||New York| Family - Bonanno |
Castellammare - New York
The origins of the Bonanno family started back in Castellammare Del Golfo. The Bonanno family had a long going history and was one of the main powers in Sicily. The Bonanno's were married into the strong Bonventre family and Magaddino family (possible others to). There they fought out an on going feud against the rival Buccelato's and their clans. It is believed that Giuseppe Bonanno (uncle of Joseph Bonanno) moved to New York somewhere in the 1890's. There he started a Castellammare community to provide the future of the family. Also Bonanno relative Peter and Vito Bonventre moved to New York and settled in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where the Castellammare community was raised. Giuseppe Bonanno died in 1901 (not sure if he was murdered or died naturaly). Soon many other Castellammare natives immigrated to Williamsburg. Amongst them were Gaspar Milazzo, Manano Galante (Carmine Galante's uncle) and Salvatore Bonanno, Joseph's father, in 1908. Somewhere in 1907 Vito Bonventre and other Castellammarese started a murderous gang which was dubbed 'The Good Killers'. They would be credited with 125 murders in and outside New York. In 1911 Salvatore Bonanno and his wife and child returned to Castellammare Del Golfo, because the Magaddino's got into a war again with the Buccelatto's. Somewhere in 1915 Salvatore died. In 1919 Stefano Magaddino and his brother also moved to America and settled in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. There they rapidly started to work as hitmen for his uncle, Vito Bonventre. Magaddino, aged 28, soon rose in the gangs rangs and became the leader of the gang next to Vito Bonventre. Magaddino still wanted revenge for the murder of his elder brother, Pietro, by Buccelato men and finaly got it when they murdered one of his brothers killers. Not much longer Vito and others were arrested for the crime but luck was at their side as they were all released for lack of evidence. But not much later Magaddino and Good Killer assasin Gaspar Milazzo were almost killed during a drive by shooting by Buccelatto men. Both felt New York was getting to dangerous so they left. Milazzo moved to Detroit and Magaddino left for Buffalo. After Magaddino left New York it is believed that a man named Cola Schiro became his successor. In 1924 Joseph Bonanno fled Sicily and moved to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where he lived as a boy amongst the Castellammarese 16 years earlier. His uncle Vito Bonventre took him under his wing and together they started a bakery. But the community, which was started by Josephs family, was actually planning their move for power. Bonanno would become a big part of it.
Somewhere in 1925/1927 Salvatore Maranzano arrived in Williamsburg, Brooklyn from Castellammare Del Golfo. He was probably appointed to take over the Mafia in America. He was rapidly backed by the massive Castellammarese community in Williamsburg. They soon began hijacking trucks from another Sicilian big shot, Giuseppe Masseria, who was the current leader of Mafia activities in New York. Castellammarese such as Magaddino from Buffalo, Joe Aiello from Chicago and Gaspar Milazzo from Detroit all supported Maranzano by sending him gunmen and money. During the haydays of the Castellammare war in 1930-1931 many prominent men were killed. Masseria knew the Castellammarese were very strong and tried to eliminate his biggest enemies. Gaspar Milazzo was murdered in 1930 and so was Vito Bonventre. But even after Masseria murdered some prominent members, his own members could see clearly who was going to be victorious. Members such as Gaetano Gagliano and Tommy Lucchese deserted Masseria and sided Maranzano and the Castellammarese. Masseria started to believe many were leaving him and this even resulted in the murder of his own captain, Gaetano Reina. After Maranzano ordered the murder of Peter Morello, Masseria's second hand, Masseria was starting to get desperate. Eventually Masseria's own lieutenant Charles Luciano made a pact with Maranzano. On April 15, 1931, Masseria was dubble crossed and murdered in order of Luciano. The war was ended and the Castellammarese were victorious. The 5 families were divided and arrangements were made. However, only six months later also Maranzano was murdered in orders of Luciano. There were not going to be any revenge attacks. Joseph Bonanno became the rightfull heir to the throne. Bonanno was the new leader of the Bonanno Family in America, which was original created by his uncle. He was the youngest boss of the 5 original leaders of the New York Families.
He directed the family into the popular organised crime dealings, involving gambling, loan-sharking, and racketeering. The Bonanno Family was considered the closest knit of the Five Families due to the fact that it was made up of mostly Sicilians from the seaside town where Bonanno was born, Castellamare del Golfo. Bonanno strongly believed blood relations and a strict Sicilian upbringing could be the only way to hold the traditional values of La Cosa Nostra together. Bonanno's powerbase was augmented by his close relations with Joseph Profaci, powerfull head of one of the other families. Among these connections was the 1956 marriage of Bonanno's son Salvatore ("Bill") to Profaci's niece Rosalie. If members of the other three families exercised thoughts of muscling in on Bonanno enterprises, the close ties to the Profaci family (which later became the Colombo family) made them think twice, but the death of Joe Profaci in 1962 threatened to undermine Bonanno's position.
The Heroin Family
In October 1957 Joseph Bonanno travelled back to his native Sicily together with his underboss, Carmine Galante, whom's uncle was a member of the Good Killers 30 years prior. They were invited in the Delle Palme hotel in Palermo. Bonanno had his contacts back in Sicily from the time he was a youngster. It is also believed that Lucky Luciano, who was living in Italy since his deportation back in '46, also intended the meeting. Amongst the Sicilian bosses were the reputed Giuseppe Genco Russo, Gaetano Badalamenti and Tommaso Buscetta who ones claimed he idolized Bonanno. During the meeting they discussed the drug trafficking business. A business which could grant them millions of dollars but also brought allot of heat from the FBI. The Sicilian bosses faced a dilemma, the younger delegation wanted to be involved but the older generation was doubtfull. The meeting had a duration of 4 days and they agreed to make the deal. The drugs would be sent from Turkey to the shores of Sicily. There the drugs would be manufactured in factories in the West of Sicily and from there it would be shipped to New York where the Bonanno's would distribute it on the streets. Although many families didn't want to be involved in this kind of business, they couldn't turn back their heads for the many millions that could be earned by it. The Bonanno family was later known on the streets as the Heroin family, but many other families were secretly involved.
The Bonanno War
Many men in Bonanno's family were growing wary, complaining that he was never around. Eventually, the commission decided that he no longer deserved to be boss, naming Bonanno caporegime Gaspar DiGregorio the new boss. If they had expected Bonanno to take this lying down however, they were wrong. The skirmishes that then took place between DiGregorio supporters and Bonanno loyalists, led by Frank Labruzzo and Bonanno's son Bill, became known as the Bananno War. Matters came to a head in a house in Brooklyn where a peace summit was due to be held between the two sides - DiGregorio's men arrived intending to wipe out the opposition and a large gun battle ensued, though no one was killed.
Further peace offers from both sides were spurned and the family's troubles continued. The Commission grew tired of the affair and replaced DiGregorio with Paul Sciacca, but the fighting carried on regardless with both sides losing a number of men. The war was finally brought to a close with Bonanno, still in hiding, suffering a heart attack and announcing his permanent retirement in 1968 (he went on to live to the age of 97, dying in Arizona in 2002). Both factions came together under Sciacca's leadership, but he was jailed on narcotics charges in 1971 and was replaced by Natale "Joe Diamonds" Evola as boss of the Bonanno family. His leadership was short lived - his death (from natural causes) in 1973 brought Phillip "Rusty" Rastelli to the throne.
Spurned by the Commission
Due to the infighting of the Bonanno family, they were stripped of their seat on the Commission, and Rastelli took charge of a seemingly hapless, doomed organization. Rastelli's former friend Carmine Galante became a powerful and dangerous renegade. Having prevoiusly acted as a focal point for the importation of heroin to the USA via Montreal, Galante set about refining the family's drug trafficking operations. The incredibly lucrative deals he was able to make, made the family a fortune, but with the other four families being kept out of the arrangements, Galante was making a rod for his own back. When eight members of the Gambino family were murdered on Galante's orders for trying to muscle in on his drug operation, the other families decided he had outlived his usefulness at the head of the Bonanno family. On July 12, 1979, Galante was shot dead by three masked men at a restaurant in the Bushwick area of Brooklyn.
Rastelli took over once again, but the family's internal strife was far from over. Three renegade capos - Phillip "Philly Lucky" Giaccone, Alphonse "Sonny Red" Indelicato and Dominick "Big Trin" Trinchera - began to openly question Rastelli's leadership and apparently to plot to overthrow him. With the blessing of the other families, Rastelli had the three men wiped out in a hit arranged by future boss Joseph "Big Joe" Massino. The alleged "Boss" of the Mafia in Montreal Vito Rizzuto was extradited from Canada to the USA in August 2006. In 2007 he was sentenced to 10 years in prison due to the murders of the 3 Bonanno capo's.
Two of the men involved in the murder of the three rogue Bonanno men were Benjamin "Lefty Guns" Ruggiero and his capo Dominick "Sonny Black" Napolitano. He had become friendly with a man calling himself Donnie Brasco and had proposed him as a full member of the family, but unbeknownst to Napolitano, Brasco was in fact undercover FBI agent Joe Pistone. Numerous charges were aimed at members of the family following the evidence and testimony of Pistone and both Ruggiero and Rastelli received lengthy sentences and would die behind bars during the 1990s (both from cancer). Napolitano faced a worse fate, on August 17, 1981, he was shot in the basement of Ron Filocomo's house by Filocomo and Frank "Curly" Lino. Napolitano was found dead with his hands cut off, because he shook hands with a cop.
The family regroups
Rastelli's death in 1991, following a period where he ruled the family from inside prison, saw the promotion of Massino to the top spot. Finally, the family had found a man who could reverse its fortunes. By promoting a far more secretive way of doing business, Massino not only concentrated on the narcotics trade as had become mandatory for a mob boss, but also in other areas less likely to draw the attention of the authorities than drugs, such as the Mafia's stock trades of racketeering, money laundering and loan sharking.
As a result, while the other families were finding their bosses targeted by the police for drug offenses, Massino managed to keep his nose clean until the killing of Napolitano came back to haunt him. He and his underboss, Salvatore Vitale, were charged with the crime in 2003 following two of their capos turning themselves over as witnesses for the government. Vitale, who had until that point been utterly loyal to his boss, also faced a further murder charge and decided to switch sides himself, condemning Massino to life imprisonment. Capital punishment had been a possibility for Massino, but in 2004 he became the first serving boss to turn informant, sparing himself the ultimate penalty.
Massino is believed to be the man who pointed the FBI towards a spot in Ozone Park, Queens, called "The Hole", where the body of Alphonse Indelicato had been found in 1981. Told to dig a little deeper, authorities duly uncovered the remains of Dominick Trinchera and Phillip Giaccone, as well as a body suspected to be that of John Favara, a neighbor of Gambino family boss John Gotti who had killed the mobster's son in a car/minibike accident, and paid with his life.
The current position of the family
Former Boss Joseph Massino is also believed to have provided the police with information on a number of high ranking Bonanno Family members and former acting boss Vincent Basciano, who's conversations with Massino were taped in late 2004 and early 2005 by the turncoat himself. Before Massino became an informant himself, his acting boss on the outside was Anthony "Tony Green" Urso, but his tenure was short-lived as he too was imprisoned on numerous charges, leading to Basciano taking control. Vincent Basciano's term as acting boss was hampered with his arrest in late 2004, but with Massino's eventual betrayal, authorities claim that Basciano assumed the top position in 2005, is allegedly the current Boss and leading the broken Bonanno family from his prison cell.
The authorities continue to plague the family, with the February 16, 2006 arrest of acting boss Michael Mancuso on murder charges, while alleged Boss Vincent Basciano was recently convicted on charges of conspiracy to murder, attempted murder, along with illegal gambling and is scheduled to be sentenced sometime in early 2007.
Federal law enforcement authorities have recently claimed in a New York Daily News column that current Bonanno Family Boss Vincent Basciano has named Brooklyn business owner Salvatore "Sal the Ironworker" Montagna, age 35 of Elmont, Long Island as the new acting boss of the Bonanno Family. Sal Montagna was an unknown soldier in the Bronx crew of Capo Patrick "Patty from the Bronx" DeFilippo and became acting capo of the crew upon DeFilippo's 2003 arrest on murder and racketeering charges. Law enforcement sources have stated that Salvatore Montagna was tabbed as acting boss with Vincent Basciano's consent to maintain the Bonanno Family's base of power within the Bronx faction of the Family. The Bonanno Family's base of power was traditionally held by the Brooklyn faction from the time of Family patriarch Joseph Bonanno until the eventual rise of Queens faction leader Phillip Rastelli in the early 1970's. The ascention of the Bronx faction began with Basciano's promotion to acting boss, eventual ascention to the top position of Boss, continued through Michael Mancuso short tenure and now remains with Sal Montagna acting on behalf of Basciano. The newly alleged acting boss is sometimes referred to as "Sal the Zip" being that he is from Joseph Bonanno's hometown of Castellammare del Golfo, is closely associated with the Family's Sicilian faction and fellow Castellammarese, Baldo Amato who is currently in prison and former Bonanno Capo Cesare Bonventre who was murdered in 1984.
In July 2004, the New York Times reported that federal prosecutors in Brooklyn "say that over all, in the last four years, they have won convictions against roughly 75 mobsters or associates in a crime clan with fewer than 150 made members." Several top Bonanno family members including 2 former acting bosses and the current Boss Vincent Basciano have been indicted and convicted recently, reinforcing the government's claim of victory over the Bonanno family and New York's La Cosa Nostra. In February of 2005, Bonanno family Capo Anthony "Tony Green" Urso pled guilty to racketeering murder, gambling, loansharking and extortion charges, while Capo Joseph "Joe Saunders" Cammarano, along with soldier Louis Restivo pled guilty to murder racketeering charges." Twelve Bonanno family member and associates, seven over the age of 70, including acting consigliere Anthony "Mr. Fish" Rabito and respected soldier Salvatore Scudiero were indicted and arrested on June 14, 2005 on charges of operating a $10 million a year gambling ring." The most recent blow to the Family came with the September 20, 2006 sentencing of capos Louis "Louie Ha Ha" Attanasio and Peter "The Rabbit" Calabrese to 15 years in prison for the 1984 murder of capo Cesare Bonventre in Queens. Under the rule of former boss Joseph Massino, the Bonanno family climbed backed to the top of New York's crime family hierarchy and once again became a top power in America's underworld, but high level defections and convictions have left the family a shell of it's former self once more during it's long criminal history.
The defection of former Bonanno family Bosses Joseph Massino and Salvatore Vitale, along with four high ranking former Capos has caused the Bonanno family to lose power and influence within the New York underworld. Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano became the new boss in 2005 but his tenure wouldn't be long. He was convicted for murder and was sentenced for life in March 2008. Now a new and young man has stepped in as the new Bonanno leader, Salvatore Montagna, who happened to be born in the city where the family found has it's roots, Castellammare Del Golfo. The past 4 decades the Bonanno Family fell from one struggle into another, Let's see ip Montagna can make a difference.
Leaders of the organization through history
.:Back to American Mafia:.