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Running With the Mob

No Swans in the Sewer

The New York Mob ain't dead, but it's far from the robust times it enjoyed when the five New York crime families— Bonanno, Colombo, Gambino, Genovese, and Lucchese—single-handedly controlled the city's powerful labor unions and ran roughshod over the burgeoning construction, trucking, garbage-hauling, and garment industries. Federal, state, and local law enforcement officials, who have waged a sometimes brutal battle against the five La Cosa Nostra families for more the 60 years, estimate that no more than 750 "made" members (those who have taken the oath of silence) have a continuing allegiance to one of the city's crime families, with only about 7,500 "associates" (professional criminals whose livelihood is derived principally from the Mob's criminal enterprises) still on the street. That compares to an active membership in New York of more than 3,000 made members just a few years ago, with the total number of associates estimated at upwards of 20,000 in 1993. One in every ten made members is in jail, including several former New York bosses and their top aides.

A similar story rings true throughout the country, where 24 La Cosa Nostra crime families operate nationwide with an estimated workforce of less than 1,500 made members. The downward spiral of members and associates continues, despite La Costa Nostra's continued presence across the country: the East Coast, from Philadelphia...

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