The Bonanno crime family is one of the "Five Families" that controls organized crime in America, within the nationwide phenomenon known as the Mafia (or La Cosa Nostra). Founded and named after Joseph Bonanno, this family was the first one of the New York families to be kicked off the Commission (the second was the Colombo crime family in the 1990s). The Commission is a council of the bosses that help to maintain order in the Mafia. The unacceptable infractions that led to the family being kicked off was the allegation that the family was actively dealing heroin and the inner family fighting for control of leadership.
These were unacceptable crimes and the commission members decided to kick out the Bonanno crime family. Since then the family faced shaky leadership with acting boss Carmine Galante being murdered on the order of imprisoned boss Phillip Rastelli. This family has suffered two major indignities. The first came in 1981 when they learned that an FBI agent calling himself Donnie Brasco had infiltrated their ranks. The second time was in 2004 when boss Joseph Massino, who previously brought the family back to respectable stature and back on the commission, became the first-ever Mafia boss in history to become an FBI informant.
- 1 The Bonanno era
- 2 The Bonanno War
- 3 Rastelli regime
- 4 Under Massino's Command
- 5 Massino turns informant
- 6 Basciano's leadership
- 7 Current position of the family
- 8 Historical leadership of the Bonanno family
- 9 Bosses (official and acting)
- 10 Underboss
- 11 Consigliere
- 12 Street Boss/Capo of Sicilian Faction
- 13 Administration
- 14 Current Family Capo's
- 15 Family Soldiers
- 16 Former members
- 17 Family Crews
- 18 The Rizzuto Crime Family
- 19 Government Informants
- 20 Bonanno family Mafia trials
- 21 Hearings
- 22 In popular culture
The Bonanno era
One of the Five Families established was headed up by Joseph Bonanno, formed from part of the Maranzano Family. Bonanno was at the time the youngest of the bosses of the Five Families at 22 years-old, and the youngest boss in America. He was very young and inexperienced, but powerful, ambitious, fearless, dangerous and ruthless, and he did not hesitate to keep his men in line, command his organization, and order murders. He was a very clever and sophisticated boss, and he directed the family into the popular organized crime operations, involving gambling, loan-sharking, extortion, prostitution, and racketeering. The Bonanno Family was considered the closest knit of the Five Families due to the fact that it was made up of mostly Sicilians from the seaside town where Bonanno was born – Castellamare del Golfo, Sicily. Bonanno strongly believed blood relations and a strict Sicilian upbringing could be the only way to hold the traditional values of La Cosa Nostra together. Bonanno's power was due to his close relationship with Joe Profaci. Profaci was head of the Profaci family one of the five families in New York City. The relationship between the two bosses became stronger when Bonanno's son Salvatore Bonanno married Profaci's niece Rosalie in 1956. If any members of the other three families exercised thoughts of muscling in on Bonanno enterprises, the close ties to the Profaci family made them think twice. With the death of Joe Profaci in 1962 an alliance of Gaetano Lucchese and Carlo Gambino threatened to undermine Bonanno's position.
The Bonanno War
In the early 1960s the Bonanno family went into a civil war. Called by the media as the "Banana Split" or "Banana's war". Many members in the Bonanno family were growing wary, complaining that boss Joseph Bonanno was never around. Joe Bonanno was spending his time in second home in Tucson, Arizona. Eventually, the commission decided that he no longer deserved to be boss, naming Bonanno capo Gaspare DiGregorio as the new boss. DiGregorio was the brother-in-law to Joe Bonanno's cousin Stefano Magaddino.
The family split into two factions the DiGregorio supporters and the Bonanno loyalists. The Bonanno loyalists were led by his brother-in-law Frank Labruzzo and Bonanno's son Salvatore Bonanno. There had been no violence from either side until the 1966 Brooklyn sit-down. DiGregorio's men arrived at the meeting, and when Salvatore Bonanno arrived a large gun battle ensued. The DiGregorio's loyalists planned to wipe out the opposition but they failed and no one was killed. Further peace offers from both sides were spurned with the ongoing violence and murders. The Commission grew tired of the affair and replaced Gaspare DiGregorio with Paul Sciacca, but the fighting carried on regardless.
The war was finally brought to a close with Joseph Bonanno, still in hiding, suffering a heart attack and announcing his permanent retirement in 1968 (he went on to live to the age of 97, dying in Tucson, Arizona in 2002). Both factions came together under Sciacca's leadership. His replacement was Natale Evola as boss of the Bonanno family. Evola leadership was short lived - his death (from natural causes) in 1973 brought Phillip Rastelli to the throne.
Due to the infighting of the Bonanno family, they were spurned by the other families and stripped of their Commission seat. Phillip Rastelli took charge of a seemingly hapless, doomed organization. Rastelli's former friend Carmine Galante became a powerful and dangerous renegade.
Having previously acted as a focal point for the importation of heroin to the USA via Montreal, Carmine Galante set about refining the family's drug trafficking operations. The incredibly lucrative deals he was able to make made the family a fortune, but with the other four families being kept out of the arrangements, Galante was making a rod for his own back.
When eight members of the Genovese family were murdered on Galante's orders for trying to muscle in on his drug operation, the other families decided he had outlived his usefulness at the head of the Bonanno family. On July 12, 1979, Carmine Galante was shot dead by three men, at a restaurant in the Bushwick area of Brooklyn.
Rastelli took over once again, but the family's internal strife was far from over. Three renegade capos Phillip Giaccone, Alphonse Indelicato and Dominick Trinchera began to openly question Rastelli's leadership and apparently to plot to overthrow him. With the blessing of the other families, Rastelli had the three men wiped out in a hit arranged by then-current Underboss Dominick Napolitano, as well as the future Boss Joseph Massino.
The alleged Boss of the Mafia in Montreal Vito Rizzuto was extradited from Canada to the USA in August 2006 and will face charges in connection with the murder of three captains of the Bonanno family in 1981. Vito Rizzuto is now in prison and will be out in 2 years.
Under Massino's Command
After Phillip Rastelli's death in 1991, following a period in which he ruled the family from inside prison, saw the promotion of Joseph Massino to the top spot. However, Massino had been the real power in the family since the mid-1980s. One of his first acts was to change the family's name to "the Massino family." Like other mafiosi, Massino had been very displeased at Bonanno's tell-all book, A Man of Honor, and believed he'd broken the code of omertà by writing it. However, the change never stuck, and most people outside the family continued to use the old name.
Remembering the pitfalls that landed other bosses in prison, Joseph Massino adopted a more secretive way of doing business. He shut down the family's social clubs, believing they were too easy to bug. He also streamlined the family's chain of command, assigning a group of capos to oversee a particular enterprise and report to underboss Salvatore Vitale. He also barred family members from speaking his name. Instead, they were to point to their ears when referring to him--a nod to how Genovese boss Vincent Gigante told his men to point to their chins rather than use his name. Remembering how close Pistone/Brasco had come to actually becoming made, Massino required any prospective soldier to be "on record" with a made man for at least eight years before becoming made himself. He also strongly encouraged his men to volunteer their sons for membership, believing that they would be less likely to turn informer and be more loyal. However, the family already had a reputation for loyalty; it was the only family that had never seen one of its members turn informer in the seven decades since the Castellammarese War.
Joseph Massino not only concentrated on the narcotics trade as had become mandatory for a mob boss, but also in other areas less likely to draw the attention of the authorities than drugs, such as the Mafia's stock trades of racketeering, money laundering and loan sharking. A close friend of Massino's, and boss of the Gambino crime family, John Gotti, also helped to get the Bonannos a seat on "The Commission" again. By the mid-1990s, the FBI reckoned Massino as the most powerful Mafia boss in New York and the country. Over the next 10 years the family regrouped while the other families' bosses were in prison.
Massino turns informant
Joseph Massino managed to keep his nose clean until the killing of Caporegime Dominick Napolitano in 1983 came back to haunt him. He and his underboss, Salvatore Vitale, were charged with the crime in 2003 after two of their capos turned themselves over as witnesses for the government. Vitale, who had until that point been utterly loyal to his boss, also faced a further murder charge and decided to switch sides himself, condemning Massino to life imprisonment. Capital punishment had been a possibility for Massino, but in 2004 he became the first serving boss to turn informant, sparing himself the ultimate penalty.
Massino is believed to be the man who pointed the FBI towards a spot in Ozone Park, Queens, called "The Hole", where the body of Alphonse Indelicato had been found in 1981. Told to dig a little deeper, authorities duly uncovered the remains of Dominick Trinchera and Phillip Giaccone, as well as a body suspected to be that of John Favara, a neighbor of Gambino family boss John Gotti who had killed the mobster's son in a car/bicycle accident, and paid with his life.
Former Boss Joseph Massino is also believed to have provided the police with information on a number of high ranking Bonanno Family members and former acting boss Vincent Basciano, whose conversations with Massino were taped in late 2004 and early 2005 by the turncoat himself. Before Massino became an informant himself, his acting boss on the outside was Capo Anthony Urso, but his tenure was short-lived as he too was imprisoned on numerous charges, leading to Vincent Basciano taking control. Vincent Basciano's term as acting boss was hampered with his arrest in late 2004, but with Massino's eventual betrayal, authorities claim that Basciano assumed the top position in 2005, is allegedly the current Boss and leading the broken Bonanno family from his prison cell.
The authorities continue to plague the family, with the February 16, 2006 arrest of acting boss Michael Mancuso on murder charges, while alleged Boss Vincent Basciano was recently convicted on charges of conspiracy to murder, attempted murder, and illegal gambling and was sentenced to life imprisonment in late 2007. The main charge against him was that he conspired to murder both the judge and prosecutor in the case, as well as Patrick DeFilippo, a fellow Bonanno crime family captain.
Federal law enforcement authorities have recently claimed in a New York Daily News column that current Bonanno Family Boss Vincent Basciano has named Brooklyn business owner Salvatore Montagna, age 35 of Elmont, Long Island as the new "acting boss" of the Bonanno Family. Sal Montagna was an unknown soldier in the Bronx crew of capo Patrick DeFilippo and became acting capo of the crew upon DeFilippo's 2003 arrest on murder and racketeering charges. Law enforcement sources have stated that Salvatore Montagna was tabbed as "acting boss" with Vincent Basciano's consent to maintain the Bonanno Family's base of power within the Bronx faction of the Bonanno crime family. The Bonanno family's base of power was traditionally held by the Brooklyn faction from the time of Family patriarch Joseph Bonanno until the eventual rise of Queens faction leader Phillip Rastelli in the early 1970s. The ascension of the Bronx faction began with Basciano's promotion to acting boss, eventual ascension to the top position of Boss, continued through Michael Mancuso's short tenure and now remains with Sal Montagna acting on behalf of Basciano. The newly alleged acting boss is sometimes referred to as "Sal the Zip" being that he is from Joseph Bonanno's hometown of Castellammare del Golfo, is closely associated with the Family's Sicilian faction and fellow Castellammarese, Baldo Amato who is currently in prison and former Bonanno Capo Cesare Bonventre who was murdered in 1984."
In July 2004, The New York Times reported that federal prosecutors in Brooklyn "say that overall, in the last four years, they have won convictions against roughly 75 mobsters or associates in a crime clan with fewer than 150 made members." Several top Bonanno family members including two former acting bosses and the current Boss Vincent Basciano have been indicted and convicted recently, reinforcing the government's claim of victory over the Bonanno family and New York's La Cosa Nostra. In February 2005, Bonanno family Capo Anthony Urso pled guilty to racketeering, murder, gambling, loan sharking and extortion charges, while Capo Joseph "Joe Saunders" Cammarano, along with soldier Louis Restivo pled guilty to murder and racketeering charges."
Twelve Bonanno family member and associates, seven over the age 70, including acting consigliere Anthony "Mr. Fish" Rabito and respected soldier Salvatore Scudiero were indicted and arrested on June 14, 2005 on charges of operating a $10 million a year gambling ring." The most recent blow to the Family came with the September 20, 2006 sentencing of capos Louis Attanasio and Peter Calabrese to 15 years in prison for the 1984 murder of capo Cesare Bonventre in Queens.
The defection of former Bonanno family Bosses Joseph Massino and Salvatore Vitale, along with four high ranking former Capos, has caused the Bonanno family to lose power, influence and respect within the New York underworld to a degree not seen since the Donnie Brasco incident. With the upcoming trial of Capos Michael "Mikey Nose" Mancuso and Patrick DeFilippo on murder, gambling and racketeering charges, the ability of the Bronx faction to stay in control of the crime family will be determined along with the Bonanno family's future position in North America's underworld. Basciano is still the alleged "Boss" of the Bonannos, with, from late 2006, Salvatore Montagna as "acting boss", following orders from the imprisoned Vincent Basciano. With Nicholas Santora as "acting underboss" for the imprisoned Michael Mancuso, and Anthony Rabito as the alleged consigliere, Salvatore Montagna is capable to run the day-to-day operations on behalf of Vincent Basciano.
A March 2009 article in the New York Post stated that Salvatore Montagna is the acting boss of the Bonanno Crime Family. The article also stated that the Bonanno family current consists of approximately 115 "made" members. Montagna was later deported to Canada in April 2009 leaving the family to create a ruling panel until a new boss was chosen.
Current position of the family
Under the rule of former Boss Joseph Massino, the Bonanno family climbed back to the top of New York's crime family hierarchy and once again became a top power in America's underworld, but high level defections and convictions have left the family a shell of its former self once more during its long criminal history.
By 2006, due to Joseph Massino deciding to cooperate with the FBI, both sides agree that the family will no longer take orders from the man he previously appointed acting boss, Vincent Basciano. Since the family needed a new boss, Bronx- based acting capo Salvatore Montagna was controversially named the new godfather. The decision reportedly came with heavy backlash from thr family’s Queens faction, thus creating a tension between Bronx and Queens mobsters that would last the next decade. Montagna quietly led his enterprise for the next three years, until he was extradited to Canada in 2009. The Bonanno family then decided to choose a ‘ruling panel’ as the new leaders which consisted of Vincent Asaro and Vincent Badalamanti.
In January 2012, prosecutors indicted the hierarchy of the Bonanno family on racketeering and extortion charges. These charges were primarily based on information from government informant Hector Pagan. Those arrested were Nicholas Santora, James LaForte, Vincent Badalamenti, and soldiers Vito Balsamo and Anthony Calabrese. All five defedants pleaded guilty to lesser charges and were given sentences ranging from six to 18 months. Anthony Graziano (Pagan's ex father-inlaw), who was arrested in 2011, was sentenced to one and a half years in prison.
In 2012, Michael Mancuso, who is currently imprisoned was named the new official boss of the family. Mancuso is first man to hold this title since boss Joseph Massino became a government witness in 2005. Mancuso controls all decision making from prison while his underboss Thomas DiFiore ran the family on the streets.
In 2014 DiFiore was arrested with several other Bonanno gangsters and sentenced to 21 months in prison on debt collection charges. Mancuso then promoted capo John Palazzolo to streetboss so that he could run things on the street for Mancuso. Palazzolo was also promoted in an attempt to thwart a move by a rival faction led by capo Joseph Cammarano Jr. to take control of the family.
In 2015 Palazzolo was sent back to prison for a parole violation (meeting with known wiseguys). It was rumored that Palazzolo had been attempting to take control of rackets in Queens, on behalf of Michael Mancuso. This caused an unrest in the family, almost leading to bloodshed. However a truce was soon made and in January of 2016, there were reports that claimed that Mancuso gave his blessing for the family to promote Joseph Cammarano Jr. to Street Boss.
Cammarano’s reign did not last long. In January 2018, the FBI arrested Cammarano along with several other made members of the Bonanno family. Cammarano is under house arrest, released on bail. The indictment was based off of information given to the FBI from former Bonanno capo- turned informant Peter Lovaglio.
Historical leadership of the Bonanno family
Bosses (official and acting)
c. 1890s–1901 — Giuseppe "Peppe" Bonanno – died in 1901.
1908–1911 — Salvatore "Don Turridu" Bonanno – returned to Sicily in 1911, died of a heart attack in 1915.
1911–1915 — Vito Bonventre – resigned as boss.
1915–1921 — Stefano Magaddino – left new york city and moved to bufallo.
1921–1930 — Nicola Schiro – fled
- Acting 1930 — Joseph Parrino – removed
1930–1931 — Salvatore Maranzano – murdered on September 1931
1931–1965 — Joseph Bonanno – forcibly retired by Mafia Commission
1965–1966 — Gaspare DiGregorio – forcibly replaced by Mafia Commission
1966–1971 — Paul Sciacca – installed by Mafia Commission
1973–1979 — Carmine Galante – seized power without Rastelli's support or Commission sanction, but with the underboss and majority of capos publicly supporting him, he carried the true power. He was murdered on July 12, 1979 in Commission sanctioned plot aganist him allowing Rastelli to assume control again.
1973–1991 — Phillip Rastelli – Official Boss of the Bonanno Crime Family imprisoned from 1975 to 1984 and 1986 to 1991.
- Acting - 1979–1983 — Salvatore "Sally Fruits" Ferrugia – appointed by the Commission
- Acting - 1987–1991 — Anthony Spero
1991–2004 - Joseph Massino – imprisoned January 2003, became government informant in October 2004
- Acting - 1991–1993 — Anthony Spero
- Acting - 2003–2004 — Anthony Urso
- Acting - 2004–2009 — Vincent Basciano – imprisoned, convicted in July 2007 receiving a life sentence.
- Acting - 2005–2006 — Michael Mancuso – imprisoned February 2006
- Acting - 2006 - 2009— Salvatore Montagna – deported to Canada in April 2009 and murdered on November 24th 2011.
2012- present — Michael Mancuso
- Acting - 2013–2014 -Thomas "Tommy D" DiFiore- Arrested in January 2014.
- Acting - 2014-2015- John Palazzolo- Arrested in March 2015 for a parole violation.
- Acting - 2015-2018 - Joseph Cammarano Jr. - Indicted in January 2018; Currently out on bail.
Underboss- is the number two position in the family (after the Don, Godfather, Boss). Also known as the "capo bastone" in some criminal organizations, this individual is responsible for sending a share of the family's profits to the boss. The underboss also oversees the selection of caporegimes and soldier(s). After the boss dies, the underboss normally takes control of the crime family until a new boss is chosen, in some cases the underboss.
1908-1930 - Vito Bonventre killed in Castelammarese War on July 15th 1930.
1930 - Angelo Caruso
1930-1931 - Joseph Bonanno (promoted to Boss in September 1931)
1931-1950 - Giovanni Bonventre Deported in 1950
1950-1956 - Francesco Garafolo
1956-1962 - Carmine Galante
1964 – Vacant due to Bonanno War.
1964-1965 - John Morales (Promoted to front boss in 1965)
1965-1968 - Pietro "Skinny Pete" Crociata
1968 - Frank "Russo" Mari
1968-1971 - Natale Evola (Promoted to boss in 1971)
1971-1973 - Phillip Rastelli (Promoted to acting boss in 1973)
1974-1979 - Nicholas Marangello
1979-1981 - Salvatore Catalano (Capo/Street Boss of the Zip Faction)
1991-2003 - Salvatore Vitale (became FBI informant in February 2003)
- Acting 2001-2002 - Richard Cantarella (became an FBI informant on December 2002, and in June 2004 testified aganist Bonanno boss Joseph Massino.)
- Acting 2003-2004- Joseph Cammarano Sr.
- Acting - 2004- Michael Mancuso
2004-2007- Nicholas Santora
2013-2015 - Thomas DiFiore
2015-2019 - Joseph Cammarano Jr. - reportedly shelved by Michael Mancuso
Consigliere is the number three position in the organization. Together, the boss, underboss and consigliere are referred to as "the administration." In Italian, consigliere means "advisor."
1931-1964 - John Tartamella
1964 - Salvatore Bonanno
1964-1965 – Vacant due to the Bonanno War.
1965-1968 - Nicolino "Nick" Alfano
1968 - Michael "Mike" Adamo
1968-1971 - Phillip Rastelli (Promoted to underboss in 1971)
1971-1974 - Joseph DiFilippo
1974-1984 - Stefano "Stevie Beefs" Cannone
1984-2001 - Anthony Spero (acting boss from 1987–1993, died September 29, 2008)
- Acting 1987-1992 - Joseph Buccellato
- Acting 1999-2001 - Anthony Graziano
2001–2010 - Anthony Graziano
- Acting 2002-2003 - Anthony Urso
2010- 2015- Anthony Rabito
2015-2017 - Vincent Badalamanti
2017-2018 - Simone Esposito
2018-2019 - John "Porky" Zancocchio
Street Boss/Capo of Sicilian Faction
In the 1950s the Bonanno family started bringing Sicilian-born Mafia members to New York to keep closer ties with the Sicilian Mafia families. American mobsters frequently refer to these Sicilian mobsters as Zips. The derogatory term name derives from their Sicilian birth and their fast-spoken, difficult-to-understand Sicilian dialects.
1966-1987 - Salvatore Catalano (promoted to Capo in 1976, was heavily involved in the Pizza Connection Trial with acting boss Carmine Galante. The heroin was shipped into the U.S. and sold through pizzerias in New York City and New Jersey. On March 2, 1987, Catalano was sentenced to 45 years in prison and fined $1.15 million. He was released on November 16, 2009.)
Mediator 1987-1999 - Gerlando Sciascia (Capo who operated out of Montreal, Canada and worked with the Sicilians in New York; served as mediator between Bonanno family and Montreal's Rizzuto family; Murdered March 18, 1999)
Boss - Michael Mancuso
Street Boss - John "Johnny Skyway" Palazzolo
Underboss - Joseph Cammarano Jr.
Consigliere - John Zancocchio
Current Family Capo's
Vincent Badalamenti – capo operating in Brooklyn and Staten Island. In December 2009, Badalamenti was found with Staten Island-based capo Anthony Calabrese and soldier John "Johnny Green" Faracithe meeting at a Bensonhurst storefront. He is considered a top member and is backed by the Sicilian faction of the family to become the new boss.
Vito Grimaldi - capo of Bushwick-Ridgewood Sicilian crew. He operates illegal Poker machines in Ridgewood, Queens from cafes and pizzerias. In 2002, he was arrested on illegal gambling and racketeering charges, he later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years in prison. Grimaldi's son is Joseph Grimaldi, a made man also with the Bonanno's and his son-in-law is Joseph Cammarano Jr.
Jerome Asaro - capo with large illegal gambling and loansharking rings in Queens. Asaro is the son of Vincent Asaro. In February 2007, Jerome Asaro pleaded guilty to 25 years of association with the Bonanno family. On November 2, 2010, Asaro was released from prison. Asaro was sentenced to prison in 2014 for helping to move the body of a gangland murder victim. His projected release date is June 15, 2020.
Joseph "Joe Desi" DeSimone - capo operating from Queens. In 1981, DeSimone was involved in the murder of his own capo Phillip Giaccone and the murders of two other capos Dominick Trinchera and Alphonse Indelicato. In 2016, he was released from prison and violated supervised release and was sent back to prison. On November 10, 2017 he was released from prison.
Anthony "Little Anthony" Pipitone - Capo operating with crews in Queens, Brooklyn and Long Island. Pipitone was arrested on October 14, 2009and released on February 7, 2013.
Pasquale Maiorino - capo operating from the Bronx. Maiorino served 20 years for a 1981 murder and in 2015 was sent back to prions on a gun charge. In 2017, he was detained pending sentencing on a separate extortion charged associated with Genovese capo Pasquale Parrello of the Bronx.
Staten Island Faction
Joseph "Joe Valet" Sabella - Bronx captain, Sabella took over the Vincent Basciano's old crew. In 2019, Sabella sentenced to 87 months in prison for his involvement in the dumping of illegal material at the LNG site in Rossville, Staten Island.
Long Island Faction
Thomas "Tommy D" DiFiore - Long Island capo and former underboss. In 2013, he became the family underboss and acting boss for imprisoned boss Michael Mancuso. In January 2014, he was arrested on extortion charges along with Vincent Asaro. He was released from prison on August 4, 2015.
John "Johnny Mulberry" Sciremammano - Long Island capo. In June 2004, Sciremammano was arrested for running an illegal sports betting from Skybox Lounge, in Island Park and wiring the money to accounts in Costa Rica.
New Jersey Faction
Louis "Louie the Leg Breaker" Civello Sr. - capo or acting capo operating in New Jersey. In 2015, Civello along with his son Louis Civello Jr. owns NJDAM, which came under investigation for car sale fraud and their ties to organized crime.
Sandro Aiosa - capo in Brooklyn during the 1970s. He was released from prison on October 12th 2012.
Joseph "Joe Lefty" Loiacono - acting capo who was arrested on October 14, 2009 for running a loansharking operation. He was released from prison on May 18th 2012.
Vincent Asaro - former capo. During the 1990s, Asaro allegedly operated a multi-million-dollar stolen car ring and oversaw the hijacking of cargo at John F. Kennedy International Airport. In 1995, Asaro was convicted of racketeering and enterprise corruption and sentenced to more than five years in prison. In December 2017, Asaro was sentenced to 8 years in prison for ordering the arson of a car driven by a man who had cut him off.
Baldassare Amato - a soldier in the Sicilian faction and leader of a freelance crew operating in Ridgewood, Queens. Amato is serving a life sentence in federal prison.
Vito Badamo - In July 2013, Badamo was indicted along with capo Nicholas Santora, acting capo Ernest Aiello, soldier Anthony Santoro and others on racketeering, loan sharking, illegal gambling and drug dealing charges. It was stated in court that Santora was training Badamo to take control of the crew in the future.
Anthony Calabrese – former capo based in Staten Island. He was found with capo Vincent Badalamenti on December 2009 meeting at a Bensonhurst storefront for a Christmas party.
(In prison) Peter "Peter Rabbit" Calabrese - a former capo involved in the 1984 murder of Cesare Bonventre with brothers Louis and Robert Attanasio. In 2006, Calabrese and Louis Attanasio were sentenced to 15 years for Cesare Bonventre's murder. Calabrese's projected release date is February 13, 2017.
(In prison) Thomas Fiore - former "acting capo" of Gerard Chilli's South Florida crew. He is based in Palm Beach County, city of Boynton Beach. On October 14, 2009 his crew in South Florida was charged under the RICO law. Six of the eleven crew members pleaded guilty to a list of crimes. The members that plead guilty included crew enforcer Pasquale Rubbo his brother Joseph Rubbo. The crew is involved in arson, insurance fraud, identity theft, illegal gambling and other crimes. They send some tribute up to Bonanno family bosses in New York City. On March 2, 2010 Fiore was sentenced to twelve years for racketeering. His projected release date is January 18, 2020.
Anthony Furino - former capo based in Staten Island. In 2004, Furino was arrested for extortion of Long Island night clubs and Staten Island restaurants. In 2007, Furino was released from prison.
Ronald Giallanzo - acting captain for Jerome Asaro. In 2018, Giallanzo was sentenced to 14-year prison for running a $3 million loansharking business. During the trial prosecutors stated that Giallanzo was capo of the Howard Beach crew between 1998-2017 even overseeing their operations while in prison for eight years.
(In prison) Anthony Indelicato - soldier in the crew of his uncle, Joseph Indelicato and the son of Alphonse Indelicato. A made member since the late 1970s, Anthony Indelicato may have participated in the 1979 murder of Carmine Galante. Indelicato was on good terms with former boss Vincent Basciano and also with the recent acting boss Salvatore Montagna. Indelicato was offered promotion to capo of his own crew, but declined the offer and stayed in his uncle's crew. On December 16, 2008 Indelicato received a 20 year prison sentence for the 2001 killing of Frank Santoro. Indelicato's projected release date is May 20, 2023.
(In prison) Thomas Pitera - soldier and hitman who was sentenced to life in prison for six murders.
Frank "Frank the Fireman" Porco - former capo operating from Staten Island, Brooklyn and Florida. In 2005, Porco was released from prison.
Joseph "Sammy" Sammartino Sr. - former capo of a New Jersey crew. He was born and raised in Jersey City's Marion Section and currently resides in North Arlington, New Jersey. His crew is based in Bayonne, New Jersey and he controls a loansharking ring. In 2009, he served on a ruling panel running the family. On October 14, 2009, Sammartino was arrested on loansharking charges. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison and a $50,000 fine for extortion and loansharking. On January 27, 2011, Sammartino was released from prison.
Anthony "Scal" Sclafani – former capo in the Staten Island faction who operates illegal gambling. Sclafani also operates in New Jersey with capo Joseph Sammartino Sr. On October 14, 2009, Sclafani was arrested om loansharking charges. Sclafani is currently incarcerated at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn awaiting trial.
Cesare Bonventre - a former capo and member of the Sicilian faction. He was related to Vito Bonventre, John Bonventre, and Joseph Bonanno. He was murdered on April 16, 1984.
John Cerasani – was a Bonanno family soldier and right-hand man to Sonny "Black" Napolitano. Cerasani was involved in the 1981 murders of three warring captains Alphonse Indelicato, Dominick Trinchera and Phillip Giaccone. In July 26, 1982 Cerasani, Benjamin Ruggiero, Anthony Rabito, Nicholas Santora and Antonio Tomasulo were tried at a Manhattan federal district court. Cerasani was later acquitted.
Vito “Vicky Dice” Pellegrino - former captain and official street boss during the early til late 1970s. He died whilst imprisoned in 1995. Brother of former powerful Genovese figure, Salvatore Pellegrino.
Gerard Chilli- former capo in Staten Island with operations in Broward County, Florida and Hollywood, Florida with his nephew Tom Fiore. Chilli died in 2016.
Patrick DeFilippo - former capo operating in the Bronx and allie to the Sicilian faction. DeFilippo was incarcerated on racketeering charges and acting boss Salvatore Montagna took his crew until his deportation in 2009. DeFilippo died in 2013.
James Episcopia - a soldier who worked for capo Sonny "Black" Napolitano.
(Deported) Salvatore Montagna - Capo and acting boss after the 2005 conviction of Vincent Basciano. Based in the Bronx, Montagna was reportedly the leader of the Sicilian faction. Montagna was born in Montreal, Canada and resided in Elmont, New York. His family originated from Castellammare del Golfo, Sicily. On April 21, 2009, Montagna was deported to Canada. The Rizzuto crime family led by Vito Rizzuto Sr. allowed Montagna to work with his family. over the next 2 years he embarked on a bloody power struggle to take control of the Rizzuto crime family and become boss, he murdered Vito Rizzuto Sr. and several powerful members of the crime family.
On November 24th 2011 The body of Salvatore Montagna was pulled out of the L'Assomption River, in the city of Repentigny, Quebec, Canada, on Montréal's North Shore region (courronne nord). He had been shot multiple times, at around 10am on November 24, 2011 on Île-aux-Tresors in the city of Charlemagne, Quebec, across the river. It was reported that Montagna jumped in the river in an unsuccessful attempt to escape his killers.
Gerlando Sciascia - a former capo who operated out of Montreal, Canada and worked with the Sicilian faction in New York. Sciascia served as mediator between Bonanno family and Montreal's Rizzuto family in the early 1990s. He was murdered on March 18, 1999.
Michael Zaffarano – a former capo who was involved in the adult entertainment industry. Anthony Mirra a soldier in his crew was responsible for allowing FBI agent Joseph D. Pistone ("Donnie Brasco") to work undercover in the Bonanno crime family. On February 14, 1980, Zaffarano died from a heart attack during an FBI raid.
Peter Monteleone -(Born on August 18,1926-died on July 25,1991) was a New York mobster and made member in the Bonanno Crime Family.Born in Manhattan, NY, Peter was raised in the lower east side Knickerbocker Village private housing development. Young Peter grew up with Benjamin "Lefty Two Guns" Ruggiero, who was portrayed by Al Pacino in the film Donnie Brasco.Peter had three children: daughter Carol and sons Julius & Peter. Peter died of a heart attack in the veterans hospital July 25,1991. Pete was what they called a real goodfella he was always well dressed,respectable and a family man When Peter was 18 he was drafted into world war 2 and was shot 2 times in his back and collected money every month
Peter reportedly got his nickname "Harry James" because he closely resembled the famous 1940's actor/big band composer/musician Harry James when he was younger.
In 1970, The Federal government was giving out subpoenas, Monteleone spent a few months in federal Prison. After he moved to Brooklyn, he became a soldier for Anthony Spero,who became his captain and close confidant.
Chris "The Sandwich Man" Griffin - Associate of Salvatore Montagna before his death, now a captain in The Friday Kings crew who work for the Patrone crime family after Thomas DiFiore offered the Patrone family The Sandwich Mans services.
The Sicilian Faction - in the 1950s the Bonanno family started bringing Sicilian-born Mafia members to New York to keep closer ties with the Sicilian Mafia families. American mobsters frequently refer to these Sicilian mobsters as Zips. The derogatory term name derives from their Sicilian birth and their fast-spoken, difficult-to-understand Sicilian dialects.
The Motion Lounge Crew - run by acting underboss and capo Nicholas Santora. This Brooklyn-based crew is active primarily in the Western Brooklyn communities of Williamsburg and East Williamsburg.
The Indelicato crew - run by capo Joseph Indelicato. This crew is active in Manhattan and New Jersey. Indelicato's nephew Anthony Indelicato is a soldier in this crew.
Bath Beach Crew - was run by consigliere Anthony Spero until his death in 2008.
Tuscon Crew - possibly inactive after retiring of Joseph Bonanno.
The Rizzuto Crime Family
The Canadian Rizzuto Crime Family in Montreal Canada was a faction of the Bonanno Crime Family from its creation. This changed in the 1970s when Vic Cotroni, a Calabrian, who was the capo of the Montreal Faction, and Sicilian mobster, Nicolo Rizzuto began to have differences. Nicolo Rizzuto started his own faction with about 15-20 members, but still were under the Bonanno umbrella. By the 1990s, Canada had 2 Families under the Bonanno Umbrella, The Rizzuto Crime Family, and the Cotroni Crime Family.
In the Early 1990's, the Rizzuto Crime Family decided and declared to go on their own, considering that it has outgrown the Bonanno family. Today the two crime families have remained allies, but the Rizzuto's and the Cotroni's have had their fair share of battles over the years as more and more crime families have made their way to Montreal and Toronto.
Currently in Eastern Canada, there are 6 Active Mafia Families:
- Rizzuto Crime Family - Cosa Nostra
- Cotroni Crime Family - Cosa Nostra
- Musitano Crime Family - 'Ndrangheta
- Papalia Crime Family - 'Ndrangheta
- Luppino Crime Family - 'Ndrangheta
- Commisso 'ndrina - 'Ndrangheta - Powerful clan from the much larger Siderno Group
Leaders (Capo) of the Rizzuto Crime Family
Nicolo "Nick" Rizzuto - He became the official Capo of the Montreal Faction of the Bonanno crime family in 1984 with the death of previous leader, the Calabrian Godfather Vic Cotroni. By the late 1970s he was recognized as the leader of the sixth family, a title given to his Sicilian crime family by the media and by the late 1980s he was recognized as the Canadian mafia's Godfather. He was indicted and imprisoned in November 2006, but was released in October 2008 after time served and a plea agreement that included probation. Rizzuto is thought by law enforcement to be an adviser or consigliere for his crime family, while his son is the acting leader or boss. He was born in Sicily.
Vito Rizzuto - Son of Nick Rizzuto and a relative to Gerlando Sciascia. Vito Rizzuto was the most powerful and feared crime lord in Canada, virtually controlled the country thru a reign of terror and his vast political and economic power. Born in Sicily, he immigrated to Canada with his father Nick in the mid 1950s and has since built a multi-billion dollar empire there based on in international narcotics trafficking. Rizzuto was arrested in January 2004 and extradited to the United States in August 2006. In May 2007, Rizzuto accepted a plea deal for his involvement in the May 1981 murders of three renegade Bonanno capos. He was sentenced to ten years in prison, with a projected release date of October 2012. However, after his release, Rizzuto faces the possibility of extradition to Italy to face conspiracy and money laundering charges concerning the Straits of Messina Bridge project there.
Joseph Massino – Boss from early 1990s until 2004 who became the first New York City official boss to become an informant. Massino changed the Bonanno family from being the weakest family in New York City to one of the most powerful in the country at the time. He teamed up with Gambino family boss John Gotti to reinstate the Bonanno family on the Mafia Commission. In the early 2000s, Messino was the strongest and most influential boss who wasn't in prison. In January 2003, Massino was charged with the 1981 murder of Bonanno capo Dominick Napolitano. Massino had Napolitano killed for admitting FBI agent Joseph D. Pistone (known as Donnie Brasco) to his crew. In 2004, Messino turned informant and testified against members of his own family to avoid the death penalty. In January 2005, Massino wore a surveillance device to record conversations in prison with his acting boss Vincent Basciano.
Salvatore Vitale – Underboss before he started cooperating with the government in April 2003. In January 2003, Vitale was charged with the 1992 murder of Bonanno associate Robert Perrino. After turning government informant, Vitale testified in the July 2004 trial of boss Joseph Massino, his brother-in-law.
Richard Cantarella – acting underboss and Capo who in December 2002 became one of first government witnesses from that family. In January 2003, Cantarella was indicted on the 1991 murder of Bonanno associate Robert Perrino. In June 2004, Cantarella testified against boss Joseph Massino. Cantarella's wife Lauretta and son Paul, a Bonnanno soldier, also became informants. Cantarella's cousin Joseph D'Amico, a Bonanno capo, also became a government witness.
Frank Coppa Sr. - Capo who became a government witness in November 2002.
Frank Lino – Capo who became the first government witness in Bonanno family history. Lino testified on the 1981 murders of Bonanno capos Alphonse Indelicato, Phillip Giaccone, and Dominick Trinchera. Lino then testified on the 1981 murder of Dominick Napolitano. Napolitano was killed by Bonanno family member Robert Lino Sr. (his cousin) and Ronald Filocomo.
James "Big Louie" Tartaglione – Capo and Massino supporter who became a government informant. In 2003, Tartaglione began wearing a surveillance device and recorded conversations with other Bonanno family members. In 2007, Tartaglione testified against Vincent Basciano and Patrick DeFilippo.
Paul "Paulie" Cantarella - Soldier whose father is Bonanno capo Richard Cantarella. In 2002, Paul Cantarella became government witness with his father Richard and mother Lauretta.
Joseph D'Amico – Soldier who was part of crew belonging to his uncle, Bonanno capo Alfred Embarrato’s. D’Amico was arrested for the murder of his cousin Anthony Mirra, who had allowed FBI agent Joseph Pistone to work for the family. In March 2003 D'Amico decided to become a government informant.
Dominick Cicale – Capo who was friends with acting capo Vincent Basciano. In 2007, Cicale became a government witness and testified against Basciano.
Nicholas "P.J" Pisciotti – acting Capo. In 2007, Pisciotti assaulted several Genovese crime family associates in a Little Italy restaurant. When he found out that Bonanno mobsters Nicholas Santora and Anthony Rabito had given the Genovese crime family permission for revenge, Pisciotti became a government witness. In 2007, he testified against Vincent Basciano.
Joseph Calco – Associate with the Bath Avenue crew. In 2001, Calco became a government witness and testified against Bonanno Consigliere Anthony Spero. Calco then entered witness protection under the name "Joseph Milano" and was working in Florida until he got into a fight and his cover was revealed.
Michael "Mikey Y" Yammine – Associate with the Bath Avenue crew. In 2001, Yammine became a government informant and testified against Bonanno consigliere Anthony Spero.
Bonanno family Mafia trials
Mafia Commission Trial Pizza Connection Trial
Valachi hearings - (McClellan hearings) 1963.
The Bonanno Family Chart - of the Valachi hearings Boss: Joseph Bonanno
Underboss: Carmine Galante
Consiglieri: Francesco Garafolo
Caporegimes: Joseph "Little Joe" Notaro, other Caporegimes Unidentified
Soldiers-Buttons: Michael Angelina, James Colletti, Michael Consolo, Rasario Dionosio, Nicholas Marangello, Frank Mari, John Petrone,Rosario Morale,Angelo Presinzano, Frank Presinzano, Phillip Rastelli, George Rizzo, Michael Sabella, Joseph Spadaro, Costenze Valente,Peter Monteleone,Frank Valente, Nicholas Zapprana
In popular culture
The 1997 film Donnie Brasco tells the story of how FBI agent Joseph D. Pistone was able to work undercover with the Bonanno crime family and almost became a made man. The film was directed by Mike Newell, Written by Joseph D. Pistone and starred Al Pacino as Benjamin Ruggiero and Johnny Depp as Joseph D.Pistone/Donnie Brasco.
In the video game GTA 4 the Messina crime family is based on the Bonanno crime family. The Messina crime family is said to return its lost power back in the last years because of their alliance with Jon Gravelli. This is like the Bonanno family 1990s turn around becoming a powerful force on the commission again after John Gotti helped them regain their lost seat. They have a stronghold in Dukes the GTA 4 version of Queens like the real life Bonnanos and also are involved in construction business.
In The Godfather: The Game the Tattaglia crime family could be based on the Bonanno crime family. The Tattaglia family is also based in Brooklyn controlling almost every business and racket on the Brooklyn waterfront.
In the film Bonanno: A Godfather's Story (1999) (the film is also called Youngest Godfather) was the true life story of mafia boss Joseph Bonanno. The story spans from Joe Bonanno's early life in Italy, to his America Mafia career. The film was directed by Michel Poulette based on the book writing by Bill Bonanno and Joseph Bonanno and Joseph "Joe Bananas" Bonanno was played by Martin Landau/Tony Nardi/Bruce Ramsay.