Romanticizing the Mafia: The Effects on the America That Cannot Let Go

By Megan Sharp


The following essay was awarded the first place, winning the essay contest sponsored by Stephen F, Austin's chapter of Phi Alpha Theta in Spring 2002. Megan Sharp is currently a junior at SFASU, majoring in Political Science.



The mere mention of the word "Mafia" to most Americans brings about mental images of Marlon Brando's portrayal of a stately Don Corleone in his tomato patch or of actor Paul Sorvino's roles as a thick-skinned, heavily accented and loyal body guard of a mysterious Mafia don. These images are the result of years of exposure to the mythology that authors, reporters, and filmmakers have created around the Mafia. The Mafia, designed as an amalgam of organized criminals who are mostly of an Italian descent, and who are divided into "families", has pervaded American culture forover one hundred years. However, it has only been in the last fifty years that America has become intrigued by these criminals. Due to the influence of communications media of the 20th century (television, newspaper, books, film, and song), America has long been fascinated by the Mafia, but it was the change from fascination to romanticization that influenced the rise of ethnic mobs across the country. With the abeyance of the Mafia's domination on the underworld, notably due to the enactment of critical legislation and the withdrawal of the Mafia from inner cities, the America that had built a national cult of fascination was unwilling to let go of the Mafia. This unwillingness to let go thus caused America to virtually ignore the rise of multiethnic organized crime.

While many reasons for America's fascination with the Mafia exist, the most important are aligned with each of the major types of mass media: television, newspaper, books, film, and song. As a nation, post-WWII America was first fascinated with the Mafia it could not see. In 1950, Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee chaired the Special Committee to Investigate Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce. The official charge of this committee was quite broad; it was to determine if, to what degree, and by whom the facilities of interstate commerce were being used illegal activity and whether or not "corrupting influences" had developed as a result of such activities.[1] But its underlying purpose was the issue of a decision on whether or not a national crime network existed, as many (notably FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover) denied such charges. The Kefauver Committee conducted its far-reaching investigation by holding hearings in fourteen states. After almost one year of various depositions and testimonies, they concluded that there did exist a nationwide coalition engaging in criminal activity, and that, for the most part, that coalition was dominated by first- and second-generation Italian immigrants. Many accepted this conclusion as truth when the hierarchy of the Mafia was described by star witness Frank Costello, who was the boss of the Luciano-Genovese crime family of New York City. Costello's testimony was the high point of the hearings, and news organizations around the country carried it live via radio and television broadcasts. As part of an exchange for his testimony, Costello asked that cameramen not show his face, and so thirty million American viewers heard only Costello's witty monologue and were treated to the eye candy of his massive, calloused hands. The psychological effect of not showing Costello's face painted the Mafia as a mysterious cabal. If the citizens of America could not see Costello's face, they could infer from the ethnicity of his name, his heavy accent, and his olive-colored skin that he was Italian; in effect they calcified him as a stereotype of Mafioso. Whereas during the bootlegging days of Prohibition Americans associated organized crime with the Irish and Jews, from here on, America associated organized crime with Italians.

The mystique given to the Mafia via the televised viewing of Costello's hands led to a surge of literature and press attention which was often published solely to make a quick buck on current events and frequently played on the stereotypes developed from the Kefauver hearings. Dwight Smith notes that "[t]he Kefauver Committee's hearings and reports led to a. . .flurry of news stories about the Mafia…[and prompted] books on gangsters and the Mafia. . .[in which] characterization was largely a matter of style and clothing."[2] The press corps did little to root out the sensationalism that surrounded the Mafia and instead used the stories to generate circulation. In 1969, Donald Cressey wrote that "[p]olicemen dealing with organized crime say that the public is misled by the tendency of mass media to play 'cops and robbers' and 'gang busters' whenever organized crime is mentioned."[3] Law enforcement officials were keenly aware of the sensationalism present in newspaper accounts calling organized criminals "muscle men" or "gorillas." The intentional hype was also apparent in the language used to describe Mafiosi. Media men frequently pandered to the public's taste for anything Mafia-related by identifying organized criminals not by their proper names, but by their aliases. It was rare to find an article that discussed Al Capone; instead, newsmen referred to him by his alias, "Scarface." Additionally, when a member of the Mafia family was murdered, the mass media invariably described the slaying as a "hit" or "gangland slaying." However, "the sixties were not characterized by the search for…objectivity and historical scholarship. A repertoire of anecdotes had been assembled, to be performed by newsmen on a collection of hearsay, partial evidence, and folklore."[4] These accounts of the Mafia were not scholarly material but were instead for popular consumption, and thus added to the mythology surrounding the Mafia.

Comic book authors, too, took aim at those fascinated with the Mafia. Dick Tracy was one of the best known of the comic supercops, and "law-and-order oriented, frequently wounded, ageless Tracy [combated] an infinite variety of unique and frequently grotesque villains."[5] The world of Tracy and other superheroes embraced the classical good vs. evil stereotypes about Mafiosi and crimefighters. Tracy was depicted as representative of federal agents, always toting a Tommy gun and ready to put away any gangster he deemed a threat. His nemeses were guys with ruddy, olive complexions, with long criminal records, and with names like Flattop and Mumbles. While Flattop and Mumbles were no doubt different from Bugsy Siegel and Frank Costello, they were all gangsters whose world was one of organized crime. Through his drawings and story line, Chester Gould (originator of the Dick Tracy comic series) reinforced the stereotypes most Americans now held regarding the Mafia.

American's fascination took a critical turn with the publication of Mario Puzo's The Godfather in 1969 and its subsequent release as a film in 1971. Puzo, whose father abandoned his family when Mario was seven, grew up alienated from his Italian roots, and viewed most Italians as coarse and vulgar. Thus, when he wrote his best-selling novel, he did not attempt to glorify the Mafia. He mostly depicted Mafiosi as selfish and vicious gunslingers whose only concerns were money and themselves. But the story contained a crucial twist of plot, perhaps one with which the America that was losing a war of cultural change could identify. Michael Corleone, the straight-laced, college-educated son of Don Corleone, decided to join his father's criminal enterprise not as a way to make money, but instead because of an admiration for and loyalty to his nearly-slain father. So, in effect, Puzo "turn[ed] the moral implications of Michael's decision upside-down: he [became] a gangster because he [was] a good son. Nobody could object to that."[6] Michael, though a criminal,embodied the "traditional" American value embedded in the Sixth Commandment's decree to honor thy father and mother.[7] Though he was guilty of a life of crime, he did the right thing by aiding his father during his father's time of crisis. Instead of choosing to do his own thing and live his life for himself, as was exemplified during the late 1960s and early 1970s by students in the Haight, Michael sacrificed his personal desires to show respect to his father. It was here that America's fascination turned into romanticization.

This romanticization is analogous to the romanticization that America has with the Old West. The spirit of the west especially pervaded the songs of the 1950s folk heroes like Roy Rodgers and Gene Autry. The Mafia was no different. The most famous balladeer of his time, Bob Dylan, wrote a song in 1975 entitled "Joey", which celebrated the life and mourned the death of a renegade member of NewYork's Profaci family, "Crazy" Joey Gallo. In his song, Dylan praised Gallo's honor by noting the time that Gallo refused to kill innocent hostages. Dylan sang, "The hostages were tremblin' when they heard a man exclaim/Let's blow this place to kingdom come, let Con Edison take the blame/But Joey stepped up, he raised his hand, said, "We're not those kind of men..." Later, Dylan recounts that even as Gallo was about to die, he tried to save his family. Dylan sang, "One day they blew him down in a clam bar in New York/He could see it comin' through the door as he lifted up his fork/He pushed the table over to protect his family/Then he staggered out into the streets of Little Italy."[8] In reality, Dylan's song is an example of how far America carried its romanticization. Gallo was actually a far cry from the honorable and heroic man Dylan depicted, having been suspected of murdering ten people himself before ascending high enough in the family ranks to order murders.

Despite all of the publicity it received, the Mafia gradually began its descent from the throne of organized crime. This fall consisted of two main phases: legislative attempts to curtail organized crime and the Mafia's withdrawal from the inner cities. Phase one was due to the efforts of legislators (especially Robert F. Kennedy), who passes Congressional legislation that made it easier to indict and convict organized criminals. Two pieces of legislation were especially important. The Hobbs Act of 1946 was the antiracketeering legislation most often used to indict organized criminals until 1970. This act made the interference or obstruction with interstate commerce a crime subject to criminal prosecution. Thus, anyone who advanced criminal activities such as gambling or drug trafficking by using interstate facilities (mail,telephone) was subject to federal prosecution. In 1970 (partly as a tribute to the crime fighting efforts of the recently slain Robert F. Kennedy), Congress approved the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) as part of the Organized Crime Control Act. RICO revolutionized the prosecution of organized criminals. Its major purpose was "to permit a single prosecution of a multidefendant criminal group for all its diverse activities…specifically target[ing] organized criminal 'enterprises.'" [9] In short, it allowed prosecutors to encompass years of criminal acts in a sweeping racketeering indictment. Prior to RICO, notions of guilt were individualized. Gangs of criminals could not be prosecuted as gangs unless conspiracy could be proven. This meant that in organized crime cases, a comprehensive picture of all crimes and all involved defendants could not be presented coherently in a single prosecution. If conspiracy could not be proven, prosecutors were forced to prosecute criminals individually. RICO removed these roadblocks, and allowed law enforcement authorities, notably former U.S. Attorney Rudolph Gillian, to indict hundreds of Mafiosi.

The Mafia's withdrawal from the inner cities was the second phase of its fall. Like any organized criminal enterprise, the Mafia relied on tough street friends to survive. It counted on hungry young criminals ready to do anything- kill, maim, blackmail- to win the affection of their bosses and thus possibly move up the family ladder. The Mafia system, using these lower street thugs, was a system based on fear. In Wiseguy, mobster-turned-informant Henry Hill stated that what most people failed to comprehend was that the Mafia was little more than a formula for protection. The top Mafia figures made most of their money by collecting tribute from an assortment of criminal franchises. For the cost of that tribute, independent crooks got assurance that other criminal predators would stay away from their businesses rather than risk a clash with the Mafia. The system was based on a fear of such a clash.[10] The thugs that put that fear into the enemies of the Mafia traditionally grew up in the streets. They grew up running with street gangs. In their neighborhood school of hard-knocks, they learned how to throw a switchblade or fire a gun long before they were inducted into the Mafia family; it was a way of life. Such education was not the kind one received growing up in a middle-class town like Ocean City, Maryland or Levittown, New York.

Thus, an Italian kid living out the middle-class dream in such a town was not going to be inspired to embark on a life of crime. Crime was not the second nature he would acquire had he lived in the tough urban areas of New York or Chicago. Mafiosi almost always seem to describe their introduction to organized crime as an extension of life in their tough neighborhoods. Samuel Glancing, in his biography of his grandfather, notorious mob boss Sam "Mo" Glancing, describes the beatings that Mo frequently received from his father as the reason Mo would increasingly stay on the streets and not return home. The younger Glancing noted, "[He] slept mostly in abandoned cars or beneath back porches. He wandered the streets and stole food from vendors. Thus it was inevitable, as he skulked up and down the streets of Chicago…that little Mo Glancing would finally find home within a gang."[11] Such experiences were not easily available to Italian-American youths growing up in the 1990s, especially if they lived in suburban or rural America. Joey Pistone, an undercover FBI agent of over 25 years, said he discovered that the Italian subculture that sustained the Mafia was growing more feeble over time. He noted that "With each generation, the Mafia subculture moves closer to mainstream America."[12]

Italian-Americans steadily climbed up the social ladder. Hundreds of thousands of families whose fathers and mothers immigrated through Ellis Island made their way out of the crowded inner city neighborhoods by the 1950s and 1960s. They opted to move from the city and buy homes in working class sections of America's giant industrial cities, still maintaining blue-collar jobs such as construction work and manufacturing labor. But, as Italian-Americans have increasingly moved into the suburbs and rural areas of America, assimilating into American society, the ethnic discrimination they once received has gradually abated. Storefront windows no longer bear signs that said "No Italians Need Apply." Italian-Americans are no longer condemned to a life of intense manual labor, but instead, they are just as likely to be lawyers, doctors, or corporate executives. Former New York Governor Mario Cuomo, New York City Mayor (and former U.S. attorney) Rudolph Guiliani, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and former Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca are all examples of Italian-Americans who have increasingly come to be dominant political and economic players in American society. While the Mafia has not vanished, it is disintegrating with the economic rise of its people. So, without its life on the street, the Mafia has seen a decline in membership and power.

Yet America, especially law enforcement authorities, cannot seem to let go of the Mafia it has come to love because authorities have collected so much evidence about the Mafia's activities and players. Within the law-abiding community, there is a reluctance to let the Mafia die. Too much has been invested in the myth of the Mafia by newspaper reporters, authors, and musicians. While Mafiosi may be cold-blooded murderers, America has transformed them into a treasured cliché as romantic as the gunslingers of the Old West. In the mythology America created, they retain qualities of honor and nobility. Mafiosi respect the hierarchy of their Mafia families (Michael Corleone), and they do not kill innocent bystanders (Joey Gallo). It does not seem to matter to society that these images do not capture the true character of the Mafioso. Society has enshrined him in movies and novels. For many, the image of a Mafioso will always be that grandfatherly image of Don Corleone or of Clemenza remembering to "leave the gun, take [his wife's] cannolis" after shooting a mob enemy.

For authorities, the criminal world was much simpler when the Mafia controlled the rackets. The perpetrators were neatly divided into twenty-four families scattered across the nation, each with an identifiable leader and membership, and telltale signs of foul play. But today's crime world is far murkier, and the lines are not so clearly drawn. The once neat lines have been smudged by the emergence of ethnic gangs that defy the understanding of the public as well as the law enforcement. Authorities are forced to admit that they know little about these new criminal groups. Thus, it is understandable that no one misses the dominance of the Mafia more than the FBI. Having spent years and millions of dollars on wire-tapping and informants, the FBI accrued hundreds of indictments on Mafia members, thereby breaking the Mafia hold on labor unions and various industries. The FBI is reluctant to start from scratch with other criminal groups, and thus has been slow to recognize the emergence of new criminal groups. This is characteristic of the FBI; as for almost forty years after the end of Prohibition, it denied the existence of organized crime in America. Former director J. Edgar Hoover insisted "no such thing as a 'Mafia' [existed], while the claim that there existed a 'national crime syndicate' was itself 'baloney.'"[13] Denial went far, as in 1957, some thirty five years after the Mafia had truly entrenched itself in American society, that New York City FBI bureau had more than 400 agents assigned to rooting out Communist spies, but only four assigned to organized crime.[14] This reluctance from the 1930s to the 1960s to recognize the Mafia is the same reluctance exhibited today by America's unwillingness to recognize new ethnic mobs.

Organized crime, a wonder that was once almost exclusively associated with Italians, today is composed of a myriad of different ethnicities. Francis Ianni, professor at Columbia University and underworld scholar of the 1970s, found that "Italians are being replaced by the next wave of migrants to the city: blacks and Puerto Ricans."[15] But it is not just these gangs that have become a part of the new wave of organized crime. Cubans are notorious for running huge lottery networks.[16] Chaldeans (Christian Iraqis) are some of Detroit's biggest drug lords as well as insurance fraud artists,[17] while Ukrainians in Chicago make profits from stealing cars and smuggling them to Poland. Russian gangs have been noted for their cunning credit-card scams and gasoline-tax evasion scams.[18] Jamaican posses are notorious for slaying those who get in the way of their control of the crack trade in Kansas City and Washington, D.C.[19] Other groups rising to prominence include the Chinese, Koreans, and Dominicans.

Large-scale loss of control of organized crime by the Mafia, while it affects numerous aspects of life in America, has most significantly led to an increase in violence and the increased likelihood that crimes directly affect American consumers. The new diffusion of organized crime has led to an increase in violence because these groups have erased many of the subtle controls that once governed the underworld. The cadre of the Mafia brought stability to the streets and helped quell the violence that had made earlier decades so sensational. Upsetting that stability, today's multiethnic organized crime groups have brought a sense of anarchy back to the streets and have reintroduced organized criminal violence. Mafia members obeyed an unwritten set of rules. For the most part, they refrained from killing people outside their own mileu. Bosses ensured that the victims of Mafia-sponsored murders were not judges, lawyers, police, reporters, or innocent bystanders. Such rules were observed because they worked to the benefit of the Mafia. Mafiosi found that if their crimes, which usually warranted press coverage, resulted in public outrage, local law enforcement would come down hard on their gambling or trafficking operations, thus costing them money. Killing someone outside their circle was usually not worth the heat that followed. Walter Winchell, reporter for the New York Daily Mirror, was a case in point. Winchell ran a daily column on show business, news, and romantic developments, and he was heralded as the first and most important dispenser of this kind of news, but also news of the underworld. Winchell could frequently be seen in mob bars and was on good terms with the heads of several Mafia families, most notably Frank Costello, who lived in the same apartment building as Winchell. Thus, Winchell "ensured a flow of information of the underworld…[but] his gamier gossip items might dangerously anger people, and at various times…[Al] Capone and Lucky Luciano…provided bodyguards for him."[20] Though his columns might have occasionally slammed high Mafia members, Winchell was assured of never having to fear for his life. Thus with the Mafia keeping in check how many people were murdered (and who those people were), local authorities could keep some sort of control over the underworld. But, with the rise of other ethnic mobs, authorities have lost that power. Here, the murder of Manuel de Dios Unanue, editor of El Diaria/La Prensa, the largest Spanish language newspaper in New York City, provides evidence. Columbia University's Bill Berkely wrote that "investigators believe that as many as a dozen Queens-based drug profiteer and money launderers linked to the Cali cocaine cartel conspired to have Dios killed, raising $30,000 to hire the gunman and an accomplice."[21] Police had little recourse to handle such an affair because it was complicated by the involvement of several ethnic mobs that included the Colombians, Dominicans, and Puerto Ricans. These mobs neglect to obey the rules the Mafia abided by, and thus contribute to the increase in the amount of violence in cities today.

Ethnic mobs do not prey only on high profile people. Vietnamese gangster Trung Chi Truong has left innocent bystanders in his path of destruction. Truong's pattern of moving into a city, shaking down its merchants, terrorizing Asian businessmen, robbing jewelry stores and quickly leaving town is characteristic of many Vietnamese robbery and extortion gangs. In 1987, Truong was located in suburban Massachusetts, but was linked to a vicious murder in Los Angeles and robberies in Virginia. While in Boston, Massachusetts, Truong was known throughout the gang Ping On as being a trigger-happy killer who would shoot and kill anyone who might get in his way during a robbery. He was eventually thrown out of Ping On, as his recklessness brought constant heat to the group from local authorities. Eventually, Truong became a leader in the street war for control of Toronto's Chinatown.[22] The violent history of a crack dealing Jamaican mob in New York City was discovered in 1987 after officers came upon what they thought was a group of men playing soccer with a human head. In actuality, the head belonged to a young drug dealer who, after being caught trying to steal extra crack from his dealer, was dismembered and dumped into a garbage dumpster. The officers had come upon mob members who were trying to kick the head back into the dumpster after a scavenger had dropped the head in horror and the head rolled into the street. When the police investigation led to the bathtub where the body had been dismembered, evidence collected from the drain trap revealed the DNA of fourteen different people.[23]

An increase in the multiethnic nature of organized crime is also more likely to be directly felt by the pocketbooks of the average citizen than it was in the past. While the Italian Mafia used to limit its effort in venues such as gambling, bookmaking, and prostitution, the organized criminals of today are no longer an eminence grise, but are developing schemes that directly affect the average taxpayer. Russian mobs are notorious for the fuel tax evasion schemes. Many different types of fuels exist, but fuels that are used for motor vehicles are subject to special taxes that often support highway maintenance programs. Such taxes generate substantial revenues and are imposed at both the state and federal levels. Opportunity arises because diesel motor fuel is identical to home heating oil, which is not subject to as many taxes as fuel. In a substitution scheme, "a wholesaler indicates on official records that it sells only home heating oil and thus is not required to pay tax but then turns around and sells the fuel to service stations, indicating in its own official records that only heating oil has been sold." [24] Such a crime not only constitutes fraud, but also raises costs for consumers at the pump, as authorities are forced to tax more to make up for the taxes that distributors did not pay. Many new ethnic mobs perpetrate credit card and insurance fraud schemes, which are similar to the fraud committed by Russian mobs. In attempts to scam the corporations out of money, such fraud raises costs for all consumers. Other kinds of cost-raising schemes include scamming taxpayers by directly ripping off government agencies. Vietnamese gangs are notorious for their Medicaid fraud, while Arab mobs are notorious for food stamp and coupon fraud. While it would seem RICO would be an easy solution to the problems of new ethnic organized crime, RICO is less effective against fluid organizations with hazy leadership and changing memberships, as is characteristic of many of the new ethnic mobs. It appears that no matter what crime is perpetrated by the new ethnic mobs of today, they have a direct impact on society at large.

Eighty years ago, the Mafia emerged full force on the scene of American organized crime. Since then, America has successfully turned these criminals into icons of cultural sensationalism. Every aspect of the mass media, from books to film and newspaper to song has been construed to glorify the lives of the Italian underworld. But after 1970, the Mafia began to lose its dominance on the streets, a feat that was due to the enactment of critical legislation and the withdrawal of the Mafia from inner cities. As the Mafia became increasingly mired in the legal system, American law enforcement could not bear to let go of the organizations about which they had finally amassed so much information. Their reluctance to recognize emerging ethnic mobs has allowed these mobs to become more deeply entrenched in America, to perpetrate more violence that affects innocent citizens, and to create increasingly complex scams that authorities have a hard time recognizing and dismantling. Only when authorities come to grips with fact that the Mafia is not the force it once was and that new ethnicities have taken control of many illegal activities will the problem stand a chance of being solved.


[1] Patrick J. Ryan, Organized Crime, Contemporary World Issues (Denver: ABC-CLIO, 1995), 70-71.

[2] Dwight C. Smith, Jr., The Mafia Mystique (New York: Baisc Books, 1975), 145.

[3] Donald R. Cressey, Theft of the Nation: the Structure and Operations of Organized Crime in America (New York: Harper and Row, 1969), 65.

[4] Smith, The Mafia Mystique

[5] Robert M. Carter, "SUPERcop and SUPERcriminal: The Media Portrait of Crime." Variety, 27 October 1971, 80-88.

[6] Stephen R. Fox, Blood and Power: Organized Crime in Twentieth Century America ( New York: William Morrow, 1989), 371.

[7] Ex. 20:12

[8] Bob Dylan and Jacques Levy, Joey. Available from`arildto/Dylanic/joey.html.

[9] Ryan, Organized Crime, Contemporary World Issues, 85.

[10] Nicholas Pileggi, Wiseguy: Life in a Mafia Family (New York: Pocket Books, 1987), 56-57.

[11] Samuel M. Giancana, Double Cross: The Explosive Inside Story of the Mobster Who Controlled America (New York: Warner Books, 1992), 11.

[12] Congress, Senate, Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Organized Crime: 25 Years After Valachi, 101st Cong., 11-29 April 1988, 206.

[13] Curt Gentry, J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and the Secrets (New York: W.W. Norton, 1991), 327.

[14] Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., Robert Kennedy and His Times ( New York: Ballantine, 1978), 283.

[15] Francis Ianni, The Black Mafia: Ethnic Succession in Organized Crime (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1974), 14.

[16] President's Commission in Organized Crime, Organized Crime and Gambling, Record of Hearing VII, 24-26 June 1985, 101-26.

[17] Congress, Senate, Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Detroit Mafia, report submitted by Floyd Clarke, assistant director of the FBI's criminal investigative division, 101st Cong., 23 December 1987.

[18] Ralph Blumenthal and Celestine Bohlen, "Soviet Émigré Mob Outgrows Brooklyn," New York Times, 4 June 1989, sec. 1A, p. 1.

[19] "U.S. Captures 120 in Gang Roundup," New York Times, 14 October 1988, sec. 1A, p. 25.

[20] Stephen R. Fox, Blood and Power: Organized Crime in Twentieth Century America (New York: William Morrow, 1989), 113.

[21] Bill Berkeley, "Dead Right (the assassination of journalist Manuel de Dios Unanue)," Columbia Journalism Review 31 (March-April 1993) : 39.

[22] Jack Jones and Boris Yaro , "Police Seek Eastern Link to Killing; L.A. Detectives Suspect Asian Gang Network Is Involved," Los Angeles Times, 7 January 1987, sec. 7A, p. 15. Kevin Cullen, "Gangs Seen Vying for Chinatown Turf," Boston Globe, 15 January 1991, sec. 3C, p. 21. Nick Pron and John Duncanson, "Gangs Fight to the Finish in Deadly Year of Violence," Toronto Star, 17-18 October 1992 sec. A, p. 1.

[23] George Volsky, "Jamaican Drug Gangs Thriving in U.S. Cities," in LEXIS-NEXIS Academic Universe [database online], New York Times, 19 July 1987, site accessed 17 November 2001.

[24] James O. Finckenauer and Elin J. Waring, Russian Mafia in America: Immigration, Culture, and Crime (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1998), 149-50.