Publications & Resources
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.