By David Amoruso
December and January brought an interesting mix of organized crime stories and news. But in the end, both December of last year and January of this year have been dominated by Italian organized crime, both from Italy as North America. Gangsters Inc.’s proudest moment was our interview with undercover FBI agent Jack Garcia, but let’s start at the beginning.
Russian organized crime popped up in both areas as author and former union leader Ronald Fino reminisced about his days going undercover for the FBI in Russia to bust some powerful figures there. While at a party for author Dan Moldea, Fino was reunited with some old buddies from those days and he was kind enough to share his story with us. In Spain, meanwhile, police busted members of the Russian Mafia in a multimillion dollar money laundering investigation. Gangsters Inc. asked expert Mark Galeotti about the Mafia group involved in this case.
Of course, the Hells Angels made the news again. This time, a few of them were posing for a photograph with Toronto mayor Rob Ford who is in the news himself for his drug and alcohol abuse. We decided to take a look at how the Hells Angels have managed to influence the media.
But no group has influenced the media as much as the Italian Mafia. From The Godfather to Goodfellas it changed the world forever. And the movies continue to pop up in real life news stories.
The Bonanno Family hit the headlines of every major news when capo Vincent Asaro was arrested and charged with crimes related to the Lufthansa heist immortalized in Goodfellas. Gangsters Inc. used wiretaps and testimony to paint a graphic picture of Asaro's rise and fall and the specifics of this case.
A case that also saw current acting boss Thomas Di Fiore facing charges that have nothing to do with the Lufthansa robbery, yet saw him mentioned in the same breath. We penned a profile of this “unfortunate” Bonanno boss from his start in the 1960s to him becoming the new leader of a mob family under siege.
Being boss ain’t easy. Some, like Genovese boss Anthony Salerno, make the best of it. They chose a life and see the funny side of things no matter how bleak and dark it gets. Most, if not all, develop serious health issues.
Among them Montreal Mafia boss Vito Rizzuto, who passed away unexpectedly late last year while in the middle of waging war on his enemies, a war he seemed to be victorious in. Read our extensive obituary of Rizzuto here.
Then there are the bosses who just don’t give a shit. Case in point: Sicilian boss of bosses Toto Riina. Imprisoned for life he had some harsh words and new threats for Italian prosecutors and cameras caught it all on tape.
Sicily is another dimension when it comes to the Mafia. In the U.S. they are forbidden to touch members of law enforcement because of the heat that would rain down on them. As evidenced by the story A Mean Street in Queens: To Kill a Cop by Thom L. Jones.
Though that didn’t make things any easier for FBI agent Jack Garcia who infiltrated drug cartels and the Gambino crime family as an undercover agent. He sat down with us to discuss everything from becoming an undercover, his experiences with Cartels and the Mafia, life after the FBI, and his movie.