Saturday, March 2, 2024

How did the Italian mafia expand into the world?

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It was a true “The Sopranos” racket.

Sicily at the end of the 19th centuryth Century: The mansion of a wealthy landowner has been attacked by greedy bandits.

Fearing for the safety of their homes and citrus groves, landowners sought protection from the local mafia.

Sarcasm? It is likely that the mafia, hired to protect Sicilian orchards, was behind the first attack.

“It was schizophrenic trafficking,” writes former Gambino chief Louis Ferrante in “Borgata: The Rise of an Empire: A History of the American Mafia” (Pegasus Books, January 2). “Mafia dons usually cause problems for landowners and then offer to fix it for a fee.”

Such shakedowns were not the worst thing that Sicilian mobs did in their early days. They even killed high-ranking officials.

In 1892, former Palermo mayor Emanuele Notarbartolo would neither share the water on his property with local gangs nor hire their workers.

There he was stabbed to death and his body thrown from a moving train.

Sicily’s Cosa Nostra (“Ours”) also had a penchant for kidnapping.

For example, in 1876, an Englishman named John Rhodes (whose father owned a sulfur mine near Palermo) was held for ransom by local Mafia member Giuseppe Esposito.

When the Rose family did not pay the price immediately, a note from John’s kidnapper included his ear. A follow-up note included John’s second ear before the Rose family finally gave in.

Esposito was arrested for the crime, but he was one step ahead of it. carabinieri — Italian police — by blaming America.

He settled in New Orleans. New Orleans was declared by a local newspaper in 1870 to be a city “infested with notorious Sicilian murderers, forgers, and robbers.”

It’s hard to argue with that in a town where 100 Mafia revenge killings have rocked the city in just one year. Nor were they sensitive crimes, Ferrante wrote.

“Sometimes only the head and torso were found.”

More than 5 million Italians immigrated to the United States between 1880 and 1930, including about 1.5 million from Sicily.

Approximately 1.5 million Sicilians immigrated to the United States, including many “smart people.” ivgroznii7 –

While many like Esposito made it to New Orleans, Ferrante points out that far more were trapped in ghettos along New York’s Lower East Side.

Despite facing widespread discrimination, most Italian immigrants avoided problems in America. But some stuck to their Sicilian roots.

Those roots? As Charles “Lucky” Luciano later said, “Half the people I met in Sicily were Mafiosi.”

The Sicilian roots of the New York Mafia were revealed in A wooden barrel with a dead body inside was found on the street in Lower Manhattan.

The corpse was “pushed inside.” . . After folding it in half like a cheap crib,” Ferrante wrote.

Onion skins and Tuscan cigar butts at the bottom of the barrel led New York police to a Little Italy cafe sheltered by mob boss Ignazio Lupo (also known as “Wolf Lupo”).

1900 Mulberry Street in the heart of Little Italy. Universal Images Group (via Getty Images)

Lupo fled a murder in Sicily and landed in New York in 1900, running an Italian grocery store on Elizabeth Street and a nearby construction company.

However, his real power lay in running a “Borgata” (“Family”) based on horse thieving, loan sharking, forgery, and extortion.

Lupo had imported Giuseppe Morello from Sicily to serve as his deputy boss. Corleone-born Morello, known as “Claw” because of the deformity of his hands, was on the run from a Sicilian murder charge.

Thanks to a tip from Sing Sing, the NYPD identifies the barrel killer as Morello’s henchman, Pet the Ox.

Apparently, Morello robbed the Buffalo man of his cash. Insults were exchanged before Mr. Morello invited the Buffalonian to reconcile at a restaurant in “Little Italy.”

Instead, Morello had his pet stab the guest’s carotid artery. His body was left on the street as a warning.

However, those who knew anything about the crime lashed out in court, and without solid evidence, the “Wolf,” “Crow,” and “Ox” all walked away acquitted.

And, Ferrante writes, “The New York Mafia got away with its first highly publicized murder.”

Ferrante continues, “Borgata,” it’s never a good idea to go to the police about the mob — even nearly a century after the barrel murders.

Consider the case of a Jordanian immigrant named Khalid Daoud, who in 1979 was living the American dream by legally reselling used cars in the Middle East.

When the New York mob began stealing Dowd’s cars, he foolishly called the authorities.

An NYPD mole exposed Dowd’s allegations to Mafia associates, and soon after, Jordan was found dead in a Newark body shop.

A friend of Dawood’s companion also had his genitals cut off, stuffed in his mouth and beaten. The message was, please don’t talk.

This was the Sicilian way, both in Little Italy and the Old World original.

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