D'Aquila, Salvatore "Toto" (1873-1928)

Born Palermo, Sicily, 1873

Killed New York, NY, Oct. 10, 1928.

Palermo-born D'Aquila ran a cheese importing business in New York when he wasn't occupied with the day-to-day business of one of the more successful Mafia organizations.

D'Aquila began his underworld career as a Bronx-based underling in the Mafia of American boss of bosses Giuseppe Morello. His personal criminal pursuits are not well known. He was arrested in 1906 as a confidence man and arrested again in 1909 on unknown charges. Both times, the charges were dropped.

D'Aquila moved to Brooklyn, where he likely became an important lieutenant under Morello brother-in-law Ignazio Lupo. When Morello and Lupo were jailed for counterfeiting in 1910, D'Aquila was selected as leader of the Lupo operation and as boss of bosses of the American Mafia.

D'Aquila meddled extensively in the business of other American crime families. He is believed to have inserted his own loyal followers as spies into other families.

Despite D'Aquila's vast strength, he did not succeed in uniting all of New York City's Mafiosi. He attempted to put down an insurrection in East Harlem through the assassinations of the Lomonte brothers. Italian colonies on Manhattan's Lower East Side also eluded his grasp.

The questionable loyalty of his underworld subjects in Manhattan apparently nagged at D'Aquila. When Morello and Lupo were released from federal prison around 1920, D'Aquila passed death sentences against his former superiors and ten of their closest allies in order to eliminate the potential rivals. One of those condemned by D'Aquila was his loyal henchman Umberto Valenti, then powerful enough to concern the boss of bosses.

Valenti reached an accord with D'Aquila by promising to eliminate Manhattan Mafia upstart Giuseppe Masseria, who had become the Morello faction's standard-bearer. Through guile and luck, Masseria survived Valenti attempts on his life and managed to kill D'Aquila's gunman in 1922.

The events of the early 1920s cost D'Aquila a key ally. Saverio "Sam" Pollaccia, a close friend of D'Aquila's who followed him from the Bronx to Brooklyn, abandoned D'Aquila and became a personal adviser to Masseria.

The boss of bosses' authority waned, particularly in New York, through the next few years. D'Aquila retreated back into the South Bronx about 1925-1926, moving into a home across the street from the entrance to the Bronx Zoo. D'Aquila was cornered and killed during a visit to a Manhattan doctor in 1928. Giuseppe Masseria became the new boss of bosses and retained Giuseppe Morello as his chief strategist.

While a number of D'Aquila loyalists sided with Brooklyn Castellammarese leader Salvatore Maranzano in the Castellammarese War of 1930-31, the old Brooklyn-Bronx D'Aquila unit was officially taken over by Masseria supporter Al Mineo and his right-hand man Steve Ferrigno.

After the deaths of Mineo and Ferrigno, the unit was run by Frank Scalise during the later Castellammarese War and was then turned over to Vincent Mangano in the 1931 underworld reorganization. It survives to this day as the Gambino Family.

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Anselmi, Albert (1883-1929)

Born Marsala, Sicily, July 15, 1883.

Killed Cicero, IL, May 7, 1929.

Anselmi was a bootlegger and enforcer in the Genna Brothers Mafia Family in Chicago who later became an important figure in the Al Capone Outfit. He was widely suspected of involvement in the 1924 murder of North Side gang boss Dean O'Banion.

In the mid-1920s, Anselmi and his perpetual companion John Scalisi appeared to pull away from the Genna Mafia and join an independent Sicilian underworld organization led by Samuzzo Amatuna and Orazio Tropea. Mike Genna was killed in a shootout with police June 13, 1925, while in the company of Anselmi and Scalisi. The two men subsequently became allies of Al Capone.

Between 1925 and 1927, Anselmi and Scalisi battled cop-killing charges arising from the shooting deaths of two Chicago detectives. After three trials, in which the defendants argued that they used deadly force against the police officers only in self-defense, the two men were freed.

Some believe that Capone used Anselmi, Scalisi and others to execute the St. Valentine's Day massacre of Bugs Moran's men. Scalisi was indicted for participating in the massacre, but he was never tried.

Just three months after that bloody event, Anselmi, Scalisi and Joseph Guinta were found dead in Indiana. The accepted legend is that Capone discovered the the three Sicilian men, all known as Capone supporters, were plotting against him. Capone reportedly held a lavish dinner in their honor at Hawthorne Inn in Cicero, IL, and personally beat them to death with a baseball bat.

The bodies of the three men - badly beaten and shot - were found within an automobile on May 8, 1929.

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Annaloro, Angelo "Bruno" (1910-1980)

Born Villalba, Sicily, May 21, 1910.

Killed Philadelphia PA, March 12, 1980.

Angelo Annaloro used the same adopted "Bruno" surname as World War II-era Philadelphia Mafia chief Joseph "Bruno" Dovi. Angelo Bruno was referred to as "the Gentle Don" and "the Docile Don" because he tended to look for compromise rather than conflict.

Born in Villalba, Sicily, Angelo Bruno came to the U.S. as a baby in 1911. He grew up in the Philadelphia area during the Prohibition Era. He remained on friendly terms with Mafiosi in his Sicilian hometown, in particular Calogero "Don Calo" Vizzini. During World War II, Allied forces endorsed the cooperative Vizzini as mayor of Villalba. That endorsement is sometimes cited as an example of Allied support for Mafia rule in Sicily.

Bruno was boss of the Philly Mob from about 1959 to his death in 1980. His reign was said to be one of compromise, and he is often referred to by the nickname, "The Gentle Don." His wife was Sue Maranca Bruno.

During Bruno's tenure as boss, Atlantic City was opened for gambling. The rich territory was right in the Philly Mob's backyard and became a source of conflict with the New York-New Jersey organizations. Some New York crime lords appear to have conspired with Bruno's ambitious consigliere Anthony Caponigro to eliminate Bruno. The Philadelphia chief was killed March 12, 1980. He was hit by a shotgun blast as he sat in his car in front of his Philadelphia home.

Caponigro's future didn't turn out the way he planned it. The Mafia's ruling Commission was offended by the unauthorized murder of a crime family boss. Caponigro was murdered in New York a short time later.

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Anastasia, Albert (1902-1957)

Born Tropea, Italy, Feb. 26, 1902.

Killed New York, NY, Oct. 25, 1957.

The Mafia's "Lord High Executioner" was born Umberto Anastasio in a Calabrian village called Tropea. The date of his birth is variously recorded as Feb. 26, 1902; Sept. 26, 1902; and 1903. As teenagers, he and his brothers worked on Atlantic steamships. They jumped ship in New York and entered the U.S. illegally.

As Umberto Anastasio became known as a Brooklyn gangster, he adjusted his name to Albert Anastasia. The adjustment to his surname was reportedly to save his Anastasio relatives from embarrassment. (One of his brothers entered the U.S. legally and became a parish priest in New York.)

Anastasia became an accomplished underworld enforcer, earning him the nickname of "Lord High Executioner." Some also referred to him as "the Mad Hatter." Anastasia became a powerful leader on the Brooklyn waterfront, where brother Anthony "Tough Tony" was a leader in the longshoremen's union.

A devoted friend of underworld giants like Charlie Luciano, Frank Costello, Joe Adonis and Nicola Gentile, Anastasia had a long rivalry with Neapolitan underworld leader Vito Genovese and with some of the traditional Sicilian Mafiosi in Brooklyn.

Anastasia supported boss of bosses Giuseppe Masseria in the Castellammarese War of 1930-31. After the war, Anastasia emerged as the underboss in the Mangano Family. He also reportedly supervised a largely Jewish gang of Brooklyn killers used as Mafia enforcers. That gang became known as Murder, Inc.

Anastasia is believed to have approached the Mafia Commission asking to support Dutch Schultz by eliminating New York State Prosecutor Tom Dewey. Mob boss Joe Bonanno suggested that Luciano had Anastasia float that idea before the Commission, so Luciano himself would not be linked with it. The proposal was rejected and ultimately led to the murder of Schultz.

Dewey later hoped to use hitman-turned-state-witness Abe Reles' testimony to prosecute Anastasia as the official go-between for the Mafia hierarchy and Murder Inc. But Reles suddenly decided to step out of a high-rise hotel window, ending the state's case against Anastasia.

In 1951, with the Manganos suddenly gone (Philip was found murdered, and Vincent disappeared), Anastasia rose to the leadership of that crime family. As Anastasia reached the pinnacle of the Mafia underworld, an old rivalry with Vito Genovese turned deadly. Anastasia was shot to death Oct. 25, 1957, as he sat in a barber's chair in the Park Sheraton hotel lobby. The killing appeared to be part of a effort by Genovese to eliminate the Costello-Anastasia influence in the underworld (Costello was shot in the head - but survived - just a few months earlier and turned control of his organization over to Genovese).

However, the assassination might have been the result of Anastasia's recent moves to establish a gambling/narcotics empire in Cuba outside of the influence of usual Mafia-Cuba go-betweens Meyer Lansky and Santo Trafficante. Anastasia had made a recent trip to Havana and later scheduled a meeting with representatives of Cuban gaming interests in New York. Carlo Gambino, who succeeded Anastasia as boss, Genovese, Lansky and Trafficante all had motives to do away with Anastasia and could have cooperated on the assassination.

Addresses used by Anastasia:
  •  387 Columbia Street, Brooklyn, NY
  •  151 Sackett Street, Brooklyn, NY
  •  636 Arthur Street, Utica, NY
  •  1146 73rd Street, New York, NY
  •  75 Bluff Road, Palisades (Fort Lee), NJ
Criminal record of Anastasia (according to FBI files):

  •  1921 Mar 17 - charged in Brooklyn with homicide, convicted, sentenced to electrocution on July 3, 1921, retrial later ordered, acquitted Aug. 21, 1922.
  •  1922 - charged with homicide, indictment later dismissed.
  •  1923 Apr 06 - charged in Brooklyn with felonious assault, discharged on April 24, 1923.
  •  1923 Jun 06 - charged in Brooklyn with possession of a firearm, convicted, sentenced to two years at Blackwell's Island Penitentiary.
  •  1928 - arrested for homicide, not prosecuted.
  •  1932 - arrested for homicide, not prosecuted. 
  •  1933 - charged with homicide, not convicted.
  •  1941 - Kings County district attorney assembles murder case related to the May 1939 killing of Morris Diamond, but abandons it after the November 1941 death of turncoat witness Abe Reles.
  •  1942 Jan 21 - arrested for harboring, not prosecuted.
  •  1954 Apr 14 - stripped of citizenship acquired through military service, reversed on appeal.
  •  1954 Mar - indicted by federal grand jury for income tax evasion, mistrial in Florida declared Nov. 21, 1954, retrial in Camden, NJ, results in guilty plea and a June 3, 1955 sentence of a year in federal penitentiary.
  •  1956 Mar 28 - released from Milan, Michigan, federal penitentiary.

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