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Five Families

The Five Families are the five original Italian-American Mafia crime families which have dominated organized crime in the United States since 1931. The Five Families in New York City are the powerhouse of the Italian Mafia in the United States.

Contents


History

The Five Families originated out of New York City Sicilian Mafia gangs. They were formally organized in the summer of 1931 by Salvatore Maranzano after the murder of Giuseppe Masseria, in what has become known as the Castellammarese War. Maranzano also introduced the now familiar Mafia hierarchy: Boss, Underboss, Consigliere, Capo, Soldier, and declared himself "capo di tutti capi" -- the ultimate boss over all of the families.

When Maranzano was murdered just months after Masseria, the "Boss of all Bosses" position was eliminated in favor of the Commission, a council which demarcated territory between the previously warring factions and governs American Mafia activities in the United States.

Names

The names of the Five Families are attributed to Mafia informant Joe Valachi. After his arrest in 1959, Valachi gave the police the names of the current bosses of the Five Families. The names of four of those bosses, Tommy Lucchese, Vito Genovese, Carlo Gambino, and Joe Bonanno, were used to name their respective families. While the fifth family was headed by Joe Profaci in 1959, it is named after the succeeding boss, Joseph Colombo.[1]

Current bosses

  • Bonanno: Boss - Vacant, (Acting Boss - Vincent Badalamenti is also the candidate to become the new official Boss.)[2]
  • Colombo: Boss - Carmine Persico,[3] (Acting Boss - Andrew Russo)
  • Gambino: Boss - Domenico Cefalu[4]
  • Genovese: Boss - Vacant, (Acting Boss - Danny Leo)
  • Lucchese: Boss - Steven Crea

Territories

The Five Families operate throughout the New York Metropolitan area, but mainly within New York City's five boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx and Staten Island. In the state of New York the families have increased their criminal rackets in Long Island (Nassau and Suffolk) and the counties of Westchester, Rockland and Albany. The Five Families maintain a strong presence in the state of New Jersey.[5] The crime families are also active in South Florida, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Las Vegas.

  • The Bonanno crime family operates mainly in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island. The family also maintains influence in Manhattan, The Bronx, Westchester County, New Jersey, California, Florida and have ties to the Montreal Mafia in Quebec.
  • The Colombo crime family operates mainly in Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island. The family also maintains influence in Staten Island, Manhattan, The Bronx, New Jersey and Florida.
  • The Gambino crime family operates mainly in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island and Long Island. The family also maintains influence in The Bronx, New Jersey, Westchester County, Connecticut, Florida and Los Angeles.
    • The Ozone Park Boys is operating in Queens and Long Island
  • The Genovese crime family operates mainly in Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn and New Jersey. The family also maintains influence in Queens, Staten Island, Long Island, Westchester County, Rockland County, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Florida.
    • 116th Street Crew is operating in Upper Manhattan and The Bronx
    • Greenwich Village Crew is operating in Greenwich Village in Lower Manhattan
    • Genovese crime family New Jersey faction is operating throughout the state of New Jersey[5]
  • The Lucchese crime family operates mainly in The Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and New Jersey. The family also maintains influence in Queens, Long Island, Staten Island, Westchester County and Florida.
    • Cutaia Crew is operating in Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island
    • The Jersey Crew is operating throughout New Jersey
    • The Tanglewood Boys was a recruitment gang that operated in Westchester County, The Bronx and Manhattan.

Popular culture

  • In the 1972 film The Godfather, the Five Families are represented by the Godfather Five Families, namely the Corleones, the Tattaglias, the Barzinis, the Cuneos and the Straccis.
  • In the HBO series The Sopranos, the DiMeo crime family (based on DeCavalcante family [6]) works with the Lupertazzi crime family of Brooklyn, one of the five families in New York.
  • In the video game series Grand Theft Auto, the Five Families are represented by the Leone, Sindacco and Forelli families. In Grand Theft Auto IV, the Five Families are represented by the Gambetti, Pavano, Messina, Lupisella, and Ancelotti families.

See also

  • American Mafia
  • The Commission
  • Chicago Outfit
  • DeCavalcante crime family (New Jersey crime family)
  • Rizzuto crime family (Montreal crime family, the "Sixth Family")

References

  • Raab, Selwyn. The Five Families: The Rise, Decline & Resurgence of America's Most Powerful Mafia Empire. New York: St. Martins Press, 2005.

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