Traditionally, the northeastern section of the United States has always been heavily saturated with Mafia Families, or mob associates allied to them. Which of the following state or states were never known to have any discernible “traditional” Mafia Family, mob associates, or related organized crime activity present within its borders? Is it Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, Vermont, or Virginia?
We posed this question to our YouTube Community at Mob Fireside Chat where a vibrant discussion ensued. So, what does Button Guys think?
In my humble opinion, this is what I have come to understand about any “mob presence and underworld activity” in the five states we listed:
The most significant Cosa Nostra presence within the State of Maine was in the City of Portland. There was a small group of Mafia associates led by an FBI “documented” soldier of the old Raymond Patriarca Family of New England by the name of Orlando (Mickey Naples) Napolitano. Members of his crew included his son, Joseph Michael (Little Joe) Napolitano, who later became a federal informer; Danny Casale; John DiRaphael; Jimmy Shapiro; John (Big John) Jannoni; and a dozen or so others. They operated gambling, burglaries, extortion, and counterfeiting rackets among their repertoire of criminal activities.
The City of Baltimore is well known for having hosted a large Gambino Family “crew” under the supervision of Gambino caporegimes Luigi (Lou Mora) Morici, and later, Frank Corbi. At the height of their 1950s-1970s power, the “Corbi Regime” boasted over a dozen inducted soldiers, dozens more crew associates, and controlled numerous rackets within the city. They were the single “recognized” Mafia faction of Baltimore, Maryland. In addition to the traditional Italian Mafia, Baltimore also had a very significant Jewish underworld presence who worked in tandem with their Italian counterparts.
This state had very little mob presence or underworld activity. But there were at least one or two occasions where mob figures and gamblers from Upper New York State were known to have crossed the border into New Hampshire so they could conduct large-scale “floating dice games” and other gambling. FBI agents later documented that many out-of-town underworld figures would drive up to attend these high-stakes crap games. Among the known gamblers and mobsters mentioned were Schenectady’s Paul (Legs) DiCocco and members of the Genovese and Bonanno Families.
This is another state that was largely barren of any “traditional” Mafia activities, with the one exception being a major incident back in the late 1960s/early 1970s regarding a group of mob associates from New York City, led by Brooklyn’s Falcone brothers (Vincent and Salvatore,) who were allied with members of the Bonanno, Gambino, and Colombo Families who gained control of a large mozzarella-cheese manufacturing plant by the name of the “Alburgh Creamery” in Vermont. They eventually perpetrated a massive bankruptcy fraud, or “bust out,” which defrauded farmers and creditors of well over $ 1 million dollars in mozzarella products.
Dating all the way back to at least the early 1900s, the State of Virginia had played host to a myriad of Calabrian criminal gangs, collectively referred to in local newspapers as the “Camorra.” These early mafiosi ran extortion and blackmail rackets, houses of prostitution, bootlegged liquor and ran alcohol stills during Prohibition, gambling rackets, etc. In later years, by the 1950s, a major international heroin trafficker and counterfeiter by the name of Vincenzo Todaro moved into the area. He and his family resided for years in the town of Herndon, VA. “Jimmy” Todaro was a Sicilian-born mafioso very closely allied with top members of the Gambino and Bonanno Families in NYC as well as the Sicilian Mafia back home. He used Virginia as a base for his drug smuggling racket.
So, in a sense, each of the states, to a greater or lesser degree, have been “touched” at one time or another by Cosa Nostra. The truth is, that mafiosi can be a very resilient bunch of fellas when they wanna be.