Apalachin Meeting Thesis

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Organized Crime - Mafia Apalachin Meeting

When New York state troopers broke up a meeting of organized crime figures in Apalachin, New York in 1957, state and federal crime fighting agencies felt that they found tangible proof of the existence of the Mafia.

The police had become suspicious of criminal activity when they discovered that Joseph Barbara, host of the meeting, and the president of Canada Dry Bottling Company, was making a large number of hotel reservations, and when they observed several well-known Mafia figures in the area. When the police approached the gathering, the participants fled into the woods, and the police set up roadblocks to stop them. Fifty-eight gangsters were stopped at the roadblocks or in the surrounding area, and taken to the police station for questioning. The subsequent investigations marked the beginnings of the U.S. government's war on organized crime. The conference revealed the world of organized crime to the public, which in return resulted in an increase in governmental response to addressing organized crime. (answers.com, n.d.)

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Prior to the conference the Federal Bureau of Investigation, led by J. Edgar Hoover, had been resistant to investigating claims of organized crime. In response to the discovery, the Justice Department established the Special Group on Organized Crime in the spring of 1958, and both the New York State legislature and the U.S. Senate investigated the incident. (answers.com, n.d.)

Thesis on Apalachin Meeting Assignment

It had been nearly 40 years since the onset of prohibition expanded the reach of organized crime, yet politicians, crime fighting agencies, Italian-American civic groups, and academics still debated the existence and impact of Italian-American organized crime. This debate was particularly vigorous during the decade between the hearings chaired by Tennessee senator Estes Kefauver in 1951 and the testimony of Mafia informant Joseph Valachi in 1963. (Bernstein, 2007)

The stated purposes of the Apalachin meeting are varied, if not intriguing, and a couple of them even humorous. What is clear is that the attendees hoped the meeting would remain private. Instead, their discovery began an unraveling of a huge crime network and demonstrated to the United States government that the Mafia was more entrenched in America's society than previously realized. The Apalachin meeting erased all speculation. It became clear that top hoodlums had organized themselves into a criminal conglomerate. (Hafer, n.d.)

The meeting marked the critical point in the defeat of Meyer Lansky's foes. Several major Mafia figures were absent, either because they didn't want to attend, or because they were very much dead. We'll discuss a possible conspiracy later. (Enrique Cirules, 2004, p. 123-126)

Anastasia, and Scalise, a friend of Luciano, were both dead. Then there was the abortive attempted murder of Frank Costello which brought about much unwanted publicity. At that point, the New York families decided it was time to talk.

The Meeting and the Chase

The meeting agenda called for the more than 100 mobsters to socialize and resolve the mafia affairs in New York and La Cosa Nostra operations such as gambling, casinos and narcotics dealing. The Scalise and Anastasia murders were topics of great importance that needed immediate attention, since men in the Anastasia family still loyal to the Anastasia/Scalise regime such as the powerful caporegimes

Aniello "The Lamb" Dellacroce and Armand "Tommy" Rava were about to go to war against Vito Genovese and his allies. It hadn't been just the Genovese-Lucchese-Gambino alliance that wanted to see Albert Anastasia dead. Some of the most powerful Cosa Nostra bosses throughout the country, such as Tampa family boss Santo

Trafficante, Jr., Northeastern family Underboss Rosario "Russell" Bufalino, New Orleans family boss Carlos "Little Man" Marcello and even Jewish boss and mafia financier,

Meyer Lansky worried about Anastasia's attempts to muscle in on their Havana casino operations just before the Commission sanctioned his assassination. (absoluteastronomy.com, n.d.)

In fact, Cuba was one of the Apalachin meetings topics of discussion, particularly La Cosa Nostra's gambling and narcotics smuggling interests on the island. The international narcotics trade was also an important topic on the Apalachin agenda. Shortly before Apalachin, Bonanno family members Joseph Bonanno,

Carmine Galante, Frank Garofalo,

Giovanni Bonventre and other American Cosa Nostra representatives from Detroit, Buffalo and Montreal visited Palermo, where they held talks with Sicilian Mafiosi staying at the Grand Hotel des Palmes.

The New York garment industry interests and rackets, such as loan sharking to the business owners and control of garment center trucking were other important topics on the Apalachin agenda. (absoluteastronomy.com, n.d.)

The outcome of the discussions concerning the garment industry in New York would have a direct, and in some cases an indirect, effect on the business interests of some of the other bosses around the country, mainly those interests in garment manufacturing, trucking, labor and unions, which brought in large incomes for the families involved.

Thus overall, the state of American Mafia affairs was to be discussed at this meeting, leaving no debates or questions as to who would now be leading the new "Liberal Mafia," controlling and enforcing its national rules and policies. (absoluteastronomy.com, n.d.)

Barbara had been harassed by the local small town cops for a while after moving to the rural upstate region of New York. A local state trooper named Edgar Croswell had been aware that a guest had visited Barbara's estate the previous year; state troopers had pulled over Carmine Galante as he drove away from Barbara's house in 1956, and they had found that Galante was not only driving without a license, but he had an extensive criminal record in New York City. In the time immediately preceding the November 1957 meeting, Croswell had become obsessed with the goings on there and was aware that Barbara's son was reserving rooms in local hotels. This made Croswell suspicious, and he therefore decided to keep an eye on Barbara's house.

When the state police found many luxury cars parked at Barbara's home, they began taking down license plate numbers. Having found that many of these cars were registered to known criminals, state police reinforcements came to the scene and began to set up a roadblock. Since no crime was being committed, this was overdoing it, but gangsters made it worse by fleeing.

A absoluteastronomy.com, n.d.)

Having barely started their meeting, Bartolo Guccia, a Castellammare del Golfo native, and Joe Barbara spotted the roadblock while leaving Barbara's estate. Guccia would later state he was returning to the Barbara home to check on a fish order. Some attendees attempted to drive away but were stopped by the roadblock. Others trudged through the fields and woods, ruining their expensive suits and tossing guns and cash away in case they were caught. Locals reported finding $100 bills scattered about the countryside for months afterwards. (absoluteastronomy.com, n.d.)

Up to fifty men escaped, but fifty-eight were apprehended, including Commission members Vito Genovese, Carlo Gambino, Joseph Profaci and Joseph Bonanno. Virtually all of them claimed they had heard Joseph Barbara was feeling ill and that they had just popped in to see him and wish him well. Everyone thought it very curious that so many men of Italian descent from various cities, the majority with criminal records, should happen to be all gathering at one place at the same time, but as no crime had been committed the men who were caught were all eventually released.

After the Apalachin Summit, J. Edgar Hoover, could no longer deny the National Crime Syndicate's existence and its influence on the North American underworld, as well as La Cosa Nostra's overall control and influence of the Syndicate's many branches throughout North America and abroad. Hoover created the "Top Hoodlum Program" and, with prodding from Robert Kennedy, went after the National Crime Syndicate's and La Cosa Nostra's top bosses throughout the country. Many of the National Crime Syndicate's most powerful bosses such as Vito Genovese, Joseph Bonanno, Sam "Momo" Giancana, Stefano Magaddino, Frank Costello, Carlos Marcello, Meyer Lansky, Abner "Longy" Zwillman and Philip "Dandy Phil" Kastel just to name a few, found themselves with greater law enforcement scrutiny, indictments and grand jury subpoenas being handed down. (absoluteastronomy.com, n.d.)

Cuba Connection?

Several years prior to Apalachin, Frank Costello and Vito Genovese had been competing for the position of "Top boss" of bosses in New York City. In an attempt to take the "Top boss" position, Genovese ordered a hit on Costello on May 2, 1957. Costello escaped death and walked away from the attempt with a bullet grazing his head. Genovese feared revenge from Costello, who was now in alliance with Albert Anastasia and on October 25, 1957, Genovese had Albert Anastasia assassinated in Manhattan's Park Sheraton Hotel barbershop.

It was around this time that additional information supposedly surfaced about the Apalachin meeting. In addition to pursuing policies concerning narcotics and the succession of Vito Genovese over Frank Costello and the fate of Anastasia's territory, it was alleged that the meeting was also about the Mafia's involvement in the building of gambling casinos in Cuba and the need to raise cash. However, this has little credence as a reason for calling… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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