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Cosa  Nostra: The Threat of Organized Crime In America 
 
By Paul Davis
 
In a world threatened by international cyber criminals, violent terrorists and Russian and Chinese spies, one might believe that Cosa Nostra, more commonly known to the public as the Mafia (the criminals portrayed in The Godfather and Goodfellas films), is a thing of the past and of no true concern to modern Americans.
 
Federal prosecutors in New York think differently. Although the racketeering case against Joseph Merlino, the reputed head of the Philadelphia Cosa Nostra crime family, ended in a hung jury, the other mobsters indicted for what the prosecutors called a far-reaching criminal conspiracy in 2016, all pleaded guilty to various charges.
 
Back in 2016, Preet Bharara, then-United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and other federal and NYPD officials, announced the indictment that charged 46 defendants for their alleged roles in what they called a “sprawling and long-running racketeering conspiracy composed of leaders, members, and associates of the Genovese, Gambino, Luchese, Bonanno, and Philadelphia Organized Crime Families of La Cosa Nostra.”
 
(Criminal members call the organization Cosa Nostra, “Our Thing” or “This thing of ours,” in Italian - but federal law enforcement members call the group La Cosa Nostra, or LCN).  
 
During the 2016 announcement, the prosecutors said the mobsters banded together to engage in a multitude of criminal activities throughout the East Coast of the United States - from Springfield, Massachusetts to Southern Florida. The defendants were charged with racketeering conspiracy, arson, illegal trafficking in firearms, and conspiracy to commit assault in aid of racketeering.


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