Buffalo crime family

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Buffalo crime family
Stefano Magaddino.jpg
Named after Stefano Magaddino
Founded by Angelo Palmeri
Founding location Buffalo, New York, United States
Years active c. 1910–present
Territory Buffalo, throughout the Buffalo-Niagara Falls metropolitan area, Syracuse, Rochester, Utica, the Canadian province of Ontario, Northwest Pennsylvania and Las Vegas
Ethnicity Italian, Italian-American, Sicilian people, Sicilian American made men and other ethnicities as "associates"
Criminal activities Extortion, bookmaking, drug trafficking, loan-sharking, gambling, racketeering, labor racketeering, conspiracy and murder
Allies Five Families, Papalia crime family, Luppino crime family, Chicago
Rivals various gangs in the Buffalo area

The Buffalo crime family, also known as the Magaddino crime family and The Arm,[1] is an Italian American Mafia crime family based in Buffalo, New York, United States. The family operated throughout Western New York, Ontario, Canada and Erie, Pennsylvania.


The Buffalo crime family gained power during the Prohibition era through bootlegging. In 1931, the family boss, Stefano Magaddino, became an original member of The Commission, the governing body of the American Mafia. The family remained strong and relatively united until his leadership was challenged in the 1960s. It then split into factions as they tried to assassinate him.[why?] The internal war continued after his death from natural causes on July 19, 1974[2] but ended in the early 1980s when Joseph Todaro Sr. became the boss.[3] Todaro united the family and retired in 2006, leaving many in law enforcement to believe Leonard Falzone had taken his place.[4] However, others thought he was only acting as the "front boss" for the Todaros and that Joseph Todaro Jr. was the acting boss while his father became the senior statesman for the family.[citation needed]

The Buffalo crime family's main front operation was Laborers' International Union of North America Local 210. Over the course of the later part of the 20th century and the first part of the 21st, the Buffalo crime family declined in influence. Factors included older members slowly turning away from the organization, younger Italian-Americans showing no interest in its operations, an 11-year federal operation that forced the family out of Local 210 between 1995 and 2006, introduction of the New York Lottery depriving the family of a major revenue source (illegal gambling revenue), and the rise of Joe Todaro Jr.'s legitimate pizzeria business.[5]

Although in 2012, Matt Gryta, crime reporter for The Buffalo News, said that many believe the family had "expanded into the new millennium through telemarketing, pump and dump stock scams and internet pornography with the 'family' expanding its operations nationwide",[6][dubious ] another reporter from his newspaper said in 2017 that "The Mafia is all but dead in Western New York". It noted that a few widely scattered remnants that are no longer believed to be active or organized remain.[5]

In November 2017 the US Department of Justice and Canadian newspapers indicate the family is still active. The Toronto Star said that Giuseppe (Joe) and Domenico Violi, who have longstanding ties to the Buffalo Mob, were arrested on narcotics trafficking charges.[7] These charges indicate a continuation of the long established mafia drug trafficking rectangle from Toronto/Hamilton to Buffalo and Montreal to New York City established by Stefano Magaddino and his cousin, Joseph Bonanno.[8][9] Additionally, Metro News said that "The arrests also hit members of the Buffalo crime family headed by the late Joe Todaro."[10] The Department of Justice said that Canadian law enforcement authorities had arrested various members and associates of the Bonanno, Gambino, and Todaro crime families on charges that include narcotics trafficking.[11] In response to these arrests, Canadian journalist Adrian Humphries wrote:

Among those arrested in Canada are members of the Todaro organized crime family, based in Buffalo, according to U.S. authorities. The Todaro crime group was built by the now-deceased Joseph Todaro Sr., who took over the Buffalo Mafia once led by the influential boss Stefano (The Undertaker) Magaddino.[12]

Historical leadership

Boss (official and acting)

The early history of what became the Buffalo family was controlled by two different men: Angelo Palmeri and Joseph DiCarlo. The two groups merged, becoming a crime family.[13]

  • 1908–1912 – Angelo "Buffalo Bill" Palmeri – stepped down, becoming underboss.
  • 1912–1922 – Giuseppe "Don Pietro" DiCarlo Sr.[14]
  • 1922–1974 – Stefano "The Undertaker" Magaddino – died of natural causes on July 19, 1974, at the age of 82.[14]
    • Acting 1969–1970 – Salvatore "Sam" Pieri – leader of the Pieri-Frangiamore faction, imprisoned.
    • Acting 1970–1972 – Joseph Fino – leader of the Fino-Sansanese faction, imprisoned.
    • Acting 1972–1974 – Samuel Frangiamore – leader of the Pieri-Frangiamore faction.
  • 1974–1985 – Samuel "Sam the Farmer" Frangiamore – appointed by the Commission, retired in 1985 and died in 1999.[14]
  • 1985–2006 – Joseph "Lead Pipe Joe" Todaro Sr. – became semi-retired in 1995, officially retired in 2006. Died in 2012. Todaro was the last officially recognized boss of the family.[14]
  • After 2006 – Joseph Todaro, Jr. Became the boss when his father retired-according to FBI operative and former Buffalo LCN Associate/informant Ron Fino.[citation needed] It has been alleged by the FBI that Leonard Falzone took over as the acting boss when Joe Todaro, Senior retired in 2006.[15]


  1. ^ "MOB'S CONTROL OF LOCAL 210 HAS A LONG HISTORY". The Buffalo News. December 5, 1999. Retrieved January 16, 2018. 
  2. ^ Rizzo, Michael F. (2012). Gangsters and Organized Crime in Buffalo: History, Hits and Headquarters. Charlestown, SC: The History Press (Kindle Edition). pp. Kindle Locations 959–960. ISBN 978-1-61423-549-1. 
  3. ^ "RIP: Joe Todaro, reputed mob boss and noted businessman". Niagara Falls Reporter. Retrieved 2018-01-16. 
  4. ^ "Who will lead now that Todaro, Nicoletti gone?". Niagara Falls Reporter. Retrieved 2017-03-07. 
  5. ^ a b Herbeck, Dan (March 19, 2017). "The Mafia is all but dead in Western New York. So what killed it?". The Buffalo News. Retrieved March 19, 2017. 
  6. ^ Gryta, Matt. (2012). The real teflon don : how an elite team of New York State Troopers helped take down America's most powerful Mafia family. Karalus, George. Buffalo, NY: Cazenovia Books. pp. (Kindle Locations 3539–3541). ISBN 978-0-97492-536-3. OCLC 820457199. 
  7. ^ Edwards, Peter (November 10, 2017). "Accused Violi brothers in trafficking bust come from colourful family | Toronto Star". The Star. Retrieved 2018-04-06. 
  8. ^ Humphreys, Adrian (1999). The enforcer : Johnny Pops Papalia : a life and death in the Mafia. Toronto: HarperCollins. pp. 40–46, 106–108. ISBN 0002000164. OCLC 40982427. 
  9. ^ Carter, Adam (November 16, 2017). "Hamilton police officers allegedly aided accused mobster, leaked report reveals". CBC News. Retrieved 2018-04-06. 
  10. ^ "RCMP and FBI to Announce Fentanyl Trafficking Arrests". Metro News. Retrieved 2018-04-01. 
  11. ^ "Members and Associates of Gambino and Bonanno Organized Crime Families Arrested in Coordinated U.S.-Canadian Takedown". United States Department of Justice. US Attorney's Office Eastern District of New York. Retrieved 14 November 2017. 
  12. ^ Adrian, Humphries. "'Congratulations': Undercover agent inducted into Mafia in secret ceremony captured on video by police". National Post (Canada). Retrieved 14 November 2017. 
  13. ^ http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/gangsters_outlaws/family_epics/bonanno/1.html
  14. ^ a b c d Albert S. Kurek The Troopers Are Coming II: New York State Troopers 1943–1985. (pg. 177-181)
  15. ^ Hudson, Mike. "Who Will Lead Now that Todaro, Nicoletti Gone?". Niagara Falls Reporter. Retrieved March 6, 2017. 

Further reading

  • Dubro, James. Mob Rule: Inside the Canadian Mafia. MacMillen, 1985
  • Sifakis, Carl. The Mafia Encyclopedia, Second Edition. Checkmark Books, 1999
  • DiVita, Louis P. "A Wiser Guy" 2016
  • Capeci, Jerry. The Complete Idiots Guide to the Mafia:The Buffalo Family. Alpha Books, 2002
  • Humphreys, Adrian. The Enforcer: Johnny Pops Papalia, A Life and Death in the Mafia. Harper Collins, 2002
  • Griffen, Joseph. Mob Nemesis: How the F.B.I. Crippled Organized Crime. Prometheus Books, 2002
  • Edwards, Peter. The Northern Connection: Inside Canada's Deadliest Mafia Family. Optimum International, 2006
  • Dubro, James and Robin Rowland, "King of the Mob: Rocco Perri and the women who Ran His Rackets" Penguin 1987
  • Dan Herbeck Justice Dept. Claims Union has been dominated by the mob Buffalo News (New York). January 31, 1996
  • U.S. vs Laborers International Union of North America, AFL-CIO, 212 Page RICO Complaint
  • Statement of Ronald M. Fino to Sub-Committee on Organized Crime - July 24 & 25, 1996.
  • The Cosa Nostra and Labor Rackeering by Ron Fino (1998)

External links

  • Pennsylvania Crime Concession. "Organized Crime in Pennsylvania: Traditional and Non-Traditional". (April 15, 1988). The Nevada Observer.
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