob leader’s share of the proceeds from one gambling location in an old firehouse on Seneca Street in Buffalo came to $25,000 a week. The mob made that money from people playing a high-stakes card game called siganette.

But then New York state became a competitor with legalized gambling. The state’s lottery, legalized casinos and off-track horse betting parlors made the Mafia’s bookmaking programs less attractive.

The proliferation of legalized gambling decimated the profits of organized crime families all over America, said Scott M. Deitche, a mob historian in St. Petersburg, Fla., who has written six books about the Mafia.

“Outside of a few big cities like New York and Chicago, the mob doesn’t have much influence anymore,” Deitche said. “It’s not just Buffalo. Cities like Tampa, Denver, St. Louis, Cleveland, San Jose and San Francisco all used to have substantial mob families. Not anymore.”

Deitche and former Erie County District Attorney Frank J. Clark cited another factor for the demise of Mafia families.

The fall of “Omerta”

One of the most important concepts in the Mafia code of conduct was “omerta.” That is an Italian word referring to the mob’s code of silence about criminal activity and its refusal to give evidence to police.

The most often-cited example of omerta in Buffalo’s mob was an incident that occurred on the city’s West Side in June 1976. Mob leaders that year ordered the killing of Faust Novino, a mob associate and drug dealer. Novino was invited to a meeting in a social club on Connecticut Street, where five mob henchmen, carrying firearms and other weapons, waited in the dark.

Sensing that something was wrong, Novino showed up with his own gun. He began firing at the would-be assassins before they could shoot him.

Some of Novino’s bullets struck a big target – a portly mobster named John C. Sacco.

Police officers quickly arrived.

"Who shot you?" one officer asked the fallen and bleeding Sacco.

“Nobody shot me,” Sacco answered.

And he refused to cooperate in the investigation.

But 14 years later, toward the end of his life, Sacco’s devotion to omerta turned. He became an FBI informant.

He had become one of many mobsters, in Buffalo and other cities, who turned their backs on omerta in their own self-interest.

“Omerta began to go by the wayside,” Coppola said.

Cooperating mobsters helped government prosecutors put hundreds of cohorts in prison all over the country, including John Gotti. The notorious New York City mob leader died in prison in 2002.

Here in Buffalo, Leonard F. Falzone, long identified by the FBI as a mob enforcer and leader of loansharking operations, was sentenced to federal prison for five years in 1996. A trusted comrade turned against him, testified at Falzone’s trial and joined the federal Witness Protection Program.

Falzone, whom prosecutors had called one of the region’s most feared mob figures in his prime, died of an illness late last year. He was 81.

Pizza too lucrative

The FBI maintained for decades that the Todaro family of Buffalo – the late Joseph Todaro and his son, Joseph Todaro Jr. – were the bosses of the Buffalo mob family after Magaddino died. But federal agents never proved that allegation in court.

Joseph Todaro Sr. died in 2012. And his son continued to run and expand the family’s popular La Nova Pizza on Buffalo’s West Side.

The belief among law enforcement officials now is that La Nova pizza is so successful that Todaro Jr. would be too busy to be involved in mob activities, according to Fino, Deitch, Coppola, Clark, Goralski and other sources.

A food industry website called Pizza Marketplace in 2002 described La Nova as the “world’s busiest pizzeria” and reported that the Todaros’ business had annual gross sales of $5 million – nearly 10 times the per-store average of the U.S. pizza industry.

“I think Joe T. Jr. has moved on from the mob, years ago,” Fino said.

(Joseph A. Todaro Jr., left, and the late Joseph A. Todaro Sr., at La Nova Pizza. (James P. McCoy/Buffalo news file photo)

A News reporter called Todaro Jr., 71, at his popular La Nova pizzeria earlier this month to seek his comments on the FBI’s contention that the Buffalo mob family no longer is active and no longer has a leader.

Todaro politely declined to comment on any aspect of organized crime, just as he has done several times in years past.

“All I can tell you is, I’m here working at my restaurant seven days a week, just as my father did, just as my family did, just as I have since I was 12 years old,” Todaro Jr. told The News.

“I’m not going to comment” on organized crime questions, he said, “but if you want a great recipe for cheese and pepperoni, I’ll tell you.” ... perations/

Neutron Nation
Posts: 1471
Joined: January 30th, 2017, 11:54 am

Re: The Mafia is all but dead, So what killed it?

Post by Neutron Nation » March 21st, 2017, 2:58 am

I don't think their dead, newer generations adapted, new hustles....just staying out of the light

Posts: 13530
Joined: April 21st, 2010, 1:04 am

Re: The Mafia is all but dead, So what killed it?

Post by BkBarclays » March 21st, 2017, 3:09 am

I didn't even know the Mafia was upstate...but I'm not surprised.

Out here in the city they still around...they just not bodying sh*t like the older generation mafia was.

They be in the news every now n then.

The mafia n*ggas from the movies all of those n*ggas killed themselves off or died in prison..maybe a handful of them r alive from that era if that many.

No Talk
Posts: 138
Joined: February 24th, 2017, 8:14 am

Re: The Mafia is all but dead, So what killed it?

Post by No Talk » March 21st, 2017, 3:12 am

Mob Tides

But its Black Lives


User avatar
A Ghost
Posts: 2381
Joined: August 14th, 2008, 11:00 am

Re: The Mafia is all but dead, So what killed it?

Post by A Ghost » March 21st, 2017, 4:11 am

BkBarclays wrote:I didn't even know the Mafia was upstate...but I'm not surprised.
Thats why I posted this, this dude was one of the original bosses in La Cosa Nostra but Hollywood and American Media have completely erased him from the history books...

Posts: 603
Joined: September 18th, 2014, 8:40 am

Re: The Mafia is all but dead, So what killed it?

Post by SolidT15th » March 21st, 2017, 4:21 am

Most of those mafia families had really strong ties down in New Orleans also,like Todaro... Gaetano Badalamenti was my grandfathers cousin and he was some kind of big mafia boss n was involved in a large investigation in Ny called "The pizza connection " Carlo Marcela was also another big name who got down in NY n came back down here to run sh*t......he was raised by my great grand mother bc he family was too poor....cosa nostra n all tht sh*t ain't nothing like what tv portrays it at all

Posts: 1052
Joined: May 17th, 2016, 2:20 am

Re: The Mafia is all but dead, So what killed it?

Post by MONSOON » March 21st, 2017, 6:04 am

It's dead bc the Jews destroyed it.

Posts: 25450
Joined: May 10th, 2009, 8:03 pm

Re: The Mafia is all but dead, So what killed it?

Post by BluntedUp » March 21st, 2017, 6:11 am

They still around just evicerated from the killings, the snitching, the media, and other groups like cartels pushing in. U drive to the other side of my boro u can drive past paul castellano's "white house" mansion. Dudes aint built like the n*ggas from back in the day tho.

User avatar
Posts: 48800
Joined: August 4th, 2007, 12:30 pm

Re: The Mafia is all but dead, So what killed it?

Post by Quiet-Q » June 3rd, 2017, 8:48 pm

Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Alleged Street Boss And Underboss Of La Cosa Nostra Family Charged With Murder And Racketering Offenses In White Plains Federal Court

Charges Filed Against Entire Administration of the Luchese Family (Boss, Underboss, and Consigliere), As Well As Four Captains, Five Soldiers, and Seven Associates.

Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, William F. Sweeney Jr., Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), Angel M. Melendez, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”), James P. O’Neill, Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), and Walter M. Arsenault, Executive Director of the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, announced today the filing of a Superseding Indictment charging 19 members and associates of the Luchese Family of La Cosa Nostra with racketeering, murder, narcotics, and firearms offenses.

The Superseding Indictment builds on charges previously filed against Luchese soldier CHRISTOPHER LONDONIO and Luchese associate TERRENCE CALDWELL, who were charged in February 2017 with racketeering offenses, including the murder of Michael Meldish, a Luchese associate who was killed in the Bronx on November 15, 2013.

The Superseding Indictment charges MATTHEW MADONNA, the alleged street boss of the Luchese Family, STEVEN CREA SR., the alleged underboss of the Family, and STEVEN CREA JR., LONDONIO’s alleged captain in the Family, with ordering the murder of Meldish. The Superseding Indictment also contains additional racketeering charges against MADONNA, CREA SR., and CREA JR., as well as the alleged consigliere of the Luchese Family, JOSEPH DiNAPOLI, and numerous other members and associates of La Cosa Nostra.

Fifteen of the defendants charged were taken into custody today. CHRISTOPHER LONDONIO, TERRENCE CALDWELL, and VINCENT BRUNO were already in federal custody on other charges. MATTHEW MADONNA was already in custody on state charges and was transferred today to federal custody. All defendants arrested today will be presented in White Plains federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Judith C. McCarthy this afternoon. The case is assigned to United States District Judge Cathy Seibel, who will hold an initial conference on Thursday, June 1, 2017, at 2:00 p.m.

Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said: “As today’s charges demonstrate, La Cosa Nostra remains alive and active in New York City, but so does our commitment to eradicate the mob’s parasitic presence. We have charged 19 members and associates of the Luchese Crime Family, including its entire administration – the street boss, underboss and consigliere – with serious racketeering offenses. The defendants allegedly used violence and threats of violence, as the mob always has, to make illegal money, to enforce discipline in the ranks, and to silence witnesses. The mob members and associates charged today will answer for their alleged misdeeds in a court of law.”

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. said: “Organized crime families believe their way of life is acceptable and continue to show through their criminal behavior that they don’t plan to stop. Their crimes aren’t victimless, and this case proves they’re willing to use murder and many other violent tactics to enforce their dominance. The FBI/NYPD Joint Organized Crime Task Force and our other law enforcement partners, who have done exceptional work in this case, don’t plan to stop our pursuit of these crime families because they have a direct negative impact on communities and neighborhoods where they operate.”

HSI Special Agent in Charge Angel M. Melendez said: “The Luchese Family and its associates are alleged to be linked to guns, drugs, racketeering, and murder. They are also alleged to have used their criminal enterprise to launder money, tamper with witnesses and extortion. It is clear that this ‘family’ business is of no benefit to its community or to this great city. HSI will continue to strengthen its partnership with the FBI and NYPD to ensure that alleged criminals like the Luchese Family face the consequences of their actions.”

NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill said: “The allegations and extent of the criminal behavior are extraordinary. The Luchese Family operated with seeming impunity, allegedly carrying out murder, robberies, extortion, among a myriad of other charges unsealed today. We will not stop until violence has been eradicated – be it from a street gang or the mob.”

Waterfront Commission Executive Director Walter M. Arsenault said: “The Waterfront Commission will continue to work with all of its law enforcement partners to eliminate Organized Crime wherever it is found.”

According to the allegations in the Superseding Indictment[1], which was filed in White Plains federal court on May 24, 2017, and was unsealed today:

La Cosa Nostra or “the Mafia” is a criminal organization composed of leaders, members, and associates who work together and coordinate to engage in criminal activities.

La Cosa Nostra operates through entities known as “Families.” In the New York City area, those families include the Genovese, Gambino, Luchese, Bonanno, Colombo, and Decavalcante Families. Each Family operates through groups of individuals known as “crews” and “regimes.” Each “crew” has as its leader a person known as a “Caporegime,” “Capo,” “Captain,” or “Skipper,” who is responsible for supervising the criminal activities of his crew and providing “Soldiers” and associates with support and protection. In return, the Capo typically receives a share of the illegal earnings of each of his crew’s Soldiers and associates, which is sometimes referred to as [email protected]

Each crew consists of “made” members, sometimes known as “Soldiers,” “wiseguys,” “friends of ours,” and “good fellows.” Soldiers are aided in their criminal endeavors by other trusted individuals, known as “associates,” who sometimes are referred to as “connected” or identified as “with” a Soldier or other member of the Family. Associates participate in the various activities of the crew and its members. In order for an associate to become a made member of the Family, the associate must first be of Italian descent and typically needs to demonstrate the ability to generate income for the Family and/or the willingness to commit acts of violence.

At most times relevant to the charges in the Superseding Indictment, MATTHEW MADONNA was the street boss of the family – that is, the individual who managed the affairs of the Family on behalf of the formal boss, who is serving a life sentence in federal prison. STEVEN CREA SR., a/k/a “Wonder Boy,” was the Underboss of the Luchese Family, and JOSEPH DINAPOLI was the Consigliere of the Luchese Family. Additionally, STEVEN CREA JR., DOMINIC TRUSCELLO, JOHN CASTELUCCI, a/k/a “Big John,” and TINDARO CORSO, a/k/a “Tino,” were Captains or Acting Captains in the Luchese Family. JOSEPH VENICE, JAMES MAFFUCCI, a/k/a “Jimmy the Jew,” JOSEPH DATELLO, a/k/a “Big Joe,” a/k/a “Joey Glasses,” PAUL CASSANO, a/k/a “Paulie Roast Beef,” and CHRISTOPHER LONDONIO were Soldiers in the Luchese Family.

The Superseding Indictment alleges that from at least in or about 2000 up to and including in or about 2017, MATTHEW MADONNA, STEVEN CREA SR., JOSEPH DINAPOLI, STEVEN CREA JR., DOMINIC TRUSCELLO, JOHN CASTELUCCI, TINDARO CORSO, JOSEPH VENICE, JAMES MAFFUCCI, JOSEPH DATELLO, PAUL CASSANO, CHRISTOPHER LONDONIO, TERRENCE CALDWELL, a/k/a “T,” VINCENT BRUNO, BRIAN VAUGHAN, CARMINE GARCIA, a/k/a “Spanish Carmine,” RICHARD O’CONNOR, ROBERT CAMILLI, and JOHN INCATASCIATO, along with other members and associates of La Cosa Nostra, committed a wide array of crimes in connection with their association with the mafia, including murder, attempted murder, assault, robbery, extortion, gambling, narcotics trafficking, witness tampering, fraud, money laundering, and trafficking in contraband cigarettes.

Of particular significance, on or about November 15, 2013, MADONNA, CREA SR. CREA JR., LONDONIO, and CALDWELL murdered and procured the murder of Michael Meldish in order to maintain or increase their status in La Cosa Nostra.

The Superseding Indictment also alleges the following additional violent incidents:

In late 2012, PAUL CASSANO and VINCENT BRUNO, acting at the direction of CREA SR. and CREA JR., attempted to murder a mafia associate who had shown disrespect toward CREA SR.

As charged in the initial Indictment, on May 29, 2013, TERRENCE CALDWELL attempted to murder a Bonanno Soldier in the vicinity of First Avenue and 111th Street, in Manhattan.

In or about October 2016, STEVEN CREA SR. and JOSEPH DATELLO attempted to murder a witness who had previously provided information regarding the activities of La Cosa Nostra to state and federal law enforcement.

A chart containing the ages, residency information, and charges against the defendants, as well as the maximum penalties they face, is attached.

Mr. Kim praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI’s Organized Crime Task Force, which comprises agents and detectives of the FBI, NYPD, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor. He also thanked the Bronx County District Attorney’s Office, the New York County District Attorney’s Office, the Queens County District Attorney’s Office, the New York State Inspector General's Office, the Chesterfield County (VA) Police Department, and the Guardia Civil (Spain). He added that the investigation is continuing.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Scott Hartman, Hagan Scotten, and Jacqueline Kelly are in charge of the prosecution. The case is being handled by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crime Unit and White Plains Division.

The charges contained in the Superseding Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

User avatar
Count Olaf
Posts: 742
Joined: December 3rd, 2016, 12:04 am

Re: The Mafia is all but dead, So what killed it?

Post by Count Olaf » June 4th, 2017, 1:46 am

the Mafia still around they just doing blue collar crimes with the Unions mostly they stopped killing people but I wouldn't want to mess with them of course

User avatar
Posts: 48800
Joined: August 4th, 2007, 12:30 pm

Re: The Mafia is all but dead, So what killed it?

Post by Quiet-Q » June 4th, 2017, 2:03 am

How we know of they stopped killing people?...a italian n*ggah who owned a pizza shop & hsd bumped hesds with a few mobsters got his head blown off a few months it no coincidence? ..& thats just a public situation we dont know about the lowkey sh*t

Post Reply