Under the leadership of Joseph Bonanno, the family was one of the most powerful in the country for over 30 years. However, in the early 1960s, Bonanno attempted to seize the mantle of boss of bosses, but failed and was forced to retire. This touched off a period of turmoil within the family that lasted almost a quarter of a century. That infighting, allegations that the family was actively dealing heroin, and the infiltration of their ranks by an FBI agent calling himself Donnie Brasco, led them to become the first of the New York families to be kicked off the Commission (a council of the bosses that helps to maintain order in the Mafia). Later, they faced shaky leadership, with the acting boss Carmine Galante murdered in 1979 at the command of Philip Rastelli, the actual boss. The family only recovered in the 1990s under Joseph Massino, and by the dawn of the new millennium was not only back on the Commission, but also was the most powerful family in New York. However, in the early 2000s, a rash of convictions and defections culminated in Massino himself becoming a government informant. The Bonanno family were seen as the most brutal of the New York five families during the 20th century.
The origins of the Bonanno crime family can be traced back to the town of Castellammare del Golfo located in the Province of Trapani, Sicily, their boss Giuseppe "Peppe" Bonanno and his older brother and advisor, Stefano. The clan's strongest ally was the leader of the Magaddino Mafia clan Stefano Magaddino. During the 1900s, the two clans feuded with Felice Buccellato, the boss of the Buccellato Mafia clan. After the deaths of Stefano and Giuseppe, their younger brother, Salvatore, took revenge by killing members of the Buccellatos. On March 15, 1904, Salvatore married Catherine Bonventre and on January 18, 1905 she gave birth to Joseph Bonanno, also called Giuseppe. Three years later Salvatore moved his family to New York City. While he was away, Stefano Magaddino took over the running of the Bonanno-Magaddino-Bonventre operations. Salvatore and other family members began establishing dominance and control in the Castellammarese community of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. While operating in Brooklyn, the Castellammarese leaders were able to preserve the criminal organization's future. In 1911, Salvatore returned to Sicily and died of a heart attack in 1915. Stefano Magaddino arrived in New York and became a powerful member of the Castellammarese clan. In 1921, he fled to Buffalo to avoid murder charges, and the Castellammarese clan was taken over by Nicolo Schirò.
In 1927, violence broke out between a faction led by Giuseppe "Joe the Boss" Masseria and members of the Castellamarreses over the theft of Masseria's bootleg liquor. This soon developed into a full out war known as the Castellammarese War. At the time, the Castellammareses were led by Nicolo "Cola" Schirò, who tried to work with Masseria. Schirò was replaced by Salvatore Maranzano, who wanted to take control over New York's underworld. Under his leadership, the bloodshed continued.
After Reina's murder on February 26, 1930, members of the Masseria faction began to defect to Maranzano. By 1931, momentum had shifted to Castellammarese faction. That spring, a group of younger mafiosi from both camps, known as the "Young Turks", decided to switch to Maranzano and end the war. This group included future mob bosses Charles "Lucky" Luciano, Vito Genovese, Frank Costello, Tommy Lucchese, Albert Anastasia and Joe Adonis. As leader of the Young Turks, Luciano concluded a secret deal with Maranzano and promised to kill Masseria. The war finally came to end when Masseria was killed on April 15, 1931.
Although Maranzano was more forward-looking than Masseria, at core he was still a "Mustache Pete". It did not take long for Maranzano and Luciano to come into conflict: Luciano was not pleased that Maranzano had reneged on his promise of equality, and soon came to believe he was even more hidebound and greedy than Masseria had been. At the same time, Maranzano had grown uncomfortable with Luciano's ambitions and growing power and secretly plotted to have him killed. When Tommy Lucchese alerted Luciano that he and Vito Genovese had been marked for death, Luciano felt he had to strike first. On September 10, 1931, gangsters hired by Luciano, who were not known to Maranzano or his men, murdered Maranzano in his office. Luciano had become the dominant crime boss in America and replaced the "boss of bosses" title with The Commission to regulate the Mafia's national affairs and mediate disputes between families. Luciano supposedly sanctioned the "Night of the Sicilian Vespers," in which many old world Sicilian-born mafiosi were killed throughout the country by the Luciano family, thus replacing the old ways the "Mustache Petes" did business with new "modern" ways. He also awarded Joseph Bonanno leadership of the Maranzano family.
The Bonanno era
After Maranzano's death, Joseph Bonanno was awarded most of Maranzano's operations. At 26 years old, Bonanno was the youngest Mafia leader in the nation. Years later, he claimed not to have known about the plot to eliminate Maranzano, but it is very unlikely that Luciano would have allowed him to live had he still backed Maranzano. Bonanno directed his family into illegal gambling, loansharking, and narcotics. The family also built significant criminal interests in California and Arizona. With the support of his cousin, Buffalo crime family boss Stefano Magaddino, Bonanno also expanded into Canada.
Like Maranzano before him, Joseph Bonanno embraced the Old World Mafia traditions of "honor", "tradition", "respect" and "dignity" as principles for ruling his family. He was more steeped in these traditions than other mobsters of his generation. The Bonanno family was considered the closest knit of the Five Families because Joseph tried to restrict membership to Castelammarese Sicilians. He strongly believed that blood relations and a strict Sicilian upbringing were the only way to uphold the traditional values of the Mafia.
Over the years, Joseph became a powerful member of the Commission, owing to his close relationship with fellow boss Joe Profaci. The bond between the two became even stronger when Joseph's son Salvatore "Bill" Bonanno married Profaci's niece Rosalie in 1956. The Bonanno-Profaci alliance deterred the other three families from trying to move in on their rackets.
The stable power relationship between the families collapsed with the death of Joe Profaci in 1962. Joseph Bonanno was now threatened by an alliance of Tommy Lucchese and new boss Carlo Gambino, and rising discontent within his own family. Many of the family members had begun to complain that Joseph spent too much time at his second home in Tucson, Arizona.
In 1963, Joseph and the new Profaci boss, Joe Magliocco, conspired to kill Stefano Magaddino, Carlo Gambino, Tommy Lucchese and Frank DeSimone. Magliocco was given the task of wiping out Gambino and Lucchese, and gave the contract to one of his top hit men, Joe Colombo. Instead of carrying out the hit, Colombo alerted Gambino and Lucchese. The other bosses quickly realized that Magliocco could not possibly have planned this by himself. Knowing how close the Bonanno and Profaci families had been over the last three decades, they viewed Joseph Bonanno as the real mastermind. The commission summoned the two bosses to answer for their plot. In view of their pioneering roles in the New York Mafia, the commission had intended to go easy on them, with only a fine and the loss of their families. However, only Magliocco showed up. He admitted his role in the plot and Colombo was given control of his family.
Joseph Bonanno disappeared on October 21, 1964, and wasn't heard from again for almost two years. In his absence, the Commission named capo Gaspar DiGregorio the new Bonanno boss. This led to a split between the "Digregorio Supporters" and the "Bonanno Loyalists", led by Joseph's brother-in-law, Frank Labruzzo, and his son, Bill Bonanno.
The "Banana War" (1964–1968)
The conflict between these two factions was dubbed "the Banana War" or "the Banana Split" by the media, a play on the family name. In 1966, DiGregorio arranged for a sit-down in a house on Troutman Street in Brooklyn. When Bill Bonanno arrived, a gun battle ensued between the two groups. Despite DiGregorio's plan to wipe the Bonanno men out, no one was killed.
In May 1966, Joseph Bonanno reappeared and rallied a large part of the family to his side. He claimed that Magaddino, acting on behalf of the commission, had sent two soldiers to kidnap him and that they had held him captive for six weeks. However, contemporary accounts suggest that this is almost certainly false. Several Bonanno button men were heard expressing their disgust at the boss, saying that he "took off and left us here alone". New Jersey crime boss Sam DeCavalcante reportedly said that Joseph's disappearance took the other bosses by surprise. He may have had another reason to disappear: a subpoena from U.S. Attorney Robert Morgenthau. Joseph faced either breaking his blood oath or going to jail for contempt.
Despite further peace offers from both sides, the violence and murders went on. Even after the Commission, which had grown tired of the conflict, replaced DiGregorio with Paul Sciacca, the fighting continued.
The war was finally brought to a close in 1968, when Joe Bonanno, who had gone back into hiding, suffered a heart attack and announced his permanent retirement. The commission accepted this offer, with the stipulation that he never involve himself in New York Mafia affairs again under pain of death. Bonanno would go on to live for another 3 decades until his death in Tucson at the age of 97. Both factions came together under Sciacca's leadership.
Mugshot of Carmine Galante in 1943
Sciacca's replacement was Natale "Joe Diamonds" Evola. Evola's leadership was short lived, and his death in 1973 (from natural causes) brought Philip "Rusty" Rastelli to the throne. Due to the family infighting, the Bonannos were stripped of its Commission seat, leaving them a seemingly hapless, doomed organization. Although Rastelli was the boss, the family's real power was held by his former friend Carmine Galante, who soon became a dangerous renegade. When Rastelli went to prison in 1974, Galante became boss in all but name.
Having previously acted as a focal point for the importation of heroin to the USA via Montreal, Galante set about refining the family's drug trafficking operations. These incredibly lucrative deals made a fortune, but by keeping the other four families out of the arrangements, resentment of Galante grew.
The other families decided Galante had outlived his usefulness as boss after he ordered the murder of eight members of the Genovese family for trying to muscle in on his drug operation. On July 12, 1979, Galante was shot dead by three men, at a restaurant in the Bushwick area of Brooklyn.
Joseph Pistone, alias Donnie Brasco, was an undercover FBI agent tasked with infiltrating the Bonanno family; in September 1976 he walked out of the FBI office and did not return for the next six years; the undercover operation was initially intended to last for around six months. He developed a close relationship with Anthony Mirra and Dominick "Sonny Black" Napolitano, and was tutored in the ways of the Mafia by Bonanno soldier Benjamin "Lefty Guns" Ruggiero. The operation would end on July 26, 1981. Pistone's undercover work led to over 200 indictments and over 100 convictions of Mafia members. Ruggiero received 15 years under the RICO act. On August 17, 1981, Napolitano was shot and killed in a basement by Ronald Filocomo and Frank "Curly" Lino as punishment for admitting Pistone into his crew.Anthony Mirra, the man who had brought Pistone to the family, was also killed.
Pistone was on the verge of becoming made when the FBI ordered him to end his operation on July 26, 1981. He believed that if a family had allowed an FBI agent into its ranks, it would destroy the Mafia's reputation of invincibility. However, Pistone's superiors felt it was too dangerous. After the Donnie Brasco affair, the Mafia Commission removed the Bonanno family from the panel, and, when the federal government pressed charges against the New York Cosa Nostra leadership in the Mafia Commission Trial, the Bonannos were not a major target. They were thus the only family whose leadership wasn't decimated as a result of the trial. The leaders of the other major families were all sent to prison for life, with the Lucchese family losing its entire hierarchy. The Bonanno family kept its leadership intact and was able to rebuild its power.
Under Massino's command
Starting in the mid-1980s, Massino had been the de facto leader of the family, and, when Rastelli died in prison in 1991, Massino officially assumed the top spot. One of his first acts was to change the family's name to "the Massino family." Like other mafiosi, Massino had been very displeased at Joseph Bonanno's tell-all book, A Man of Honor, and believed he'd broken the code of omertà by writing it. However, the change never stuck, and most people outside the family continued to use the old name.
Massino was 49 years old at the time he formally became boss, and knew he potentially had a long reign ahead of him if he could avoid the pitfalls that landed other bosses in prison. With this in mind, Massino adopted a more secretive way of doing business. He shut down the family's social clubs, believing they were too easy to bug. He also streamlined the family's chain of command, assigning a group of capos to oversee a particular enterprise and report to his underboss and brother-in-law Salvatore Vitale. He also barred family members from using his name. Instead, they were to point to their ears when referring to him—similar to the way that Genovese boss Vincent Gigante had his men point to their chins when referring to him. Remembering how close Pistone/Brasco had come to actually becoming made, Massino required any prospective soldier to be "on record" with a made man for at least eight years before becoming made himself. He also strongly encouraged his men to volunteer their sons for membership, believing that they would be less likely to turn informer and be more loyal. The family already had a reputation for loyalty. It was the only one that had never had a members turn informer in the seven decades since the Castellammarese War.
Massino concentrated on the narcotics trade-as had become mandatory-but also on areas less likely to draw the attention of the authorities, such as the Mafia's racketeering, money laundering and loan sharking. Massino's close friend, boss of the Gambino boss John Gotti, helped get the Bonannos a seat on the Commission again. Over the next 10 years, the family steadily increased its power. By the mid-1990s, the FBI considered Massino the most powerful Mafia boss in the country. By then, Gigante was serving time on racketeering charges, leaving Massino the only full-fledged New York boss who wasn't in prison. He was thus in a position to make general policies for the Five Families. Under his watch, the Commission required prospective soldiers to be full-blooded Italian-Americans. Previously, soldiers were only required to have an Italian-American father. He also imposed restrictions on inducting associates facing drug charges.
Massino turns informant
FBI mugshot of Joseph Massino
In 2005, to avoid facing the death penalty, Massino became the first full-time boss to turn government informant. In 2000, a pair of forensic accountants who normally worked on financial fraud cases discovered that Barry Weinberg, a businessman who had partnered with capo Richard "Shellackhead" Cantarella in several parking lots, had failed to report millions of dollars worth of income over a decade. Told he faced a long prison term unless he wore a wire and incriminated his Bonanno partners, Weinberg agreed to cooperate. One of Weinberg's other partners, Augustino Scozzari, also agreed to cooperate. The two captured hundreds of incriminating statements from Cantrella and his crew.
In October 2002, armed with this evidence, the government won a 24-count RICO indictment against 21 Bonanno soldiers and associates. The biggest names on the indictment were Cantarella—who was serving as acting underboss while Vitale was awaiting sentencing for loansharking and money laundering—and capo Frank Coppa. Within a month of his indictment, Coppa agreed to become a government witness, becoming the first made man in the Bonanno family's history to break his blood oath. Soon after agreeing to cooperate, Coppa directly implicated Massino in the Napolitano murder, and also implicated Cantarella and Vitale in the 1992 murder of New York Post delivery superintendent Robert Perrino, who was a Bonanno soldier. Seeing the handwriting on the wall, Cantarella negotiated his own plea bargain in December, and agreed to testify against Massino and Vitale.
Massino and Vitale were charged with the crime in 2003, mostly on testimony from Cantarella and Coppa. Vitale also faced charges for the murder of Perrino. Up to this point he had been utterly loyal to his boss. However, Cantarella and Coppa told FBI agents that Massino suspected Vitale was an informer and wanted him killed. When told of the plot by the FBI, Vitale also turned states evidence. He was followed in rapid succession by four other soldiers and associates. Massino now faced eleven RICO counts, including seven murders. In a separate indictment, Massino was charged with an eighth murder, that of capo Gerlando "George from Canada" Sciascia, which carried the death penalty. With seven of his former henchmen testifying against him, his conviction in July 2004 was a foregone conclusion.
Shortly after Massino's arrest, longtime capo Anthony Urso became acting boss. Urso's brief tenure ended when he was imprisoned on numerous charges, leading to Vincent Basciano taking control as operating head of the family. In November 2004, shortly after taking over, Basciano himself was indicted on RICO charges. In January 2005, he received additional charges for plotting to kill Greg Andres, the federal prosecutor who had sent Massino to prison. At that arraignment, prosecutors made a shocking announcement: most of their evidence had come from conversations that Massino himself had recorded. By this time, 90 of the family's 150 made men were under indictment. Massino was sentenced to time served and released in 2013.
It's believed that Massino was the man who pointed the FBI towards a spot in Ozone Park, Queens, called "The Hole", where the body of Alphonse Indelicato had been found in 1981. Told to dig a little deeper, authorities uncovered the remains of Dominick Trinchera and Philip Giaccone, as well as a body suspected to be that of John Favara, a neighbor of Gambino family boss John Gotti who killed the mobster's son in a car/bicycle accident, and had paid with his life.
The authorities continued to plague the family, with the February 16, 2006 arrest of acting boss Michael Mancuso on murder charges, while alleged boss Vincent Basciano was convicted on charges of conspiracy to murder, attempted murder, and illegal gambling and was sentenced to life imprisonment in late 2007. The main charge against him was that he conspired to murder both the judge and prosecutor in the case, as well as Patrick DeFilippo, a fellow Bonanno crime family captain.
In July 2004, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn claimed to have convicted 75 mobsters or associates of the Bonanno family in the 4 preceding years. In June 2005, 12 Bonanno family member and associates, 7 over the age of 70, including acting Rabito were indicted and arrested on charges of operating a $10 million a year gambling ring." On February 6, 2007 acting underboss Nicholas Santora, acting consigliere Anthony Rabito, captains or former captains Jerome Asaro, Joseph Cammarano, Jr. and Louis Decicco were indicted on racketeering charges. In 2009 Montagna was deported to Canada, ending his tenure as acting boss. He was murdered in 2011 after becoming involved in the Montreal Mafia War.
Current position of the family
Following Montagna deportation and the arrest of other senior ranking members of the family, a ruling panel was set up until a new boss was chosen. In 2013, Michael Mancuso was named the new official boss of the family. Mancuso is the first man to hold the official boss title since Massino became a government witness in 2004. Mancuso's underboss Thomas DiFiore took over as acting boss in his absence, but was replaced by Joseph Cammarano, Jr in 2014 following DiFiore's arrest, guilty plea and 21 month prison sentence. In December 2016, the FBI observed over a dozen ranking members of the family host a dinner together in recognition of Cammarano's new position.
Bonanno associate, Charles "Charlie Pepsi" Centaro, was sentenced to 33 months in prison on September 15, 2015, after being convicted of money laundering, it was alleged that he had laundered over $500,000. Centaro, along with Bonanno/Gambino associate Franco Lupoi were involved in a large cocaine, heroin and weapons trafficking operation that stretched from New York to Italy. The Gambino crime family from New York and the 'Ndrangheta Mafia from Calabria were also involved.
In November 2017, the FBI arrested several individuals in New York City, including members and associates of the Bonanno and Gambino crime families on charges of narcotics trafficking, loansharking and firearms offenses. They included Damiano Zummo, a reputed acting captain in the Bonanno crime family. In November 2015, Zummo was involved in the induction ceremony of an undercover police agent, which was secretly recorded, in Canada. Zummo played a major role in the ceremony and named others at a higher level in the organization on the recording. A Brooklyn court official later said, "The recording of a secret induction ceremony is an extraordinary achievement for law enforcement and deals a significant blow to La Cosa Nostra." The recording also led to the arrest of 13 mobsters.
On January 12, 2018, 8 members of the Bonanno family were arrested and charged with racketeering, extortion and related offenses. Street boss Joseph Cammarano Jr. and consigliere John "Porky" Zancocchio were included. Genovese and Lucchese crime family members Ernest Montevecchi and Eugene "Boobie" Castelle were also arrested. The charges were assault and aid resulting in serious bodily injury, extortion, loansharking, wire and mail fraud, narcotics distribution, conspiracy to commit murder, extortion conspiracy, racketeering and racketeering conspiracy. Joseph "Joe Valet" Sabella was identified as a captain and George Tropiano as an acting capo.Made members Domenick Miniero, Albert "Al Muscles" Armetta and Joseph "Joey Blue Eyes" Santapaolo were charged with RICO and extortion conspiracy, Armetta was accused of assaulting a person on Halloween in 2015.
On August 15, 2018, judge Dora Irizarry sentenced nephew of Vincent Asaro and former Bonanno acting captain, Ronald Giallanzo, to 14 years imprisonment. Giallanzo was previously arrested in March 2017 alongside Bonanno soldiers Michael Palmaccio and Nicholas Festa. Festa and Palmaccio admitted to the extortion of 7 individuals and each paid $500,000 in forfeiture. Giallanzo was accused of operating a loanshark and illegal gambling business from 1998 to 2017. He agreed to pay $1.25 million in forfeiture and to sell his five-bedroom mansion in Howard Beach, Queens which was constructed using the criminal proceeds of his loansharking business. He was ordered to pay $268,000 in restitution to his victims and admitted to his participation of extending and collecting extortionate loans from 5 individuals.
On October 4, 2018, several news sources reported the murder of 71-year-old Sylvester Zottola, a Bonanno associate who was gunned down in his SUV while waiting at a McDonald's drive-thru window in the Bronx, shot four times in the torso and once in the head. Bushawn Shelton, an African-American Bloods gang member, was arrested on October 11 and accused of ordering the Zottola murder on behalf of Albanian gangsters seeking Zottola's illegal Poker video game operation. Police seized a loaded gun and $45,000 in cash from Shelton's home. At least three earlier confrontations occurred, including an unsuccessful kidnap attempt in June and the attempted murder of his son, Salvatore Zottola, who was shot 3 times on July 11. According to court documents, the elder Zottola and his son provided Poker machines to mob-controlled clubs and bars during the 1990s and early 2000s, Zottola was allegedly a close associate of Vincent Basciano also. On March 12, 2019, Mancuso was released from a federal halfway house. On March 13, 2019, Cammarano Jr. and Zancocchio were acquitted of racketeering and conspiracy to commit extortion charges. On May 25, 2019 former family consigliere Anthony Graziano died.
1931—1968 – Joseph "Joe Bananas" Bonanno – on October 21, 1964, Bonanno disappeared; forcibly replaced as boss by the commission; crime family split into two factions; in May 1966, Bonanno reappeared after two years; officially retires after a heart attack in 1968
Acting 2013–2014 – Thomas "Tommy D" DiFiore – arrested on January 23, 2014
Acting 2014–2015 – John "Johnny Skyway" Palazzolo – arrested on March 27, 2015 for violating parole
Acting 2015–2019 – Joseph "Joe C" Cammarano Jr. – indicted on racketeering and extortion charges in January 12, 2018, acquitted March 13, 2019
The Street boss is responsible for passing on orders to lower ranking members. In some instances a Ruling panel (of capos) substituted the Street boss role. The family may choose to assemble a ruling panel of capos if the boss dies, goes to prison, or is incapacitated. During the 1960s family war, a ruling panel of capos controlled the decision making of the family.
1964–1968 – Frank Labruzzo – led Bonanno faction
1964– Ruling panel – Gasparino DiGregorio, Angelo Caruso, Nicolino Alfano, Joseph Notaro, Thomas D'Angelo, Natale Evola, Joseph DeFilippo, Peter Crociata and Paul Sciacca
Boss – Michael "The Nose" Mancuso – current official boss of the Bonanno crime family. Before joining the Bonanno family, Mancuso was affiliated with the East Harlem Purple Gang. In August 1984, Mancuso shot and killed his wife, he received a 10-year prison sentence. He was arrested in Las Vegas on February 16, 2006, for ordering the murder of associate Randolph Pizzolo on November 30, 2004. On December 16, 2008, judge Nicholas Garaufis sentenced Mancuso to 15 years imprisonment for the Pizzolo murder. Mancuso was released from a federal halfway house on March 12, 2019.
Street Boss/Acting Underboss – Joseph Cammarano, Jr. – The current street boss/acting underboss for the family. Cammarano Jr was a capo operating a crew in Brooklyn. After his father Joseph "Joe Saunders" Cammarano, Sr., died on September 3, 2013, Cammarano Jr. took over his father's crew. Cammarano Jr. was indicted in January 2018 on racketeering and murder conspiracy charges, effectively ending his reign as boss.
Vito Badamo – capo of Nicholas Santora's Williamsburg crew. In July 2013, Badamo was indicted along with capo Nicholas Santora, acting capo Ernest Aiello, soldier Anthony Santoro and others on racketeering, loan sharking, illegal gambling and drug dealing charges. It was stated in court that Santora was training Badamo to take control of the crew in the future. In May 2016, Badamo and the others were released after case ends in mistrial. On May 18, 2017, Badamo was sentenced to 3-7years in prison on illegal gambling charges. The remaining members of his crew Anthony Santoro, Dominick Siano, Nicholas Bernhard, Scott O'Neil, Anthony Urban and Richard Sinde had all pleaded guilty on various crimes and were sentenced.
Vito Grimaldi – capo of Bushwick-Ridgewood Sicilian crew. He operates illegal Poker machines in Ridgewood, Queens from cafes and pizzerias. In 2002, he was arrested on illegal gambling and racketeering charges, he later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years in prison. Grimaldi owns a Bakery in Ridgewood, Queens. His son Joseph Grimaldi is also a made-man in the Bonanno family. His son-in-law is former acting boss Joseph Cammarano Jr.
Vincent "Vinny T.V." Badalamenti – capo of the Bensonhurst crew. He served as the former acting boss and consigliere. In December 2009, Badalamenti was found with Staten Island-based capo Anthony Calabrese and soldier John "Johnny Green" Faracithe meeting at a Bensonhurst storefront. He served as acting boss from early 2010 until 2012 when he was imprisoned.
Anthony "Little Anthony" Pipitone – capo operating in Queens, Brooklyn and Long Island. On October 7, 2009 Pipitone was indicted along with capo Joseph Sammartino, capo Anthony Sclafani, acting capo Joseph Loiacono, soldiers Frank Pastore and Paul Spina among other members on racketeering charges. In June 2016, Pipitone was sentenced to two years in prison for violating his parole when he attended a Bonanno family Christmas party on Staten Island. Pipitone had served time in prison for stabbing two men, after they had broken windows of a mob connected restaurant in Whitestone, Queens.
Joseph "Joe Desi" DeSimone – capo operating from Queens. In 1981, DeSimone was involved in the murder of his own capo Phillip Giaccone and the murders of two other capos Dominick Trinchera and Alphonse Indelicato. In 2016, he was released from prison and violated supervised release and was sent back to prison. On November 10, 2017 he was released from prison. In May 2018, DeSimone along with Genovese family capo John Brescio came under investigation for there involvement with Parx Casino.
Jerome "Jerry" Asaro – capo of the Howard Beach-Asaro crew. His father is Vincent Asaro. In 2014, Asaro was charged with exhuming the corpse of a gangland murder victim Paul Katz who was strangled with a dog chain by his father Vincent Asaro and James Burke. He is currently in prison with a projected release date of June 15, 2020.
Acting Ronald "Ronnie G" Giallanzo – acting capo of the Howard Beach-Asaro crew. Giallanzo is the nephew of Vincent Asaro. In 2018, Giallanzo was sentenced to 14-year prison for running a $3 million loansharking business. During the trial prosecutors stated that Giallanzo was capo of the Howard Beach crew between 1998-2017 even overseeing their operations while in prison for eight years.
Staten Island faction
Anthony "Scal" Sclafani – capo based in Staten Island and operates illegal gambling. On October 7, 2009 Sclafani was indicted along with capo Joseph Sammartino, capo Anthony Pipitone, acting capo Joseph Loiacono, soldiers Frank Pastore and Paul Spina among other members on racketeering and loansharking charges. It was revealed in the case that Sclafani had owed $50,000 to capo Joseph Sammartino. Sclafani tried to stay out of law enforcement surveillance by staying in his home all the day. He controlled illegal gambling from a social club on Victory Blvd. that was named after a Staten Island youth league. Sclafani was released from prison on February 14, 2014.
Thomas "Tommy D" DiFiore – capo operating from long island. In 1979, DiFiore was throw out of the Giaccone crew for getting into an argument with capo Philip Giaccone. By 1990, DiFiore had become a capo in the family and handled most of the actives on Long Island. In May 2000, DiFiore along with two members of Gambino crime family capo Salvatore Scala and soldier Charles Carneglia were arrested and charged with extortion. The FBI had recorded a mob sit-down on May 3, 2000 between DiFiore, Scala and Carneglia over who had the right to extort Cherry Video a sex shop on Long Island. On November 2, 2001 all three were sentenced to 63 months for extortion. DiFiore was released from prison on March 19, 2004. In 2013, he became the family underboss and acting boss for imprisoned boss Michael Mancuso. In January 2014, he was arrested on extortion charges along with Vincent Asaro. He was released from prison on August 4, 2015.
Acting John "Johnny Mulberry" Sciremammano – acting capo of the DiFiore-Long Island crew. In June 2004, Sciremammano was arrested for running an illegal sports betting from Skybox Lounge, in Island Park and wiring the money to accounts in Costa Rica.
Joseph "Joe Valet" Sabella – capo of the old Bronx Basciano crew. In 2019, Sabella sentenced to 87 months in prison for his involvement in the dumping of illegal material at the LNG site in Rossville, Staten Island.
New Jersey faction
Joseph "Sammy" Sammartino, Sr. – capo of New Jersey crew since 2003. He was born and raised in Jersey City's Marion Section and currently resides in North Arlington, New Jersey His crew is based in Bayonne, New Jersey and he controls a loansharking ring. In 2009, he served on a ruling panel running the family. On October 14, 2009, Sammartino was arrested on loansharking charges. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison and a $50,000 fine for extortion and loansharking. On January 27, 2011, Sammartino was released from prison.
Acting Louis "Louie the Leg-Breaker" Civello, Sr. – acting capo of the New Jersey Sammartino crew. In 2015, Civello along with his son Louis Civello Jr. own NJDAM which came under investigation for car sale fraud and there ties to organized crime.
Anthony Calabrese – former acting capo based in Staten Island. He was found with capo Vincent Badalamenti in December 2009 meeting at a Bensonhurst storefront for a Christmas party.
Anthony Furino – former capo based in Staten Island. In 2004, Furino was arrested for extortion of Long Island night clubs and Staten Island restaurants. In 2007, Furino was released from prison.
Frank Porco – former capo operating from Staten Island, Brooklyn and Florida. In 2005, Porco was released from prison.
Anthony "Anthony from Elmont" Mannone – (a.k.a. Anthony from the Five Towns) – former capo who was arrested on February 24, 2010, for running an illegal gambling and extortion ring throughout Brooklyn. Manone was released from prison on June 27, 2013
Louis "Louie Electric" DeCicco – former capo in Brooklyn with operations in Queens and Long Island. In March 2007, DeCicco was arrested along with other Bonanno capos. On December 31, 2009, DeCicco was released from prison.
William "Willie Glasses" Riviello – a former capo operating in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Westchester County. In 2004, Riviello was arrested for a stolen bank check scheme in the Bronx and Yonkers, New York, that grossed over $500,000 for the family. In 2007, Riviello was released from prison.
Sandro Aiosa – a former capo in the 1970s who operated in Brooklyn. Aiosa is currently in federal prison. His projected release date is October 12, 2012.
Joseph "Joe Lefty" Loiacono – former acting capo who was arrested on October 14, 2009, for running a loansharking operation. Currently in prison, his projected release date is May 18, 2012.
Salvatore "Toto" Catalano – a former capo and Street boss of the Sicilian faction. Catalano was heavily involved in the Pizza Connection a heroin drug distribution scheme with boss Carmine Galante. The heroin was shipped into the U.S. and sold through pizzerias in New York City and New Jersey. In 1976, Catalano became capo of the Knickerbocker Avenue Crew. On March 2, 1987, Catalano was sentenced to 45 years in prison and fined $1.15 million. He was released from prison on November 16, 2009.
Vincent "Vinny" Asaro – former capo. During the 1990s, Asaro allegedly operated a multimillion-dollar stolen car ring and oversaw the hijacking of cargo at John F. Kennedy International Airport. In 1998 Asaro was convicted of running a car theft ring. In 2015, Asaro was acquitted of alleged involvement in the 1978 Lufthansa robbery with Lucchese crime family associates which $21.3 million in today's money was reported stolen.
Anthony "Fat Tony" Rabito – the former acting consigliere for Vincent Basciano prior to his incarceration and a longtime member of the Bonanno family. From January 2003 to July 2004, Rabito operated an illegal gambling and loansharking ring in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and Staten Island, earning $210,000 a week.
Baldassare "Baldo" Amato – a soldier in the Sicilian faction and leader of a freelance crew operating in Ridgewood, Queens. He once served as a bodyguard to former boss Carmine Galante and was also with him on the day that he was murdered, it is alleged that he cooperated in Galante being murdered as his life was spared. As of 2006, Amato is currently serving a life sentence in federal prison for two murders and racketeering.
Louis "Louie Ha Ha" Attanasio – a former capo in the Bronx. Attanasio along with his brother Robert "Bobby Ha Ha" and Peter Calabrese murdered Bonanno family Sicilian faction member Cesare Bonventre in 1984. On September 20, 2006, Attanasio and Peter Calabrese were sentenced to 15 years in prison for the 1984 Bonventre murder. Attanasio's projected release date is January 23, 2018. His brother, only an associate of the Bonanno family, was sentenced to 2 years of supervised release, he was ordered to home confinement with GPS monitoring for the first 6 months by Senior United States District Judge Nicholas Garaufis. He was accused of affiliating with members of the Bonanno and Gambino crime families, including playing bocce with Louis Vallario, a capo of the Gambino crime family, which Attanasio pled guilty to. It was also revealed that Robert Attanasio was suffering from prostate cancer in 2017.
Thomas Fiore – former "acting capo" of Gerard Chilli's South Florida crew. He is based in Palm Beach County, city of Boynton Beach. On October 14, 2009, his crew in South Florida was charged under the RICO law. Six of the eleven crew members pleaded guilty to a list of crimes. The members that pleaded guilty included crew enforcer Pasquale Rubbo and his brother Joseph Rubbo. The crew is involved in arson, insurance fraud, identity theft, illegal gambling and other crimes. They send some tribute to Bonanno family bosses in New York City. On March 2, 2010, Fiore was sentenced to twelve years for racketeering. His projected release date is January 18, 2020.
Anthony "Bruno" Indelicato – soldier in the crew of his uncle, Joseph Indelicato, and the son of Alphonse "Sonny Red" Indelicato. A made member since the late 1970s, Anthony Indelicato may have participated in the 1979 murder of Carmine Galante. Indelicato was a defendant in the 1986 Mafia Commission Trial where he was sentenced to 45 years and released in 2000. On December 16, 2008, Indelicato received a 20-year prison sentence for the 2001 killing of Frank Santoro. Indelicato's projected release date is May 20, 2023.
Thomas Pitera – soldier and hitman who was sentenced to life in federal prison. He is currently serving his sentence in federal prison.
Anthony "Tony Green" Urso – former capo and acting capo under Joseph Massino in the 1990s. In 2004, Urso was imprisoned for extortion and loansharking. Currently in prison, his projected release date is December 5, 2021.
Gino Galestro – a former newspaper delivery truck driver and soldier who operated in Staten Island. He pled guilty to ordering the murder of associate Robert McKelvey over money debt in 2005. He will be released in 2023.
Cesare "The Tall Guy" Bonventre – a former capo and member of the Sicilian faction. He was related to Vito Bonventre, John Bonventre, and Joseph Bonanno. He was murdered on April 16, 1984.
John "Boobie" Cerasani – was a Bonanno family soldier and right-hand man to Sonny "Black" Napolitano. Cerasani was involved in the 1981 murders of three warring captains Alphonse Indelicato, Dominick Trinchera and Philip Giaccone. In July 26, 1982 Cerasani, Benjamin "Lefty" Ruggiero, Anthony Rabito, Nicholas Santora and Antonio Tomasulo were tried at a Manhattan federal district court. Cerasani was later acquitted.
James "Jimmy Legs" Episcopia – a soldier who worked for capo Sonny "Black" Napolitano.
Knickerbocker Ave Zips "the Sicilian faction" – operating from Bushwick, Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods of Ridgewood, Glendale, Middle Village and Maspeth. In the 1950s the Bonanno family started bringing Sicilian-born Mafia members to New York to keep closer ties with the Sicilian Mafia families. American mobsters frequently refer to these Sicilian mobsters as Zips. The derogatory term name derives from their Sicilian birth and their fast-spoken, difficult-to-understand Sicilian dialects. In the late 1960s, Salvatore Catalano controlled the Sicilian Zips running the family's heroin racket with Carmine Galante. Members of the Zip crew were two of Galante's most trusted bodyguards, cousins Cesare Bonventre and Baldo Amato.
The Indelicato crew – run by capo Joseph Indelicato. This crew is active in Manhattan and New Jersey. Indelicato's nephew Anthony "Bruno" Indelicato is a soldier in this crew.
Bath Avenue crew – a "farm team" that was ran by Bonanno associate Paul Gulino supervised under consigliereAnthony Spero until Gulino got into an argument with Spero and shoved him. Spero then ordered Gulino's death and Gulino was murdered by two members of Gulino's own Bath Avenue crew, Joey Calco and Tommy Reynolds (Calco actually pulled the trigger). Fabrizio Defrancisci is the only one of the crew's former members that became a made man in the Bonnano family.
Arizona crew — possibly inactive after Joe Bonanno retired.
Allied criminal organization
The Bonannos and the Canadian faction – In the mid-1950s, Carmine Galante established two groups to control the illegal rackets in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The Sicilian group was led by Luigi Greco and the Calabrian group was led by Vic Cotroni. The Montreal groups became part of the Bonanno crime family having made members in each group. Joseph Bonanno promoted Vic Controni to become the boss (capo) of both Montreal groups. In 1964, Sicilian group leader Pasquale Cuntrera was arrested and Nicolo "Nick" Rizzuto took over the group starting a war in 1973. The Sicilians killed the Cotroni-Calabrian group underboss Paolo Violi and others. With the death of Vic Controni in 1984, the Rizzuto crime family became the most powerful Mafia family in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. In 1988, Nick Rizzuto was convicted of cocaine trafficking and his son Vittorio "Vito" Rizzuto became boss of the family. By 1999 the Rizzuto crime family began working independently, while remaining allies to the Bonanno family. Vito Rizzuto was arrested in January 2004 and extradited to the United States on murder charges in August 2006. In May 2007, Rizzuto accepted a plea deal for his involvement in the May 1981 murders of three renegade Bonanno capos in New York and was sentenced to ten years in prison. He was released from prison on October 5, 2012 and subsequently died on December 23, 2013 from lung cancer. On November 10, 2010, Nick Rizzuto was killed at his residence in the Cartierville borough of Montreal.
Government informants and witnesses
William Joseph Dara – he is the first confirmed Bonanno informant. He was born on July 12, 1905, in Sicily, and immigrated to the United States in 1910. Dara was active in the Florida and Miami area. He became a soldier in the Bonanno crime family around 1949 or 1950. Dara became an informer and decided to cooperate in late 1967, two days after he was sentenced to 7 and a half years in prison for attempting to extort $250,000 from a Miami-based trucking company owner. It is noted by the FBI that in 1968, alongside Bonanno capoMichael Sabella, he and Dara met with Lucchese crime family capo Paul Vario and acting boss Ettore Coco in Miami in order to keep the peace between the two crime families. He died on July 9, 1982, in a plane crash in Louisiana.
Joseph Calco – former associate with the Bath Avenue crew, a follower and subgroup of the Bonanno crime family. He was the triggerman in the hit on childhood friend and Bath Avenue crew leader Paul Gulino on July 25, 1993. In 2001, Calco became a government witness and testified against Bonanno consigliereAnthony Spero. Calco then entered the Witness Protection Program under the name "Joseph Milano". While working at a pizzeria he owned in Florida, Calco assaulted and pistol whipped a customer who complained about his calzone order in 2009, and his true identity became public knowledge; he was sentenced to 6 months in prison in November 2011.
Michael "Mikey Y" Yammine – former associate with the Bath Avenue crew. In 2001, Yammine became a government informant. Alongside fellow Bath Avenue crew member and government witness Joseph Calco, he testified in March 2001 against the former Bonanno family consigliere, Anthony "Old Man" Spero.
Vincenzo Morena – former soldier who was active with the Bonanno-Giannini crew in Queens. He was sentenced to over 4 years imprisonment in 2001. Morena was secretly an informer since at least the early 2000s. He was part of the November 2015 law enforcement operation which targeted the Bonanno and Gambino families, and which overseen an employed law enforcement agent secretly become an American Mafia member for the first time in history, Morena himself was inducted and the ceremony was recorded.
Frank Coppa, Sr. – former capo and close friend of Joseph Massino. He was inducted into the Bonanno crime family in mid-1977 by Carmine Galante in Brooklyn. It is noted that he was initiated alongside John Palazzolo, however Cesare Bonventre and Baldo Amato were initiated during the same night. In 1978, he survived a car bombing. Coppa was known for his involvement in fraud and stock scams. He became a government witness in November 2002.
Salvatore "Handsome Sal" Vitale – former underboss. In January 2003, Vitale was charged with the 1992 murder of Bonanno associate Robert Perrino. In April 2003, Vitale became a government informant. In July 2004, he testified at the trial of his brother-in-law, boss Joseph Massino. By 2010, Vitale had testified against 51 organized crime figures.
James "Big Louie" Tartaglione – former capo. In 2003, Tartaglione began wearing a wire and recorded conversations with other Bonanno family members. In 2007, Tartaglione testified against Vincent Basciano and Patrick DeFilippo.
Frank "Curly" Lino – former capo. Lino became an informer in 2003 and testified at the trial for the 1981 murders of Bonanno capos Alphonse Indelicato, Philip Giaccone, and Dominick Trinchera. Lino then testified on the 1981 murder of Dominick Napolitano. Napolitano was killed by Bonanno family member Robert Lino, Sr. (his cousin) and Ronald Filocomo.
Duane "Goldie" Leisenheimer – a family associate and ally to Joseph Massino since the age of twelve. He joined the Massino hijacking crew and helped hide Massino in the 1980s. Leisenheimer was the lookout for the 1981 murder of three captains. In 2004, with Salvatore Vitale testifying against him, Leisenheimer turned informant against Massino.
Joseph "Big Joe" Massino – former boss from the early 1990s until 2004. He was active since 1960 through his introduction by Salvatore Vitale, brother-in-law and future Bonanno underboss. He became a soldier during the late 1970s. Massino became the first official boss from New York to become an informant. While boss, Massino changed the Bonanno family from being the weakest family in New York City to one of the most powerful in the country. He teamed up with Gambino family boss John Gotti to reinstate the Bonanno family on the Mafia Commission, who were kicked off as a result of allowing Donnie Brasco, better known as FBI agent Joseph Pistone, to meet former Florida crime family boss Santo Trafficante, and several high-ranking members of the Bonanno organization. In the early 2000s, Massino was the strongest and most influential boss not in prison. In January 2003, Massino was charged with the 1981 murder of Bonanno capo Dominick Napolitano. Massino had Napolitano killed for admitting FBI agent Joseph D. Pistone (known as Donnie Brasco) to his crew. At his 2004 trial, over 70 witnesses testified against him and accused him of participating in 4 murders. Former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft accused him of ordering the murder of Bonanno capo and major heroin trafficker Gerlando Sciascia in 1999. In addition, he was suspected of participating in the murders of Bonanno capos Anthony Mirra in 1982 and also Sicilian hitman Cesare Bonventre in 1984, and hitman Gabriel Infanti. In 2004, Massino turned informant and testified against members of his own family to avoid the death penalty. In January 2005, Massino wore a wire to record conversations in prison with his acting boss Vincent Basciano.
Michael "Sonny" Maggio – former soldier. He led an unofficial crew within the Bonanno family with Gino Galestro. It is noted that Maggio has ordered at least 2 murder contracts, including Robert McKelvey, a Bonanno associate who was stabbed and then drowned to death outside of the Kreischer Mansion in April 2005, the corpse was later dismembered and incinerated. Maggio was sentenced to 6 years imprisonment in 2005 and released in 2011, he expressed during his imprisonment that he enjoyed painting pictures and sending them to his children, however he was uncertain if his children received the paintings due to his sister's marriage to Galestro.
Peter Rosa – former soldier. He allegedly committed the 1989 murder of Gerald Guarino. Rosa became a government informer since at least 2006.
Dominick Cicale – former capo and associate of Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano. He was suspected of participating in at least 2 murders, including the 2004 murder of Bonnano associate Randy Pizzolo. Before joining the Bonanno family, he murdered a drug dealer in Florida and served 11 years in prison. In 2007, Cicale became a government witness and testified against Basciano. He was released in 2013 after serving 8 years behind prison. In 2014, he asked judge Richard J. Sullivan to show leniency towards Joseph Basciano who was convicted for selling marijuana, the son of former Bonanno acting boss Vincent Basciano; Sullivan had sentenced Basciano to 6 months in prison.
Nicholas "P.J" Pisciotti – former acting capo. In 2007, Pisciotti assaulted several Genovese crime family associates in a Little Italy restaurant. When Piscotti learned that Bonanno mobsters Nicholas Santora and Anthony Rabito had given the Genovese family permission to kill him, Pisciotti became a government witness. In 2007, he testified against Vincent Basciano.
Generoso "Jimmy the General" Barbieri – former soldier and acting capo. He became a government witness in 2011 and testified against Vincent Basciano, twice. Along with former boss Joseph Massino, he revealed Basciano's plot to murder Greg Andres, an attorney. He pleaded guilty to murder, racketeering, illegal gambling and loan-sharking, and was sentenced to time already served in 2013.
Peter "Pug" Lovaglio – former soldier and capo based in Staten Island. In 2013, he pled guilty to 3 parole violations. He agreed to cooperate in 2015 after a serious assault inside of a sushi bar, he was sentenced to 8 years in prison in March 2017 for the crime. In January 2018, Lovaglio testified against Philadelphia crime family boss Joey Merlino and recounted befriending Merlino in 2015.