The Colombo Crime Family

The Colombo crime family today

The Colombo crime family is the smallest of the five Italian-American Mafia families that control the New York Metropolitan area. Law enforcement estimates suggest that the family has approximately 100 “inducted” members, as well as hundreds more associates and criminal co-conspirators. The crime family’s “bread and butter,” to this day, is illegal gambling and loansharking, which they run predominantly in Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Long Island. The crime family is also believed to have their hooks in labor unions, albeit on a smaller scale compared to decades prior, as well as drug dealing, robberies, the infiltration of small businesses, fraud, money laundering, and just about any illegitimate activity they can get their hands on.

As with all Mafia organizations, the family is controlled by a three-man administration. At the top is the boss, whose second-in-command and heir apparent is the underboss, with the “consigliere,” or counselor, being an advisory mediator for family disputes. In the Colombos’ case, their longtime boss Carmine Persico, who passed away in March of this year, controlled the family from behind bars, and therefore used an “acting boss” or “street boss” as a figurehead on the streets, responsible for the day-to-day affairs.
The inducted members of the family are organized into ‘crews,’ where they report to a “caporegime,” or captain, who bear the fruits of their crew’s labor by receiving a cut of their criminal profits. In turn, captains, sometimes referred to as “skippers,” will kick up a small portion of their tribute money, as well as their own rackets, to the three-man administration. The bottom rung of the crime family are the “associates,” who have not yet been inducted into a crime family. In order to operate without being shaken down by other mobsters, associates need to be “on the record” with an inducted Mafia member, who can represent them in sitdowns and disputes.

Recently, the Colombo crime family has benefited from a period of relative quiet. The FBI made their last big “bust” in 2011, nabbing the acting boss, underboss and consigliere, as well as a handful of captains and soldiers. Evidence shows that the family was reorganized relatively quickly, with two out-of-state mobsters being called in to manage the “borgata.” Luckily for them, 2011 was the beginning of the FBI’s major “downsizing” of their organized crime squads, and the results are striking. Arrests in the family are few and far between, and their administration as of 2019 is largely unknown, since the death of longtime boss Carmine Persico in March