Amatuna, Samuzzo (c1899-1925)

Born Sicily, c.1899.
Killed Chicago, Nov. 13, 1925.

Known as "Samoots" and "Sam," Amatuna reportedly briefly served as president of the Chicago Unione Siciliana organization. At the time - 1925 - Sicilian Mafiosi in Chicago were working to keep Alphonse Capone from gaining control of the local underworld.

Amatuna and several other key men of the Genna Mafia in Chicago apparently broke away and formed their own criminal organization. The organization possibly included Orazio Tropea, Albert Anselmi and John Scalisi.

Amatuna stepped into the Unione presidency after the murder of Angelo Genna on May 25, 1925.

Amatuna was shot and mortally wounded Nov. 10, 1925, in a barbershop near the intersection of West Roosevelt Road and Halsted Street. A few days later, as he attempted to marry his fiancee - Mike Merlo's sister-in-law Rosa Pecoraro - Amatuna lost consciousness and soon died.

Capone ally Antonio Lombardo became the next president of the influential Unione Siciliana.

Alfano, Enrico (c.1873-?)

Alfano, known as "Erricone," was one of New York detective Joseph Petrosino's great success stories of 1907. Believed to be the head of the Neapolitan Camorra organization in New York City, Alfano was arrested April 17 of that year as police raided East Side night spots checking patrons for concealed weapons. Petrosino reportedly recognized Alfano by a prominent scar on his face.
Following Alfano's arrest, the New York Tribune noted, "The populace considered Alfano in the light of a demigod; he was thought to be invulnerable to bullets and able at all times to escape his pursuers." The newspaper recalled that back in Naples, Alfano had eliminated a rival named Gennaro Cuocolo by denouncing him as a spy for the authorities. "The Camorra then condemned both Cuocolo and his wife to death, and they were brutally murdered." The body of Gennaro Cuocolo, stabbed numerous times, was discovered at Torre del Greco, outside of Naples, on June 7, 1906. The body of his wife, Maria Cutinelli Cuocolo, was found "horribly mutilated" in their apartment. Alfano was an early suspect in the murders, but, assisted by his godfather and priest, Rev. Ciro Vitozzi, he won his freedom and fled his homeland for the United States early in 1907.[1]
He was turned over to U.S. immigration authorities on April 22. Not formally charged with wrongdoing in the U.S., he was sent back to Europe as an unfit immigrant, due to his criminal past. He was turned over to French authorities in Havre and extradited to Italy.[2]  The Italian government took charge of Alfano at Cherbourg in June and kept him under close guard on the trip back to Naples.[3] 
Early in 1908, the New York Tribune reported that, in the absence of Erricone, a new New York Camorra chief had been chosen. He was Gaetano Esposito. Known by such nicknames as "the grand master" and "the snow seller," Esposito had recently been released after serving a term in the prison on Italy's Ventotene Island.[4] 
Some believe angry Alfano allies were responsible for assassinating Petrosino as he traveled in Sicily in 1909.[5] 
Back in Italy, Alfano and a number of codefendants stood trial at Viterbo for the Cuocolo murders. The trial lasted many months in 1911 and 1912 and included more than 700 witnesses. (One memorable moment in the trial occurred when defendant Corrado Sortino pulled his glass eye out of its socket and hurled it at the judge.) American authorities followed the trial closely, hoping it would cast some light on the unsolved Petrosino assassination.
Alfano denied involvement in the murders and membership in the Camorra. Of the Cammora, he stated, "I am neither its head nor its tail." Despite his denials, he and eight accomplices were convicted of murder on July 8, 1912. Seven other codefendants, acquitted of participation in the murders, were convicted of membership in a criminal association.
Alfano and codefendants Corrado Sortino, Antonio Cerrato, Giuseppe Salvi, Nicolo Morra, Mariano DiGennaro, Giovanni Rapi and DiMarinas were sentenced to thirty years in prison and ten years of police surveillance. The jury decided that Alfano, Rapi, DiMarinas instigated the murders, while Sortino was personally involved in both murders, Morra, Cerrato and DiGennaro were involved in the murder of Gennaro Cuocolo, and Salvi was involved in the murder of Maria Cuocolo. As the verdict was announced, DiMarinas slashed his own throat with a shard of glass. While the wounded defendant was removed from the court, Alfano shouted a protest against the injustice of the trial. during which his brother Ciro, once one of the defendants, died in prison.[6]  Erricone reportedly was locked away in a prison on the island of Sardinia.[7]  
The Italian government's most important witness in the trial, Gennaro Abbatemaggio, was a former Cammora member turned informant. Abbatemaggio later served his country with distinction during the Great War, receiving four medals. Early in 1921, as he faced arrest on a charge of fraud, Abbatemaggio shot himself through the chest, apparently attempting suicide. Enrico Alfano's sisters rushed to the hospital where surgeons tended to Abbatemaggio, hoping to secure from the wounded man an admission that his trial testimony had been false. They were prevented from seeing him.[8] 
(It should be noted that Lt. Petrosino was far more effective at penetrating and intimidating the Camorra than the Mafia. His activity unintentionally may have given a competitive edge to the city's Mafia organization.)
  1.  "Alfano wanted in Italy," New York Tribune, April 20, 1907, p. 2; "All Italy awaits trial recalling Petrosino murder," New York Evening World, Feb. 25, 1911, p. 7; "Father Vitozzi testifies," New York Sun, April 7, 1911, p. 3.
  2.  "Camorrist in the toils," New York Sun, May 25, 1907, p. 3.
  3.  "Guard Camorra chief," New York Sun, June 27, 1907, p. 3.
  4.  "A new chief of the Camorra," New York Tribune, Feb. 16, 1908, p. 4.
  5.  "Arranging for trial of 300 Camorrists," Washington Times, Sept. 12, 1910, p. 2.
  6.  "Camorrist jury makes full sweep, finds all guilty," New York Evening World, July 8, 1912, p. 1; "Camorra verdict; all found guilty," New York Tribune, July 9, 1912, p. 1; "Cammora verdicts may be reversed," New York Times, July 16, 1922, p. E5.
  7.  Romano, Anne T., Italian Americans in Law Enforcement, Xlibris, 2010, p. 45.
  8.  "Abbatemaggio, informer on Camorra, shoots self," New York Tribune, Jan. 31, 1921, p. 3.

Agnello, Raffaele (c1829-1869)

Born Palermo, Sicily, c.1829.

Killed New Orleans, LA, April 1, 1869.

Raffaele Agnello was a Palermo, Sicily, Mafioso who set up a Mafia organization in New Orleans just after the American Civil War.

Agnello settled in the Crescent City before the war in 1860. He resided for a time with his brother Joseph in New Orleans' Fifth Ward (the central third of the French Quarter). When Confederate forces and the local police abandoned New Orleans during the Civil War, Agnello served in a home-guard police force of immigrants (who were considered neutral in the War Between the States). He continued in that role during the federal occupation of the city.

Agnello became a powerful underworld leader in New Orleans' Little Palermo in the later 1860s. His gang of transplanted Palermitani came into conflict with a community of immigrants from Messina who gained the support of a local gang led by native New Orleanian Joseph "J.P." Macheca.

After a bitter and bloody feud, Agnello appeared to have defeated his rivals. However, he was then ambushed and killed in 1869 in front of Macheca's fruit store near Old Levee Street and Toulouse Street. A blunderbuss pistol was fired in Agnello's face while he walked with his godson and bodyguard Frank Sacarro. Sacarro shot at and wounded his godfather's assassin, but the gunman fled through a nearby bakery shop.

Agnello's brother Joseph continued a losing struggle for years before he, too, was murdered. Joseph Agnello was shot to death on a vessel moored at the Picayune Tier on April 20, 1872.

The Macheca organization later gave way to the "Stuppagghieri" Mafia organization run by the Matranga family.

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Doto, Giuseppe "Joe Adonis" (1906-1971)

Born Montemarano, Italy, Nov. 22, 1906.

Died Ancona, Italy, Nov. 26, 1971.

Adonis was born in Montemarano, an Italian village within the province of Avellino, not far from the City of Naples. His family brought him to the United States when he was a child.

A longtime Brooklynite, he was affiliated early in his criminal career with Mafia bigshots Frank Yale and Anthony "Little Augie" Pisano (Anthony Carfano). After the death of Yale in 1928, Adonis, Vito Genovese and Mike Miranda joined Pisano as the most prominent Neapolitans working within the Giuseppe Masseria organization in 1920s New York.

According to some sources, Adonis attended a May 13-15, 1929, national "convention" of bootleggers in Atlantic City. However, there is no hard evidence of his attendance. Some sources name Adonis one of the gunmen who assassinated boss of bosses Giuseppe Masseria at Nuova Villa Tammaro restaurant on April 15, 1931.

Mafia informant Joseph Valachi stated that Adonis - who directed criminal activity at the Brooklyn docks alongside Albert Anastasia and ran a Brooklyn eatery, Joe's Italian Kitchen on Carroll Street and Fourth Avenue - was among those targeted for elimination by Maranzano after the conclusion of the Castellammarese War in 1931. After Maranzano was assassinated later that year, the Mafia reorganized. Adonis became a major player in the reorganized underworld, though his precise role in the hierarchy is hazy.

Some sources name him a top lieutenant in the Brooklyn Family of Vincent and Philip Mangano, while others place him within Luciano's own Manhattan-based Family. Nicholas Gage suggests that Adonis was actually the first post-war leader of what became the Mangano Family, but Gage does not offer a sufficient explanation for how or why Adonis became less than a Family boss later on.

Joe Bonanno, who probably knew Adonis' title, doesn't speak of it in his autobiography, and Valachi seems not to know anything about the Brooklyn leader's status. Evidence suggests that Adonis's authority overlapped the Mangano mob territory, but that he owed his primary allegiance to his long-time friends Luciano and Frank Costello.

Eventually, Adonis seemed to be everywhere and into everything - alcohol, gambling, drugs, union rackets, political shenanigans... He had established relationships with several Mafia Families and with some non-Italian gangs as well. Adonis was known to be a trusted ally and confidant of Frank Costello, who presided over Luciano's Manhattan Family after Luciano went to prison in the 1930s. Adonis joined Costello and Jewish mobsters Meyer Lansky and Benjamin Siegel in ownership of the Colonial Inn casino in Miami Beach. Adonis also shared a gambling empire in New Jersey with Mafioso Willie Moretti.

Adonis, who had long claimed to be an American native and who had settled in Fort Lee, NJ (his Dearborn Road home was about a quarter mile from the Bluff Road home of Albert Anastasia), was shown to be an immigrant in the 1950s. He was ordered to be deported in 1953. He fought that order in the courts. A voluntary deportation to Italy occurred in 1956 in the wake of a perjury charge stemming from the Kefauver Committee hearings.

One of the legendary fallings out between the American Mafiosi and the Kennedy Administration was allegedly over arrangements for the Mafia to support Kennedy's candidacy for President in return for Kennedy allowing Adonis back into the country. President John Kennedy was reportedly willing to welcome Adonis home, but Attorney General Robert Kennedy blocked the move.

The Italian government decided to inflict an exile within an exile upon Adonis on June 20, 1971. A Milan court demanded that he be restricted to the town of Ancona. Adonis died there of natural causes on Nov. 26, 1971. His remains were returned to the United States and buried Dec. 6 in Madonna Roman Catholic Cemetery in Fort Lee, NJ.

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Accardo, Anthony Joseph (1906-1992)

Born April 28, 1906.
Died Chicago, IL, May 27, 1992.

Tony Accardo, also known as "Joe Batters" and "Big Tuna," was Chicago Outfit boss for about a dozen years beginning near the end of World War II, when Frank Nitti apparently committed suicide and Paul Ricca was imprisoned.

Accardo became prominent in the mob during Al Capone's reign. He served for a time as Capone's bodyguard. His arrest record began in 1923 and included a number of criminal convictions. However, Accardo is known to have spent only one day inside a prison.

In 1931, Accardo was named as a suspect in the killing of Capone rival Joe Aiello. Upon Capone's imprisonment for tax evasion, Accardo remained close to new boss Frank Nitti and took the reins of the Outfit in 1943 or 1944. He helped guide the Chicago family into gambling ventures, entertainment industry rackets and trucking. 

Accardo's only day in prison occurred on Lincoln's Birthday in 1945. He was taken into custody for questioning in connection with a gambling case. Due to the holiday closing of the courts, Accardo remained in custody until the next day.

Accardo allowed Sam Giancana to take over day-to-day mob operations in 1956. Accardo remained influential in the crime family. Federal authorities succeeded in winning a tax evasion conviction against Accardo in November 1960. The Chicago boss was sentenced to three two-year terms, running consecutively, and a $15,000 fine. An appeals court found errors in the case and ordered a new trial, and Accardo was acquitted at retrial.

Accardo returned to a visible leadership role when Giancana fled the country in 1966. He was repeatedly called before government investigation panels. Accardo remained at the helm when Giancana returned to Chicago in 1974. Giancana was shot to death a short time later.

Accardo retired in the 1980s, spending much of his time at Palm Springs, Calif. Federal investigators continued to link him to union racketeering. He died of congestive heart failure and acute respiratory failure at Chicago's  St. Mary of Nazareth Hospital on May 27, 1992.

Aiello, Joseph (1890-1930)

Born Bagheria, Sicily, Sept. 27, 1890.

Killed Chicago, IL, Oct. 23, 1930.

Aiello was the boss of the Sicilian Mafia in Prohibition-Era Chicago. While Alphonse Capone is widely regarded as Chicago's "Mafia" leader, Capone was not Sicilian and his involvement in Windy City organized crime was resisted by conservative Sicilian Mafiosi. As the recognized leader of the post-Genna Sicilian underworld in Chicago, Aiello controlled much of the criminal element in the city's Little Sicily, including its home liquor-making establishments, and was a thorn in Capone's side.

Aiello moved to Chicago after being involved for a time in the underworld of Utica, NY. He was a suspect in the 1917 shooting of East Utica resident Antonio Gagliano. In Chicago, he established a grocery business in partnership with Antonio Lombardo. Both men eventually served as leaders in the Chicago-based Unione Siciliana organization. Aiello was suspected of involvement in the January 1929 murder of Capone-backed Unione Siciliana leader Pasqualino Lolordo.

In the late 1920s, Aiello allied with Bugs Moran's North Side mob in Chicago in an attempt to destroy Capone. Giuseppe Masseria of New York, the U.S. Mafia "boss of bosses" of the period, attempted to mediate the growing conflict between Aiello and Capone around 1929 but only succeeded in offending Aiello (as well as his allies in Detroit, Buffalo and Brooklyn).

During the early Castellammarese War, Aiello supported Castellammarese forces against Masseria and spent some time hiding from his rivals in Buffalo. Aiello would have been on the winning side in the Castellamarese conflict, but he was killed by Capone's men on Oct. 23, 1930, near the corner of Kolmar and West End Avenues. He was hit by dozens of bullets fired from several locations as he tried to reach a waiting taxicab.

Joe Aiello had several brothers who also participated in bootlegging and other Mafia endeavors. The Aiellos were the heirs to the Genna organization of the early 1920s.

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Crocevera, Isadoro (1873-1920)

Born Palermo, Sicily, Dec. 23, 1873

Killed Buffalo, NY, Aug. 8, 1920

A member of a New York City-based counterfeiting gang led by Giuseppe Morello, Isadoro Crocevera was one of a few gang members arrested for passing counterfeit currency in 1903. He was charged along with Giuseppe DePrima, Giuseppe Giallombardo and Salvatore Romano. Federal Judge E.H. Thomas sentenced the three men March 17, 1903, to prison terms in Sing Sing. Giallombardo was given five years, DePrima four years, and Crocevera three years.

The counterfeiting case was neither Crocevera's first involvement with the Mafia underworld nor his last. In Palermo, Sicily, during the 1890s, Palermo native Crocevera was known to have been friendly with Giuseppe DiCarlo, later the crime boss of Buffalo, NY. Immigrants to the U.S., both settled for a while in New York City (after Crocevera's release from prison, probably in 1905). DiCarlo moved on to Buffalo, NY, a few years later. Crocevera remained in Brooklyn but visited DiCarlo regularly. Their visits were interrupted for a period of about two and a half years before they last got together.

During Crocevera's final visit to Buffalo, he became involved in a gunfight near DiCarlo's saloon, 166 Front Ave., Buffalo. In the Aug. 8, 1920, shooting, Buffalo resident Vincent Vaccaro was wounded in the leg; Crocevera was shot in the back and killed. Police decided that Joseph DiCarlo Jr. and Crocevera argued with brothers Vincent and Anthony Vaccaro, possibly over the division of rum-running profits.

DiCarlo was charged with causing Vincent Vaccaro's injury. Vincent Vaccaro accepted responsibility for killing Crocevera, but there was some suspicion that he was shielding his brother. Anthony Vaccaro was formally charged with killing Crocevera. Nothing came of the charges.

Crocevera had worked at the Brooklyn docks. At the time of his death, he was a stevedore foreman for the Pierce Brothers firm. Many Sicilian and Italian immigrants found employment at the docks, and stevedoring was often a cover for organized criminals.

Crocevera left behind a large family - a wife, Marianna Carbone Crocevera, and seven children - at 63 Duffield Street, Brooklyn. Just months before his Crocevera's death, he was visited by a relative from Palermo, Sicily. On Jan. 5, 1920, his 41-year-old brother-in-law Giorgio Mazza entered the port of Boston, heading to Crocevera's residence in Brooklyn.