Italian-American Mafia

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Italian-American Mafia Empty Italian-American Mafia

Post by Marklee on Mon Feb 01, 2016 6:04 pm

The Italian-American Mafia, specifically the Five Families of New York, has its roots in the Sicilian Mafia, but has been a separate organization in the United States for many years.

In 1986, according to government reports, it was estimated that there are 1,700 members of "Cosa Nostra" and thousands of associate members. Reports also are said to include the Italian-American Mafia as the largest organized crime group in the United States and continues to hold dominance over the National Crime Syndicate, despite the increasing numbers of street gangs and other organizations of neither Italian nor Sicilian ethnicity. Many members refer to the Italian Mafia as the "original Mafia", although it was neither the oldest criminal organization, nor the first to act in the U.S.

Mafia groups in the United States first became influential in the New York City area, gradually progressing from small neighborhood operations in poor Italian ghettos to citywide and eventually international organizations. The American Mafia started with La Mano Nera, "The Black Hand", extorting Italians (and other immigrants) around New York City. Black Hand gangsters would threaten them by mail if their extortion demands were not met. The threats were sometimes marked with a hand-print in black ink at the bottom of the page. As more Sicilian gangsters immigrated to the U.S., they expanded their criminal activities from extortion to loan-sharking, prostitution, drugs and alcohol, robbery, kidnapping, and murder. Many poor Italian immigrants embraced the Mafia as a possible way of gaining power and rising out of the poverty and anti-Italianism they experienced in America.

New Orleans was the site of the first Mafia incident in the United States that received both national and international attention. On October 15, 1890, New Orleans Police Superintendent David Hennessy was murdered execution-style. It is still unclear whether Italian immigrants actually killed him or whether it was a frame-up against the feared underclass immigrants

Mafia activities were restricted until 1920, when they exploded because of the introduction of Prohibition. Al Capone's syndicate in the 1920s ruled Chicago.


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