Although their recognized headquarters and primary territory has always been the City of Elizabeth in New Jersey, for many decades the Simone DeCavalcante Crime Family also operated satellite regimes in the states of New York and Connecticut. In later years, by the late 1960s and early 1970s, this Family had also expanded their reach into South Florida.
In New York City, they actually operated two separate crews; one based in South Brooklyn and another based in Northwest Queens. In Connecticut, they had another solid contingent of soldiers and associates based in the City of Waterbury who had the territory on virtual lockdown. This regime also operated in New Britain and in other towns within The Nutmeg State through several crew members who lived and operated in those areas.
The two original “capo regimes” overseeing their Brooklyn and Queens crews were Frank Cocchiaro and Joseph Lolordo, respectively. In Connecticut, capo Michael (Mikey Poole) Puglia ran the day-to-day machinations of the Family under the watchful eye of the DeCavalcante Family’s Connecticut-based underboss, Joseph (Joe Buff) La Selva, while La Selva and his brothers operated and controlled the rackets in Waterbury where they were lifelong residents.
The Frank Cocchiaro Regime
By the early 1970s, Frank Cocchiaro had fled the New York metropolitan area to avoid grand jury subpoenas, going “on the lam” to hide out in Florida. Around this same point in time, Cocchiaro’s boss “Sam the Plumber” was released from prison and also permanently relocated down to Miami Beach to avoid further law enforcement scrutiny. Slowly but surely, the DeCavalcante Family started becoming a presence in South Florida.
Within a few years’ time, Sam’s minions had set up gambling and loansharking rackets in both Dade and Broward Counties. Before long, they were also dabbling in narcotics smuggling. The DeCavalcante Family was known to be active in trafficking heroin, cocaine, and marijuana. Frank Cocchiaro and members of his crew were at the forefront of this racket infiltration.
Back in Brooklyn, the DeCavalcante Family’s “Cocchiaro Regime” was an extremely active and ambitious bunch of hoodlums, to say the least. Through the years, they seem to have had their larcenous fingers in nearly every criminal pursuit for which organized crime has come to be known: gambling, loansharking, strong-arm extortion, labor unions, waterfront racketeering, garbage monopoly rackets, record counterfeiting, narcotics, loft burglaries, and big time armed-robberies and cargo thefts off the South Brooklyn docks, to name but a few of their activities.