Joe Bananas,b. Castellammare del Golfo, Sicily. He came to the United States illegally in 1924, settled in Brooklyn, and soon became a bootlegger and mob enforcer. In 1931 he founded the Bonanno crime family, one of five families that dominated organized crime in New York City, and also became one of the original members of the Commission, which settled internal Mafia disputes. Bonanno's crime family, which he ruled until the mid-1960s, eventually extended from Brooklyn to Arizona, California, and Canada and controlled such illegal enterprises as gambling, loan-sharking, and drug trafficking. During the 1980s, well after his retirement (c.1968), Bonanno served his only prison terms, one for obstruction of justice, the other for civil contempt of court.
See his autobiography (with S. Lalli 1983, repr. 2003) Joe Bonanno: The Last Godfather (video documentary, 1999).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Crime and Law Enforcement: Biographies
Browse by Subject
- Earth and the Environment +-
- History +-
- Literature and the Arts +-
- Medicine +-
- People +-
- Philosophy and Religion +-
- Places +-
- Australia and Oceania
- Britain, Ireland, France, and the Low Countries
- Commonwealth of Independent States and the Baltic Nations
- Germany, Scandinavia, and Central Europe
- Latin America and the Caribbean
- Oceans, Continents, and Polar Regions
- Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, and the Balkans
- United States, Canada, and Greenland
- Plants and Animals +-
- Science and Technology +-
- Social Sciences and the Law +-
- Sports and Everyday Life +-