Although many arrests have been made, organized crime and the Mafia are still very active. Organized crime and its families, particularly the Italian mafia, have increased their illegal activities significantly over the past few decades. The Mafia and organized crime go hand and hand, one cannot be spoken without the other. Both of these forms of criminal actions have been recognized since the late 1800s, and police say it is not disappearing too fast. (Widener 6)
Migration from Italy has brought over many Italian criminals and crime tactics. The Italian Mafia has always been based on the island of Sicily and the southern mainland provinces of Calabria and Campania. (Worsnop 273) Traffic in drugs, chiefly heroin, provides the bulk of the Italian Mafia’s revenue from Sicily. Cocaine is becoming more important, however, as drug lords from Colombia try to expand beyond the Americas. To gain a foothold in Europe, the Colombians have got to strike deals with the Mafia, which ironically guards its home turf. (273)
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Italy in general, has added to the crime list of the Mafia for over 100 years. The famous Al Capone, the Italian-American gangster of the Prohibition era, also known as Scarface because of a knife cut to his cheek. (Nash 79) He was born Alphonse Capone in Naples, Italy, and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He left school at an early age and spent nearly ten years “hanging-out” with gangs. In the 1920’s he took over a Chicago organization dealing in illegal liquor, gambling, and prostitution from the gangster Johnny Torrio. (80) Convicted of income tax evasion in 1931 and sentenced to 11 years in prison, he was released in 1939. After obtaining syphilis, he went on to reside in Miami Beach, Florida. (80)
Many Italian families are a major influence on the organized crime melting pot. Families such as the Colombo’s, the Gambino’s, the Bannanno’s, and the Luchesse’s have migrated from Italy, and play an important role in the organized crime system. (Worsnop 267) The Colombo family, which consists of approximately 100 members is currently led by Victor Orena. Victor is currently acting as boss due to the absence of Carmine Persico, who is serving a prison sentence for racketeering. (268) The Colombo families main activities include loan sharking, gambling, smuggling, and narcotics. This family guides much of its attention to the states of Florida and Texas. (Inman E2)
The Gambino Family is the largest Mafia Family in the United States. This family has over 500 members and are located throughout the nation. Although indicted this family is still managed by John Gotti. Most of the focus of this family is on contracted killings, gambling, narcotics, and extortion. The focus of this family is nationwide. (E1)
The Bannanno and the Lucchese families do not play as important role in the organized crime melting pot as the Colombo and Gambino families do. (Worsnop 279) Both families combined for about 200 members. The main focus of criminal activity between the families is counterfeiting and pornography. This mostly spreads throughout most of the southwestern portion of the U.S. (Inman E2)
Although New York seems to be the place where most Mafia action occurs, many other areas are influenced by the Mafia. Many people think that the Mafia only exists in New York. Astonishing enough New York is ranked nineteen out of twenty-five on the list of most active organized crime cities. Cities like San Jose, Kansas City, Milwaukee, and Rockford, Ill., rank within the top ten. (Trimble 30) Some major crimes committed in the smaller cities are credit-card fraud, hijacking, prostitution, and drugs. (30) Some illegal business fronts include Nightclubs, Fast-food outlets, trucking, and garbage collection. (30)
The international Melting Pot of organized crime, has many different cultures. Such groups as the Chinese Triads, the Japanese Yakuza, and the Vietnamese Gangs, all base their sect along the same lines as the New York Mafia families. (Worsnop 270) The Chinese Triads are secret societies that were formed to overthrow the Ching Dynasty (Chinese government) in the early 1900s. (270) It was soon reintroduced again in the 1990s. Some of the crimes related to the Chinese include extortion, gambling, and smuggling of narcotics and aliens. (270) The Japanese Yakuza was formed after WWII as a rebellion against going to war. (270) It soon blossomed into a huge cult that is out of control today. Some of its major crimes include extortion, murder, racketeering, and prostitution. (270) The Vietnamese Gangs are known as little packs of street thugs. Most participating in these groups are non-threatening adults with no more power than the average wise-guy. (271)
Over the last few years, some outstanding names have been convicted. The most popular, probably John Gotti. John Gotti was not a very flashy man, he acted as a regular businessman. (Capeci 3A) John Gotti chose to turn himself in for the life of his brother. John was taken in for a life sentence of racketeering. When he chose to give his eleven-year reign as the “godfather” he left “Little Nick” Corazzo in charge. (3A) Although John Gotti was kept in Marion Federal Penitentiary in Indiana he was still able to run the family underground. (4A)
Organized Crime has been around for over a century. Law enforcement agents, police, and investigators still cannot get a complete grip on the situation. Although the Mafia is still a problem today, professionals are convinced that the criminal activity has decreased and continues to decrease as time goes by. (Cook 279) With the knowledge, the police have gathered, and the recurring pattern of crime, organized crime will soon become a thing of the past.
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