Pittsburgh crime family
In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Founded by Gregorio Conti [1]
Years active 1910s-present
Territory Allegheny County, Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Eastern Ohio.[2]
Ethnicity Italian, Italian-American made men and other ethnicities as "associates"
Membership Less than 10
Criminal activities Racketeering, loansharking, extortion, and gambling
Allies Genovese, Cleveland and Trafficante crime families
Rivals Various gangs in the Pittsburgh area.

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Pittsburgh crime family

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The Pittsburgh crime family, also known as the LaRocca crime family, is an American Mafia crime family based in Pittsburgh, United States.

History of the family

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Prohibition era
In Pittsburgh the Italian underworld was broken into two ethnic faction the "Sicilians" controlling the North and South sides of the city and the "Neapolitan Camorra" which controlled the East end of the city. In the early 1920s, the two faction became involved in bootlegging, the illegal making, selling and transporting of alcohol. Throughout the Prohibition era the factions fought in the city for control over the Italian neighborhoods of Larimer, Homewood, Hill District and Downtown. In the outer suburbs of southwestern Pennsylvania the factions fought over New Kensington, Arnold, Wilkinsburg, McKees Rocks, Wilmerding, Braddock and West Virginia. During the late prohibition era from 1926 to 1933 there were over 200 murders in Allegheny County.

During Stefano Monastero regime as boss in the late 1920s, he rivaled other Pittsburgh gangs and a Chicago gang, he and his brother were eventually murdered on August 6, 1929. Giuseppe "Yeast Baron" Siragusa regime as boss was cut-short do to his allegiance to the Castellammarese Clan in New York City, he was murdered on September 13, 1931 days after Salvatore Maranzano was murdered.

Bazzano vs. the Volpe brothers
After the murder of Siragusa, the family came under the control of Sicilian John Bazzano, who was selling sugar and yeast to home breweries allowing them to manufacture illegal alcohol. Bazzano formed an alliance with the eight Volpe brothers which he allowed to operate out of a coffee shop in Middle Hill. The Volpe brothers already had control over the Neapolitian faction and illegal rackets throughout the Turtle Creek Valley and Wilmerding. The alliance ended when the Volpe brothers began expanding into East Liberty and the North Side, Bazzano sent a hit-team on July 29, 1932 murdering three of the Volpe brothers. The surviving Volpe brothers went to the Commission in New York and it was decided Bazzano would be held responsible for his unsanctioned hit. Bazzano's body was found on August 8, 1932 in Red Hook, Brooklyn he had been stabbed and strangled to death.

The LaRocca era


Vincenzo Capizzi, became the new boss after Bazzano's murder, but he eventually resigned in 1937, and was replaced by Frank Amato. As boss Amato, began expanding his influence over the gambling rackets in and around Allegheny County, but in 1956 he became ill and resigned becoming underboss.

John LaRocca, an immigrant that the United States courts had tried and failed to deport came into control. In 1958 he was caught attempting to sell $50,000 of ammunition to soldiers of Fidel Castro. This event proved his influence spread along the east coast and on to foreign countries. After almost being caught with this action he kept a low profile and was even donned "a man of respect" by the Pennsylvania Crime Commission. He expanded into portions of Ohio under agreement with the Cleveland crime family. LaRocca died in 1984 and was succeeded by life-long friend, Michael Genovese to rule the Pittsburgh family.

Genovese's leadership
Since the bootlegging and ammunition trading industries were finished, Genovese turned to gambling and drugs. By this time, around the 1980s, the mob was slowly losing its influence on the government so the FBI quickly saw the path the mafia was about to take and so the FBI pursued them. The FBI quickly traced Genovese's cocaine trail to his three top men, Charles "Chucky" Porter, and Louis Raucci Sr. Another change the mob had was finding new people for the Family at this time. The two chosen were Joseph Naples and Lenine “Lenny” Strollo who were inducted in 1987. However the major fall the mafia took over the years and decline of political and governmental power led to the murder of Naples by Strollo in 1991 and the arrest of Thomas Ciancutti in 2000 for "running a gambling ring in Fayette County".

Current status
After the conviction of the top members in the late 1990s, and the death of many important members in the last decade the family has few to any members left. It is unknown if the family still holds much of its former power today.

Historical leadership of the Pittsburgh crime family

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Bosses (official and acting)
In the early 1910s Pittsburgh had both the Sicilian Mafia and Camorra gangs fighting for control over territory and it took time for the power struggles to end and merge into one crime family.

  • 1910s–1920 – Gregorio Conti – retired
  • 1920–1925 – Salvatore Calderone – retired
  • 1925–1929 – Stefano Monastero – murdered on August 6, 1929
  • 1929–1931 – Giuseppe "Yeast Baron" Siragusa – murdered on September 13, 1931
  • 1931–1932 – John Bazzano – found dead on August 8, 1932 in Red Hook, Brooklyn
  • 1932–1937 – Vincenzo Capizzi – retired to Italy
  • 1937–1956 – Frank Amato – he controlled New Kensington and West Virginia and expanded the family's territory throughout Allegheny County, he later turned over command to LaRocca becoming underboss.
  • 1956–1984 – Sebastian "John" LaRocca – under his leadership the family became a powerful force in Pittsburgh area labor unions and established rackets in Ohio, sharing some of that income with the Cleveland Mafia. He also formed an agreement with Tampa's boss Santo Trafficante for a casino in Havana, Cuba. LaRocca went to the 1957 Appalachian conference with Michael James Genovese and Gabriel "Kelly" Mannarino. He later died on Dec. 3, 1984.
    • Acting 1978–1980 – Ruling Panel – Michael Genovese, Gabriel Mannarino and Joseph Pecora. In 1979 Pecora was imprisoned on gambling charges and on July 11, 1980 Mannarino died of cancer.
    • Acting 1980–1984 – Michael Genovese – promoted to boss
  • 1985–2006 – Michael James Genovese – under his leadership the family became involved drug distribution in the Midwest and Northeast, the family took over Ohio rackets after the Cleveland crime family had been weakened with indictments. Genovese had members attempt to infiltrate an Indian casino near San Diego. In the 1990s underboss Charles Porter and Lenny Strollo defected to the government. Genovese was in control until his death in 2006 at the age of 87.
  • 2006–2008 – John Bazzano Jr. – his father John Sr. was boss in 1931, during the 1950s he joined his father-in-law Antonio Ripepi crew operating gambling rackets in the Monongahela Valley. He released from prison in 1981 and promoted to capo of Kelly Mannarino's old crew. Bazzano became underboss to Genovese and became boss in 2006, he died on July 28, 2008.
  • 2008–present – Thomas "Sonny" Ciancutti – he took over Kelly Mannarino's New Kensington gambling rackets. He was given probation in 2002 for controlling gambling operations in Allegheny and Fayette counties.


Underboss (official and acting)
  • 1920s–1929 – Salvatore "Sam" Monastero – his brother Stefano was boss
  • 1936–1956 – Sebastian "John" LaRocca – promoted to boss
  • 1956–1973 – Frank Amato – died 1973
  • 1973–1987 – Joseph "Jo Jo" Pecora – he controlled gambling rackets in West Virginia, imprisoned 1979-1983, died 1987
  • 1987–2006 – John Bazzano Jr. – took over after Pecora died; became boss in 2006
  • Acting 1987–1995 – Charles Porter – convicted in 1990 and sentenced to 28 years, defected to the government in 1999.
  • 2006–2008 – Thomas "Sonny" Ciancutti – became boss in 2008
  • 2008–present – Robert "Bobby I" Iannelli – controls bookmaking; he took over some of Tony Grosso's gambling operations.


Consigliere
  • 1956–1985 – Michael James Genovese – promoted to boss
  • 1985–1989 – Pasquale "Pat" Ferrucci – controlled gambling in the Canton, Ohio area, imprisoned in 1991
  • 1989–2002 – Charles "Murgie" Imburgia – his nephew Anthony Murgie was connected to the Genovese family.
  • 2002–2006 – Thomas "Sonny" Ciancutti – became underboss
  • 2006–2008 – Robert "Bobby I" Iannelli – became underboss


Family factions
The faction operates in Youngstown, Ohio throughout the Mahoning Valley. In the 1970s the faction gained control over the Youngstown gambling rackets while sharing some of the profits with the Cleveland crime family.

  • 1960s–1988 – James "Jimmy" Prato – died 1988
  • 1988–1991 – Joey Naples – protege of Prato, he was murdered in 1991
  • 1991–1999 – Lenine "Lenny" Strollo – nephew of Prato, imprisoned and defected to the government in 1999.


Capos

  • 1953–1980 – Gabriel "Kelly" Mannarino – controlled New Kensington rackets, he died on July 18, 1980.
  • 1940s–1986 – Antonio Ripepi – controlled Monongahela Valley gambling, with his son-in-law John Bazzano Jr.; he died in 2000.
  • 1996–2006 – Pasquale "Pat" Ferrucci – operated in Ohio, Kentucky and Pennsylvania; worked with the Cleveland family; died 2006.


Soldiers

  • 1950s–2003 – Frank "Sonny" Amato Jr. – he controlled rackets in East Pittsburgh, Braddock, Turtle Creek and North Versailles.
  • 1930s–1960s – Frank Valenti – in the early 1960s he took over the Rochester family.
  • 1950s–1995 – Louis Raucci Sr. – he took over Joseph Sica rackets in Penn Hills, imprisoned in 1990, died 1995
  • 1950s–1980s – Joseph Sica – controlled rackets in Penn Hills, retired 1980s, died 1991.
  • 1960s–2007 – Anthony "Wango" Capizzi – he operated in Las Vegas with the Bufalino family, died 2007
  • 1980s–1998 – Henry "Zebo" Zottola – died 1998


Current members
  • Boss – Thomas "Sonny" Ciancutti
  • Underboss – Robert "Bobby I" Iannelli
  • Soldier – Geno "Eugene" Chiarelli – he was released from prison in 2008
  • Soldier – John V. Leone
  • Soldier – Mauro P. Matone


Rival

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Antony "Tony" Grosso controlled gambling in the Pittsburgh area, the FBI never categorized Grosso as an organized crime member. Grosso was linked to Chuckie Porter, and he had ties to the Pittsburgh political system allowing him to run his organization unscathed for many years and unconnected to organized crime. He was eventually arrested by law enforcement and he served significant jail time, ultimately dying while incarcerated. His organization has no members left operating in the Pittsburgh area today. Grosso's antics were so legendary Hollywood loosely based the movie "Lucky Numbers" starring John Travolta on them.

Some of the content on this page has been provided by the following page on Wikipedia.org: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pittsburgh_crime_family


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