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Gang Land News: mob still active, and it is still a force

March 17, 2019 - 12:00 pm

By Ryan Jones

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- The NYPD says they found the man who gunned down Gambino crime family underboss Francesco “Franky Boy” Cali outside his Staten Island home on Wednesday. 

24-year-old Anthony Comello was arrested in New Jersey Saturday and will be charged with the mobster’s murder. 

Jerry Capeci is a journalist and mob expert, and he’s covered the mob for most of his working life. 

He is an authority on all things La Cosa Nostra (and tirelessly documents them on Gang Land News, the mob-news website he created), and he tells 1010 WINS that Franky Boy’s murder doesn’t strike him as a mob-sanctioned slaying.

“The mob just doesn’t do things like this. It does not kill an underboss, a high-ranking member of the mob, in front of his house, in front of his family. That’s not the way it would be done.”

Capeci also points out that one person would not usually be tasked with the job of taking out an underboss like Cali. 

He says the mob has a code, and this crude slaying doesn’t follow it.

“All the factors tend to indicate it was not a mob hit: killed in front of his house, one man acting alone in a pickup truck, no crash car, no lead car.”

Capeci is an authority on the mob, and he says the mob is still active in America, no matter how quiet this brand of organized crime has gotten in recent years.

“The mob is still active, and it is still a force in New York City,” he says. 

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He says the mob isn’t what it was a few decades ago, but it is still around, its reach is still far, and the prominent crime families are still making money in any way they can.

“They’re into the same staples that they’ve been involved in for years and years,” Capeci says. “Loan sharking, bookmaking, protection, rackets, extortion. Whatever opportunities they have to make a buck, they will do it. They’re involved in drugs whenever they can be.”

Though many think of John Gotti’s flashy extravagance as synonymous with American organized crime, Capeci says Francesco Cali didn’t fit that mold at all.

“He’s a low-key guy. Frank Cali was a low-key gangster circa 2019. Like most members of the mob these days, they’ve learned important lessons from John Gotti: you don’t prance around on Mulberry Street and invite the FBI to investigate you, and indict you, and convict you, and send you to prison. You keep a low profile.”

Mob Arrest Frank Cali, FBI perp walk
Egan-Chin, Debbie/NY Daily News via Getty Images

Though the businesses they deal in and the old code they adhere to remain reasonably consistent no matter how much time passes, one former trademark of mob culture has changed in recent years.

“One thing they’re not doing that they were back in the eighties and nineties when Gotti was running wild is killing people the way they used to.”

Capeci says it’s not that the mob’s gone soft but instead realized that all the killing was getting them nothing but unwanted attention from law enforcement and lives wasted sitting in a prison cell. 

Mostly, he says, they dialed back the killing because it’s good for business.

“They opted to curtail the violence in hopes of saving themselves large prison sentences.”

If Cali’s murder was, in fact, a mob-sanctioned hit, Capeci says it would be a departure from the new norm.

“The last sanctioned mob hit in New York was in 2013 in the Bronx. There hasn’t been another one since then.”

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