The Bonanno crime family is one of the "Five Families" that controls organized crime activities in New York City, United States, within the nationwide criminal phenomenon known as the Mafia (or Cosa Nostra). Founded and named after Joseph Bonanno, this family was the first one of the New York families to be kicked off the Commission (the second was the Colombo crime family in the 1990s). The Commission is a council of the bosses that help to maintain order in the Mafia. The unacceptable infractions that lead to the family being kicked off was the allegation that the family was actively dealing heroin and the inner family fighting for control of leadership.
These were unacceptable crimes and the commission members decided to kick out the Bonanno family. Since then the family faced shaky leadership with acting boss Carmine Galante being murdered on the order of imprisoned boss Philip Rastelli. This family has suffered two major indignities. The first came in 1981 when they learned that an FBI agent calling himself Donnie Brasco had infiltrated their ranks. The second time was in 2004 when boss Joseph Massino, who previously brought the family back to respectable stature and back on the commission, became the first-ever Mafia boss in history to become an FBI informant.
The origins of the Bonanno crime family can be traced back to the early 1880s in the town of Castellammare del Golfo located in the Province of Trapani, Sicily. During the 1900s, top members of the Bonanno, Bonventre, and Magaddino Mafia families relocated to New York, forming the Castellammarese clan due to their rivalry with Felice Buccellato, the boss of the Buccellato Mafia clan. The newly arriving Bonanno, Bonventre and Magaddino mafia 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 1927 violence broke out between the two rival New York mafia factions and soon developed into a full out war known as the Castellammarese War. It all started when members of the Castellammarese Clan began hijacking truckloads of illegal liquor that belonged to Giuseppe "Joe the Boss" Masseria. The small Castellammarese Clan was based in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and led by Nicola "Cola" Schiro who tried to work with Masseria. But one of the group's leaders Salvatore Maranzano wanted to take control over New York's underworld. Maranzano took control of the Castellammarese Clan continuing a bloody Mafia War.The Castellammarese faction was organized and more unified than Masseria family members were. Maranzano's powerful allies that supported him were fellow Castellammarese's, Buffalo family Boss Stefano Magaddino, Detroit family Boss Gaspar Milazzo and Philadelphia family Boss Salvatore Sabella. Maranzano's faction included powerful New York mobster Joseph Bonanno, Carmine Galante, Gaspar DiGregorio, and others. He also kept a close relationship with Joseph Profaci Boss of the New York Profaci family and a secret alliance with Bronx Reina family Boss Gaetano Reina. After Reina’s murder on February 26, 1930 more members of Masseria faction began to defect. By 1931, momentum had shifted in favor of Maranzano and his Castellammarese faction. Maranzano would receive help from Masseria faction defectors Charles "Lucky" Luciano, Vito Genovese, Frank Costello, Reina family Boss Tommy Gagliano and Tommy Lucchese. Luciano, the leader of a group referred to as the "Young Turks," wanted to end the war. He concluded a secret deal with Maranzano to have Masseria killed. On April 15, 1931 Masseria was murdered ending the long Castellammarese War.
After Masseria's murder, Maranzano became the new "Boss of Bosses" and outlined a peace plan to all the Sicilian and Italian Mafia leaders in the United States. There would be 24 organizations (to be known as "families") throughout the United States who would elect their own boss. In New York City, the five Mafia families were established and headed by Salvatore Maranzano, Lucky Luciano, Vincent Mangano, Tommy Gagliano and Joseph Profaci. Maranzano soon began planning to have Luciano killed, but before he had a chance he was murdered on September 10, 1931 by Jewish gangsters. Luciano instead of becoming the new "Boss of Bosses" removed the position and established The Commission to regulate the families' affairs. The Commission members included Luciano family Boss Charles "Lucky" Luciano who served as head of the Commission, Mangano family Boss Vincent Mangano, Gagliano family Boss Tommy Gagliano, Profaci family Boss Joseph Profaci, Chicago Outfit Boss Al "Scarface" Capone and Maranzano family (now Bonanno family) Boss Joseph Bonanno.
The Bonanno era
One of the five branches established was headed up by Joseph "Joe Bananas" Bonanno, formed from part of the Maranzano Family. Bonanno was at the time the youngest of the bosses of the Five Families at 26 years-old. He directed the family into the popular organized crime dealings, involving gambling, loan-sharking, and racketeering. The Bonanno Family was considered the closest knit of the Five Families due to the fact that it was made up of mostly Sicilians from the seaside town where Bonanno was born – Castellamare del Golfo, Sicily. Bonanno strongly believed blood relations and a strict Sicilian upbringing would be the only way to hold the traditional values of the Mafia together. Bonanno's power was due to his close relationship with Joe Profaci. Profaci was head of the Profaci family one of the five families in New York City. The relationship between the two bosses became stronger when Bonanno's son Salvatore "Bill" Bonanno married Profaci's niece Rosalie in 1956. If any members of the other three families exercised thoughts of muscling in on Bonanno enterprises, the close ties to the Profaci family made them think twice. With the death of Joe Profaci in 1962 an alliance of Tommy Lucchese and Carlo Gambino threatened to undermine Bonanno's position.
The Bonanno War
In the early 1960s the Bonanno family went into a civil war. Called by the media as the "Banana Split" or "Banana's war". Many members in the Bonanno family were growing wary, complaining that boss Joseph "Joe Bananas" Bonanno was never around. Joe Bonanno was spending his time in second home in Tucson, Arizona. Eventually, the commission decided that he no longer deserved to be boss, naming Bonanno capo Gaspar DiGregorio as the new boss. DiGregorio was the brother-in-law to Joe Bonanno's cousin Stefano Magaddino.
The family split into two factions the DiGregorio supporters and the Bonanno loyalists. The Bonanno loyalists were led by his brother-in-law Frank Labruzzo and Bonanno's son Bill. There had been no violence from either side until the 1966 Brooklyn sit-down. DiGregorio's men arrived at the meeting, and when Bill Bonanno arrived a large gun battle ensued. The DiGregorio's loyalists planned to wipe out the opposition but they failed and no one was killed. Further peace offers from both sides were spurned with the ongoing violence and murders. The Commission grew tired of the affair and replaced DiGregorio with Paul Sciacca, but the fighting carried on regardless.
The war was finally brought to a close with Joe Bonanno, still in hiding, suffering a heart attack and announcing his permanent retirement in 1968 (he went on to live to the age of 97, dying in Tucson, Arizona in 2002). Both factions came together under Sciacca's leadership. His replacement was Natale "Joe Diamonds" Evola as boss of the Bonanno family. Evola leadership was short lived - his death (from natural causes) in 1973 brought Phillip "Rusty" Rastelli to the throne.
Due to the infighting of the Bonanno family, they were spurned by the other families and stripped of their Commission seat. Rastelli took charge of a seemingly hapless, doomed organization. Rastelli's former friend Carmine Galante became a powerful and dangerous renegade.
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. The incredibly lucrative deals he was able to make made the family a fortune, but with the other four families being kept out of the arrangements, Galante was making a rod for his own back.
When eight members of the Genovese family were murdered on Galante's orders for trying to muscle in on his drug operation, the other families decided he had outlived his usefulness at the head of the Bonanno family. On July 12, 1979, Galante was shot dead by three men, at a restaurant in the Bushwick area of Brooklyn.
Rastelli took over once again, but the family's internal strife was far from over. Three renegade capos - Phillip Giaccone, Alphonse "Sonny Red" Indelicato and Dominick "Big Trin" Trinchera - began to openly question Rastelli's leadership and apparently to plot to overthrow him. With the blessing of the other families, Rastelli had the three men wiped out in a hit arranged by then-current Underboss Dominick "Sonny Black" Napolitano, as well as the future Boss Joseph "Big Joe" Massino.
Two of the men involved in the murder of the three rogue capos were Benjamin "Lefty Guns" Ruggiero and his capo Dominick "Sonny Black" Napolitano. Ruggiero had an associate, Donnie Brasco, whom he proposed for full family membership. In reality, Brasco was undercover FBI agent Joe Pistone, conducting what would become a six-year infiltration of the family.
Pistone's undercover work led to numerous charges against the Bonanno family. Both Ruggiero and Rastelli received lengthy sentences. On August 17, 1981, Napolitano was shot and killed in a basement by Ronald Filocomo and Frank "Curly" Lino as punishment for admitting Pistone to his crew. Anthony Mirra, the man who brought Pistone to the family was also killed.
After the Donnie Brasco affair, the Mafia Commission removed the Bonanno family from the panel. However, when the federal government pressed charges against the New York Cosa Nostra leaderhsip in the Mafia Commission Trial, the Bonnanos avoided indictment. As a result, the Bonnano family was able to keep its leadership intact and build up its power again.
Under Massino's command
Rastelli's death in 1991, following a period in which he ruled the family from inside prison, saw the promotion of Massino to the top spot. Finally, the family had found a man who could reverse its fortunes. By promoting a far more secretive way of doing business, Massino not only concentrated on the narcotics trade as had become mandatory for a mob boss, but also in other areas less likely to draw the attention of the authorities than drugs, such as the Mafia's stock trades of racketeering, money laundering and loan sharking. A close friend of Massino's, and boss of the Gambino crime family, John Gotti, also helped to get the Bonannos a seat on "The Commission" again. The family regrouped while the other families were finding their bosses targeted by the police for drug offenses.
Massino turns informant
Massino managed to keep his nose clean until the killing of Napolitano came back to haunt him. He and his underboss, Salvatore Vitale, were charged with the crime in 2003 after two of their capos turned themselves over as witnesses for the government. Vitale, who had until that point been utterly loyal to his boss, also faced a further murder charge and decided to switch sides himself, condemning Massino to life imprisonment. Capital punishment had been a possibility for Massino, but in 2004 he became the first serving boss to turn informant, sparing himself the ultimate penalty.
Massino is believed to be 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 duly 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 had killed the mobster's son in a car/bicycle accident, and paid with his life.
Former Boss Joseph Massino is also believed to have provided the police with information on a number of high ranking Bonanno Family members and former acting boss Vincent Basciano, whose conversations with Massino were taped in late 2004 and early 2005 by the turncoat himself. Before Massino became an informant himself, his acting boss on the outside was Anthony "Tony Green" Urso, but his tenure was short-lived as he too was imprisoned on numerous charges, leading to Basciano taking control. Vincent Basciano's term as acting boss was hampered with his arrest in late 2004, but with Massino's eventual betrayal, authorities claim that Basciano assumed the top position in 2005, is allegedly the current Boss and leading the broken Bonanno family from his prison cell.
The authorities continue to plague the family, with the February 16, 2006 arrest of acting boss Michael Mancuso on murder charges, while alleged Boss Vincent Basciano was recently 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.
Federal law enforcement authorities have recently claimed in a New York Daily News column that current Bonanno Family Boss Vincent Basciano has named Brooklyn business owner Salvatore "Sal the Ironworker" Montagna, age 35 of Elmont, Long Island as the new "acting boss" of the Bonanno Family. Sal Montagna was an unknown soldier in the Bronx crew of capo Patrick "Patty from the Bronx" DeFilippo and became acting capo of the crew upon DeFilippo's 2003 arrest on murder and racketeering charges. Law enforcement sources have stated that Salvatore Montagna was tabbed as "acting boss" with Vincent Basciano's consent to maintain the Bonanno Family's base of power within the Bronx faction of the Bonanno crime family. The Bonanno family's base of power was traditionally held by the Brooklyn faction from the time of Family patriarch Joseph Bonanno until the eventual rise of Queens faction leader Philip "Rusty" Rastelli in the early 1970s. The ascension of the Bronx faction began with Basciano's promotion to acting boss, eventual ascension to the top position of Boss, continued through Michael Mancuso's short tenure and now remains with Sal Montagna acting on behalf of Basciano. The newly alleged acting boss is sometimes referred to as "Sal the Zip" being that he is from Joseph Bonanno's hometown of Castellammare del Golfo, is closely associated with the Family's Sicilian faction and fellow Castellammarese, Baldo Amato who is currently in prison and former Bonanno Capo Cesare Bonventre who was murdered in 1984."
In July 2004, The New York Times reported that federal prosecutors in Brooklyn "say that overall, in the last four years, they have won convictions against roughly 75 mobsters or associates in a crime clan with fewer than 150 made members." Several top Bonanno family members including two former acting bosses and the current Boss Vincent Basciano have been indicted and convicted recently, reinforcing the government's claim of victory over the Bonanno family and New York's La Cosa Nostra. In February 2005, Bonanno family Capo Anthony "Tony Green" Urso pled guilty to racketeering, murder, gambling, loan sharking and extortion charges, while Capo Joseph "Joe Saunders" Cammarano, along with soldier Louis Restivo pled guilty to murder and racketeering charges."
Twelve Bonanno family member and associates, seven over the age 70, including acting consigliere Anthony "Mr. Fish" Rabito and respected soldier Salvatore Scudiero were indicted and arrested on June 14, 2005 on charges of operating a $10 million a year gambling ring." The most recent blow to the Family came with the September 20, 2006 sentencing of capos Louis "Louie Ha Ha" Attanasio and Peter Calabrese to 15 years in prison for the 1984 murder of capo Cesare Bonventre in Queens.
The defection of former Bonanno family Bosses Joseph Massino and Salvatore Vitale, along with four high ranking former Capos, has caused the Bonanno family to lose power, influence and respect within the New York underworld to a degree not seen since the Donnie Brasco incident. With the upcoming trial of Capos Michael "Mikey Nose" Mancuso and Patrick "Patty from the Bronx" DeFilippo on murder, gambling and racketeering charges, the ability of the Bronx faction to stay in control of the crime family will be determined along with the Bonanno family's future position in North America's underworld. Basciano is still the alleged "Boss" of the Bonannos, with, from late 2006, Salvatore Montagna as "acting boss", following orders from the imprisoned Basciano. With Nicholas "Nicky Mouth" Santora as "acting underboss" for the imprisoned Michael Mancuso, and Anthony Rabito as the alleged consigliere, Montagna is capable to run the day-to-day operations on behalf of Vincent Basciano.
A March 2009 article in the New York Post stated that Salvatore "Sal the Iron Worker" Montagna is the acting boss of the Bonanno crime family. The article also stated that the Bonanno family current consists of approximately 115 "made" members.Montagna was later deported to Canada in April 2009 leaving the family to create a ruling panel until a new boss was chosen.
Current position of the family
Under the rule of former Boss Joseph Massino, the Bonanno family climbed back to the top of New York's crime family hierarchy and once again became a top power in America's underworld, but high level defections and convictions have left the family a shell of its former self once more during its long criminal history. Vincent Basciano is serving a prison sentence for racketeering and Salvatore Montagna has been deported to Canada. Both were appointed acting bosses during Massino's imprisonment and after Massino's defection to the FBI.
On January 11, 2010 Jerry Capeci quoted sources as saying that Nicholas Santora and Anthony Rabito, who were both released from prison in 2009 and are still unable to meet freely with their fellow wiseguys, are supporting capo Vincent Asaro to become the new boss of the family. Asaro also has close ties to Queens-based mobsters from the Lucchese, Gambino and Genovese families who have voiced their support for him, sources say. A key player in the recent talks is Vito Grimaldi, who is viewed as an adviser to the Zips (Sicilian mobsters in the United States).
Capeci's sources say Asaro, who for many years has had dealings as both a mob supervisor and cohort of Sicilian wiseguys, may win Grimaldi's support.Another candidate with key Sicilian backing is Vincent Badalamenti. Due to Joseph Massino deciding to cooperate with the FBI, both sides agree that the family will no longer take orders from the man he previously appointed acting boss, Vincent Basciano. "[Joseph Massino's] word don't count any more," said one source, adding that even if his words still had clout, it made no sense.
Historical leadership of the Bonanno family
Bosses (official and acting)
Boss Don/Godfather. The boss is the head of the family, no one can override his decisions. Only the boss and underboss can initiate an associate into the family, allowing them to become a made man. The boss gives the family oath to new members and make them sgarrista (soldiers). The boss also has the authority to give people their positions and ranks. The boss usually reigns as a dictator (until somebody deposes him).
* 1890s–1901 — Giuseppe "Don Peppino" Bonanno (older brother to Salvatore and Stefano Bonanno and uncle to Joseph "Joe Bananas" Bonanno. Started the Castellammarese clan in New York City. Died in 1901.)
* 1908–1911 — Salvatore "Sal" Bonanno (Came to New York City with his wife Caterina Bonventre and son Joseph "Joe Bananas" Bonanno. Returned to Italy in 1911 and died there in 1915.)
* 1911–1930 — Nicola Schiro (disappeared in 1930 to avoid paying $10,000 extortion demand to rival Joe Masseria)
* 1930 — Vito Bonventre (murdered July 15, 1930 by Joseph Masseria's hit men)
* 1930–1931 — Salvatore "Caesar" Maranzano (murdered September 1931 by Lucky Luciano's hitmen)
* 1931–1965 — Giuseppe "Joseph" Bonanno (aka "Joe Bananas") (forcibly retired by Mafia Commission)
o Acting — 1956–1957 — John "Johnny Burns" Morales
o Acting— 1962–1964 — John "Johnny Burns" Morales
o Acting — 1964– Vacant due to Bonanno Family-Bananas War - committee of Capos - Gasparino DiGregorio, Angelo Caruso, Nicolino Alfano, Joseph Notaro, Thomas D’Angelo, Natale Evola, Joseph DeFilippo, Peter Crociata and Paul Sciacca.
o Acting — 1964–1965 — Ruling Committee/Panel - the Mafia Commission appointed three senior capos to run the family and report to the Commission until it selected a new boss. -Gasparino DiGregorio, Angelo Caruso, and Nicolino Alfano.
* 1965 – 1968 — Gaspar "Gasparino" DiGregorio (forcibly replaced by Mafia Commission)
o Acting 1966-1968 — Paul Sciacca
* 1968–1971 — Paul Sciacca (installed by Mafia Commission)
* 1971–1973 — Natale "Joe Diamonds" Evola (died 1973)
* 1973–1991 — Phillip "Rusty" Rastelli (in prison from 1975 to 1984 and 1986 to 1991)
o Defacto — 1975–1979 — Carmine "Lilo" Galante (seized power without Rastelli's support or Commission sanction, but with the underboss and majority of capos publicly supporting him, he carried the true power. He was murdered on July 12, 1979 in Commission sanctioned plot aganist him allowing Rastelli to assume control again.)
o Acting — 1979–1983 — Salvatore "Sally Fruits" Farrugia
o Street Boss —1981 — Dominick "Sonny Black" Napolitano (murdered August 17, 1981)
o Acting — 1987–1991 — Anthony "Old Man" Spero
* 1991–2004 - Joseph "Big Joe" Massino (a.k.a. "The Ear") (imprisoned January 2003, became government informant in October 2004)
o Acting — 1991–1993 — Anthony "Old Man" Spero
o Acting — 2003–2004 — Anthony "Tony Green" Urso
o Acting — 2004–2009 — Vincent Basciano (was the last acting boss chosen by Joe Massino; viewed as the unofficial Boss; convicted July 2007 receiving a life sentence)
o Acting — 2005–2006 — Michael Mancuso (imprisoned February 2006)
o Acting — 2006–2009 — Salvatore "Sal the Iron Worker" Montagna (deported to Canada in April 2009)
o Acting — 2009– Ruling Committee/Panel — Joseph Sammartino Sr. (capo in New Jersey), and other members
o Acting — Present — Vincent Asaro (candidate to become Official Boss of The Bonnano Family)
Underboss- is the number two position in the family (after the Don, Godfather, Boss). Also known as the "capo bastone" in some criminal organizations, this individual is responsible for sending a share of the family's profits to the boss. The underboss also oversees the selection of caporegimes and soldier(s). After the boss dies, the underboss normally takes control of the crime family until a new boss is chosen, in some cases the underboss.
* 1908-1930 - Vito Bonventre (promoted to Boss in 1930)
* 1930 - Angelo Caruso
* 1930-1931 - Giuseppe "Joe" Bonanno (promoted to Boss in September 1931)
* 1931-1950 - Giovanni "John" Bonventre
* 1950-1956 - Francesco "Frank Caroll" Garafolo
* 1956-1962 - Carmine "Lilo" Galante
* 1964 – Vacant due to Bonanno War.
* 1964-1965 - John "Johnny Burns" Morales (Promoted to front boss in 1965)
* 1965-1968 - Pietro "Skinny Pete" Crociata
* 1968 - Frank "Russo" Mari
* 1968-1971 - Natale "Joe Diamonds" Evola (Promoted to boss in 1971)
* 1971-1973 - Phillip "Rusty" Rastelli (Promoted to acting boss in 1973)
* 1974-1979 - Nicholas "Nicky Glasses" Marangello
* 1979-1981 - Salvatore "Sal" Catalano (Capo/Street Boss of the Zip Faction)
* 1981-1988 - Joseph "Big Joe" Massino
o Acting 1984-1988 - Louis "Louie Ha Ha" Attanasio
* 1991-2004 - Salvatore "Handsome Sal" Vitale (became FBI informant in October 2004)
o Acting 2001-2003 - Richard "Shellackhead" Cantarella (became an FBI informant on December 2002, and in June 2004 testified aganist Bonanno boss Joseph Massino.)
o Acting 2003-2004 - Joseph "Joe Saunders" Cammarano
o Acting 2005–present - Nicholas "Nicky Mouth" Santora
Consigliere is the number three position in the organization. Together, the boss, underboss and consigliere are referred to as "the administration." In Italian, consigliere means "advisor."
* 1931-1964 -John Tartamella
* 1964 - Salvatore "Bill" Bonanno
* 1964-1965 – Vacant due to the Bonanno War.
* 1965-1968 - Nicolino "Nick" Alfano
* 1968 - Michael "Mike" Adamo
* 1968-1971 - Phillip "Rusty" Rastelli (Promoted to underboss in 1971)
* 1971-1974 - Joseph DiFilippo
* 1974-1984 - Stefano "Stevie Beefs" Cannone
* 1984-2001 - Anthony "Old Man" Spero (acting boss from 1987–1993, died September 29, 2008)
o Acting 1987-1992 - Joseph Buccellato
o Acting 1999-2001 - Anthony "T.G." Graziano
* 2001–present - Anthony "T.G." Graziano
o Acting 2001-2003 - Anthony "Tony Green" Urso
o Acting 2003–present - Anthony "Fat Tony" Rabito
Street Boss/Capo of Sicilian Faction
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.
* 1966-1987 - Salvatore "Toto" Catalano (promoted to Capo in 1976, was heavily involved in the Pizza Connection Trial with acting boss Carmine Galante. The heroin was shipped into the U.S. and sold through pizzerias in New York City and New Jersey. On March 2, 1987, Catalano was sentenced to 45 years in prison and fined $1.15 million. He was released on November 16, 2009.)
o 1970s-1984 - Cesare "The Tall Guy" Bonventre (served as underboss of the Sicilian faction, was related to Vito Bonventre, John Bonventre, and Joseph Bonanno; murdered April 16, 1984)
o Mediator 1987-1999 - Gerlando "George from Canada" Sciascia (Capo who operated out of Montreal, Canada and worked with the Sicilians in New York; served as mediator between Bonanno family and Montreal's Rizzuto family; Murdered March 18, 1999)
Current family leaders
* Acting Boss Vincent Asaro - acting boss and capo from Queens who is rumored to be a candidate for official boss.
* Acting Underboss Nicholas "Nicky Mouth" Santora - took over as acting underboss in 2005, when Joseph Massino and Salvatore Vitale became government witnesses. Santora is a longtime Brooklyn capo of the Motion Lounge crew, which originally belonged to "Sonny Black" Napolitano. The Motion Lounde crew is active in the Western Brooklyn communities of Williamsburg and East Williamsburg among others. Santora is currently on trial for racketeering and extortion charges.
* Consigliere Anthony "T.G." Graziano - consigliere, former capo in the Staten Island faction in the 1980s. He operated a pension fund scheme that eventually reaped over $11.7 million from elderly investors and supervised a large narcotics trafficking operation in Florida. In 2002, Graziano was imprisoned on federal racketeering and murder charges. His projected release date is January 30, 2012.
* Acting Consigliere Anthony "Fat Tony" Rabito - 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. Currently on trial for RICO charges.
Current family capos
Capo- Caporegime (Crew boss/Captain/Lieutenant/Skipper) The boss appoints a capo to operate a borgata (regime, or crew) of sgarrista (soldiers). Each capo reports directly to the underboss and must get permission from the underboss to perform any actions. If the family wants to kill someone, the leadership usually asks the capo to carry out the order. The capo runs the day-to-day operations of his own crew. The soldiers in his crew give the capo part of their earnings, and the capo sends a part of these earnings to the underboss. A capo can recommend to the boss or underboss that a new recruit be sworn into his crew. A soldier becomes acting capo while the capo is in imprisoned, sick or on trial.
* Vincent "Vinny T.V." Badalamenti – capo operating in Brooklyn and Staten Island. 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 is considered a top member and is backed by the Sicilian faction of the family to become the new boss.
* Joseph Cammarano Sr. – capo operating a crew in Brooklyn with his son Joseph "Joe Saunders" Cammarano Jr. His son Joe Jr. has been in the Bonanno family since 1990s under Joseph Massino. In 2007, Joe Jr. was indicted for racketeering, conspiracy, illegal gambling, extortion, loansharking and drug trafficking.
* Anthony "Anthony from Elmont" Mannone - (aka Anthony from the Five Towns)- capo who was arrested on February 24, 2010 for running an illegal gambling and extortion ring throughout Brooklyn.He is currently incarcerated at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn awaiting trial.
* Louis "Louie Electric" DeCicco - 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.
* Joseph Indelicato - capo in Manhattan and New Jersey. Took over crew of from his deceased brother, Alphonse "Sonny Red" Indelicato. Joseph's nephew Anthony "Bruno" Indelicato is a soldier in the crew.
* William "Willie Glasses" Riviello – 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.
* Vincent "Vinny" Asaro - capo since the 1980s. During the 1990s, Asaro allegedly operated a multi-million-dollar stolen car ring and oversaw the hijacking of cargo at John F. Kennedy International Airport. In 1995, Asaro was convicted of racketeering and enterprise corruption and sentenced to more than five years in prison.
* Joseph DeSimone - capo in the Queens faction who formerly worked under capo Phillip Giaccone, DeSimone is reportedly involved in loansharking and extortion activities. DeSimone was allegedly involved in the 1981 slayings of capos Giaccone, Dominick Trinchera and Alphonse Indelicato.
Staten Island faction
* (In prison) Gerard "Jerry" Chilli- capo in Staten Island with operations in Broward County, Florida and Hollywood, Florida with his nephew Tom Fiore.
* Anthony Calabrese – capo based in Staten Island. He was found with capo Vincent Badalamenti on December 2009 meeting at a Bensonhurst storefront for a Christmas party.
* Frank Porco - 70 year-old capo operating from Staten Island, Brooklyn and Florida. In 2005, Calabrese was released from prison.
* Anthony Furino - 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 and is now allegedly operating his Staten Island crew.
* Anthony "Scal" Sclafani – capo in the Staten Island faction who operates illegal gambling. Sclafani also operates in New Jersey with capo Joseph Sammartino Sr. On October 14, 2009, Sclafani was arrested on loansharking charges. Sclafani is currently incarcerated at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn awaiting trial.
New Jersey faction
* (In prison) Joseph "Sammy" Sammartino Sr. – capo in the New Jersey faction since 2003. Sammartino lives in North Arlington New Jersey and is part of the current ruling panel/committee. His crew is based in Bayonne, New Jersey. On October 14, 2009, Sammartino was arrested on loansharking charges. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison and a $50,000 dollar fine for extortion.
* (In prison) Thomas Fiore - 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 plead guilty included crew enforcer Pasquale Rubbo his brother Joseph Rubbo and four other associates. The crew is involved in arson, insurance fraud, identity theft, illegal gambling and other crimes. They send some tribute up 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.
* (In prison) Patrick "Patty From the Bronx" DeFilippo - capo in the Bronx faction and leader of the Sicilian faction. DeFilippo was incarcerated on racketeering charges and acting boss Salvatore Montagna took his crew. DeFilippo's projected released date is June 25, 2038.
* (In prison) Peter Calabrese - capo and longtime associate of Louis Attanasio and Joseph Massino.
* Sandro Aiosa - capo in Brooklyn during the 1970s.
* Jerome Asaro - acting capo with large illegal gambling and loansharking rings in Queens. Asaro is the son of Vincent Asaro. In February 2007, Jerome Asaro pleaded guilty to a 25-year association with the Bonanno family. On November 2, 2010, Asaro was released from prison.
* Baldassare "Baldo" Amato - soldier in the Sicilian faction and leader of a freelance crew operating in Ridgewood, Queens.
* (In prison) Louis "Louie Ha Ha" Attanasio - capo in the Bronx who was a longtime loyalist of Joseph Massino and Salvatore Vitale until they became government witnesses. He is currently incarcerated with a projected release date of January 23, 2018.
* Salvatore Catalano - capo of the Sicilian faction in the late 1960s. In 1976, became capo of the Knickerbocker Avenue Crew. Catalano was heavily involved in the Pizza Connection drug distribution scheme with acting boss Carmine Galante. In 1980, Catalano was arrested and on March 2, 1987, was sentenced to 45 years in prison and fined $1.15 million. On November 16, 2009, Catalano was released from prison.
* (In prison) 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 on good terms with former boss Vincent Basciano and also with the recent acting boss Salvatore Montagna. Indelicato was offered promotion to capo of his own crew, but declined the offer and stayed in his uncle's crew.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.
* (In prison) Joseph "Joe Lefty" Loiacono - acting capo who was arrested on October 14, 2009 for running a loansharking operation. As of November 2010, Loiacono is being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn awaiting trial.
* (In prison) Michael Mancuso - capo, underboss, and acting boss, reportedly with the Bronx faction under Vincent Basciano. Mancuso is incarcerated on federal racketeering charges with a projected release date from prison of March 12, 2019.
* (In prison) Anthony "Little Anthony" Pipitone - acting capo arrested on October 14, 2009. As of November 2010, Pipitone is being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn awaiting his trial.
* (In prison) Thomas Pitera - soldier and hitman who was sentenced to life in prison.
* (In prison) Anthony "Tony Green" Urso - 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.
* (Deported) Salvatore "Sal the Iron Worker" Montagna - Capo and acting boss after the 2005 conviction of Vincent Basciano. Based in the Bronx, Montagna was reportedly the leader of the Sicilian faction. Montagna was born in Montreal, Canada and resided in Elmont, New York. His family originated from Castellammare del Golfo, Sicily. On April 21, 2009, Montagna was deported to Canada. The Rizzuto crime family led by Vito Rizzuto allowed Montagna to work with his family but would not take orders from him.
* The Motion Lounge crew - run by underboss and capo Nicholas "Nicky Mouth" Santora. This Brooklyn-based crew is active primarily in the Western Brooklyn communities of Williamsburg and East Williamsburg.
* 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 Beach crew - was run by consigliere Anthony Spero until his death in 2008.
The Canadian Rizzuto crime family in Montreal Canada has been a faction of the Bonanno family from its creation. This changed in the 1999 when the Rizzuto family started working independently.Today the two crime families have remained allies.
* Nicolo "Nick" Rizzuto - He became the official Capo of the Montreal faction of the Bonanno crime family in 1984 with the death of previous leader, the Calabrian Godfather Vic Cotroni. By the late 1970s he was recognized as the leader of the sixth family, a title given to his Sicilian crime family by the media and by the late 1980s he was recognized as the Canadian mafia's Godfather. He was indicted and imprisoned in November 2006, but was released in October 2008 after time served and a plea agreement that included probation. Rizzuto is thought by law enforcement to be an adviser or consigliere for his crime family, while his son is the acting leader or boss. He was born in Sicily. On November 10, 2010, Rizzuto was killed at his residence in the Cartierville borough of Montreal.
* Vittorio "Vito" Rizzuto - both the boss of the Rizzuto crime family and a capo in the Bonanno family. Son of Nick Rizzuto and a relative to Gerlando "George from Cananda" Sciascia. Rizzuto is one of the most powerful, influential and wealthiest Cosa Nostra members in the world. Born in Sicily, he immigrated to Canada with his father Nick in the mid 1950s and has since built an empire there based on in international narcotics trafficking. 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. He was sentenced to ten years in prison, with a projected release date of October 2012. However, after his release, Rizzuto faces the possibility of extradition to Italy to face conspiracy and money laundering charges concerning the Straits of Messina Bridge project there.
Government Informants and Witnesses
* Joseph "Big Joe" Massino – former boss from early 1990s until 2004. 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. In the early 2000s, Messino 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. In 2004, Messino turned informant and testified against members of his own family to avoid the death penalty. In January 2005, Massino wore a surveillance device to record conversations in prison with his acting boss Vincent Basciano.
* 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.
* Richard Cantarella – former underboss. In December 2002, Cantarella became one of the first Bonanno government witnesses. In January 2003, Cantarella was indicted for the 1991 murder of Bonanno associate Robert Perrino. In June 2004, Cantarella testified against boss Joseph Massino. Cantarella's wife Lauretta, his son Paul, a Bonnanno soldier, and cousin Joseph D’Amico, a Bonanno capo, also became government witnesses.
* Frank Coppa Sr. - former capo. Became a government witness in November 2002.
* Frank "Curly" Lino – former capo. Became the first government witness in Bonanno history. Lino 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.
* James "Big Louie" Tartaglione – former capo. In 2003, Tartaglione began wearing a surveillance device and recorded conversations with other Bonanno family members. In 2007, Tartaglione testified against Vincent Basciano and Patrick DeFilippo.
* Paul "Paulie" Cantarella - former soldier and son of Bonanno capo Richard Cantarella. In 2002, Paul became government witness with his father and his mother Lauretta.
* Joseph "Joey Moak" D'Amico – former soldier in the crew of his uncle, Bonanno capo Alfred "Al Walker" Embarrato’s. D’Amico was arrested for the murder of his cousin Anthony Mirra, who had allowed FBI agent Joseph Pistone to work for the family. In March 2003, D'Amico decided to become a government informant.
* Dominick Cicale – former capo and former friend of acting capo Vincent Basciano. In 2007, Cicale became a government witness and testified against Basciano.
* 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.
* Joseph Calco – former associate with the Bath Avenue crew. In 2001, Calco became a government witness and testified against Bonanno Consigliere Anthony Spero. Calco then entered the Witness Protection Program under the name "Joseph Milano". While working in Florida, Calco got into a fight and his true identity became public knowledge.
* Michael "Mikey Y" Yammine – former associate with the Bath Avenue crew. In 2001, Yammine became a government informant and testified against Bonanno consigliere Anthony Spero.
Bonanno family Mafia trials
* Mafia Commission Trial
* Pizza Connection Trial
* Valachi hearings - (McClellan hearings) 1963.
The Joseph Bonanno Family Chart - of the Valachi hearings
Boss: Joseph "Joe Bananas" Bonanno
Underboss: Carmine "Lilo" Galante
Consiglieri: Frank "Frank Carroll" Garafolo
Caporegimes: Joseph "Little Joe" Notaro, other Caporegimes Unidentified
Soldiers-Buttons: Michael Angelina, James Colletti, Michael Consolo, Rasario Dionosio, Nicholas Marangello, Frank Mari, John Petrone, Angelo Presinzano, Frank Presinzano, Phillip "Rusty" Rastelli, George Rizzo, Michael Sabella, Joseph Spadaro, Costenze Valente, Frank Valente, Nicholas Zapprana
In popular culture
* The 1997 film Donnie Brasco tells the story of how FBI agent Joseph D. Pistone was able to work undercover with the Bonanno crime family and almost became a made man. The film was directed by Mike Newell, Written by Joseph D. Pistone and starred Al Pacino and Johnny Depp.
* In the video game GTA 4 the Messina crime family is based on the Bonanno crime family. The Messina family is said to return its lost power back in the last years because of their alliance with Jon Gravelli. This is like the Bonanno family 1990s turn around becoming a powerful force on the commission again after John Gotti helped them regain their lost seat. They have a stronghold in Dukes the GTA 4 version of Queens like the real life Bonnanos and also are involved in construction business.
* In The Godfather: The Game the Tattaglia family could be based on the Bonanno family. The Tattaglia family is also based in Brooklyn controlling almost every business and racket on the Brooklyn waterfront.
* In the film Bonanno: A Godfather's Story (1999) (the film is also called Youngest Godfather) was the true life story of mafia boss Joseph "Joe Bananas" Bonanno. The story spans from Joe Bonanno's early life in Italy, to his America Mafia career. The film was directed by Michel Poulette based on the book writing by Bill Bonanno and Joseph Bonanno and Joseph "Joe Bananas" Bonanno was played by Martin Landau/Tony Nardi/Bruce Ramsay.
* Bonanno, Bill. Pistone, Joseph. (2008). "The Good Guys."
* Bonanno, Bill (1999). "Bound by Honor: A Mafioso's Story." New York: St Martin's Paperbacks
* Bonanno, Joe (1983). A Man of Honor: The Autobiography of Joseph Bonanno. New York: St Martin's Paperbacks. ISBN 0-312-97923-1
* Talese, Gay (1971). Honor Thy Father. Cleveland: World Publishing Company. ISBN 0-8041-9980-9
* Pistone, Joseph D.; & Woodley, Richard (1999) Donnie Brasco: My Undercover Life in the Mafia, Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 0-340-66637-4.
* Pistone, Joseph D. (2004). The Way of the Wiseguy, Running Press. ISBN 0-7624-1839-7.
* Pistone, Joseph D.; & Brandt, Charles (2007). Donnie Brasco: Unfinished Business, Running Press. ISBN 0-7624-2707-8.
* Alexander, Shana. The Pizza Connection: Lawyers, Drugs, Money, Mafia. New York: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1988.
* Blumenthal, Ralph. Last Days of the Sicilians. New York: Simon & Schuster (Pocket Books), 1988.
* Sterling, Claire. Octopus: How the Long Reach of the Sicilian Mafia Controls The global Narcotics Trade. New York: Simon & Schuster (Touchstone), 1990.
* Stille, Alexander. Excellent Cadavers: The Mafia & the Death of the First Italian Republic. New York: Random House, 1995.
* Nicaso, Antonio & Lamothe, Lee. Bloodlines: The Rise & Fall of the Mafia's Royal Family. Canada: Harper Collins, 2001.
* Raab, Selwyn. The Five Families: The Rise, Decline & Resurgence of America's Most Powerful Mafia Empire. New York: St. Martins Press, 2005.
* Edwards, Peter. The Northern Connection: Inside Canada's Deadliest Mafia Family. Canada: Optimum International, 2006.
* Humphreys, Adrian & Lamothe, Lee. The Sixth Family: The Collapse of the New York Mafia & the Rise of Vito Rizzuto. Canada: Wiley, 2006.
* Crittle, Simon. The Last Godfather: The Rise & Fall of Joey Massino. New York: Berkley Books, 2006.
* DeStefano, Anthony. The Last Godfather: Joey Massino & the Fall of the Bonanno Crime Family. California: Citadel, 2006.
* - SECRETS OF THE DEAD . Gangland Graveyard – PBS