The Gambino Crime Family

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The era of Don Carlo, which lasted from 1957-1976, was enormously prosperous for the Gambino Crime Family. At the beginning of his rule he, and many other crime families, ran into a pretty large roadblock. As Gambino was being sworn in as leader of the Cosa Nostra, President Elect John Fitzgerald Kennedy, a man who had “sworn to destroy people like him and rid the nation of the scourge of organized crime” had also been sworn in”(Davis 87). The Kennedy brothers, with Robert as head of the McClellan Committee, was the first time that the executive branch of the government directly went after organized crime. Before Kennedy, presidents had even been opposed to going after the mob Harry Truman and Eisenhower discouraged hearings like Kefauver’s to proceed. Another huge obstacle to the federal investigation of the Cosa Nostra lay directly at the feet of corrupt FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. He obtusely denied the existence of the Mafia and was reported to call the reports of its existence “baloney” (Davis 87). Eventually, after overwhelming evidence, Hoover was convinced there was a problem and organized crime was the reason for it. President JFK’s brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy instituted the world’s largest attack on organized crime in all of history. He drew up a list of the top targets, forty in all, and went on his way. After the first year of his war on organized crime, Bobby Kennedy indicted 121 mob defendants and had 73 convictions. By 1963 there was 615 indicted and 288 convictions. One of the most long-lasting tactics that were introduced during Kennedy’s campaign, was the use of bugs and other listening devices in the homes, favored clubs, and hideouts of the mobsters. Electronic surveillance was a new resource an...

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...relative kindness. All of these traits allowed him to be one of the few bosses to die peacefully at the ripe old age of 74 from a heart attack, in the year 1976, in his own bed, a rarity for Mafia bosses. Unlike his death, the legacy he left on New York was not so peaceful. He wreaked havoc on the environment, public and private enterprise. He ruined thousands of lives, families and was one of the major reasons for the explosion of heroin use in the 1960’s, creating thousands of addicts throughout the country. The government had spent millions, and millions, of dollars trying to stop him with no avail. He decimated New York and, by naming his successor as Paul Castellano, ultimately caused even more destruction to Americans. However, Gambino was not perfect. His chosen successor, and cousin, would not be as successful at running his empire as smoothly as he hoped.

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