TV and the silver screen, the mobsters always seem to get
away with it. But in real life, they aren't so lucky -- thanks
to the FBI and its partners in law enforcement.
week, yet another victory was announced in the relentless
war on organized crime. Taking the hit -- for the second time
in just over a year -- is the Bonanno family, one of the most
powerful organized crime groups in the country.
A 20-count indictment charges 27 members and associates of
the Bonanno family with wide-ranging racketeering and murder
charges going back more than a decade. Among those named are
acting boss Anthony "Tony Green" Urso; acting underboss
Joseph "Joe C." Cammarano; and Vito Rizzuto, widely
known as the "Godfather of the Italian mafia in Montreal."
the revelations: That these mobsters were willing
to kill even the children of mob turncoats who snitched to
the government, a practice long banned among the Mafia. Caught
on tape, Acting Boss Urso said: "If you take one kid,
I hate to say it, and do what you gotta do, [cooperating witnesses
will] ... think twice."
did we catch these slick characters? By following
the money. FBI forensic accountants studied the family's financial
holdings and transactions, identified patterns of criminal
activity, then used that information to convince high-level
family members to "turn" on their associates. That
gave law enforcement, as U.S. Attorney Roslynn Mauskopf put
it, "unprecedented access to the inner workings of Bonanno
go after them now? In this age of global crime --
when the FBI is working to defeat multinational terrorist
organizations, keep hostile intelligence services from pilfering
state secrets and corporate technologies, and head off malicious
cyber attacks on critical infrastructure -- why does the FBI
still go after organized crime enterprises?
Organized crime entangles entire cities and communities in
its web of corruption and violence. Legitimate commerce is
undermined. Businesses are extorted. Labor unions are controlled.
Stock markets are manipulated. High-priced goods are stolen.
Drugs are sold far and wide. Violence spills out across the
community. And, like just about everything else, organized
crime has gone global. Mobsters today not only have local
and regional connections, but national and international ones.
Groups from overseas are also setting up shop here in the
what's left of the Bonanno family? Not much. Virtually
the entire leadership of the Bonanno family has been decimated.
Which is why Ray Kelly, Commissioner of the New York City
Police Department, calls that family an "endangered species."
So as you watch those TV shows and movies, remember, organized
crime isn't getting away scot-free. In real life, it's a whole
different story. And a compelling one.
release | Pat
D'Amuro's statement | FBI's
Organized Crime website