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Old 09-26-2014, 08:11 AM   #1
Icelander
 
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Default [Real World, US East Coast] Famous gangland killings, figures, cases in the 2000s

I'm coming up with background for a whole bunch of NPCs. They are presently set in Boston, MA; but their background will be mostly New Orleans, LA; Florida and New York.

As it happens, the NPCs are mostly black and a significant part of them are of Haitian ethnicity, but they can have connections to all kinds of organised crime in their past, either friendly or not so friendly.

What I'm primarily looking for are some connections to real-world crime in the backstories. Preferably, this would be something that the underworld in Boston could have heard about, so bonus points for something that happened within driving distance of it, but sufficiently famous figures or cases from Florida, Lousiana or even from the Carribbean might justify inclusion.

What are famous unsolved gangland slayings that one of the NPCs could be reputedly responsible for?

Other infamous crimes?

What's are famous underworld figures in New Orleans, Miami or New York for someone to have worked for once?

Who's a famous 'bad man' on the East Coast in the 2000s*, someone that a character with a killer reputation could be compared to?

Other than Baltimore, Washington, New York and Philly, what are places on the East Coast with a large criminal scene of African-Americans? Are there any places that are notoriously linked to one other in the popular imagination, with a lot of traffic in crime between them?

Where are well-connected gangsters from New Orleans likely to have connections?

What would be the default attitude between criminal organisations primarily made up of people of Haitian ethnicity and Dominican gangs? Hostility or ordinary rivalry? Are they more or less likely to cooperate than, to take random examples, a Russian gang from Brighton Beach and a Cuban one from Florida?

Obviously, I'm looking for this stuff online too, but I thought that maybe someone who lived in the US could have assimilated some of what I'm looking for by media osmosis, so would have a better idea than I can gather with a quick Google search of what are iconic, famous or infamous incidents or people.

*A real-life (or at least real-life rumour mill and memetic bad-ass) equivalent to Omar or Brother Mouzone in The Wire.
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Old 09-27-2014, 07:07 PM   #2
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Default 'Loup' Abellard and Kók Nwar

The sort of thing I mean may be illustrated with the following example; where a Southie criminal by the name of Sean Callahan is telling two PCs what he has found out about a crew of Haitian drug dealers who threathen people with 'voodoo' paraphernalia and leave black rooster heads as calling cards.

Callahan comes back with news that this group is called 'Kók Nwar' or something similar, which translates to the Black Roosters. Apparently they are a criminal organisation from New Orleans who are carving out a position in Boston as distributors and importers of drugs as well as exacting some form of tribute in Haitian communities.

Callahan has warned the PCs that his source is perhaps not perfectly reliable, seeing as he is a superstitious and credulous drug addict, and that he may be exaggerating wildly when it comes to the power and reach of the gang. Callahan doesn't personally place much credence in the claim that 'everyone in New Orleans pays them tribute', for example.

Supposedly, they are led or at least fronted by someone called 'Prince J'. He has been in the city for close to half a year. Came from Lousiana with a crew of guys with him. Some names Callahan heard for his crew are Slim Williams and 'T-Dog', as well as a guy named Rene Goodwill, who appears to have been the enforcer for this group.

Even just a month ago, they weren't important enough for Callahan to have ever heard of them. Apparently, however, that has changed. A lot of new members have been arriving, both from Lousiana and direct from Haiti, and established drug dealing gangs who previously would not have dreamt of sharing their profits with some third-rate shakedown crew are now buying drugs exclusively from them and paying them tribute for the privilege of selling within 'their' territory.

Callahan is clearly shocked at such a rapid shift in the underworld balance of power of 'his' city and wonders at how it could have taken place without an all-out war. Callahan does mention that some of the established players did not intend to knuckle down under threats from some out-of-towners spreading superstition. Apparently, however, this did not go as intended:

"Lookit, yah boys know a shooter name of Abellard? 'Loup' Abellard, mostly worked New York and Philly, supposed to have put more people in the ground than cigarettes?

Well, as it happen, he's some sort of Haitian, same as these guys. Came up as a stick-up boy down in Florida in the 90s, ripping off cocaine cowboys
[insert reference to specific criminals]. Never ran with a gang, but would step up to anyone, anytime. So he and [insert reference to Floridan gang] have a little disagreement, don't know what about.

Whatevah. Before you know, it's a warzone down there. Loup got himself an arsenal and he's having a field day hunting down these guys. They're falling over dead bodies in the street and
[insert DTO] are lashing out at everyone trying to find this guy. No way to run a business, so finally, they get [respected underworld figure] to mediate. Hell, they get him to pay Loup off so they can get back to running drugs in whatever passes for peace down there.

Loup leaves Florida after that, around '96, but I don't know where he went. Maybe he tried to retire, maybe he went into business for his own, but in any case, he eventually ran out of money. I don't know what he spent it on, maybe he got a habit, maybe he likes wicked flash women, but whatevah, he found himself needing money to live in the style he had become accustomed. That's when he started accepting contracts.

He did work for
[insert African-American OC in New York and Philly], the Dominicans [insert DTO], [insert DTO] and even the Italians [insert specifics]. Loup didn't care who he worked for and he didn't care who he killed. I think he enjoyed killing.

He did
[insert names of victims] in Philly and [insert names in New York]. People with real security, but he found a way every time. Patient, resourceful and wicked crazy. The way people talk about him, he comes for you, there's no way to hide and no way to stop him. He'd use a handgun, knife, machete, long gun, anything that the job required and he'd never fail.

If he'd been smart, he'd never had to work again after some of these contracts, but Loup never could stop doing what he loved. He'd down Trinitarios street thugs in some retahded turf war just so he could keep sharp and then he'd turn up punching the ticket for someone like
[insert famous gangland slaying].

Anyway, like I was saying earlier, these Kók Nwar jokers have been going around Mattapan and the Bury, telling everyone of Haitian-descent who was doing deals on the street they owed tax for doing business or 'Baron Kriminel' would come collect. Also selling their own product, wholesale, big packages, it seems. They seem wicked serious, too, for all their voodoo posturing.

I hear that just a couple of months after they got here, Rene Goodwill, the triggerman from New Orleans that Big Mike took care of last week, he gunned down a couple of Franklin Field boys who took offence at him collecting there on behalf of Prince J. Some stabbings and beatings, too. None of it really out of the ordinary, not until recently, though. I mean, we don't have that much contact with any of these gangs and who runs what corner doesn't matter to us.

There must have been some more attempts to drive them off and resist paying this tax, but there's a lot of talk and not much of it reliable. It sounds plausible that some Orchard Park bangers made a serious attempt to kill Prince J two months ago, but for whatevah reason it didn't go so well. Others tried and failed too. Seems this Prince J character has some mad pissah security watching over him, just waiting for a chance to cut loose.

Anyone who wanted him dead ended up disappeared instead; at least that's the way my informant tells it. Says local tough guys 'Nose' Anthony and 'Bandanna' Jones from Harbor Point were talking big about doing something about these Kók Nwar guys and they haven't been seen in months. Both used to run several crews and now their corners are being run by some new Haitian guys.

Terry Lucas, ran a tight crew on Blue Hill Avenue, got a solid head on him and a mean streak in him deep as the Big Dig, him too. He's just gone. Two of his guys turn up dead in the Mystic last month and he hasn't been seen since. They were shot and cut up, both, and from what I hear, had black rooster heads stuffed in their mouths. What's left of his crew is paying tribute to Kók Nwar; or so says my informant.

Clearly, drug dealing as a profession in black neighbourhoods is going tuh Chelsea in a black rooster-driven handcart. The jig gangs didn't just accept it lying down, though, even though they could see that guns and knives weren't going to work for them. Sometime last month, Sid 'Vicious' Edouard from JP, 'Fat Boy' Freddie Lavalle, the Roxbury dealer who came up through H Block, and some other guys who run profitable drug crews in the Bury, Jamaican Plains or Mattapan; they reached out to their Dominican suppliers in New York.

Now, that I may be able to get more information about that later tonight, an associate of mine will be meeting with some local representatives of the DDP and DFL who will know about any feelings that the importers down in New York have on this matter. Again, we don't have much contact with them, but it seems that these jokers are starting to have ambitions that affect anyone doing deals here in Boston.

Whatevah. So from what I hear, the result is that New York agrees to back the established drug dealers against these Kók Nwar people. Nobody up in New York cares much what gangs do in Bury, but muscling in on their drug connection to the local distributors is over the line.

So what happens is that our man Loup comes up here, two or three weeks ago, yeah? He's supposed to take out Prince J and however many others it takes to make these Kók Nwar guys see that nobody wants to pay them protection and Boston already has all the supply it needs, for the black gangs as well as everyone else. No need to run it up from Lousiana or Haiti or wherever they are getting their stuff. And sure as hell no one is going to stop buying from New York to deal exclusively with these jokers.

Here's the thing, though. Apparently, no one has seen stone psycho Loup Abellard since he went after Prince J. Just, yah know, two weeks ago, everyone expects to start hearing about how these Kók Nwar jokers are dying like flies, but instead, there's just the sound of silence. Prince J didn't even stop appearing in public and his boys Slim Williams, 'T-Dog' and the other lieutenants didn't stop collecting the tax neither.

Fat Boy Freddie disappeared around that time too and Vicious Edouard took a massive overdose of heroin in his apahtment, dead as doornail. Looked like he did it deliberate, too, says my source, maybe because he'd rather die happy than wait for 'Baron Kriminel' to come collect. My informant says that the rest of the black gangs in the Dot, Bury and Mattapan have taken their re-up from Kók Nwar and are all paying their tribute like good boys.

And there's a new enforcer for Kók Nwar, too. Some joker dressing in a black suit and top-hat, wearing sunglasses at night, actually calling himself 'Baron Kriminel'. He's got a whole fresh crew of soldiers too, at least one of whom is straight off the boat from Haiti and doesn't even speak English. Wicked crazy machete-wielding bastahd, said to be. Every bloody man of color scared stiff of this Baron Kriminel and his Haitian thugs now.


Now, what can I add for the blanks in the story?
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Old 10-07-2014, 07:44 PM   #3
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Default Re: [Real World, US East Coast] Famous gangland killings, figures, cases in the 2000s

I'm not studied up on that sort of thing so don't take me as a source. If I remember though, the old school Italian Mafia for a while was able to maintain a peace through the various families with their own version of the UN back in the "Golden Age".

The Teamsters, as is well known, once were under the control of the Mafia. The problem was apparently the weak organization that allowed them to subvert key chapters thus getting a hold of the electoral system and insert their own candidate. In essence the Teamsters were like an organism and the mob like a virus strain corrupting cell after cell. Legend has it that Hoffa asked about the Committee for Ethical Practices saying,"Have they found any ethical practices yet."

When RICO came about the Federal government launched a campaign against the Mafia and penetrated them surprisingly well. Despite the romance their really is very little honor among thieves and the real boys squeal like pigs-so much that you have to wonder if every don in the system was really an informant.

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.
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Old 10-07-2014, 07:52 PM   #4
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Default Re: [Real World, US East Coast] Famous gangland killings, figures, cases in the 2000s

Speaking of that there is a story that Mark Twain said,"The only native American criminal class is Congress."
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Old 10-08-2014, 07:01 PM   #5
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Default Re: [Real World, US East Coast] Famous gangland killings, figures, cases in the 2000s

The mafia was also well established as were Italians. Ethnic criminal organizations work well when the ethnic group feels and is outsiders, they won't go to or trust the authorities. So they didn't have that anymore in the mafia.
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Old 10-09-2014, 07:48 AM   #6
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Default Re: [Real World, US East Coast] Famous gangland killings, figures, cases in the 2000s

Quote:
Originally Posted by dcarson View Post
The mafia was also well established as were Italians. Ethnic criminal organizations work well when the ethnic group feels and is outsiders, they won't go to or trust the authorities. So they didn't have that anymore in the mafia.
Just so.

It's hard to enforce a cultural code of silence when the people in your organisation are growing up in a completely different culture, with at most a few sentimental touchstones in common with the original.

That's part of the reason why the most powerful criminal organisations in the US these days seem to be Mexican, Dominican, Puerto Rican or another ethnicity that has a large population of first-generation immigrants. Or, alternatively, come from a clearly-defined subculture within the US, such as inner-city neighbourhoods with multiple generations of non-working, non-studying people.

Anywhere people experience the reference society and its mechanisms of law enforcement as dangerous outsiders is fertile ground for organised crime.

In my campaign, where there is an emerging supernatural scene, I imagine that the established underworld will be much quicker to accept its existence than bureaucratic organisations of the legitimate government.

Thus, Eastern European gangs with a profitable sideline in medical supplies and a Haitian gang using superstitions for extortion.

Alternatively, mysterious Eastern Europeans buying blood in bulk and a Haitian bokor taking a cut of all drug trade in neighbourhoods with a large Haitian presence.
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Old 10-09-2014, 04:29 PM   #7
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Default The Mafia or not?

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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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Old 10-09-2014, 07:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
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.
A lot of the mafia romance has to do with placing Old World tribalisms in the modern world. You will notice that mafia movies really don't show drugs and prostitution and what have you. They do show assassinations of course but only of people who are obviously involved in the game; the fate of pitiful gambling addicts isn't mentioned. What they show is essentially a Shakespeare like tale of intrigue and feuding in a curious setting.
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Old 10-09-2014, 07:06 PM   #9
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Default Re: [Real World, US East Coast] Famous gangland killings, figures, cases in the 2000s

Buckley once did an interview of a prisoner on Firing Line and he said that the social structure of prisons falls into a caste system. The top are mafioso and other organized crime. Next on the rung are artisan-criminals like safecrackers, burglers, pickpockets, etc(and hackers now of course but the interview was before that was relevant). I forget what was below that: if I was to guess I would put the more crude violent criminals down below and the abusers and pedophiles at the bottom rung.
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