Lucchese crime family
The Lucchese crime family (pronounced [lukˈkeːze; -eːse]) is an Italian-American Mafia crime family and one of the "Five Families" that dominate organized crime activities in New York City, in the United States, within the nationwide criminal phenomenon known as the American Mafia. Members refer to the organization as the Lucchese borgata; borgata (or brugard) is Mafia slang for criminal gang, which itself was derived from Sicilian word meaning close-knit community. The members of other crime families sometimes refer to Lucchese family members as "Lukes".
|Named after||Tommy Lucchese|
|Founding location||New York City, New York, United States|
|Territory||Primarily New York City, with additional territory in New Jersey, South Florida and Las Vegas|
|Ethnicity||Italians as "made men" and other ethnicities as associates|
|Membership (est.)||90–100 made members and 1,000+ associates (2004)|
|Activities||Racketeering, robbery, illegal gambling, drug trafficking, truck hijacking, bribery, loan sharking, fraud, assault, fencing, money laundering, extortion, murder, arms trafficking, and theft|
|Allies||Bonanno crime family |
Colombo crime family
Gambino crime family
Genovese crime family
Buffalo crime family
DeCavalcante crime family
Philadelphia crime family
Velentzas crime family
Nine Trey Gangsters South Brooklyn Boys
|Rivals||Various gangs in New York City including their allies|
|Notable members||List of members|
The family originated in the early 1920s with Gaetano Reina serving as boss up until his murder in 1930. It was taken over by Tommy Gagliano during the Castellammarese War, and led by him until his death in 1951. Known as the Gagliano crime family under Gagliano, the family kept their activities low-key, with their efforts concentrated in the Bronx, Manhattan, and New Jersey.
The next boss was Tommy Lucchese, who had served as Gagliano's underboss for over 20 years. Lucchese led the family to become one of the most powerful families to sit on the Commission. Lucchese teamed up with Gambino crime family boss Carlo Gambino to control organized crime in New York City. Lucchese had a stronghold on the garment industry in New York and took control of many crime rackets for the family.
When Lucchese died of a brain tumor in 1967, Carmine Tramunti controlled the family for a brief time; he was arrested in 1973 for funding a major heroin network and died five years later. Anthony Corallo then gained control of the family. Corallo was very secretive and soon became one of the most powerful members of the Commission. He was arrested and convicted in the famous Mafia Commission Trial of 1986.
For most of its history, the Lucchese family was reckoned as one of the most peaceful crime families in the nation. However, that changed when Corallo named Victor Amuso as his successor shortly before going to prison. Amuso later promoted one of his closest allies, Anthony Casso, to underboss. Starting in 1986, Amuso and Casso instituted one of the bloodiest reigns in Mafia history, ordering virtually anyone who crossed them to be murdered. It is estimated that Casso himself murdered between 30 and 40 people and ordered over 100 murders during his reign; he was sentenced to 455 years in prison. Casso also had authority over NYPD detectives Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa; both carried out at least 8 murders for him.
Amuso was arrested in 1991 and sentenced to life in prison. Several Lucchese family members, fearing for their lives, turned informant. The highest profile of these was acting boss Alphonse D'Arco, who became the first boss of a New York crime family to testify against the mob. This led to the arrests of the entire Lucchese family hierarchy, with Casso also becoming an informant. Testimony from these informants nearly destroyed the family, with as many as half of its members winding up incarcerated. Amuso continues to rule the family from prison.