The State of California would eventually give birth to three Italian mafia networks that operated successfully for many decades after their formation with the help of mob elements back east.
One of these three families was established in the City of San Jose in the early 1940s.
This family’s original architect and first leader was thought to have been Onofrio (Nufio) Sciortino, who organized a small grouping of fellow Sicilians to form what later became the San Jose Family of Cosa Nostra.
But this family’s best-known leader was a mafioso named Giuseppe (Joe) Cerrito who served as family “Capo” or boss after Sciortino’s reign ended with his death in 1959.
Ostensibly a legitimate businessman who owned several successful automobile dealerships and real estate holdings in San Jose, Cerrito also quietly led this small Family for almost two decades.
At its 1950s-1960s peak, this family’s membership was never thought to have exceeded more than 20 to 25 active inducted soldiers. The “official” membership was augmented by several dozen additional “associates.”
Note: Not all members listed below served the borgata during the same time period.