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Sicilian Mafia and Its Impact on the United States

NCJ Number
FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin Volume: 56 Issue: 2 Dated: (February 1987) Pages: 1-10
S M Mc Weeney
Date Published
10 pages
This article traces the origin of the Sicilian Mafia, its development and growth in the United States, and American and Italian law enforcement responses to it.
The Sicilian Mafia was founded in Sicily by elements of the Camorra, a crime organization established in Naples, in the early 1800's. It became established in the United States through the immigration of some of its members in the latter 1800's, the early 1900's, and the mid-1960's and early 1970's. The American La Cosa Nostra evolved from the Sicilian Mafia organization that first surfaced in New Orleans in the 1800's and later in New York City in the 1920's. Today, the Sicilian Mafia is a formidable criminal organization in the United States, controlling a worldwide heroin distribution network. It has business ties with the La Cosa Nostra and contacts with other criminal groups. Federal law enforcement agencies cooperate with one another and with their foreign counterparts, particularly in Italy, Canada, Switzerland, and Australia, to counter Sicilian Mafia criminal activities. In 1984, the FBI director designated Sicilian Mafia cases as a major priority within the FBI's Organized Crime Program. Other agencies contribute intelligence data on the Sicilian Mafia. The Sicilian Mafia intelligence base must be expanded to further define the nature of the problem and to assist in identifying the individuals and structure of the Sicilian Mafia. 11 footnotes.