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Anyone who annoyed the crowd could count on a brutal beating or end up in the weeds in New Jersey. By the 1980s, it was clear who ran the streets of New York City and it wasn’t the cops.
But as the documentary shows, it wasn’t just a New York problem, it was a gun pointed at America’s head.
“The early 80s was the golden age of our lives, the crowd. New York was the seat of power for this life all over America, ”former Columbo family captain Michael Franzese said in the series.
“You control the unions, you control the Teamsters, you control the docks. You control the country. ”
The series uses a wide range of former gangsters and law enforcement officials to paint a chilling picture of what happened.
Former Gambino family member Johnny Alite alludes to the fear the sages instill in Joe Citizen.
“You want to motivate them, when a guy comes to me and he insults me with $ 1,000, yes I hurt him,” Alite told the producers.
“After I hurt him, I tell him to get me the rest of my money. Now there is no more patience, if he doesn’t have the money I beat him in baseball.
Former New York Southern District Mayor and US Attorney Rudy Giuliani added: “They’ve put their tentacles into legitimate society. ”
For decades, cops and authorities seemed to wear cement shoes when it came to fighting organized crime. Former top G-Man J. Edgar Hoover’s sexual inclinations have long been said to have slowed their role.
This meant that in the 1970s, the FBI was starting at square one, but it had a powerful weapon in its back pocket for this new war: the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (or RICO for short). This was how they cut off the serpent’s head.
Now the feds have taken it out on the big boys: Fat Tony Salerno, Tony ‘Ducks’ Corallo, Gennaro Langella, Carmine ‘The Snake’ Persico and Gambino boss Paul “Big Paulie” Castellano – the boss of bosses.
“We called him the White Collar Gift because he read the Wall Street Journal. He has been very successful financially. But the most important thing he understood was that in order to lead a criminal family, you have to instill fear in your soldiers and captains, ”said former FBI agent Bruce Mouw.
“Castellano ran the family like a Fortune 500 company.”
Authorities also started a massive wiretapping operation that caught the gangsters in their homes and social clubs.
And many started to skip their oath of silence and instead sang like canaries.
Finally, on Valentine’s Day 1986, the federal government beat and arrested all the heads of the five families.
“It was sensational, all the bosses were taken at the same time. It was a day that I will not forget, ”Franzese told the documentary series.