Since at least the late 1910s, mob historians say there was a Cosa Nostra presence living and operating in Southern California.
Among the first notable mafiosi to settle into the City of Los Angeles and its surrounding areas were such notorious Sicilian-born crime figures as Vito Di Giorgio, Rosario DeSimone, Giuseppe Ardizzone, and the Matranga family.
Each of these early mafiosi headed small rival Mafia factions who competed with one another as they attempted to establish their power around the City of Los Angeles and its outer suburbs.
Seeds of The Mafia
Di Giorgio and his associates are largely credited with having been among the first, if not the first, recognized Mafia powers to organize the territory as their own. After he was killed, DeSimone is thought to have become the first “official” head of what was a newly formed “borgata,” or Mafia Family, that would firmly establish itself in Los Angeles.
Another early Mafia leader in the Los Angeles area was Giuseppe (Joe) Ardizzone, who gained the moniker “The Ironman,” during his time in the underworld. By the mid-1920s, after DeSimone stepped down, Ardizzone was thought to have risen to power as Family boss.
Soon, Ardizzone reportedly came into conflict with rival mafiosi in the area by the name of the Matranga clan and a long, bloody conflict started between the two factions. This protracted conflict would produce assassination attempts and murders that claimed lives on both sides. But Joe “The Ironman” Ardizzone eventually gained supremacy over his enemies and secured the territory for his Mafia clan.