Drive on Organized Crime

March 11, 1970

Report Outline
Mounting Attack on Criminal Network
Evolution and Scope of Organized Crime
Obstacles to Drive Against Racketeering
Special Focus

Mounting Attack on Criminal Network

The current federal drive against organized crime constitutes the best-armed attack yet mounted in the long history of government men versus racketeers and gangsters. Even without the additional weapons that would become available to it under two anti-crime bills in Congress, the drive has chalked up a highly successful year and is expected to do even better in the months ahead. Activities of the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section of the Justice Department accounted for the indictment during 1969 of more than 1,000 persons and the conviction of nearly 400. “Our indictments against organized criminals were 30 per cent over the year before,” Attorney General John N. Mitchell said on Feb. 10, “and most of our strike forces are just getting started.”

The push against organized crime has been building up at an uneven pace for a decade. From mid-1960 through mid-1969, the effort at Justice accounted for almost 3,000 convictions. During the same period, the Internal Revenue Service of the Treasury Department won tax offense convictions against more than 2,200 persons allegedly involved in organized crime activities. More important than numbers is the rank of apprehended individuals in the crime hierarchy. Among those caught in the federal net in 1969 were about 100 members of La Cosa Nostra, which is reputed to constitute the inner core of organized crime in the United States. Equally important is the development of evidence against office-holders suspected of cooperating with the underworld and protect it from discovery and prosecution. Authorities agree that organized crime could not flourish without corruption of public officials. Collusion between office-holders and the underworld is likely to be disclosed by Sen. John L. McClellan (D Ark.) when the Senate Permanent Investigations Subcommittee opens hearings later in 1970.

Prosecution of Mafia Leaders and Politicians

The drive on organized crime has been especially vigorous in New Jersey where, it was charged in 1968, “Official corruption…is so bad organized crime can get almost anything it desires.” Angelo (Gyp) De Carlo, reputed to be the boss of a New Jersey Cosa Nostra “family,” and a co-defendant, Daniel (Red) Cercere, each were sentenced, March 4, 1970, to 12 years in prison by federal district court in Newark for trying to collect payment on extortionate loans. On the same day, Gerardo (Jerry) Catena, believed to be De Carlo's chosen successor, was jailed indefinitely for contempt arising from his refusal to answer questions asked by the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation. The mayor of Newark and several other city officials were indicted by a federal grand jury Dec. 17, 1969, on charges of extortion and income tax evasion. The mayor, Hugh J. Addonizio, and his co-defendants pleaded not guilty.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Organized Crime
May 14, 2004  Gang Crisis
Mar. 27, 1992  Mafia Crackdown
Oct. 11, 1991  Youth Gangs
Mar. 17, 1989  Racketeering Law Comes Under Attack
Jun. 19, 1981  Organized Crime: The American Shakedown
Mar. 11, 1970  Drive on Organized Crime
Jan. 18, 1961  Interstate Crime Syndicates
Mar. 04, 1953  Criminality in Labor Unions
Mar. 17, 1950  Suppression of Crime Syndicates
Aug. 10, 1934  The Federal Government and Organized Crime
Oct. 20, 1931  Mob Disturbances in the United States
Crime and Law Enforcement
Organized Crime