Yes, the Mob (Still) Exists

Canary. Photo by 4028mdk09.

In case you missed it, Francesco “Franky Boy” Cali, purported head of the Gambino mafia crime family, was gunned down outside his home in Staten Island last Wednesday.

(CNN) – “Mafia don Frank Cali’s killing is a reminder the mob is alive. Just not as flashy.”

Cigar-chomping Mafia bosses in dapper suits once dominated perceptions of organized crime in the United States. While the dons are less flamboyant now and shun the spotlight, their work continues in the shadows, experts say.

This week’s killing of Gambino family boss Frank Cali brought back memories of mobsters getting whacked in brazen hits that stunned the nation decades ago. Cali was gunned down outside his home in New York, leading to initial speculation on whether the killing was related to a Mafia feud.

[Emphasis mine]

Mafia groups have reinvented themselves

Executing Mafia dons may not be as common today, but organized crime is still big business.

Just ask drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman or those in the Mexican and Colombian drug cartels, which have largely overtaken the spotlight from the American Mafia.

Even without the spotlight, American mobsters have evolved with the times and remain influential in their own cities and regions, experts say. In New York, for example, the FBI says the same five major families of the Italian-American Mafia dominate organized crime: Bonnano, Columbo, Gambino, Genovese and Lucchese.

(NYT) – “The assassination of Mr. Cali came on the same day that Joseph Cammarano Jr., the reputed acting boss of the Bonanno crime family, was acquitted at trial.”

Mr. Gotti was convicted of racketeering and murder in 1992 and died of cancer in prison in 2002, at the age of 61. In 2013 his son, the former Gambino boss John A. Gotti, was stabbed in the stomach in Syosset, N.Y. He survived.

The assassination of Mr. Cali came on the same day that Joseph Cammarano Jr., the reputed acting boss of the Bonanno crime family, was acquitted at trial, and about a week after Carmine J. Persico, a longtime boss of the Colombo crime family, died in prison at age 85.

While it has been decades since a Mafia boss was killed in New York, lower level members have been attacked or killed in recent years.

(NYT) – After Claiming Ethnic Profiling, 2 Accused of Being Bonanno Mobsters Are Acquitted.

It was a novel defense for two men federal prosecutors had accused of being in control of one of New York’s oldest crime families: they claimed the Mafia had long ago been dismantled and they were being unfairly profiled as gangsters because of their Italian ethnicity.

But the strategy seemed to work. On Wednesday, a jury in federal court in Manhattan acquitted the men, Joseph Cammarano Jr. and John Zancocchio, of racketeering and conspiracy to commit extortion charges, after a colorful two-week trial.

Prosecutors had presented evidence that Mr. Cammarano and Mr. Zancocchio were the boss and consigliere, respectively, of the infamous Bonanno crime family, one of the five families that once controlled organized crime in New York.

Gina Castellano, the lead prosecutor, had said in her opening statement that Mr. Cammarano, 59, of Long Island, and Mr. Zancocchio, 61, of Staten Island, had “worked together and with other members of the mob to commit crime after crime — extortion, loan-sharking, drug dealing, assault and fraud.”

“These two men led a sophisticated criminal organization that took whatever they wanted from whoever they wanted through intimidation,” she said.

But defense lawyers had argued that the Mafia no longer existed, and their clients merely looked and sounded like Italian mobsters portrayed in film. “Looking like he stepped out of central casting in a mob movie doesn’t make you part of one of these groups,” said Jennifer Louis-Jeune, one of Mr. Cammarano’s lawyers, during her opening statement.

ABCNews reported on Saturday that New Jersey police had arrested 24-year-old Anthony Comello as a suspect in the shooting of Frank Cali.

[Emphasis mine]

Comello appeared in court in Ocean County, New Jersey, on Monday afternoon and waived his right to fight extradition to New York.

He raised up his left hand during the court appearance, showing a number of phrases scrawled on his palm, including what appears to be “MAGA Forever” written twice, and the phrase “United We Stand,” as well as other markings.

Investigators are still working to pin down a motive for the shooting on March 13, which marked the first alleged mob boss murder in New York in over 30 years.

Comello made conflicting statements to police on Saturday, which has changed the alleged motive to the fatal shooting.

Officials initially believed the killing was related to Cali’s alleged mob ties, but sources now believe the suspect was dating one of Cali’s female relatives, and at some point Cali told the suspect to stop seeing her, sparking a conflict.

Comello had multiple discussions with detectives but has since retained an attorney and the police’s questioning ceased, NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said at a press conference on Saturday after Comello was taken into custody.

On A Side Note (Opinion)

[h/t cbeliever]

For what it’s worth, Lincoln’s Bible @LincolnsBible is a good follow for Trump and his mobster connections.

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