The Bonanno family keeps getting hammered by law enforcement from every direction. The media likes to portray the Cosa Nostra as dead. They make fun of the guys who get taken down, but the truth is, all the other crime groups wish they were like them.
The Cartels. What happened to the Medellin Cartel? The Cali Cartel? The organizations before and since are gone. Most of the drug Cartels are just that: drugs networks. They are usually run by one person and when they get arrested or killed it's over. They do not diversify into other areas like Unions, political corruption, waste, carting and the list goes on. Cosa Nostra does that, and everything they can make money doing.
In July of 2013 the Manhattan District Attorney’s office came down on the Nicky Santoro crew of the Bonanno family. They arrested 9 men including their Capo Nicky Santoro.
The media has made a big deal that they were selling Viagra and Cialis pills. What they failed to tell you is that they were trying to move 300,000 of them plus tens of thousand of Oxycodone pills.
They also ran a bookmaking operation that pulled in 7 million in bets. It was a typical sportsbook feature, a special website and an 800 number that you could place bets. Then they would settle up on Tuesdays if it was a grand or more either way.
One of the guys indicted, Nicholas Bernhard, was president of International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 917 which had about 1900 members. He is charged with using his position with the Union to enrich himself and the Bonanno family.
He had one of his guys loaning money to Union members and taking action for the sports book.
ERNEST AIELLO and VITO BADAMO were both acting Capo’s at various times during the investigation.
Anthony Santoro known as Skinny was a soldier beneath them.
They are on trial now and it is expected to go on until April. The way the trials have been going I would not be surprised to see them all walk.
If anyone has watched Donnie Brasco they may recall when Donnie walks into a Social club and some guys are busting open a parking meter. That was in the late 1970’s early 1980’s. That is what street guys do. They hustle however they can to make cash. Some guys make more than others. I knew guys who made fake subway tokens and they made money doing it. Others sold phone cards for long distance calls. Some guys are in karting and they make money that way.
Nicky Santoro was part of the Sonny Black crew portrayed in Donnie Brasco. They claim the Bruno Kirby character was loosely based on him.
I know that he was selling knock off NFL team jerseys in the mid 2000’s because he gave me a box in the Bamonte’s parking lot. Today the FBI is looking for terrorists and Mexican drug cartel members moving tons of heroin. They have let up on the five New York families of the Cosa Nostra. The last time they did that, the Bonanno family regrouped and rebuilt itself up into a good sized family. You cannot count them out just yet.