Category: Mafia Families

About The Vario Crew

Among the different Mafia families that existed in the United States, one of the most popular was the Vario Crew. This mafia gang is said to have operated in the city of New York and was established by the Lucchese Crime Family. It was Paul Vario, the Capo regime under whose supervision, the Vario Crew is known to have worked. This gang started its operations in 1950s and lasted for about thirty years until 1980s.

Their territory

The Vario Crew is known to have their territory spread to the different neighborhoods of the regions of Queens, Long Island, Staten Island and Brooklyn. The Mafia members of this gang generally were considered to be associates and made men of the American – Italian and Italian ethnicity. But the actual gang members were not known.

Some of its varied allies were the Colombo Crime Family, Bonanno Crime Family, Gambino Crime Family and the Genovese Crime families.

Involvement and activities undertaken by the gang members

This gang was more or less involved actively in different types of criminal activities which included burglary, bookmaking, cigarette smuggling, cargo theft, drug trafficking, conspiracy, fencing, extortion, hijacking, hotel robbery, gambling, jewelry heist, loan sharking, labor racketeering, prostitution and murder.


For a period of 10 years, ranging from 1969 to that of 1979, Paul Vario had served the group as its Underboss. However, he got arrested and for about 12 years, received imprisonment sentences and on May 3rd, 1988 he died in prison. After his arrest in 1980, his younger brother Vito ‘Tuddy’ Vario is known to have taken over the gang leadership and was its acting boss until 1988, the death of Paul Vario.  Alphonse D’ Arco ‘Little Al’ from 1988 to 1991 had served as the Street Boss, before getting promoted to become the Acting Boss of the gang. But in July 1991, he got arrested by the law enforcement officials and turned into a government witness, to escape death. The current boss from 1991 until today is Domenico Cutaia also called ‘Danny’.

The Crew is known to have their different types of activities to be carried out from various places, which includes Euclid Taxi Cab Co., Bargain Auto Junkyard, Robert’s Lounge of Jimmy Burke, Kew Motor Inn and The Suit a night club of Henry Hill.

What is distinctive about the Mafia Family?

The Mafia families are powerful criminal organizations that dominate the criminal activities that place in the region of their hold. It has been seen that the Mafia family heads are mostly those individuals, who do not have proper educational backgrounds or are uneducated. Most of them are said to have undergone little schooling, but possess capabilities to run big profitable organizations, where their existence is against the law. The Mafia members operate openly in free marketing system, as well as in those places, where communism rules. Furthermore, they do flourish in both the environments. The members and the leaders are more focused on objectives and results and use whatever means available at their disposal for achieving such objectives. The Mafia can be termed to be business that functions like that of a corporation.

Value systems

There are many who may assume that the Mafia Family has different value system, the reason why this organization has been operating in this manner. As a matter of fact, the values shared by most corporations and the Mafia are the same, however, with the game’s rule being different. The employees of the Mafia are treated fairly and its values gives back to the community, thereby creating opportunities for the unemployed, benefitting the society,  by having the law enforcement under its feet. It is also said that the Mafia families supports the workforce and huge budgets of several law enforcement agencies. Although considered to be evil, they have been investing in Corporate America.

Operation principles of the Mafia

  • Trust needs to be earned and not given
  • Not to forget, but forgive
  • Without power, the sharks are likely to get you
  • Deception game is to be learnt and to be used
  • The results are not to be focused upon, but achieving of the objective
  • To perform what is done best and for the rest employ others
  • Better to more always than what is taken
  • Keep in mind those who have supported and favored
  • Forgive those, having tried to harm (since any person may be required in any given circumstance. Once in power, people having hatred are sure to become best friends and also be loyal)
  • The fights are to be picked and chosen carefully (since the person has to live to fight the other day)
  • Speak only what is required and be blunt.


It is the above mentioned aspects that make the Mafia to be distinctive from that of a corporation.

Louis Cafora – The Mafia member who carried out legitimate business

Louis Cafora was a member of the Colombo Crime Family and his activities included that of being an agent of loan sharking. Furthermore, he also was indulged in activities of that of a drug trafficker, working for the Lucchese Crime Family. Cafora was popularly called in the circle as ‘Fat Louis’ or ‘The Whale’. His parents had migrated from Italy’s Campania region of Senerchia to the US.

His name

A small difference is present in the surname of Louis’. It is said to have been either used by his parents in this manner or misspelled by the INS, or there could be a possibility of Louis trying to have his name modified a bit for protecting and to hide the family’s name, since he got popular notoriously because of his dangerous criminal and illegal activities that he undertook. But, he did not maintain any kind of relations with The Genovese Crime Family capo, Vincent Cafaro.

Characteristic features

When it came to his physical appearance, Louis Cafora was very tall and quite fat even during his childhood days and he is said to be conscious about the same. He was often noticed to prepare Italian dishes for the gang members as he just loved cooking variety of things and experimenting new things.

His criminal activities

Louis was involved actively in the different Mafia activities. It was with the joining of the Lucchese Crime Family that his criminal life started. However, he did not go into performing those street crimes for his boss. Rather, he preferred working towards pursuing different legitimate deals on behalf of Lucchese Mafia Family. He had managed to have a lease on the parking lot at Downtown Brooklyn. It was through its management that Louis got to influence several officials within the State Transportation Department of New York. Paul Vario, his official Capo is known to have several meetings with subordinates at the parking lot that was leased out by Louis. This way, they could stay safe and ensure that all their meetings and the discussions that are held here are kept a top secret and not recorded by the law enforcement officials in any manner. This parking lot was used by Louis for storing those stolen cars on behalf of Henry Hill. With his income on the increase, he was able to derive a powerful position within the Mafia Family.

Knowing about the Rochester Mafia Family

The Rochester Mafia Family is regarded to be another New York based organized crime family which was found around 1950s by Buffalo crime family. This family is known to operate in the county of Monroe and also that of Western New York. It is involved actively in various types of criminal activities such as gambling, extortion, prostitution, racketeering and loan sharking.

Members of the family

The Rochester Family’s initial official boss was Costenze Stan Valenti. He along with Frank Valenti, his brother got arrested. For a period of 16 months, Stan was jailed and both the brothers in 1964 came down to New York with Angelo Vaccaro, the associate of Pittsburgh family. Frank had become the Pittsburgh crime family’s capo and went on to become the head of the Rochester Family.  The boss of Buffalo Family, Stefano Magaddino was told by him that his family would now start operations independently.

Activities of the family

Frank Valenti in 1970 had planned to bomb numerous churches and public buildings in the city, which is remembered in history as Columbus Day Bombings. Samuel Red Russotti, the Underboss along with Rene Piccarreto the consigliere and Salvatore Sammy Gingello, the capo in 1972, informed Frank that he was no longer the family boss. This made Frank to flee away to Arizona. After his leaving the position, Russoti was declared the boss and Gingello his Underboss, while Piccarreto still remained the consigliere. Although things went on smoothly for a while, police officials did come across several evidences to have all the top level members of this mafia family to be arrested and put behind bars. During this period, Thomas Didio had been elected to become the acting boss.

The top level arrested members were released from prison. Russotti thought that dealing and manipulating Thomas Didio could be easy and to be taken care of later on, something that went on to become a wrong assumption made. It did result in a dispute to be created among the group members. One group comprised of Piccarreto, Russotti, Gingello along with others, while the other group comprised of Stan Valenti, Thomas Didio, Angelo Vaccaro, Rosario Chirico and others. In the ensuing war for accession for leadership, Didio and Gingello were killed. The family’s criminal activities after this slowly declined and presently not proof is left if the Rochester family actually exists still now or has completely got dispersed.

Information about the Black Mafia Family

The United States is known to be the home to several Mafia families that have got their strongholds in their own respective region and are considered to be powerful criminal organizations. Among the different Mafia families present here, one such family is the Black Mafia Family, which was known commonly as the BMF. This family was founded in 1980’s. It was in the year 2000 that it derived the short name as ‘BMF’ by which it commonly called and popular.  It is among the crime families which were based in Michigan, Detroit. Its territory of operation included the regions of Florida, California, Tennessee, Georgia, Michigan and Missouri. This family is known to have allies with Campanella Park Piru and the Crips.

Its activities

Black Mafia Family is said to have an estimated 400 members, from which over 150 members had been charged by the law enforcement officials by far. The members of this group are from the African-American ethnic group. This family has been involved actively in different types of criminal activities which included murder, drug trafficking, money laundering cases and much more.

Its establishment

It was Terry and Demetrius, the Flenory Brothers, who had established the Black Mafia Family. According to reports, the brothers had established numerous distribution cells to shave cocaine supplied to the different U.S. cities by 2000. Two hubs were established by the brothers to carry out their varied activities, with one being in Atlanta, Georgia, which was operated by Demetrius. The other hub was in the Californian city of Los Angeles, where Terry operated. It was through the Los Angeles hub that they had made good connections with several Mexican drug cartels.

Other activities

In order to hide their mafia criminal activities and to make their black money to be white, the Flenory brothers in 2000 started a legitimate business. They began with BMF Entertainment, a company for Hip-Hop music. Different types of facilities were offered to plenty of artists through this company. Some of them are Bleu DaVinci, Young Jeezy, etc.

But in 2005, this family saw a decline in its activities, especially with the then Drug Enforcement officials convicting several of its members. Apart from its 150 member indictment, both the brothers had been sentenced to a life imprisonment for thirty years, which automatically saw the doom of the BMF Mafia family and helped United States to get rid of one criminal organization.

All about the Mafia families of the 1930’s era

The Mafia families were said to have come from Sicily, at a time, when their activities there were hampered by the law authorities and were either forced into exile or arrested, convicted to be sentenced to life term or hanged till death. To escape this, they had fled to the United States, where they diversified into different regions and established their control over their respective areas.

Influence of the Mafia

With the alcohol prohibition being lifted in the year 1933, the Mafia bootlegging industry was in grave danger to lose its business. Very soon, the Mafia had its trade to be shifted to prostitution and drugs as alcohol became easily available. The changes noticed in this scheme were regarded to be the master plan of Salvatore Luciana, who was popularly called Lucky Luciano by many. This Mafia legend had a clear vision. After few bloodbath series, which obliterated traditional Mafia clans that is known to have preferred Omerta against profiteering, another scheme was said to be engineered by Luciano for preserving source of livelihood. With alcohol business more than finished, prostitution and drugs seemed to the Mafia members to be an assuring financial option. However, for carrying out these illegal activities, the Mafia was required to team with the Irish and Jewish rivals. This alliance did last long for 40 years and more.

Trading in heroin and other illegal drugs

Heroin was regarded to be a viable alternative, since not many heroin addicts is said to have existed like that of alcoholics. Although the heroin market lacked in numbers, but it did provide the facility to transport it without any hassle, since heroin is much lighter in weight and can be easily shipped and distributed to any region within the U.S. It was discovered by Luciano that when his prostitutes were drugged, they had turned to become much more subservient, while being more eager to perform and provide immense satisfaction to their clients. Furthermore, usage of heroin did drive the prostitute to get into serious addiction, which automatically meant that the Mafia can add them to their existing customers for the illegal trade carried out by them.

Other activities

Among all this aspects, another idea struck Luciano, which was forming of the multi-family commission that is likely to approve and regulate the mafia activities. It was the bosses who represented their respective families of which the notorious among them was regarded to be Al Capone.

The Commission and the Mafia families

It was Meyer Lansky and Lucky Luciano, who in 1931 had established The Commission in New Jersey’s Atlantic City. However, its formation did not help prevent the gang wars which ensued. But the frequency and scale of gang wars that did take place got reduced to a considerable extent. Once a Mafia family had declared war on the other group, then the aggressor family automatically found itself at war not only with the other family, but also with that of the Commission and remaining Mafia members. The Families, in this manner were provided with a powerful incentive for having their disputes negotiated without actually indulging in wars or bloodshed of any sort.

Importance of the Commission

The Commission at times appointed a new Don of a Family for settling wars as well as internal conflicts. However, the previous Don or the usurper was assassinated. The Bonanno War fought by the Bonanno Family is a classic example of this type of case.

History of The Commission

Originally, it comprised of Dons from 7 Mafia families, Five Family leaders of New York (Tommy Gagliano, Vincent Mangano, Joe Profaci, Joseph Bonanno and Lucky Luciano), Buffalo (Stefano Magddino) and Al Capone from the Chicago’s Outfit, representing everything present in Western U.S. But after the Apalachin Convention held in 1957, The Commission allowed the entrance of two more family leaders.,  who were Joseph Zerilli ‘Joe Z’ of Detroit Partnership and Angelo Bruno ‘Gentle Don’ of Philadelphia Crime Family. But over 1960’s and 70’s, these positions declined.

Current affairs of the Commission

Currently, the membership of The Commission is said to comprise of bosses from the Five Families, Philadelphia Crime Family and The Chicago Outfit. Due to the recent FBI crackdowns on the Mafia families, its activities were being kept a guard secret from public view.

Enrolling members

Joining the syndicate was also allowed to the non-Italian mobsters. However, voting power was considered to be limited strictly to that of the Italian members. The Commission’s Financial Advisor and Luciano’s chief advisor was Lansky. The Commission had no ‘Boss’, but there was the post of a Chairman, who was nominated.

The aims and beliefs of The Commission were enforced via Murder, Inc. operation, which was notorious and ran from Brooklyn. It was by voting that The Commission approved and authorized the service. With the target numbers limited generally to a few or single individuals, The Commission, in this manner prevented confusion circumstance, which otherwise may have resulted in gang wars, while minimizing exposure to the press.

Philadelphia Mafia family – One of the most violent Mafia family in the US

The Philadelphia Mafia family is also known as Philadelphia South Jersey Mafia/Mob, South Philly Mob/Mafia or Philly Mafia/Mob. This mafia family is based and formed in South Philadelphia, operating in different metropolitan regions of the state, New Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania.

History of the family

This family is said to be known for its notoriousness, violence, especially because of its involvement in multiple mob wars and presence of violent bosses. It was between 1959 and 1980, under the reign of Angelo Bruno that this family had enjoyed immense prosperity and peace. It is this period that the media and law enforcement agency had started to name it as Bruno crime family. However, in 1980 Bruno was murdered because of a complex dispute that arose which involved New York Mafia and disgruntled mafia members and subordinates. With his death, this crime family saw gradual decline in its power. Multiple internal wars took place, which saw the rising of two of the most violent bosses of the family.

The reign of Scarfo

Nicodemo Scarfo had become its boss after the death of Bruno and during his time, the family was called Scarfo crime family.  Although during his 10 year reign, the family enjoyed immense power, it had become highly dysfunctional. But, the short tempered Scarfo had a penchant for violence. It was under his reign that the family got into narcotics trafficking, demanding every criminal to pay up street taxes if they operated in a region that Scarfo assumed belonged to be his own. Even moderate disputes led to executions. During the 1980’s, the Scarfo family saw the murder of 20 of its own men. The increased violence made the New Jersey Police, Pennsylvania State Police and the FBI to react. Few mobsters were convinced to become government witnesses, which included the nephew of Scarfo, for escaping prison or death. In 1988, with the arrest and sentencing of Scarfo and his top allies, his downfall came.

After Scarfo

Scarfo was succeeded by John Stanfa, but very soon his leadership was disputed and the family was in war, which ended with his arrest in 1994. Merlino then took over the leadership. The 30 years of internal warfare, violence and government interference saw the family to get weakened severely. Still, it has been regarded to be among the country’s active Mafia families. Presently, it is engaged more into betting operations, extortion, loan sharking and illegal sports.

Morello crime family – The earliest mafia family in the US

United States’ earliest mafia family is the Morello family, who were said to be based in the Italian Harlem of Manhattan. This family by defeating Brooklyn’s rival Neapolitan Camorra became the dominant Italian underworld gang.

Some aspects to understand

The Morello family was founded by Giuseppe Morello during the 1890’s and had Sicilian ethnicity. This mafia family was into different types of criminal activities such as murder, conspiracy, extortion, counterfeiting and racketeering.

Its mafia history

This family has its roots in Corleone, Sicily. It was in 1892 that Guiseppe had emigrated to the U.S. He along with his family had lived for a while in the city of New York, before moving to Louisiana and again in 1986 moved back to New York City.

The 107th Street Mob

After returning to New York, the brothers became popular as 107th street mob and at times known as the Morello Gang, which dominated Manhattan, East Harlem and parts of Bronx. A mobster named Ignazio Lup was the strongest ally of Giuseppe Morello, who controlled Manhattan’s Little Italy. Their alliance prospered in 1903, when a significant counterfeiting ring had began with Vito Cascio Ferro, the Sicilian Mafioso Don printing bills of $5 in Sicily to have it smuggled to the U.S. Morello is said to have employed several members belonging to the  counterfeiting operation. ‘Barrel murders’ which took place later, especially of Sr. Giuseppe ‘Joe’ Catania were assumed to have been done at the instance of the Morellos.

Rising power

The hold over Upper Manhattan was further consolidated by the Morello family. On 15th November 1909, the building that was being used by the Morellos in New York’s Highland place was raided by the city police as it was being used as a front to carry out counterfeiting operation. Huge amounts of Canadian and American counterfeit bills were recovered during this raid. About mafia members from the Morello family was arrested after letters were discovered by victims of Black Had from New Orleans. The arrested included Ignazio Lupo and Giuseppe Morello sentenced to imprisonment for 25 and 35 years respectively and sent to Atlanta Federal Prison.

About the California based Los Angeles Mafia Family

Los Angeles Mafia family is said to be based in the state of California. This mafia family rose during the early part of the 20th century and spread all over Southern California. It had gained immense power during Prohibition Era and the method used was bootlegging. It was between 1940 – early 50s that it wielded great influence and power under the leadership of Jack Dragna. Although this mafia family was not bigger, when compared to the Chicago or New York families, he was said to be on The Commission. However, the family’s power declined with his death. It is the Chicago Outfit which represents the L.A. Crime family at The Commission.

During the late 1970s, Aladena Fratianno ‘Jimmy the Weasel’ gave testimonies against the family, thus, becoming the second member in the history of American Mafia. Their activities shrunk with the passing of the RICO Act during the 1980s, thereby leaving its original power with just a fraction.

Current scenario

The L.A. crime family presently is much small, when other mafia families are taken into account. They are involved more into conspiracy, murder, gambling, fencing, skimming, racketeering, extortion, fraud, drug trafficking, illegal gambling, loan sharking as well as legitimate business. This family is considered to be the last one to be left in the California state.

Some aspects to know

The Los Angeles crime family’s founder and first boss was Joseph Ardizzone. It was in Los Angeles, California that this family is based. It has been active since 1900 and covers the territories of Las Vegas and Southern California. There are 10 made members, who are considered to be of Italian descent, while the associates employed are of other ethnicities. Their allies are the Five Families, Kansas City, Cleveland, Buffalo and Chicago crime families. The different street gangs of L.A. and Cohen crime family are their rivals.

Knowing about the origins of L.A. crime

The different Italian street gangs was said to rule the crime activities of California during the early 20th century like the Black Hand. Matranga family was the prominent among them, but had their power limited just to the Plaza community. But their feud with the Ardizzone’s faction saw their power to decline and eliminate. It was Vito Di Giorgio, who was the L.A. family’s first boss probably, to bring some control to the L.A. underworld.

Details about the Buffalo crime family

Buffalo crime family is also called The Arm or Magaddino crime family. It is based in New York, Buffalo, U.S. and is an American-Italian crime family. This mafia family operates all over Erie, Pennsylvania, Western New York and Ontario, Canada.

Its rise to power

It was through bootlegging during Prohibition era that this family gained immense power. This group was founded by Angelo Palmeri. Stefano Magaddino, the family boss in 1931 had become The Commission’s original member, while his family had remained quite peaceful. But there was a challenge in his leadership in the 1960s and separate factions broke as Magaddino was tried to be assassinated. Later on 19th July 1974, he died a natural death. Even after his death, the war continued until early 1980s with Joseph Todardo being declared the boss. He had the family united and in 2006 got retired. The present boss of this mafia family is Leonard Falzone. The territory that is under the hold of the Buffalo family is Buffalo and its different regions like the Niagara Falls, Syracuse, metropolitan area, Utica and Rochester; Canadian province of Ontario, Las Vegas and Northwest Pennsylvania. They have 20+ made men and 100+ associates. They indulge in different criminal activities like drug trafficking, bookmaking, extortion, prostitution, gambling, loan sharking, labor racketeering, murder and conspiracy.

Their origins

It is in the Buffalo city of New York that this family’s power has been based upon, in the last century. However, in other areas like Massena, Utica and Rochester, the group did have satellite groups, ‘crews’ and criminal interests. The other regions included Youngstown, eastern Pennsylvania, Toronto, Hamilton, Niagara Falls, southern Ontario cities, Ohio.


The media, crime writers and the local law enforcement, who have been keeping a close watch, since the 1990s on the Buffalo mafia members have projected that the successor, is likely to be Joseph Todaro Jr. Since 1995, he had been acting boss, but there was circulating rumors, since late 2006 that Todaros, Joseph Todaro Jr. and Joseph Todaro Sr. had retired officially from all kinds of active participation with the family affairs and activities. Leonard Falzone, the consigliore and Nicolletti Jr. ‘Sonny’ Benjamin, the capo has been elevated from their position to boss and underboss. However, in 2013 it appeared that Falzone era was finished and the family’s new leadership has been taken by Bobby Panaro Jr.

Genovese crime family – First crime family of New York

Genovese crime family had been nicknamed ‘Rolls Royce’ and Ivy League’ and is among the powerful ‘Five Families’ of New York’s organized crime. It is Gambinoi crime family that had rivaled this family in size. The Genovese were said to be unmatched with regards to power and maintained generally different degrees of influence over the other smaller mafia members based outside New York and had ties with crime families of Philadelphia, Buffalo and Patriarca.

Rise to power

This mafia family according to the experts is considered to be the most sophisticated, logical, crafty, largest and intelligent among the five families of the region. During the 21st century, this family tried to find out new ways for taking benefits of bank caused lax ‘due diligence’ at the time of housing spike by getting involved in mortgage frauds in waves. Home equity loans were obtained by the victims of loan sharks for paying off their mob bankers of their debts. New technologies were used by the family for enhancing illegal gambling, with bets being placed by customers through the web using offshore sites.

Its history

It was Lucky Luciano who had founded the current ‘family’. It got renamed after Vito Genovese in 1957. Vincent Gigante ‘the Chin’ was in control originally on Manhattan’s West Side waterfront including Fulton Fish Market. He was also known as ‘the Oddfather’. After Gigante’s death in 2005, the Genovese family leadership looked like it was in limbo, however, they were actually the most powerful and organized crime family in the region. This family is said to have benefited immensely following the Omerta Code from the members. Although, mobsters from other crime families have testified against them, since the 1980’s, only 6 members of the Genovese family had turned witness in its entire history.

Facts about Genovese crime family

Originating from East Harlem’s Morello gang, this crime family is New York City’s first mafia family. Giuseppe Morello is the founder of this family and it has been active until now, right from its emergence in 1980’s. It operated the territories of The Bronx, Manhattan, New York, Brooklyn, Connecticut, New Jersey, Las Vegas, South Florida, and Massachusetts. They presently have about 250 to 300 made-members and criminal associates of more than 3,000. They are involved in criminal activities like conspiracy, racketeering, money laundering, loansharking, drug trafficking,  murder, extortion, pornography, labor racketeering, waste management, weapons trafficking, fraud, prostitution, counterfeiting, bribery, bookmarking, illegal gambling,  contract killing and robbery.