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At the age of 10, Galante was sent to reform school due to his criminal activities. He soon formed a juvenile street gang on New York's Lower East Side. By the age of 15, Galante had dropped out of seventh grade. As a teenager, Galante became a Mafia associate during the Prohibition era, becoming a leading enforcer by the end of the decade. During this period, Galante also worked as a fish sorter and at an artificial flower shop.[2]

On December 12, 1925, the 15-year-old Galante pleaded guilty to assault charges. On December 22, 1926, Galante was sentenced to at least two-and-a-half years in state prison.[4]

In August 1930, Galante was arrested for the murder of police officer Walter DeCastilla during a payroll robbery. However, Galante was never indicted.[2] Also in 1930, New York Police Department (NYPD) officer Joseph Meenahan caught Galante and other gang members attempting to hijack a truck in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. In the ensuing gun battle, Galante wounded Meenahan and a six-year-old bystander, both survived. On February 8, 1931, after pleading guilty to attempted robbery Galante was sentenced to 12 and a half years in state prison. On May 1, 1939, Galante was released from prison on parole.[4]

By 1940, Galante was carrying out "hits" for Vito Genovese, the official underboss of the Luciano crime family. Galante had an underworld reputation for viciousness and ruthlessness and was suspected by the New York Police Department (NYPD) of involvement in over 800 to 900 murders.[5] Galante reportedly had a cold, evil, dead-eyed stare with eyes that betrayed an utter indifference to human life, scaring law enforcement as well as other Mafia members. Ralph Salerno, a former New York Police Department detective, once said, "Of all the gangsters that I've met personally, and I've met at least a thousand of them in all of my years, there were only three who, when I looked them straight in the eyes, I decided I wouldn't want them to be really personally mad at me, and i knew that they would kill me in a heartbeat. Aniello Dellacroce, Albert Anastasia, and Carmine Galante was the other. They had extremely evil eyes, their eyes were demonic looking, I mean, they had the eyes of pure evil killers. You could see how terrifying they were, the frigid glare of a cold-blooded killer. They are the last people on earth that you want to cross, they would kill literally anybody in a heartbeat, including cops. Albert Anastasia, Aniello Dellacroce, and Carmine Galante were the only gangsters that i was petrified of, i mean they scared me to death, and they literally put the fear of the devil in me, they were truly terrifying men, and they scared a lot of other NYPD Detectives and they even scared Federal Agents. They were literally feared by everybody, and they killed a lot of people. They had the reputation for being extremely lethal, ruthless and efficient hitmen, and for single-handedly killing hundreds and hundreds of people, and also for killing anybody in a heartbeat. They are some of the most violent, ruthless, dangerous, murderous and feared criminal's in history. It is believed that Aniello Dellacroce single-handedly killed as many as 300 people, it is believed that Albert Anastasia single-handedly killed as many as 1,000 people, and it is believed that Carmine Galante killed as many as 900 people, which is unbelievable and mind-blowing that they killed that many people, thats how evil, bloodthirsty, psychopathic, vicious and ruthless and was able to get away with it. They are without a doubt some of the most vicious, ruthless, murderous, lethal and feared criminal's in history of the world."

In 1943, Galante allegedly murdered Carlo Tresca, the publisher of an anti-fascist newspaper in New York. Genovese, living in exile in Italy, offered to kill Tresca as a favor to Italian President Benito Mussolini. Genovese allegedly gave the murder contract to Galante. On January 11, 1943, Galante allegedly shot and killed Tresca as he stepped outside his newspaper office in Manhattan, and then got in a car and drove away.[6] Although Galante was arrested as a suspect, no one was ever charged in the murder.[7] After the Tresca murder, Galante was sent back to prison on a parole violation. On December 21, 1944, Galante was released from prison.[4]

On February 10, 1945, Galante married Helena Marulli in New York.[2]

Galante went from being chauffeur of Bonanno family boss, Joseph Bonanno, to caporegime and then underboss. He was said to have been loyal to Bonanno and often spoke of him with great admiration. They also shared a common enemy, Carlo Gambino of the Anastasia crime family.

In 1953, Bonanno sent Galante to Montreal, Quebec to supervise the family drug business there where he worked with Vincenzo Cotroni in the French Connection. The Bonannos were importing huge amounts of heroin by ship into Montreal and then sending it into the United States. In 1957, due to Galante's strong-arm extortion tactics, the Canadian Government deported him back to the United States.[8]

In October 1957, Bonanno and Galante held a hotel meeting in Palermo, Sicily on plans to import heroin into the United States. Attendees included exiled boss Lucky Luciano and other American mobsters, with a Sicilian Mafia delegation led by mobster Giuseppe Genco Russo. As part of the agreement, Sicilian mobsters would come to the U.S. to distribute the narcotics. Galante brought many young men, known as Zips, from his family home of Castellammare del Golfo, Trapani, to work as bodyguards, contract killers and drug traffickers. These Sicilian criminals had Galante's total trust and confidence.[9]

In 1958, after being indicted on drug conspiracy charges, Galante went into hiding. On June 3, 1959, New Jersey State Police officers arrested Galante after stopping his car on the Garden State Parkway close to New York City. Federal agents had recently discovered that Galante was hiding in a house on Pelican Island off the South Jersey shore. After posting $100,000 bail, he was released.[10] On May 18, 1960, Galante was indicted on a second set of narcotics charges; he surrendered voluntarily.[11]

Galante's first narcotics trial started on November 21, 1960. From the beginning, the first trial was characterized by jurors and alternates dropping out and coercive courtroom displays by the defendants. On May 15, 1961, the judge declared a mistrial. The jury foreman had "fallen" down some stairs at an abandoned building in the middle of the night and was unable to continue the trial due to injury. Galante was sentenced to 20 days in jail due to contempt of court.[12] On July 10, 1962, after being convicted in his second narcotics trial, Galante was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison.[13]

Power grab Edit In 1964, Joseph Bonanno and his ally, Profaci crime family boss Joseph Magliocco, unsuccessfully plotted to murder three rival members of the Mafia Commission. When the plot was discovered, the Commission ordered Bonanno to retire. Over the succeeding 10 years, Bonanno tried to install his son Salvatore Bonanno as boss while the Commission tried to run the family with a series of ineffectual bosses.[14]

In January 1974, Galante was released from prison on parole.[15] A few days after his release from prison, Galante allegedly ordered the bombing of the doors to the mausoleum of his enemy Frank Costello, who had died in 1973.[9]

In November 1974, the Commission designated Philip "Rusty" Rastelli as the official boss of the Bonanno family.[8] However, Rastelli was soon sent to prison and Galante seized effective control of the family. As a former underboss, Galante considered himself the rightful successor to Joseph Bonanno, a man to whom he had always remained loyal.

During the late 1970s, Galante allegedly organized the murders of at least eight members of the Gambino family, with whom he had an intense rivalry, in order to take over a massive drug-trafficking operation.

On March 3, 1978, Galante's parole was revoked by the United States Parole Commission and he was sent back to prison. Galante had allegedly violated parole by associating with other Bonanno mobsters.[16] However, on February 27, 1979, a judge ruled that the government had illegally revoked Galante's parole and ordered his immediate release from prison.[15] By this stage, Galante was bald, bespectacled and had a stooped walk.

Death Edit The New York crime families were alarmed at Galante's brazen attempt at taking over the narcotics market. Galante also refused to share any drug profits with the other families. Although Galante was aware that he had many enemies, he said, "No one will ever kill me, they wouldn't dare."[17] Genovese crime family boss Frank Tieri began contacting Cosa Nostra leaders to build a consensus for Galante's murder, even obtaining approval from the exiled Joseph Bonanno.[18] They received a boost when Rastelli, the official boss, sought Commission approval to kill Galante as an illegitimate usurper. In 1979, the Mafia Commission ordered Galante's execution.[19]

On July 12, 1979, Galante was killed just as he finished eating lunch on an open patio at Joe and Mary's Italian-American Restaurant at 205 Knickerbocker Avenue in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Galante was dining with Leonard Coppola, a Bonanno capo, and restaurant owner/cousin Giuseppe Turano, a Bonanno soldier. Also sitting at the table were Galante's Sicilian bodyguards, Baldassare Amato and Cesare Bonventre. At 2:45 pm, three ski-masked men entered the restaurant, walked into the patio, and opened fire with shotguns and handguns. Galante, Turano, and Coppola were killed instantly. A picture of Galante showed a cigar still in his mouth at the time he died. Amato and Bonventre, who did nothing to protect Galante, were left unharmed. The gunmen then ran out of the restaurant.[20][21]

Those involved in the murder were later identified as Anthony "Bruno" Indelicato, Dominick Trinchera, Dominick Napolitano and Louis Giongetti. These men were hired by Alphonse Indelicato.[citation needed]

Aftermath Edit The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York refused to allow a funeral mass for Galante due to his notoriety.[22] Galante was buried at Saint John's Cemetery in Middle Village, Queens.

In 1984, Bonventre was found murdered in a New Jersey warehouse, allegedly to guarantee his silence in the Galante murder.[23] On January 13, 1987, Anthony Indelicato was sentenced to 40 years in prison, as a defendant in the Commission trial, for the Galante, Coppola, and Turano murders.[24]

Background Edit

Camillo Carmine Galante was born on February 21, 1910, in a tenement building in the East Harlem section of Manhattan. His parents, Vincenzo "James" Galante and Vincenza Russo, had emigrated to New York City in 1906 from Castellammare del Golfo, Sicily, where Vincenzo was a fisherman.

Carmine Galante had two brothers, Samuel and Peter Galante, and two sisters, Josephine and Angelina Galante. Carmine Galante married Helen Marullo, by whom he had three children; James Galante, Camille Galante, and Angela Galante. For the last 20 years of his life, Carmine Galante actually lived with Ann Acquavella; the couple had two children together. He was the uncle to Bonanno crime family capo James Carmine Galante.

Galante stood around 5½ feet and weighed approximately 175 pounds. While in prison in 1931, doctors diagnosed Galante as having a psychopathic personality. Galante was well-known as ferocious and explosive street fighter, with extremely powerful and extremely fast punches. Former NYPD Detective, Joseph Coffey once said of Galante:

"Carmine Galante was tough as nails, he was a fearsome and vicious street fighter, his fists seemed like they were made out of iron, and he had lightening speed punches, and he also had a very tough chin, it was virtually impossible to hurt Galante, he literally had superhuman strength, because every time Galante would punch a man once in the face, he would knock them out unconscious for as long as an hour, Galante never lost a fight. Galante has been in over 200 street fights in 30 years, and he never lost, he would always end up knocking them out with one or two punches at the most. Galante fist fought from the time he was 10 years old till he was 40 or 41 years old. Galante was the scariest guy I've ever met in my life, he had cold eyes, he was the only gangster that i would never want to cross the wrong way, because he would kill me in a heartbeat, despite the fact that I'm a cop. Galante would kill cop as quick as he would anybody else that crossed him. Galante would unquestionably kill anybody in a heartbeat, and it does not matter who they are or who they are with. Galante had a terrifying stare, when he looked at you, it would give you goosebumps, it would give you shivers down your spine, you couldn't even look him straight in the eyes, because it was so terrifying. Galante was as evil as they come, you could tell that he was such a cold-blooded killer just by looking at him. Galante was the type of guy that could scare even the most scariest guys in the world. Galante was literally feared by everybody, when people saw Galante walking down the street they quickly scooted out of his way, people were absolutely petrified of Galante, because they knew that Galante was not only a mobster, but they knew that he was a cold-blooded killer, and a lethal, ruthless and efficient hitman, and a tough as nails fighter, and a mass murderer, and they knew that he killed thousands of people, and most of all they knew that he was one of the most powerful, ruthless and lethal gangsters in the world. During his short-time regime of the Bonanno Crime Family, Galante was one of the most powerful, dangerous and feared crime bosses in the world. In my opinion Galante is the most vicious, dangerous and feared gangster of all time."

Galante owned the Rosina Costume Company in Brooklyn, New York and was associated with the Abco Vending Company of West New York, New Jersey.

Early years Edit

Galante

Carmine Galante's mugshot, January 14, 1943

At age 10, Galante was sent to reform school due to his criminal activities. He soon formed a juvenile street gang on New York's Lower East Side. By age 15, Galante had dropped out of seventh grade. As a teenager, Galante became a Mafia associate during the Prohibition era, becoming a leading enforcer by the end of the decade. During this period, Galante also worked as a fish sorter and at an artificial flower shop.

On December 12, 1925, the 15 year-old Galante pleaded guilty to assault charges; on December 22, 1926, Galante was sentenced to at least two-and-a-half years in state prison.

In August 1930, Galante was arrested for the murder of New York City police officer Walter DeCastilla on March 15, 1930 during a payroll robbery. However, Galante was never indicted. Also in 1930, New York Police Department (NYPD) officer Joseph Meenahan caught Galante and other gang members attempting to hijack a truck in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. In the ensuing gun battle, Galante wounded Meenahan and a six-year-old bystander, both survived. On February 8, 1931, after pleading guilty to attempted robbery Galante was sentenced to 12 and a half years in state prison. On May 1, 1939, Galante was released from prison on parole.

By 1940, Galante was carrying out "hits" for Vito Genovese, the official underboss of the Luciano crime family. Galante had an underworld reputation for viciousness and was suspected by the FBI of murdering over 800 people.

In 1943, Galante allegedly murdered Carlo Tresca, the publisher of an anti-fascist newspaper in New York. Genovese, living in exile in Italy, offered to kill Tresca as a favor to Italian President Benito Mussolini. Genovese allegedly gave the murder contract to Galante. On January 11, 1943, Galante allegedly shot and killed Tresca as he stepped outside his newspaper office in Manhattan, then got in a car and drove away. Although Galante was arrested as a suspect, no one was ever charged in the murder. After the Tresca murder, Galante was sent back to prison on a parole violation. On December 21, 1944, Galante was released from prison.

On February 10, 1945, Galante married Helena Marulli in New York.

Underboss Edit

Pete Monteleone Mugshot 1969

Left to right: Joseph “Joe Beck” DiPalermo, John Longo, Nicholas Palmiotto and Carmine Galante, September 4, 1947

Galante went from being chauffeur of Bonanno family boss, Joseph Bonanno, to caporegime and then underboss. He was said to have been loyal to Bonanno and often spoke of him with great admiration. They also shared a common enemy, Carlo Gambino of the Anastasia crime family.

In 1953, Bonanno sent Galante to Montreal, Quebec to supervise the family drug business there. The Bonannos were importing huge amounts of heroin by ship into Montreal and then sending it into the United States. In 1957, due to Galante's strong-arm extortion tactics, the Canadian Government deported him back to the United States. Galante allegedly became underboss of the family in 1955.

In October 1957, Bonanno and Galante held a hotel meeting in Palermo, Sicily on plans to import heroin into the United States. Attendees included exiled boss Lucky Luciano and other American mobsters, with a Sicilian Mafia delegation led by mobster Giuseppe Genco Russo. As part of the agreement, Sicilian mobsters would come to the U.S. to distribute the narcotics. Galante brought many young men including Gambino crime family soldier Joseph LoPicollo, known as Zips, from his family home of Castellammare del Golfo, Trapani, to work as bodyguards, contract killers and drug traffickers. These Sicilian criminals had Galante's total trust and confidence.

In 1958, after being indicted on drug conspiracy charges, Galante went into hiding. On June 3, 1959, New Jersey State Police officers arrested Galante after stopping his car on the Garden State Parkway close to New York City. Federal agents had recently discovered that Galante was hiding in a house on Pelican Island off the South Jersey shore. After posting $100,000 bail, he was released. On May 18, 1960, Galante was indicted on a second set of narcotics charges; he surrendered voluntarily.

Galante's first narcotics trial started on November 21, 1960. From the beginning, the first trial was characterized by jurors and alternates dropping out and coercive courtroom displays by the defendants. On May 15, 1961, the judge declared a mistrial. The jury foreman had fallen down some stairs at his house and was unable to continue the trial due to injury. Galante was sentenced to 20 days in jail due to contempt of court. On July 10, 1962, after being convicted in his second narcotics trial, Galante was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison.

Power grab Edit

In 1964, Joseph Bonanno and his ally, Profaci crime family boss Joseph Magliocco, unsuccessfully plotted to murder three rival members of the Mafia Commission. When the plot was discovered, the Commission ordered Bonnanno to retire. Over the succeeding 10 years, Bonanno tried to install his son Salvatore Bonanno as boss while the Commission tried to run the family with a series of ineffectual bosses.

In January 1974, Galante was released from prison on parole. A few days after his release from prison, Galante allegedly ordered the bombing of the doors to the mausoleum of his enemy Frank Costello, who had died in 1973.

In November 1974, the Commission designated Phillip Rastelli as the official boss of the Bonanno family. However, Rastelli was soon sent to prison and Galante seized effective control of the family. As a former underboss, Galante considered himself the rightful successor to Joseph Bonanno.

During the late 1970s, Galante allegedly organized the murders of at least eight members of the Gambino crime family (one of those murdered was Joseph LoPicollo), with whom he had an intense rivalry, in order to take over a massive drug-trafficking operation.

On March 3, 1978, Galante's parole was revoked by the United States Parole Commission and he was sent back to prison. Galante had allegedly violated parole by associating with other Bonanno mobsters. However, on February 27, 1979, a judge ruled that the government had illegally revoked Galante's parole and ordered his immediate release from prison. By this stage, Galante was bald, bespectacled and had a stooped walk.

Assassination Edit

Carmine-Galante

Carmine Galante's murder crime scene photo, July 12, 1979

The New York crime families were alarmed at Galante's brazen attempt at taking over the narcotics market. Galante also refused to share any drug profits with the other families. Although Galante was aware that he had many enemies, he said, "No one will ever kill me, they wouldn't dare." Genovese crime family boss Frank Tieri began contacting The Commission to build a consensus for Galante's murder, even obtaining approval from the exiled Joseph Bonanno. In 1979, the Mafia Commission ordered Galante's execution.

On July 12, 1979, Carmine Galante was assassinated just as he finished eating lunch on an open patio at Joe and Mary's Italian-American Restaurant at 205 Knickerbocker Avenue in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Galante was dining with Leonard Coppola, a Bonanno capo, and restaurant owner/cousin Giuseppe Turano, a Bonanno soldier. Also sitting at the table were Galante's Sicilian bodyguards, Baldassare Amato and Cesare Bonventre. At 14:45, five ski-masked men entered the restaurant, walked into the patio, and opened fire with shotguns and AK-47's. Galante, Turano, and Coppola were killed instantly. Galante's death picture showed a cigar still in his mouth (pictured at top of section). Amato and Bonventre, who did nothing to protect Galante because they were in on the hit, were left unharmed. The gunmen then ran out of the restaurant.

Galante was murdered by Joseph Sullivan, Anthony Indelicato, Dominick Trinchera, Dominick Napolitano and Louis Giongetti. These men were hired by capo Alphonse Indelicato.

Aftermath Edit

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York refused to allow a funeral mass for Galante due to his notoriety. Galante was buried at Saint John's Cemetery in Middle Village, Queens.

In 1984, Bonventre was found murdered in a New Jersey warehouse, allegedly to guarantee his silence in the Galante murder. On January 13, 1987, Anthony Indelicato was sentenced to 40 years in prison, as a defendant in the Commission trial, for the Galante, Coppola, and Turano murders.

Popular culture Edit

In 2005, contract killer Richard Kuklinski (who died in 2006 in Trenton State Prison, New Jersey) claimed that he was one of the hitmen who killed Galante.

Although never mentioned by name, Galante is referenced twice in the movie Donnie Brasco. Galante first appears as a cigar-smoking character known as "the boss". Later in the film, Galante's murder is reported on the front page of a newspaper. Mobster Benjamin Ruggiero points to the story and says, "Can you believe it? The fuckin' boss gets whacked!"

The HBO show The Sopranos refers to Galante's assassination in the episode "A Hit Is a Hit". Boss Tony Soprano is playing golf with his neighbor, Dr. Bruce Cusamano. After someone asks Cusamano if he ever saw the picture of the dead Galante with a cigar hanging from his mouth, Cusamano describes the murder as a "fuckin' beautiful hit".

Galante features in the first episode of the UK history TV channel Yesterday's documentary series Mafia's Greatest Hits.

Leo Galante in the video game Mafia II is probably based on Carmine.

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