The New York Italian Mafia is an extremely complex, tight-knit family-group that operates under strict policy. The Italian Mafia also known as La Cosa Nostra implements a hierarchical structure that is formal like most legal organizations and businesses. The Italian Mafias national structure consists of a boss or God father, an under-boss, Consigliere or advisor, Caporegime also known as a Capo or Captain, soldiers, and associates.
The boss is head of the entire family who creates laws and policies, dictates the organizations business operations, and receives a percentage of the revenue earned by all members within the family. The under-boss is appointed by the God father and is second in authority. The under-boss relates all orders and information passed down by the main boss and up from members, is in charge of the captains, and in the event the head boss cannot be present as a result of a sickness, imprisonment, and so forth, the under-boss will either temporarily or permanently replace the main boss, therefore, becoming the new families God father (University of Phoenix, 2010).
The Consigliere is one of the most trusted individuals within the family. The Consigliere is an advisor for the family, who deals with internal and external disputes, attends family meetings, and attempts to make the family’s business operations appear legitimate. In addition, the Consigliere may have numerous political and legal connections, works as a professional, such as a lawyer or stock broker, and refrains from participating and engaging in most illegal activity (University of Phoenix, 2010).
The Caporegime or captain is in charge of operating a small crew of soldiers that range between six to nine members. The captain abides by and adheres to all rules and regulations created by the main boss. Furthermore, The Caporegime obtains his position by a formal vote and is then sworn in as a legitimate member of the family. Each member of the Cosa Nostra family other than the associates is formally accepted by the main boss and under-boss. The Caporegime is responsible for obtaining new methods to increase the profits of the family’s organization and pays a weekly or monthly percentage of his crew’s earnings to the God father (Mafia Today, 2010).
The lowest rank in the Italian Mafia is the solider. But in order, for one to obtain this position a few very important factors must be met. First, any individual who is considered for the solider position must be of Italian background. Second, all soldiers must start out as associates and prove themselves to the captain, under-boss, and God Father. Third, an open slot must be present for an individual to run for solider. Fourth, an interview with the under-boss and main boss must take place among all candidates where a vote for the best candidate will be conducted (Mafia today, 2010).
Though an associate may appear to be a member of the Italian Mafia the associate is not. Associates are individuals who are eager to become members, or are individuals who simply make a connection with the family as a result of performing specific tasks, such as running errands. At the lowest level of the Mafia family lay the soldiers and associates. The structure of the soldiers and associates become loose and network into a spider web like fashion as a means to evade detection and apprehension by law enforcement, and to protect the organizations bottom line. At these two levels individuals are permitted to conduct business domestically and internationally, obtain contacts with other organized crime groups and organizations, and engage in many forms of illegal activity, such as the sales and trafficking of drugs. This is allowed so long as the business being carried out is beneficial to the organization and does not bring forth unnecessary attention to the organization (Mafia Today, 2010).
Old school Mafia leaders were hesitant to get involved with the sales of illegal drugs and for the most part remained traditional with the organizations illegal activity. As the world evolved contemporary Mafia leaders were quick to discover the benefits that exist in the illegal drug trade. The sale of cocaine, crack, heroin, Methamphetamine, LSD’s, and Marijuana proved to be too profitable to ignore, and this in return created a new world Mafia. The Mafia implements numerous methods that allow business operations to move smoothly without issue. Trains, ships, air crafts, and motor vehicles are just a few ways, in which drugs are transported across borders. Political leaders and government officials are offered a substantial amount of money, political power, or protection to ignore and assist with the Mafia’s illegal drug trade.
The result is a highly organized and well developed criminal organization that has both legitimate and illegitimate employees assisting to maintain productivity. No criminal organization operates the same making each unique. The document researched and discussed La Cosa Nostra, a New York Italian criminal organization known as the Mafia. A discussion of the group’s national and multinational structure, and operation methods pertaining to the illegal drug business. In addition, a discussion of the Mafias relationship with past and current Prohibition, drug syndicates, political corruption, illicit activities, and various contemporary business interests were further presented.
Mafia Today. (2010). Mafia Structure and Definitions. Retrieved September 5, 2010, from http://mafiatoday.com/mafia-structure-and-definitions/
University of Phoenix. (2010). Week four overview. Retrieved September 5, 2010, from University of Phoenix, Week Four, rEsource. CJA393-Interdisciplinary Capstone Course Website.