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One Simple Law That Destroyed Italian Mafia

End Of The Mafia

By Amine OubihPublished about a month ago 4 min read
One Simple Law That Destroyed Italian Mafia
Photo by Artem Budaiev on Unsplash

In that time in Sicily the simple men who were the peasants wanted to be equal to the wealthy ones who owned the land. These hoodlums became bandits who formed clans that terrorized the landowners by collecting protection taxes using knives or shotguns as their weapons. Exactly this short and handy enterprise—extortion—provided them with a threat themselves and the shelter from it for fee.

These Mafiosi were sworn to secrecy and, in turn, they would associate themselves with the code of honor. They hanged out with corrupt police and politicians, and became a real power to be reckoned with. Finding new opportunities they went to the USA where the economy was witnessed an industrial boom. From 1880 to 1920 around four million Italians became American citizens, many of them being looking for decent jobs. But others supposed America to be a territory fit for robbery.

Upon reaching cities such as New York, New Orleans and Chicago and set up the brothers of code , they organized crime more formally. The early twentieth century American presses gave much publicity to the rising crime wave that was mostly arisen among the Sicilian immigrants who were called the Black Hand gangsters lampooning their involvement in extortion and murder.

On June 12, 1909 New York Times reported that Sicilian contract killers shot the head of the Italian Squad, Lieutenant Joseph Petrosino. Author knew too much from the Mafia’s racket schemes and, being incorruptible, had to be killed to silence him.

Nevertheless, these events led to the mistrust and discrimination against the Italians, and the crime syndicate became more powerful all the while. It almost went without saying that these people living in squalor were the easiest recruits. They expanded their operation, ventured into the manufacturing of heroin and bribery of law enforcement officials to escape arrest. In the 1920s, Business was made a bigger opportunity than ever due to Prohibition. Illegal operations of the mafia were booming and accordingly created violence and corruption that afflicted the cities where about 1,300 gangs were operational at that time, for instance in Chicago.

People like Al Capone who was from New York and who spent his childhood in such a street became very wealthy during the ProhibitionThe Capones' and the others' criminal activities continued to remain wide-spread, albeit with random break-ins. The birth of the Commission, and a policing style designed by Charles "Lucky" Luciano in the 1930s, stabilized mafia activity, by regulating businesses and conflicts among mafia families.

In the midst of the mid-twentieth century, the juvenile’s power expanded. They operated casinos, landed jobs in labor unions and organized side crimes. Just like law enforcement that had special units which was mandated with fighting organized crime, the organization was generally struggling to make meaningful progress against these well-connected criminals as they were well clad and deeply entrenched into the criminal world.

By 1970’s, it was obvious the criminal justice system had to come up with a new approach. The RICO Act (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) came with it in 1970. Such a law led to charging of mafia bosses for what their subordinates had done, which was proven as part in “criminal enterprise” that included 35 crimes among which we have murders, bribing, drug trafficking, mail and wire fraud.

The RICO Act was such that even the idea of a supervising boss’s involvement in these criminal activities could be sufficient evidence to get them convicted. This fresh method developed fatal for the bosses of the mafia. The prosecutors could file cases just by identifying two qualifying crimes within the ten year lookback period.

The first huge conviction made based on the operations of the RICO Act was Frank Tieri, an acting boss of the Genovese Mafia Family, in 1980. Tiery’s illness did not prevent his conviction, which was based purely on racketeering and paved the way for a few other high-profile cases.

During 1980s and 90s, RICO was the main tool for breaking down mafia’s power structure. Consider the Mafia Commission Trial of 1986 in which numerous bosses were given 100 years each in prison. In the 1980s, the conviction of Paul Castellano, a Gambino boss who met the same fate soon after, as well as John Gotti, known as "the Teflon Don," represented equality before the law.

In addition, the use of Sammy “The Bull” Gravano,as a witness against Gotti,further demonstrated the profound effect of RICO. Gravano, once an extremely cruel killer, revealed the information that was necessary to bring down the most powerful mob boss in existence at that time.

To this day, RICO is still used in connection with fighting different types of organized crime, including biker gangs, street gangs, and international crime syndicates. The last year witnessed the arrest of 27 Russian members of the organized criminal group based on RICO charges, and nine mafia gang workers from the Italian-American mafia in 2022 for violating gambling, extortion, and violence.

Reflecting RICO perpetuation, the mafia still survives in USA from legitimate businesses through violent extortion activities. The latter did not only target particular criminal offenses but the whole mafia structure resulting in dismantling of its operations and it is still one of the major tools in fighting against organized crime. Accordingly, whenever you drop into a coffee bar or a shoe repair shop next time, only remember that the most of the Mafia's legacy and the laws which overtook it continue to dwell.

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About the Creator

Amine Oubih

🌟Amine Oubih🌟

📝 Writer | 🎨 Creative | 🌍 Explorer

Hello,I am a traveler and writer. Whether It's Real Or Fiction, I always find something interesting to write about, and I use this content to spark the desire to learn more in readers.

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    Amine OubihWritten by Amine Oubih

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