Jan 12, 2018 in Law

Gambino Crime Family

The Gambino Crime Family acts as one of five major families that carry out organized crime activities in New York City in the United States. The family carries out such activities within the nationwide criminal circle mostly referred to as the Mafia. The group’s activities extend from New York City to the eastern sea cities of California with main illicit activities including gambling, money laundering, hijacking, prostitution, pier thefts, and racketeering.

History and Evolution

The Gambino Crime Family group is named after its boss, Carlo Gambino who acted for the family during the McClellan Hearings of 1963, a time when the organized crime activities carried out by the group gained a wide range of public attention. The rise of the family to being one of the strongest crime groups in the United States began in the year 1957 when Albert Anastasia was assassinated in Manhattan. It is widely believed that the family’s boss, Carlo Gambino helped coordinate the plans to take over the major crime groups in the United States. Carlo coordinated efforts with Meyer Lansky to control gambling activities in Cuban cities. The group’s crime fortunes had grown consistently through the periods ranging from its commencement through to 1976 when Carlo assigned Paul Castellano the role of the group’s boss. The Gambino crime family is currently run by Domenico Cefalu.

The history of the Gambino Crime Family can be traced back to the operations of the D'Aquila gang from Manhattan. D'Aquila was an influential expatriate from Palermo in Sicily and also a member of East Harlem Gang which was one of the first Sicilian crime groups in New York with Giuseppe Morello as the boss. Morello was sentenced to 30 years in prison following counterfeiting crimes which weakened the Morello Crime Group. D’Aquila used this opportunity to separate from the gang and form his own East Harlem Gang. In addition, he also used his profound ties with different Mafia leaders to form a network of influential connections that later led to powerful crime gangs in New York City.

By the end of the year 1910, more Sicilian gangs had been created in New York and Brooklyn. At the end of it all, two Neopolitan gangs had been formed, one in Brooklyn and the other on Coney Island, with the two being closely allied. As at the end of the year 1917, D’Aquila had successfully taken over the two Neopolitan gangs. This take-over followed D’Aquila’s efforts to create allied relationship with the Morello Gang that had its leader assassinated by the Neopolitan Gangs. Later, Aquila also captured the Mineo Gang which strengthened his power and controlling interest in the most influential Italian Crime Group in New York City.

In the year 1928, D’Aquila was assassinated leaving Alfred Mineo in command of the largest Sicilian crime gang in New York. Later in 1930, Mineo and his top lieutenant were assassinated leaving Masseria who had taken over Morello family as the commander of the Mineo gang. Later in 1931, Masseria was assassinated by a group of his gang who had subsequently moved to Maranzano gang. Maranzano had at the time reorganized all gangs based in New York and appointed a common leader, Frank Scalise as the commander of the old-day D’Aquila-Mineo gang. Maranzano was later murdered on September 1931 leaving Luciano as the boss of the five crime families. Luciano later replaced Scalise as the boss of the D’Aquila-Mineo gang, and then called the Mangano crime group. Mangano Vincent became the commander of a gang that would become the Gambino Crime Family in 26 years’ time. He increased the range of activities that the gang dealt with, involving his family into activities of extortion, illegal gambling, lotteries, and racketeering.

Mangano formed the City Democratic Club that was apparently aimed at promoting American values. It acted as a cover of the disastrous Murder Inc. where Albert Anastasia was the underboss. He also built closer ties with the vice-president of the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA), Emil Camarda which led to better control of the Brooklyn and Manhattan waterfronts. As at 1932, Anthony Anastasia was the president of the ILA which strengthened the gang’s powers. Over this time, Carlo Gambino became a boss within the Mangano family. It was in 1951 when the Mangano brothers were murdered, leaving Anastasia and Gambino better chances to rule the gangs. Anastasia was later confirmed the boss and ruled in the name of Anastasia crime family. Carlo Gambino remained in the position of an underboss. On October 1957, Anastasia was murdered by gunmen in Manhattan, leaving Carlo Gambino as the boss of what was then called the Gambino Crime Family. Gambino quickly ran his entire family into the most successful crime business at the time in the entire United States with the main activities including gaming and running Cosa Nostra businesses.

Political and Social Changes that have Influenced the Emergence of the Group Different political and social factors have in the past propagated the performance of the Gambino Crime Family. In the year 1920, the United States’ government restricted the sale and production of alcoholic beverages. This created an opportunity for lucrative illegal business by organized crime gangs in New York. As at that time, two more gangs emerged including a gang that broke away from the Morello crime group and a second gang based in Brooklyn and led by Joe Profaci. It is through the lucrative illegal alcoholic beverages’ business that these gangs amassed power and influence which formed a foundation for the formation of the Gambino crime family. 

Structure and Membership

The Gambino crime family is structured into five crime families with each one of them dominating organized crime activities within their areas of operation. The crime families operate under a nationwide framework referred to as the Mafia. The different crime families that have contributed to the growth and survival of the Gambino crime family range from the aforementioned D’Aquila family, Mineo gang, Anastasia family, Castellano gang, and the Gotti family. Each of these historical regimes has been ruled by a boss from the family who is close in power to the outgoing commanders. Resignation from the commander’s seat is mainly caused by their deaths that usually result from murder and assassination attempts. In addition to the family boss is the street boss who manages the operations of the crime family within the streets of the areas of operation. Underbosses are selected to manage undercover operations by the crime group including drug trafficking and hijacking activities. 

Membership into the Gambino organized crime family is by both kinship and friendship. In this case non-members may be involved especially on contingency grounds. Permanent membership is usually guaranteed to those who are actively involved in the pursuit of the family’s goals especially those in managerial levels. The group’s management controls regular membership through such acts as bribery, murder, extortion, and violence with explicit rules and regulations being attached to the membership.

Activities and Operations

Gambino Crime family is ranked as a business operation carrying out outlawed marketing techniques including the use of threat, smuggling and extortion. In addition, the group possesses a long product line including gambling, drugs, pornography, and other outlawed products. The group’s activities extend from New York City to California’s coastline. The major crime activities that the group deals with include loan-sharking, labor and construction racketeering, money laundering, hijacking, pier thefts, extortion, and fencing.

Prosecution (Law Enforcement Response) Of the Group’s Members

Law enforcement against the activities carried out by crime families in the United States was initially proved impossible due to the large number of gangs and other related businesses. However, upon the rise of the Gambino family, federal prosecutors were able to target specific offenders. They mainly targeted the Gambino family leadership. In 1984, the Federal jury prosecuted Castellano and other members of the Gambino family with different crime charges including murder, prostitution, drug trafficking, and theft (Albanese, 2000). By the year 2002, the then FBI agent Joaquin Garcia was able to infiltrate the Gambino family under his friendship with Jack Falcone, an underboss in the gang. It is through this infiltration that the government was able to convict a number of Gambino leaders with DePalma being sent to a 12 years’ federal imprisonment.  

Additionally, in the year 2008, 54 people associated to the Gambino family were arrested which was a culmination of an FBI investigation that had lasted for a span of four years. The federal jury announced the accusation on 62 suspects in relation to the activities by the Gambino family. Recently, federal authorities have prosecuted a number of members of the Gambino administration.

The Group’s Future Outlook

Owing to the Gambino crime family’s penetration to political circles, it has emerged greatly difficult to stop the operations of the gangs. The crime groups have recruited members from the federal authorities and the federal jury. In addition to this, the creation of alliances with other organized crime groups has been a great step towards the survival of the Gamboni crime family. The group has been in alliance with the Gambino-Lucchese-Genovese group and the Gambino-Westies group. Such alliances have made it possible for the group to acquire the ability to grow and survive in the long term.

Related essays