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Old 10-09-2014, 03:29 PM   #7
Icelander
 
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Iceland*
Default The Mafia or not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jason taylor View Post
Because of that the Italians had an extreme nosedive in America and apparently by the time they had a chance to recover others moved in. Which is just one reason why they are being supplemented and possibly replaced by Russians and Balkans as the go-to TV villains. Aside from the fact that Italians are old and becoming a cliche.
I've been trying to discover how much influence the Five Families really have in the East Coast drug importation business in the modern era.

The very visible failures and busts that they've had suggests that they are extremely unlikely to be involved on any large scale, but there is a possibility that some Italian underworld figures retain a respected status and collect some revenue for taking on intermediary roles.

Even so, I've seen no evidence that points conclusively one way or another. It seems that sociologists, journalists, researchers, writers of publicly available police documents and true crime writers have strongly differing views on the subject.

One view is that after the 1990s*, the Italian mafia essentially exists only in movies and television, with maybe a small segment of the underworld consisting of wannabe Mafia poseurs who grew up watching mob movies and adopted the mannerisms for their careers as small-time criminals.

Another school of thought is that while the direct involvement of 'Mafia soldiers' in criminal activity has plummeted, there are still respected and influential organisations descended from historical Mafia families in the US and populated by ethnic Italians. These exist as a sort of managerial 'super-level' above street level criminals of various ethnicities and extort taxes in exchange for serving as go-betweens and mediators between other criminals.

I find option two very cinematic and thus suspect. But there are apparently real people living in New York and New Jersey who strongly feel that there are influential 'Mafia' dons in their neighbourhood. I've heard first-hand accounts from people I trust which suggest a high degree of influence from some Italian gentlemen. To be fair, however, those stories might all date back to 1999 at the latest and not reflect current realities.

I remember a relative recounting their car being stolen and a next-door neighbour, who happens to have extensive interests in the New Jersey sanitation engineering sector, being very sorry to hear that anyone had dared to steal from his neighbour. The car was returned the same day, but the hubcabs had been removed prior to its recovery and couldn't be found. Inside the car, however, were a wide variety of hubcabs, so, as the old Italian gentleman put it, they could select their own replacement, at the expense of the thieves who dared to steal from his neighbours.

It's widely acknowledged on that street that the friendly neighbour in question is 'a member of the Mafia' and it seems to be true that apart from that one lapse, street crime, break-ins and automobile theft are unknown in this particular small neighbourhood.

While it doesn't exactly matter for most of the adventures my PCs are likely to encounter, there are certain paths of enquiry which, if pursued, will lead to them becoming more familiar with the absolute top-levels of weapons and drug smuggling through Mid-Atlantic ports. Also, it might matter to me, as a GM, what the balance of power among other criminal groups is when I portray senior members of criminal groups and have them make decisions which might affect that balance of power.

So, I am kind of curious as to how much influence the Italian Mafia ought to have in New York and how much impact they would have on the smuggling activities of an Eastern European organisation from abroad. Also, how much influence do they have with regard to Dominican DTOs and who, if anyone, dictates to whom?

*During which sad remnants of Mafia families were indicted for vulgar and low-income criminal conspiracies in New York and New Jersey.
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Last edited by Icelander; 10-09-2014 at 03:33 PM.
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