By Mike La Sorte, Professor Emeritus
On November 17, 1957, a number of gangsters gathered for a conference at Joseph Barbara¡¯s farmstead in the hamlet of Apalachin (near Endicott village), located in the State of New York¡¯s Southern Tier. This event would become a watershed in the history of American organized crime and the government¡¯s response.
That the attendees were all Italian Americans, specifically (virtually all) Sicilian born or of Sicilian parentage, made the gathering all the more significant. What had previously been considered to be independent criminal phenomena in a few cities now appeared as an integrated network of Italian-American hoodlums with mutual interests, cooperating at the national level, with a hierarchical structure, ruled over by a Commission of leaders, many of whom were among those at Apalachin to sort out a variety of major agenda items.
Apalachin raised fears of a powerful nationwide conspiracy in the homeland by a criminal culture transplanted from Sicily, thus making the island the incubator of American organized crime. In fact, many ethnic backgrounds are found in the underworld and no single ethnic group has had a monopoly on organized crime in the United States. Mob informant Joseph Valachi spoke plainly in his 1963 testimony (during which he famously coined the phrase La Cosa Nostra) when he remarked, "I¡¯m not talking about Italians, I¡¯m talking about criminals."
Because criminal syndicates became associated with Italian Americans (or at least the major and most fearsome component), the Sicilian word "mafia" soon replaced "organized crime" in government circles and in the public consciousness. By shining a glare of publicity on the mob, the tendency has been to equate any form of organized crime with Italians. Organized crime as a concept is difficult to define exclusively; this had led to a definition that is modeled on the traditions of the Sicilian mafia, so that other criminal enterprises when compared can be defined as "mafia-like" or not; that is, the real thing or a somewhat lesser creature.
Federal law enforcement¡¯s systematic data collection on the mafia was initiated by the Bureau of Narcotics. Dossiers of mafiosi (with mug shots) were compiled by the Bureau. This bureaucratic file on considered organized crime figures was a listing exclusively of Italian Americans (with a few exceptions). The profiles, compiled in 1960, were for official use only. The complete set of profiles has 843 pages, one for each subject. On each page (at the bottom) is found: Property of U.S. Govt¡ªfor official use only. Not to be disseminated or contents disclosed without permission of Commissioner of Narcotics.
These profiles were made public, in 2007, in a volume entitled Mafia. The data contained therein represent a valuable source of officially recognized Italian-American gangsters (primarily based on their criminal records and alleged associates), alive as of 1960, three years after Apalachin.
Presented in this article are selected items from the profiles listed for the fifty-seven persons, alive as of 1960, who according to the Bureau were in attendance at the Apalachin conclave. (This material is of interest from an historical point of view as well as supplementing what has already appeared on the attendees.)
The information on each attendee is presented (below) in this order: Name. Birthdate and Place. Current Residence. Criminal History. Modus Operandi. (In addition, we can note that all of the men owned/operate businesses or had gainful employment. Not all were mob bosses. Other profile information not listed here are aliases, physical description, associates, localities frequented, family background.)
Dominick Alaimo. 1-28-1910 Montedoro, Sicily. 6 Cherry Pittston PA. Arrests since 1932 robbery, federal liquor and labor laws. Leader in Pittston/Wilkes-Barre area; enforcer, racketeering, gambling operations with brother Sam.
Joseph Bonanno. 1-18-1905 Castellammare, Sicily. 1847 E Elm Tucson AZ. Criminal record from 1930 grand larceny, possession of gun, transportation of machine guns, obstruction of justice. One of the most important mafia leaders; attends all top-level mafia meetings; trips to Italy to confer with associates and negotiate for international narcotic trafficking.
Ignatius Joseph Cannone. 11-12-1925 NYC. 210 Madison Endicott NY. From 1946 arrests disorderly conduct, resisting arrest.
Rosario Carlisi. 4-10-1909 Chicago IL. 20 Anderson Buffalo NY. Arrests since 1937 federal liquor laws, malicious mischief, gambling, contempt. Member of Buffalo mob.
Paul C. Castellano. 6-25-1915 Brooklyn NY. 1737 E 23rd Brooklyn. From 1943 arrests robbery with violence. Is taking place of his father in the mafia; considered a strong-arm man.
Gerardo Vito Cantena. 1-2-1902 Newark NJ. 21 Overhill South Orange NJ. Arrests since 1923 robbery, hijacking, bribing federal juror, suspicion of murder. Rackets in NJ; used strong-arm methods to gain control of vending machine industry in northern NJ.
Joseph Xavier Cerrito. 1-25-1911 Palermo, Sicily. 421 San Jose Los Gatos CA. No criminal record. Attended Apalachin meeting with James J. Lanza representing organization from San Francisco area.
Salvatore Chiri. 8-9-1888 Villa Scalia, Palermo, Sicily. 2 Bridle Way Palisades NJ. Only record shows alien registration on 12-26-1940. Attended Apalachin meeting on behalf of deported mafia Joe Doto; now an elderly and well respected mafioso who guidance is often sought by younger men.
Nicholas Civello. 3-19-1912 Kansas City MO. 401 Maple Kansas City. Kansas City record from 1932 theft, prohibition act, larceny, robbery with firearms. At Apalachin with Joe Filardo, representing Kansas City area; enforcer for mafia.
Joseph F. Civello. 2-3-1902 Port Allen LA. 5311 Denton Dallas TX. Since 1928 conviction for federal law violation. Controls all rackets in Dallas area.
Vincenzo James Colletti. 10-3-1897 Lucca Sicula Sicily. Denver record from 1933 arrests disorderly conduct, drunkenness, vagrancy. Top level mafia member in Colorado with strong control of gambling rackets and active in large narcotic traffic with close associate Joe Bonanno.
Frank Cucchiara. 3-29-1895 Salemi Sicily. 282 Common Watertown MA. Arrested 1925 Boston possession of morphine and dynamite; 1932 Boston suspicion of murder. Represented New England mafia at Apalachin; operates gambling joints inn North End of Boston; finances narcotic transactions.
Dominick D¡¯Agostino. 12-7-1889 Reggio Calabria Italy. 2226 Ontario Niagara Falls NY. Arrests since 1930 income tax evasion; contempt and conviction for violation of federal narcotic laws. Operates in Buffalo-Niagara Falls area; associated with international narcotic traffic.
Frank DiSimone. 7-17-1909 Pueblo CO. 7838 Adore Downey CA. No criminal record apart from contempt of court and conspiracy to obstruct justice regarding Apalachin. An attorney who represents and advises mafia members in CA; succeeded deceased Jack Dragna as legal advisor.
Natale Joseph Evola. 1-22-1907 NYC. 972 Bay Ridge Brooklyn. Record from 1930 coercion, possession of gun, federal narcotic law conviction. A major narcotic trafficker who also engages in labor racketeering in NYC¡¯s garment center.
Salvatore Falcone. 8-17-1891 Sciacca Sicily. 1652 NW 62nd Miami FL. Arrest for violation federal liquor laws. Attended Apalachin with brother Joe representing Utica-Rome area NY; moved to Florida in 1946 leaving active control to Joe.
Joseph Falcone. 1-27-1902 Sciacca Sicily. 1623 Mohawk Utica NY. Arrested violation federal liquor laws in 1959. He and brother Salvatore are leaders in Utica-Rome area; organized gambling, prostitution, suspected international drug traffickers.
Joseph Filardo. 8-10-1898 Castelvetrano Sicily. 103 S Van Brunt Kansas MO. Kansas City arrests since 1922 blackmail, murder, federal liquor laws, three convictions for food and drug laws. Represented Kansas City with Nick Civello; very influential mafia member.
Carlo Gambino. 8-24-1902 Palermo Sicily. 2230 Ocean Brooklyn NY. Arrests since 1930 larceny, federal liquor laws, violation of I&NS laws. One of the most powerful leaders in U.S.; with his brother Paolo has been involved in large scale narcotic and alien smuggling.
Vito Genovese. 11-21-1897 Roccarainola Naples Italy. 68 W Highland Atlantic Highlands NJ. Extensive arrest record: since 1917 burglary, concealed weapons, auto homicide and murder, conviction of federal narcotic laws. Financial backer for international narcotic smuggling, reputed head of NYC rackets, shares in gambling and other interstate rackets with deportee Lucky Luciano.
Michael James Genovese. 4-19-1919 Pittsburgh PA. Rd 2, 149B Gibsonia PA. Arrests since 1936 assault and battery, carrying concealed weapon; suspect in some killings. Dangerous and feared hoodlum; numbers racket in Pittsburgh.
Anthony Frank Guarnieri. 5-1-1910 Utica NY. 3619 Royal Johnson City NY. Arrests since 1945 gambling, illegal possession of firearms, felonious assault. Was right-hand man for the late mafia chief Joseph Barbara; closely associated with important mafiosi; active in garment racketeering in Binghamton NY and PA areas.
Bartolo Guccia. 12-26-1891 Castellammare Sicily. 208 Vermont Endicott NY. Arrests since 1916 possession of revolver, breaking and entering, bootlegging, murder. Was a bootlegger during Prohibition and closely associated with Endicott area mafiosi.
Giuseppi Idi. 6-14-1890 Fiumare di Muro Calabria Italy. 108 Lincoln Highland Park NJ. Since 1960 fugitive on 1959 conspiracy to obstruct justice indictment in regard to Apalachin. Leader from New Brunswick NJ area; with mafia associates controlled bookmaking activities, illegal alcohol, all types of gambling.
Joseph V. La Duca. 10-19-1912 Buffalo NY. Dana Lewiston NY. Only record Apalachin obstruct justice conspiracy 1959. Attended 1957 meeting in place of father-in-law Stefano Magaddino, whom he will eventually replace in organization controlling rackets in Buffalo-Niagara area.
James Joseph Lanza. 10-25-1902 Palermo Sicily. 19 Wildwood San Mateo CA. No criminal record; citizenship under examination. Attended Apalachin with Joseph X. Cerrito representing San Francisco bay area.
Louis A. LaRasso. 11-13-1926 Elizabeth NJ. 2711 Bradbury Linden NJ. Only known arrest Apalachin conspiracy to obstruct justice. An up-and-coming younger mafia leader from northern NJ who has engaged as a strong-arm man in labor union racketeering.
Sebastion John La Rocca. 12-12-1902 Villarosa Sicily. 6426 Apple Pittsburgh PA. Arrests since 1922 aggravated assault, perjury, liquor laws, carrying concealed weapons. Numbers ring in Pittsburgh and labor racketeering.
Carmine Lombardozzi. 12-8-1913 Brooklyn NY. 114 Stratford Brooklyn. Arrests from 1929 homicide, rape, unlawful entry. Powerful and feared mob leader in Brooklyn; strong-arm tactics, shylocking, trading in stolen merchandize, narcotic trafficking.
Antonino Magaddino. 7-18-1897 Castellammare Sicily. 1528 Whitney Niagara Falls NY. Arrested 1935 violation of I&NS laws; several arrests in Sicily from 1916 to 1929 including murder, robbery, rape; fled Sicily when mafia was being purged by Mussolini; currently a fugitive. He and brother Stefano top mobsters in Niagara Falls area; illegal gambling, muscling in on legitimate oil and linen supply dealers.
Giuseppe Magliocco. 6-29-1898 Portella di Mare Sicily. 279 Bay 11th Brooklyn. Since 1928 arrests for concealed weapon. A powerful mafioso.
Frank T. Majuri. 4-18-1909 NYC. 629 S Broad Elizabeth NJ. Record from 1935 arrests illegal manufacture of alcohol, bookmaking, violation of probation. Engages in extortion of Italian illegal immigrant laborers in Newark-Elizabeth area.
Rosario Mancuso. 1-29-1907 Buffalo NY. 926 Arthur Utica NY. Numerous arrests since 1920 juvenile delinquency, burglary, robbery, assault with intent to kill. Notorious and feared strong-arm and trigger-man; engaged in labor racketeering, safe-cracking, disposing of stolen property.
Gabriel Mannarino. 10-31-1916 Kensington PA. 540 Charles New Kensington. Arrests since 1933 gambling, liquor laws, uniform arms act, obstruction of justice. With brother Sam strong-arm mafia hoodlums; control all forms of gambling.
Michele Miranda. 7-6-1896 San Giuseppe Vesuviano Naples Italy. 167 Greenway Forest Hills Long Island. From 1915 arrests murder, disorderly conduct, vagrancy. One of the most ruthless and feared mobsters; narcotic smuggling, murder, extortion, racketeering in NYC¡¯s garment industry.
Saverio Monachino. 2-18-1893 Realmonte, Sicily. 14 Orchard Auburn NY. Has no known criminal record. With brother Patsy in mafia controlled activities in Utica area.
Pasquale Monachino. 1-3-1908 Realmonte Sicily. 14 Orchard Auburn NY; moved to Ontario (Canada) in 1959 and became Canadian citizen. No criminal history. Engaged in mafia controlled illegal rackets in Utica area.
John Charles Montana. 6-30-1893 Montedoro Sicily. 3340 Starin Buffalo NY. Only known arrest to obstruct justice, 1960, regarding Apalachin convention. One of the most influential mafia leaders who used his wealth to help mafiosi control all rackets in Buffalo area.
Dominick Oliveto. 1-6-1907 Camden NJ. 1157 Magnolia Camden. Arrests since 1937 larceny, gambling, bootlegging. Took over leadership of the Camden mob after death of leader Reginelli in 1956.
John Ormento. 8-1-1912 NYC. 118 Audrey Lido Beach Long Island. Arrests since 1937 three convictions of federal narcotic law violation. Leader of the notorious 107th Street mob in NYC, a large part of the narcotic and distribution mafia in the United States.
Vincenzo John Rao. 6-21-1898 Palermo Sicily. 192 Dunwoodie Yonkers NY. Arrests since 1919 grand larceny, homicide, possession of gun. Leader of East Harem in NYC engaging in all types of illegal rackets including narcotic smuggling.
Armond Thomas Rava. 1-7-1911 NYC. 1180 Ocean Brooklyn. From 1929 arrests extortion, policy, bootlegging, vagrancy, narcotic law violation. Has not been seen since Apalachin meeting; powerful leader in Brooklyn influencing narcotic and illicit alcohol traffic.
Joseph S. Riccobono. 4-23-1894 Palermo Sicily. 781 Pelton Staten Island NY. Since 1936 arrests concealed weapon, conspiracy, extortion. Powerful racketeer in garment industry; former member of NYC Lepke-Buchalter mob.
Anthony Peter Riela. 8-22-1896 Terranova Sicily. 7 Benvenue West Orange NJ. Since 1955 arrests maintaining nuisance, permitting prostitution; suspect in two murders in Rockford IL in 1944. Leader in Newark NJ area; engaged in illegal gambling and strong-arm man.
Joseph Rosato. 1-4-1904 Palermo Sicily. 34-31 81st Jackson Heights NY. Since 1928 homicide, disorderly conduct. Powerful and feared leader; muscled into the NYC garment industry.
Giovanni Scalici. 9-25-1913 Cleveland OH. 11706 Faringdon Cleveland. Since 1930 arrests burglary, robbery. Cleveland labor racketeering.
Angelo Joseph Sciandra. 11-26-1923 Pittston PA. 101 Dorrance Wyoming PA. Only known arrest conspiracy to obstruct justice regarding Apalachin. Strong-arm man in garment industry; taking place of deceased father.
Pasquale Sciortino. 3-5-1915 Cattolica Eraclea Sicily. 58 Holley Auburn NY. Only arrest, 1951, violation of Immigration Act; currently under investigation by I&NS. Member of upstate NY mafia group that controls gambling, illegal alcohol, other rackets.
Simone Scozzari. 1-7-1900 Palermo Sicily. 30567 Sullivan Rosemeade CA. Several arrests bookmaking; deportation proceedings pending. Mafia leader in southern CA area; representing mob-controlled rackets.
Vincenzo Sticco. 4-22-1913 Pittston PA. 156 Elizabeth Pittston. From 1931 arrests prohibition law violation. Formerly bootlegger and now strong-man for mafia-controlled garment industry in Pittston area.
Santo Trafficante Jr. 4-16-1910 Tampa FL. 2505 Bristol Tampa. Tampa arrests since 1946 bribery, bolita, conspiracy (wagering act). Has gambling interests in Tampa and Havana; mafia leader in Tampa succeeding deceased father; international drug trafficker.
Pasquale Turrigiano. 8-7-1906 Castellammare Sicily. 3015 Watson Endicott NY. From 1928 arrests for larceny, assault, violation of prohibition laws. Represents interests of mafia controlled rackets in Endicott area.
Frank Joseph Valenti. 9-14-1911 Rochester NY. 1410 Highland Rochester. Since 1933 numerous arrests counterfeiting, extortion, assault and battery, murder, liquor laws. Mafia leader in Rochester; vicious hoodlum who has operated as a strong-arm man and killer for the mafia.
Costenza Peter Valenti. 2-8-1926 Rochester NY. 79 Bellevue Rochester. Has no criminal history with FBI or Rochester PD. Engaged in illegal gambling and other rackets in Rochester area under brother Frank.
Emanuel Zicari. 2-10-1900 Siculiana, Agrigento Sicily. 103 Squires Endicott NY. Arrested in 1934 for counterfeiting. Member of mafia group operating in the Tri-City area of NYS and northern PA.
Frank Zito. 2-24-1893 Palermo Sicily. 1801 Illini Springfield IL. From 1931 arrests for murder investigation and conviction for federal liquor law violation. Interests in gambling, prostitution, bookmaking in Springfield and Sangamon areas.
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