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Yes The Mafia Is Still Around And The Bonanno Crime Family Is A Mess Right Now

Bettmann. Getty Images.

The Mafia was once one of the most powerful organizations in America. They ruled with an iron fist running industry, trade and many part of everyday life from the cost of clothing to garbage pickup to gambling. That was a long time ago. Today in 2023, yes the Mafia is still around. In fact all five families still have a small foothold in New York.

News now a days isn't often but occasionally the Feds bust a bookmaking and loansharking ring or a union overhaul unearths made men rigging bids. There is though over the last 6-10 months a pretty interesting power struggle in the Bonanno Crime Family. 

A little backstory- Regarding the Bonannos, they are an interesting group. Obviously if you've seen Donnie Brasco, you're familiar with Agent Joe Pistone infiltrating the family. They also dealt with multiple power grabs just before that situation played it self out which is seen in the family, although in real life it didn't involve Donnie Brasco. Eventually the family would be taken over by an extremally efficient boss in Joseph "Big Joey" Massino (seen on the right below).

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New York Daily News Archive. Getty Images.

He took the family into the 2000's changing the rules and creating some calm in the family. Until that time they were the only family in New York to not have an informant in their ranks and were regarded at the strongest family in the city. 

Subsequently though in 2003, Joe Massino and other high ranking members would be arrested and by 2005, Massino was facing the death penalty for seven murders and racketeering charges. His counterparts around him started to flip and the worst defection would be his brother in law and underboss Salvatore "Good Looking Sal" Vitale deciding to turn rat. Joe Massino's back was against the wall and in 2004 was found guilty and given life. He still faced the death penalty on one murder and decided to do the unthinkable becoming the first boss in the history of the American Mafia to become a rat. He would wear a wire inside prison recording conversations he and the new boss Bronx based Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano, a violent lunatic who became boss after Massino went away. 

The Bonanno Family was decimated and throughout the 2000's into the 2010's would take a major hit. They were still around but extremely hamstrung. Basciano ultimately got life and in 2013, they made a man Michael "The Nose" Mancuso the alleged boss. Mancuso, a Bronx guy who once did a decade for manslaughter after his wife was found dead had been around for awhile as part of the faction in that borough. He came up under Basciano and was one of his most trusted confidants. He during that time was serving a 15 year sentence for a gangland murder in 2004. In 2013, there were two logical choices for boss, Mancuso and a man Joseph Cammarano Jr. Cammarano was a no nonsense leader from Brooklyn who was well liked and the more efficient choice. 

The family instead went with The Nose. As the story goes, back in 2017 the family was polled on whether a new boss should be instituted and Joe C was leading the way for change. Cammarano felt it was the right time to try and grab ahold of power as he was very respected in Brooklyn and Queens. Mancuso found out and ordered Cammarano, and several of his people including his father in law long time Bonanno old timer Vito Grimaldi to be shelved. Shelved means essentially stripping a made man of his rights and responsibilities in that he is no longer to be recognized and given the respect of an inducted member. It can be temporary or forever and from people that I know have told me it basically means a member is "dead".

In March 2019, Mancuso got released and returned to the Bronx and appeared to continue leading the fractured family. The shelved members including Cammarano were quiet. In July 2022, the old timer Grimaldi died of natural causes and a funeral was subsequently held. Now for being shelved, Joe C was told to stay away. Naturally Joe C went as a good son in law and Mancuso allegedly ordered multiple members to deliver a beating to Cammarano during the funeral. The only problem was was that several of the attendees were apart of a motorcycle club and stuck up for Joe C. They supposedly got the best of the Bonanno guys. It was a disgraceful move by Mancuso and many in the life from what I heard were sickened. Oh how far the Mafia has fallen. 

Fast forward to recently and according to my friend Scott Burnstein over at The Gangster Report. He recently detailed that there's been continued reprisals from Mancuso regarding the dust up at the funeral. He has allegedly ordered multiple get backs at Joe C including drive by shootings but the crew of Joe C isn't backing down. 

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Joe Cammarano just happens to lives on New Woods Road on Long Island referenced in the above article.

Anyone with insular knowledge of the mob today knows how hamstrung they are. They can barely earn and there's an edict of "no violence" due to the continued obsession that the FBI has with them. Mancuso is towing a dangerous line by breaking that and if the feds want to bust someone it's him. The other families I'd have to imagine aren't very happy with Nose's behavior and want a resolution to this. This will likely cause major blowback to a group that wants to remain in the shadows. There has been recent word that Mancuso is attempting to extort members of the the shelved group including the son of Vito Grimaldi, Joe who is a made guy. Mancuso wants a large amount of money and he will in turn reinstate Joe Grimaldi and will stop the violence. 

What happens next no one knows. The key in all this will be Joe Grimaldi who has a familial connection to Joe C but also many are rightfully fearful of Mancuso. He is a power hungry psycho who seems to be all about reprisal. The problem is the current state of how to Mafia can react is really hurting him. He's unable to dole out what he believes is a right punishment. The truth is, what it does show is how low the Mafia is on the criminal totem pole if you will. No one respects them and they are behaving in a way Carlo Gambino and Tony Salerno would roll over in their graves if they saw it. The Mafia was a secret society aided by respect and loyalty. Now it's just a bunch of lunatics playing in a sea of nonsense fighting over scraps. 

As the world turns in the Mafia. Check out my podcast for more on this and the history of the Mafia and other crime 

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