Carolla, Silvestro (1896-1972)

Born Terrasini, Sicily, June 17, 1896.

Died New Orleans, LA, July 1972.

"Silver Dollar Sam" Carolla came to the United States as a young boy in early 1903. In his youth, he became affiliated with the regional Mafia organization run by Charles Matranga.
Carolla reportedly succeeded Matranga as boss of the organization upon Matranga's retirement in the 1920s.

Carolla is believed to have participated in bootlegging and narcotics trafficking enterprises as well as New Orleans fishing, shrimping and dock work rackets. He was convicted of bootlegging in 1921 and served a year and a day in Atlanta federal prison. He served two years in prison beginning in 1931 on a narcotics charge. For the 1933 attempted killing of a narcotics agent, he received another eight to 15-year sentence. That sentence was ended after one year by a governor's full pardon.

Just two years after the pardon, Carolla was once again a resident of Atlanta prison, having been sentenced to five years for another narcotics crime.

The federal government sought to deport Carolla in the early 1940s. Despite roadblock legislation introduced by Congressman James Morrison of Louisiana in order to keep Carolla in the U.S., officials succeeded in sending him back to Sicily in spring of 1947.

Louisiana and New York racketeers entered into lucrative agreements relating to casino and slot machine gambling during Carolla's reign.

Carolla's immediate successor in the New Orleans mob is uncertain. The government believed Carlos Marcello was in control of the family from about 1950 on, but some sources believe another boss worked behind the scenes until Marcello took the helm in the early 1960s.
The Carolla and Marcello families were joined through the marriage of Carolla's son Anthony and Marcello's niece Maria Zaniatta.

Carolla did not remain in Sicily. He was observed in Acapulco, Mexico, in 1949. He might have been attempting to run the New Orleans rackets from that location. Some claimed he was stationed there by Charlie Luciano as part of the worldwide drug trade. Carolla also was allegedly seen back in New Orleans as early as July 4, 1950.

(According to some sources, a rivalry developed between Carolla's son and Marcello's younger brother over who would succeed Marcello as New Orleans boss. Carolla was reportedly called out of retirement to mediate the dispute.)

Press accounts indicate that Carolla, back in the U.S. illegally, was briefly hospitalized in New Orleans after a heart attack in February of 1970. After the hospital, he is believed to have stayed with family in Louisiana until his death.