Mafia: The Morello Family

by Jon Black

The Morello family is considered to be the first Mafia family of New York, with its leader often tagged the ‘boss of bosses’. The family was eventually broken after it’s leadership was jailed following an investigation by the Secret Service.


Arrival to America

In 1892 Giuseppe Morello arrived in New York from Corleone. He was fol­lowed six months lat­er by his moth­er, step-father, four sis­ters and his step broth­ers; Nicola, Ciro and Vincent Terranova.

The fam­i­ly stayed in New York for around a year, but suf­fer­ing from the lack of avail­able work they trav­elled to Louisiana to stay with a cous­in. For a year Morello worked with his father plant­i­ng sug­ar cane before mov­ing on to Bryan, Texas to work as a cot­ton pick­er. In 1896, the fam­i­ly arrived back in New York after being hit with Malaria.

In New York, Morello worked with his father as an orna­men­tal plas­ter­er, with his younger step-broth­ers, Ciro and Vincent, help­ing dur­ing the evenings and week­ends. He then opened a coal base­ment, but sold that after a year, and around 1900 he opened a saloon on 13th Street, soon fol­lowed by a sec­ond saloon on Stanton Street. Due to bad busi­ness, Morello closed the Stanton Street saloon and sold the one on 13th Street in 1901. He then opened a date fac­to­ry employ­ing around fif­teen peo­ple, but the busi­ness also ran at a loss.

Ignazio Lupo, who would lat­er become a pow­er­ful mem­ber of the gang and also mar­ry into the fam­i­ly, arrived in New York in 1898. Lupo was flee­ing arrest in Palermo after killing a busi­ness rival in the whole­sale gro­cery busi­ness. He opened a store on E72nd Street with a cous­in named Saietta, but moved his busi­ness to Brooklyn after a dis­agree­ment.

Counterfeiting

The gangs ear­ly focus was on coun­ter­feit­ing US cur­ren­cy. A dan­ger­ous occu­pa­tion that would result in them becom­ing the focus of the New York Secret Service branch, with agents spe­cial­ly trained to detect bogus bills and covert­ly track street push­ers with the hope of cap­tur­ing the coun­ter­feit man­u­fac­tur­ers.

The first major arrests hap­pened on June 11th, 1900, when Giuseppe Morello was cap­tured along with Colagero Meggiore. They were accused of sell­ing coun­ter­feit mon­ey and held on $5000 bail. The arrests had grown out of a Secret Service inves­ti­ga­tion that began when coun­ter­feit $5 bills were being passed in Brooklyn and North Beach. Morello and Meggiore were believed to be the sup­pli­ers of the mon­ey, which was described as ‘being print­ed on very poor paper with crude work­man­ship’. Morello lat­er walked free from court when no evi­dence could be brought again­st him.

After an anony­mous let­ter was sent to Detective Petrosino of the NYPD, the Secret Service raid­ed a pow­er­ful band of coun­ter­feit­ers on May 22st, 1902. The tip off claimed that a gang had been man­u­fac­tur­ing coins at a cot­tage in Hackensack, New Jersey, rent­ed by Salvatore Clemente, an acquain­tance of Nicholas Terranova. Agents also raid­ed a bar­ber­shop at 969 First Avenue, that was being used to dis­trib­ute the cur­ren­cy, arrest­ing Vito Cascioferro and Giuseppe Romano. Cascioferro, one of the most pow­er­ful Mafia lead­ers of the time, man­aged to escape con­vic­tion with an ali­bi that he worked at a local paper mill.

The alliances that Morello formed in the­se coun­ter­feit­ing schemes show a mixed bunch. The 1900 arrests list a mix­ture of Italians and Irish crim­i­nals, and the gang in 1902 had been led by a wom­an. Working with already estab­lished gangs in New York was a neces­si­ty like­ly born from the the tech­ni­cal, mechan­i­cal, and net­work require­ments of the coun­ter­feit­ing busi­ness.

Giuseppe Catania, a Brooklyn gro­cer, was found mur­dered on July 23rd, 1902. The Secret Service believed that Catania had been a mem­ber of the Morello gang involved with coun­ter­feit­ing. They sus­pect­ed the gang had dis­posed of him due to his habit of drink­ing and talk­ing too much. Salvatore Clemente, a Secret Service infor­mant, lat­er revealed that Giuseppe Morello and Dominico Pecoraro were behind the slay­ing.

In 1901, Chief Wilkie, of the Secret Service, not­ed the appear­ance of coun­ter­feit five dol­lar bills in imi­ta­tion to cur­ren­cy issued by the National Iron Bank Morristown NJ. Well over a year lat­er, on 31st December, 1902, Secret Service agents arrest­ed Giueseppe Guillambardo, Giuseppe De Primo and Isadoro Crocervera as they walked along Main Street, all three men were sus­pect­ed ‘push­ers’ for the Morello gang. The notes, knows as ‘Morristown Fives’, had been man­u­fac­tured in Italy and then shipped in emp­ty olive oil con­tain­ers to Manhattan. A man named Giuseppe Boscarino, who would fea­ture in the gangs down­fall in 1910, was sus­pect­ed of being in charge of con­trol­ling the dis­tri­b­u­tion of the Morristown notes.

Benedetto Madonnia, broth­er-in-law to the recent­ly jailed De Primo, was mur­dered in April 1903. The sen­sa­tion­al­ist case hit the head­li­nes and became known as ‘The Barrel Murder’ after Madonnia’s body was found cut and stuffed into an old bar­rel in East 11th Street. Most of the known mem­bers of the Morello gang were arrest­ed in con­nec­tion with the killing, but even­tu­al­ly cleared due to lack of evi­dence.

The gangs efforts at coun­ter­feit­ing ceased after the ‘Barrel’ case closed, and did not start up again until 1908 when they began a scheme print­ing hun­dreds of thou­sands of fake dol­lars.

Real Estate & Wholesale

Giuseppe Morello start­ed a real estate com­pa­ny in 1902, ‘The Ignatz Florio Co-Operative Association Among Corleonesi’, the com­pa­ny was involved in the con­struc­tion and sell­ing of prop­er­ties in New York. The names list­ed on the incor­po­ra­tion as direc­tors were Morello, Antonio Milone — a man who would lat­er be involved with their coun­ter­feit­ing schemes and Marco Macaluso.

Shares in the asso­ci­a­tion were sold amongst the local Italian com­mu­ni­ty, and ear­ly busi­ness records for the com­pa­ny show prop­er­ty sales and pur­chas­es worth hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars. The busi­ness flour­ished and the share cap­i­tal was increased in from $1,200 to $200,000. Hindered by the eco­nom­ic down­turn in 1907, the com­pa­ny even­tu­al­ly col­lapsed and was lat­er inves­ti­gat­ed by the Bankers Association of America.

Ignazio Lupo built an impres­sive chain of whole­sale gro­cery stores dur­ing his time in New York. Expanding from his store on Prince Street, he opened a new store Spring Street, and anoth­er at 628 138th Street in a prop­er­ty which he had pur­chased from the Ignatz Florio Co-Operative. His largest store was at 210214 Mott Street. It was report­ed to be ‘one the most impres­sive stores in the neigh­bour­hood, many of the locals could only dream of shop­ping there’.

William Flynn, chief of the Secret Service in 1914, described how Lupo used his net­work of busi­ness­es:

The small Italian gro­cers of the dis­trict were forced to buy their sup­plies from this store. If they did not their estab­lish­ments were in dan­ger of being wrecked by bombs or burned. Even worse, their chil­dren might be kid­napped or them­selves slain. By intim­i­dat­ing the local gro­cers into trad­ing at their whole­sale store, Lupo and Morello accom­plished a dou­ble pur­pose. They swelled their so-called legit­i­mate prof­its and were able to get rid of some of the coun­ter­feit mon­ey.

In 1912, the Secret Service record­ed that the ‘Terranova boys were still extort­ing mon­ey from poor shop­keep­ers and oth­ers’. One shop­keep­er was report­ed to have hand­ed over $300 but failed to report the crime out of fear.

At around the same time as the con­struc­tion trou­bles of the gang, Lupo began a huge fraud scheme using his whole­sale net­work. In November 1908, he claimed bank­rupt­cy again­st his import busi­ness and fled the city, his Mott Street store was closed under order of the US Court. The receivers moved in, and the inven­to­ry for his store only reached $1,500, but his debts were up to $100,000. The attor­neys for the receivers dis­cov­ered that Lupo had made around $50,000 worth of pur­chas­es in the week lead­ing up to his dis­ap­pear­ance, and also that Lupo had also recent­ly remort­gaged his real estate in Harlem. He had pur­chased the prop­er­ties a year ear­lier from the fail­ing Ignatz Florio Co-Operative, cost­ing $71,000.

Other Italian gro­cers across New York began to file for bank­rupt­cy at the same time as Lupo. Antonino Passananti, a mem­ber of the Morello gang, who owned a whole­sale wine busi­ness in Flushing Avenue, Brooklyn, ran his busi­ness into the ground in December 1908. The receivers called in the police after dis­cov­er­ing Passananti had been com­mit­ting wil­ful fraud. They also not­ed he had been pay­ing large amounts of mon­ey to Lupo before the pair went into hid­ing. The New York Times report­ed that a dozen oth­er Italian deal­ers had also dis­ap­peared, result­ing in total lia­bil­i­ties close to $500,000.

During a lat­er tri­al involv­ing Lupo, one of the wit­ness­es recalled (some­what inac­cu­rate­ly) a con­ver­sa­tion between Morello gang mem­bers:

There was some talk of the fail­ure of Lupo in his bank on Elizabeth Street, and how Salvatore [Giuseppe Palermo] and Uncle Vincent had also failed on Elizabeth Street, mak­ing much mon­ey there­by.’

On December 16th, Salvatore Manzella, an importer of wine and Italian pro­duce at 196 Elizabeth St, filed for bank­rupt­cy. William Blau, the receiver, pre­sent­ed Manzella to Judge Holt when he refused to show his accounts. Manzella tes­ti­fied that for over three years he had been a vic­tim of extor­tion from Lupo, and as a result he had lost his busi­ness.

In November 1909, Lupo returned to New York. He walked into the office of his receivers with his coun­sel, Charles Barbier. The excuse he invent­ed for flee­ing the city, and his bank­rupt busi­ness, was that he had been black­mailed for $10,000 by the Black Hand which left him broke and caused him to flee to Baltimore and Buffalo.

Black Hand Activities

The New York press often labelled Morello and Lupo ‘Leaders of the Black Hand’, when actu­al­ly the gangs main crim­i­nal activ­i­ty was coun­ter­feit­ing, but there are some con­nec­tions that can be made.

Antonio Comito, a wit­ness who tes­ti­fied again­st Morello and Lupo, recalled a sto­ry told to him by Nick Sylvester. Although Sylvester was a low rank­ing mem­ber of the gang, gen­er­al­ly work­ing menial tasks, he had black­mailed a man on Mott Street using threat­en­ing let­ters. This, he told, was done along with Giuseppe Morello’s broth­er and son.

He was a fool and told the police. We did not know that though and when he failed for a third time to give up the mon­ey we went there late one night and threw a big bomb through the win­dow of his store … We were arrest­ed but it had been dark and we had arranged things so care­ful­ly, even hav­ing the let­ters writ­ten by oth­ers and nev­er hav­ing him see or know us, that there being no eye wit­ness­es a good lawyer who helps us much in New York got us free.

The gang was also involved with kid­nap­ping, anoth­er pop­u­lar Black Hand crime. Gang mem­bers, Vito Laduca and Ignazio Lupo were both arrest­ed in sep­a­rate kid­nap­ping cas­es. Lupo was arrest­ed on March 7th 1906 after he was iden­ti­fied by Antonio Bozzuffi, an Italian boy who had been kid­napped and held on 59th Street. Bozzuffi was the son of a wealthy Italian banker named John, who had helped the Morello gang in the past by fil­ing the incor­po­ra­tion cer­tifi­cate of their Ignatz Florio Co-Operative Association.

Antonio Passananti, a Morello gang mem­ber who was involved with the killing of Petrosino, was arrest­ed under sus­pi­cion of set­ting a bomb in Brooklyn, after he had tried to extort mon­ey from man who failed to pay. He was caught in pos­ses­sion of a unique type of paper and envelopes that matched those sent to the vic­tim.

In 1909, when Morello was arrest­ed in con­nec­tion with coun­ter­feit­ing, a series of Black Hand let­ters were found at his home.

Agent Flynn of the Secret Service described the way in which the Mafia lead­er used the let­ters, adding a slight twist to the more sim­plis­tic meth­ods of lesser crim­i­nals:

A threat­en­ing let­ter is sent to a pro­posed vic­tim. Immediately after the let­ter is deliv­ered by the post­man Morello just ‘hap­pens’ to be in the vicin­i­ty of the vic­tim to be, and ‘acci­den­tal­ly’ meets the receiver of the let­ter. The receiver knows of Morello’s close con­nec­tions with Italian male­fac­tors, and, the thing being fresh in mind, calls Morello’s atten­tion to the let­ter. Morello takes the let­ter and reads it. He informs the receiver that vic­tims are not killed off with­out cer­e­mony and just for the sake of mur­der. The ‘Black-Hand’ chief him­self declar­es he will locate the man who sent the let­ter, if such a thing is pos­si­ble, the vic­tim nev­er sus­pect­ing that the let­ter is Morello’s own. Of course, the let­ter is nev­er returned to the pro­posed vic­tim. By this cun­ning pro­ce­dure no evi­dence remains in the hand of the receiver of the let­ter should he wish to seek aid from the police.

View the con­tents of the Black Hand let­ters found in Giuseppe Morello’s home

MR. BATAGLIA: ‘Do not think that we are dead. Look out for your face; a veil won’t help you. Now is the occa­sion to give me five hun­dred dol­lars on account of that which you oth­ers don’t know respect that from then to now you should have kissed my fore­head I have been in your store, friend Donate how you respect him he is an igno­rant boob, that I bring you oth­ers I hope that all will end that when we are alone they give me no peace as I deserve time lost that brings you will know us nei­ther some oth­er of the Mafia in the future will write in the bank where you must send the mon­ey with­out so many sto­ries oth­er­wise you will pay for it.’

DEAR FRIEND : Beware we are sick and tired of writ­ing to you to the appoint­ment you have not come with peo­ple of hon­or. If this time you don’t do what we say it will be your ruina­tion. Send us three hun­dred dol­lars with peo­ple of hon­or at eleven o’clock Thursday night. There will be a friend at the cor­ner of 15th Street and Hamilton Ave. He will ask you for the sig­nal. Give me the word and you will give him the mon­ey. Beware that if you don’t come to this order we will ruin all your mer­chan­dise and attempt your life. Beware of what you do. M. N.

FRIEND: The need oblig­es us to come to you in order to do us a favor. We request, Sunday night, 7th day, at 12 o’clock you must bring the sum of $1000. Under penal­ty of death for you and your dears you must come under the new bridge near the Grand Street fer­ry where you will find the per­son that wants to know the time. At this word you will give him the mon­ey. Beware of what you do and keep your mouth shut…

Structure & Power

While Giuseppe Morello was the head of the gang, the press would often incor­rect­ly name them ‘The Lupo Gang’ or the ‘Lupo-Morello Band’. Ignazio Lupo, due to his exposed gro­cery net­work, and the fact he had been labelled with the intim­i­dat­ing pseu­do­nym ‘Lupo the Wolf’, would often receive more column space when the gang appeared in the tabloids.

Antonio Comito, who appeared as a wit­ness in 1910, spoke about Morello’s lead­er­ship:

The lead­er — a one armed man named Morello … One alone nev­er car­ried out the orders of the ‘supe­ri­ors’. To do so took to great an amount of courage. Such work was always done by three or four, direct­ed by a ‘cor­po­ral’, who was put in charge of the ‘work’ at hand by the head — called the ‘President’. He, from a dis­tance direct­ed the exe­cu­tion of the four mem­bers’ work. Always from a dis­tance so that should their work be dis­cov­ered by the police it would be easy for him to make an imme­di­ate report. The ‘head’ would inform all the oth­er mem­bers and they would hold coun­sel and delib­er­ate what to do.

Under false names mem­bers of the organ­i­sa­tion have even appeared as wit­ness­es for the pros­e­cu­tion only to go upon the stand, refute all their pre­vi­ous state­ments and deny their abil­i­ty to attach the defen­dant in any way with the case in hand.

Comito also recalled a con­ver­sa­tion between him­self and Antonio Cecala from the gang:

I want you to know all my friends my friends for they are all mem­bers of the organ­i­sa­tion. That one [Morello] is the lead­er. I want to know with whom you are deal­ing. He is pres­i­dent of the Corleone Society [Ignatz Florio Co-Operative] and has in his pow­er, four build­ings, amount­ing in val­ue to over one hun­dred thou­sand dol­lars.

Morello knows how much mon­ey he has given to detec­tives, when and where it was given and the names of those who have tak­en it. He has always got­ten out of every­thing in which he was impli­cat­ed … When the order is given to arrest Morello, police­men whom he had fed always will warn him and he will hide.

There are twen­ty of us who have organ­ised this affair. Others high­er up in famous places know of it. They will receive their share. Should any­thing slip and we get into trou­ble there will be thou­sands of dol­lars for lawyers and we will be freed … We are big, big­ger than you know. You will know per­haps, lat­er on, about the many branch­es of our soci­ety, and how it is pos­si­ble for us to do things in one part of the coun­try or world and have the oth­er half of the affair car­ried out so far away that no sus­pi­cion can pos­si­bly come to us. After you have obeyed and seen some inkling of our pow­er, you will be glad to become one of us.

As well as enjoy­ing the pro­tec­tion of cor­rupt NYPD offi­cers, the gang is sup­posed to have held some polit­i­cal influ­ence. In 1903, after the col­lapse of the ‘Barrel Trial’ again­st the gang, Secret Service records not­ed a con­ver­sa­tion between Pietro Inzerillo and one of their under­cover agents. During the con­ver­sa­tion Inzerillo claimed that his release from the tri­al was due to the actions of Congressman Timothy Sullivan.

In June 1912, whilst Morello and Lupo were try­ing to secure their release from pris­on, William Flynn of the Secret Service was inter­viewed in the NYT about the gangs polit­i­cal pow­er:

Mr. Flynn was asked if the band had any polit­i­cal influ­ence. His answer was: ‘The strongest I know of. It is almost Impossible to com­bat it. It comes from both polit­i­cal par­ties.’ He then was ques­tioned as to whether this influ­ence would be strong enough to swing a Congressional Investigation of the Secret Service in the hope of crip­pling it. ‘It is pos­si­ble,’ said Mr. Flynn.

Flynn was also quot­ed in the Washington Post in 1912. Speaking about the gang he said:

These bands are pro­tect­ed by mon­ey and by polit­i­cal influ­ence. I do not blame either polit­i­cal par­ty exclu­sive­ly. Both pro­tect the­se bands for one rea­son or anoth­er. Of course, besides being able to col­lect thou­sands of dol­lars from Italians and Sicilians, they are able to sway hun­dreds of votes by ter­ror­is­ing cit­i­zens. The police are to a cer­tain extent pow­er­less because of the pow­er­ful back­ing the­se men get from politi­cians.

Loss of Leadership

The Morello gang was heav­i­ly involved with coun­ter­feit­ing since it’s begin­nings. The Secret Service had been build­ing a case again­st them in rela­tion to the coun­ter­feit ‘Morristown Fives’ for some time before the 1903 killing of Madonnia occurred. However, as Chief Wilkie of the Secret Service explained in his Annual Report of 1903, the gov­ern­ments case was dropped so that the gang could be tried for the more seri­ous crime of the Barrel Murder:

Permission was grant­ed to the New York agent of this ser­vice to give the police the ben­e­fit of our inves­ti­ga­tion, and with the mate­ri­al fur­nished and the co-oper­a­tion of our agents, who point­ed out and iden­ti­fied the var­i­ous mem­bers of the gang, the local author­i­ties were able to clear up the mys­tery and secure the indict­ment of most of the pris­on­ers … at any rate, the traf­fic in Morristowns National bank notes has been tem­porar­i­ly inter­rupt­ed.

Inspector McClusky was quot­ed on April 16th 1903:

Credit for the quick solu­tion of this mys­tery must be given to the splen­did sys­tem of sur­veil­lance kept up by the Secret Service oper­a­tives. After the mur­der of Joseph Catania, in Brooklyn, last sum­mer Chief Inspector Flynn, of the Eastern Section of the Secret Service, learned that Catania had been a mem­ber of the Mafia and was asso­ci­at­ed with a gang of coun­ter­feit­ers whom the Bureau had long had under sur­veil­lance.

However, the ‘Barrel’ case col­lapsed and no charges were made. The Secret Service lost their ini­tia­tive again­st the gang, who now knew that they were being fol­lowed on a reg­u­lar basis. After the tri­al in 1903, the gang moved away from coun­ter­feit­ing and con­cen­trat­ed more with Morello’s con­struc­tion busi­ness and Lupo’s whole­sale gro­cery net­work.

In 1908, after the fail­ure of ‘The Ignatz Florio Co-Operative’ and Lupo’s bank­rupt­cy, they returned to their old coun­ter­feit­ing trade. They set up a base in Highland NY, with a plan to print hun­dreds of thou­sands of fake dol­lars. This time the Secret Service man­aged to secure con­vic­tions again­st many of gang mem­bers, and after a sen­sa­tion­al court case, Giuseppe Morello and Lupo were both sent to Atlanta Penitentiary for 25 and 30 years respec­tive­ly.

Downfall

With Morello and Lupo behind bars, and their case for appeal reject­ed, lead­er­ship of the Morello gang need­ed to be resolved. The Terranova broth­ers, Ciro, Vincent and Nicholas were aged 23, 25 and 21, respec­tive­ly, at the time of the 1911 appeal hear­ing. Other pos­si­ble can­di­dates were the Lomonte broth­ers, Fortunato and Tomasso, cousins of Giuseppe Morello. They held a hay and feed busi­ness at 2103 1st Avenue, on the junc­tion of E108th Street and also had con­nec­tions with Giosue Gallucci.

The fol­low­ing years saw the Morello gang try to secure the release of their lead­ers. In 1912 the Secret Service learnt of con­ver­sa­tions between Nick Terranova and Giuseppe DeMarco to kid­nap Captain Flynn’s chil­dren, a plan that Nick turned down as he didn’t want to jeop­ar­dise his broth­ers chance of parole. The Terranova broth­ers also start­ed a semi-polit­i­cal club called ‘The White Doves’ with a view to get­ting stronger in pol­i­tics.

Colagero Morello, the only son of Giuseppe, was killed in a Street fight in 1912 on E114th Street. He was shot by Rocco Tapano, a mem­ber of the Kid Baker gang, in ret­ri­bu­tion for the Morello gang’s involve­ment in the 1903 slay­ing of Benedetto Madonnia, Tapano’s Uncle. Nick Morello took revenge for his nephew when he shot Rocco Tapano in the back in the Bronx a few weeks lat­er.

Fortunato Lomonte was killed on May 23rd 1914. He had just left his busi­ness premis­es on the Saturday morn­ing and was walk­ing along E108th Street when he was shot in the back with three bul­lets. The killer had appeared from the hall­way of a ten­e­ment, then escaped by return­ing to the hall­way and vault­ing a fence at the rear of the build­ing. Lomonte’s friends drove him to Harlem Hospital where he was revived. Detective John Cassetti pushed Lomonte for the killers name, but Lomonte refused to name his killer before he fell uncon­scious and died.

According to Nicola Gentile, the killers were Umberto Valenti and Accursio Dimino, sent by ‘Toto’ D’Aquila who was look­ing to remove the pow­er of Lomonte who he described as hav­ing “the absolute pre­dom­i­nance in the quar­ter around 106th Street”, but may have also been for the recent killing of D’Aquila’s friend Giuseppe Fontana, a long time Morello asso­ciate who had defect­ed from the gang.

On June 24th 1916 a meet­ing took place at Coney Island between the Morello gang, the Neapolitan Navy Street gang and the Neapolitan Coney Island gang. The idea of the meet­ing was to dis­cuss the expan­sion of gam­bling dens in low­er Manhattan.

Even though the Morello’s and the Navy Street gang worked togeth­er for some­time, includ­ing joint­ly remov­ing Giosue Gallucci from Harlem, the Neopolitans believed they could tak­en over the Harlem rack­ets if they could elim­i­nate the Morellos. They hatched a plan where they would try and lure the entire lead­er­ship down to Brooklyn and ambush them.

On September 7th 1916, Nicholas Terranova and Charles Ubriaco trav­elled down­town to meet with the Navy Street gang, they were both ambushed and killed. The Morello gang and the Brooklyn Camorra were at all out war. The Camorra hatched var­i­ous plans to wipe out the rest of the Morello lead­er­ship, but they were either foiled or were nev­er com­plet­ed, how­ev­er four asso­ciates of the Morello gang were mur­dered by the Camorra in Philadelphia.

The Morello gang was dec­i­mat­ed. The Camorra was tak­ing over their gam­bling and busi­ness rack­ets in Harlem, and at the same time anoth­er Sicilian gang based in Harlem, head­ed by a Salvatore ‘Toto’ D’Aquila, grew in pow­er.

The writ­ings of Nicola Gentile, describe D’Aquila as more feared than respect­ed, exceed­ingly fero­cious, crafty and ambi­tious. Gentile went on to note that since Morello’s 25 year sen­tence ’ his posi­tion had been entrust­ed by The General Assembly to Toto D’Aquila’. Amongst the Italian gangs of New York, D’Aquila was now con­sid­ered the boss.