Running With the MobrnNo Swans in the Sewerrnby Jerry SeperrnThe New York Mob ain’t dead, but it’s far from the robustrntimes it enjoyed when the five New York crime famifies—rnBonanno, Colombo, Gambino, Genovese, and Lucchese —rnsingle-handedly controlled the city’s powerful labor unions andrnran roughshod over the burgeoning construction, trucking,rngarbage-hauling, and garment industries. Federal, state, and localrnlaw enforcement officials, who have waged a somefimesrnbrutal battle against the five La Gosa Nostra families for morernthe 60 years, estimate that no more than 750 “made” membersrn(those who have taken the oath of silence) have a confinuing allegiancernto one of the city’s crime families, with only aboutrn7,500 “associates” (professional criminals whose livelihood isrnderived principally from the Mob’s criminal enterprises) still onrnthe street. That compares to an active membership in NewrnYork of more than 3,000 made members just a few years ago,rnwith the total number of associates estimated at upwards ofrn20,000 in 1993. One in every ten made members is in jail, includingrnseveral former New York bosses and their top aides.rnA similar storv’ rings true throughout the countr’, where 24rnLa Gosa Nostra crime families operate nationwide with an estimatedrnworkforce of less than 1,5()0 made members. The downwardrnspiral of members and associates continues, despite LarnGosta Nostra’s continued presence across the country: the EastrnGoast, from Philadelphia to Boston; west to Buffalo and otherrnGreat Lakes cities; Miami, Tampa, and Atlanta in the Southeast;rnNew Orleans and Houston in the South and Southwest;rnKansas Gity, Denver, Phoenix, and Las Vegas in the Midwestrnand West; and Galifornia on the West Goast.rnJerry Seper is a reporter for the Washington Times.rnFormer U.S. Attorney Joseph diGenova, a veteran federalrnprosecutor, believes the Mob has been “severely weakened” byrnseveral high-profile prosecutions. Those cases, he told me, hadrnforged “major inroads” into the inner workings and the hierarchyrnof the various crime families. “La Gosa Nostra has changedrndramatically over the past few years, and is now almost gonernfrom many cities,” he said. “It still has a foothold in places likernNew York, Philadelphia, and Boston, but not anwhere nearrnwhat it use to be.”rnNow in private practice in Washington, D.G., Mr. diGenovarnsaid several “truly crippling prosecutions” were responsiblernfor the Mob’s demise, along with the changing character ofrnthose who now run the organizations. He described the Mob’srnnew leaders as less sophisticated and less capable of runningrntheir organizations. And several of the crime syndicates are indeedrnnow run by acting leaders, having no permanent boss orrnno one in line for the job. The resulting leadership vacuum hasrnsplintered and decentralized the once-strong mob hierarchy.rnJustice Deparhnent officials, who have vowed to “eliminaternthe influence” of traditional crime organizations, also believernthe Mob nationwide has suffered severe setbacks from continuingrn—and successful—government prosecutions, particularlyrnthose against the bosses of the Golombo, Gambino, and Lucchesernfamilies, and from competition by less organized butrnmore violent Asian gangs, the Grips and the Bloods, outiaw motorcyclerngangs, the Jamaican posse, and others. Mr. diGenovarnsaid emerging Asian and black gangs have replaced many of thernLa Gosa Nostra operations throughout the country that in earlierrntimes were rooted in Irish, Italian, and Jewish communities.rn”The ascendancy of new groups is not a surprise,” he said. “It’srnOCTOBER 1998/21rnrnrn