The Colombo Crime Family
Those clamorous harbingers of blood and death.

McBeth, William Shakespeare.

Mafia, La Cosa Nostra, the Mob, or traditional Organized Crime - however it is referred to -- the national coalition of Italian-American criminals probably began as a version of the Sicilian Mafia. But the American version has not been the Mafia in a very long time. Joseph Bonanno, the only living survivor of the founders of today’s organized crime, said " The 'Mafia' phenomenon in America today shouldn’t even be referred to by that name."

F.B.I. surveillance tape:

June 2, 1992.

2:49 p.m.: recorded in the law office in downtown Camden, New Jersey, of lawyer Salvatore Avena. The conversation is between him and Colombo Crime Family capo Salvatore Profaci, son of the late Joseph Profaci, founding father of the crime family now known as the Colombos.

Salvatore Avena: Did I do something wrong?

Salvatore Profaci : Well, we started a lawsuit. Goodfellows don’t sue goodfellows. Goodfellows kill goodfellows.

"The face is very blue, the eyes are bulging, and the tongue protrudes between the teeth….. Marks of decomposition are already noted on the anterior chest wall…There is evidence of bleeding from the nares on his body. Eyes show presence of a definite subconjunctival haemorrhage. There is a cord around this body’s neck knotted in the front twice around the neck and two strands on the right side. There is a loop formed by knotting the cord and it is tightly drawn around the neck."

The police report and autopsy by the New York City medical examiner detailed the double homicide of Anthony " Nino" Colombo and his apparent mistress, Christina Oliveri. Their bodies were discovered on February 6, 1939, slumped in the back seat of Colombo’s two-door Pontiac, covered with a floral patterned oilcloth.

Anthony "Nino" Colombo, alias Tony Durante, alias Tony Colombo, was a small time hood. A Brazilian-born immigrant of Italian parents, he had, at the age of 42, a police blotter that included arrests for extortion, robbery, assault, possession of a firearm, burglary, disorderly conduct and vagrancy. When the police spoke to his wife Catherine, she told them " I always had trouble with the bum about women. He went out and I went to the movies. That’s the last I saw of him. I figured he had been picked up by you guys when he didn’t come home." Although the murders were never solved, unofficially, it was generally agreed that Nino had gone one step too far in having an affair with Christina who was the wife of a ‘made man’ in the Profaci family. She, of course, also paid the ultimate price for her sexual duplicity.

The body was identified by his son Joseph, aged 16, another two-bit gangster, but one destined to reach much higher elevation in his chosen career of crime than his father, before he too met a violent end. Although Anthony and his son Joseph were low level associates of the crime family run by Joe Profaci, Joseph Colombo was eventually to rise to the position of boss of the family by the time he was forty, the youngest head of one of the five Italian-American crime families that had dominated the criminal landscape of the greater New York area since 1931. The Profaci/Colombo family was a congress that embodied then, and in the future, the ingredients for a rich mixture of the macabre and unusual:

A gangster who rose to power by the time he was 32; who generated, illegally, hundreds of millions of dollars from a gasoline tax evasion scheme and became one of the richest mobster’s ever, and gave it all up for the love of a young Mexican-American girl.

His father, who spent more time in prison for a crime he did not commit than probably any gangster in American history.

A homicidal killer who scammed the FBI and helped change the face of racial discrimination in America.

A hood with a name to match a computer and a manner to make tough guys cry.

A kid behind a bagel counter who was killed for being just that.

A shootout on the streets of Brooklyn that left a father injured, his son dead and a nun mortally wounded.

The only Egyptian ever to be murdered in a mob war.

And the only crime family in American history that suffered the indignity and embarrassment of fighting three internal wars.
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