116th Street Crew

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Anthony Salerno

116th Street Crew is a faction of the Genovese crime family, one of the Five Families that dominate organized crime activities in New York City and New Jersey as part of the Mafia (or Cosa Nostra). The crew is named after East 116th Street in East Harlem, where they were originally based. Over the years, the 116th Street Crew has been involved in a wide range of criminal activities, including loan sharking, illegal gambling, extortion, narcotics trafficking, and murder.

History[edit | edit source]

The origins of the 116th Street Crew trace back to the early 20th century, when the Genovese crime family began to establish its power in New York City. The crew was initially formed to manage the family's operations in East Harlem and the Bronx, focusing on traditional rackets such as gambling and loan sharking. Over the decades, the crew's influence expanded under the leadership of various notable mobsters.

In the mid-20th century, under the leadership of figures such as Vito Genovese, the crew solidified its position within the Genovese family and the broader Mafia hierarchy. The 116th Street Crew played a significant role in the family's expansion into new territories and ventures, including the waterfront and the construction industry.

Notable Members[edit | edit source]

Throughout its history, the 116th Street Crew has been led by a number of prominent mob figures. These have included:

- Vito Genovese: One of the most powerful and feared mobsters in American history, Genovese's leadership marked a period of significant growth and influence for the crew. - Anthony Salerno: Also known as "Fat Tony," Salerno was a key figure in the crew during the latter half of the 20th century. He was reputed to be the Genovese family's front boss in the 1980s. - Michael Clemente: A lesser-known but influential member, Clemente played a crucial role in the crew's operations, particularly in the realms of illegal gambling and loan sharking.

Criminal Activities[edit | edit source]

The 116th Street Crew has been involved in a wide array of criminal activities, reflecting the broader operations of the Genovese crime family. These activities have included:

- Loan sharking: Providing high-interest loans to individuals and businesses, often with the threat of violence for non-repayment. - Illegal gambling: Operating illegal gambling operations, including numbers games, bookmaking, and illegal casinos. - Extortion: Forcing payments from individuals or businesses through threats or violence. - Narcotics trafficking: Participating in the distribution of illegal drugs, although traditionally the Mafia was hesitant to involve itself in drug trafficking. - Murder: Carrying out hits on rivals, traitors, or others deemed a threat to the organization.

Current Status[edit | edit source]

The 116th Street Crew continues to operate in the 21st century, although its activities and influence have evolved in response to law enforcement efforts and changes in the criminal underworld. The crew, like much of the Mafia in the United States, has faced significant pressure from federal and state law enforcement agencies. Despite these challenges, the 116th Street Crew remains a testament to the enduring presence of organized crime in New York City.

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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD