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Jimmy Salante

Silvio "The Cylops" Bascarelli

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Silvio “The Cyclops”  Bascarelli was born in New Springville in 1957, to a father who worked as a taxi driver and a mother who worked as a seamstress. He grew up around a lot of Italian and Dominican kids, forming a close bond with them and eventually forming a street gang called the Kelly Blvd Springers or KBS. With a crew of 8, they became a strong group burglars and car jackers. They became known by some as the Greasy Car Bandits.

 

Staten Island was mainly controlled by the Gambino and Bonnano families, with their neighborhood being controlled by the Bonnano family. They began working for the New Springville crew, run by Patrick “Patsy” Sconfieti. They went from stealing to dealing, selling stolen cigarettes to Dominicans due to many of them being Dominicans themselves. With their reach to this market, they became a profitable crew for the Sconfieti faction, eventually they started selling heroin and marijuana to the Dominican people. Although successful with cigarettes and marijuana, they weren’t good with heroin, the real money maker when it came to the mob’s narcotics rackets. With this in mind, Patsy cut off their supply of heroin, leaving them as simple street thugs that weren’t seen as a real crew. At this point the crew had about 21 members, half Italian and half Dominican. The Italians blamed the Dominican side for their failure, saying that they were never cut out to be real gangsters and that they should’ve been an Italian only crew. The Dominicans argued that it was because of them that they got heroin in the first place due to their connection to the Dominican neighborhood. Tensions escalated and soon a war broke out in the summer of 1976.

 

The first shot was fired when two members of the Italian faction went to a Dominican member’s house, owned by a man called Henry Pujols. They pretended that everything was alright, then when Pujols went to turn on the TV, they shot him in the back of the head three times. The first bullet went through his cheek and hit the tv. Two days later, Henry’s cousin Emanuel Pujols who was also in the gang, went to a basketball court where a few of the Italians were playing, including one of the killers, Benny Fantano. Emanuel took out a sawed off shotgun and opened fire on the court, hitting Benny in the chest and hitting a bystander in the knee. A few of the Italians shot back with pistols, causing Pujols to flee the scene. Benny died after a couple of minutes.

 

Weeks went by and two Italians and another Dominican were dead, it was getting out of hand. Patsy ordered a sit down between the two factions, having the Dominican leader Emanuel Pujols and Italian leader Larry Scarfano come. He ordered them to make peace, as this war was bringing too much attention. Although at the meeting they agreed, each side was plotting to take each other out. Bascarelli and three other members of the Italian faction became disillusioned with this beef, and saw that the crew was only headed towards their demise. They let Patsy know of the plan, and gave him an offer. They’d set up a meeting where he would be able to kill all of the war mongering members of the Italians, but they had to also take care of the Dominicans. Patsy agreed, planning to wipe out the Dominicans with a series of murders and arrests. 

 

The day was the 28th of July in 1976. Larry had received a call from Silvio saying that he wanted to call a meeting to discuss a way to get back in the mob’s graces. He said that a member in Patsy’s crew, a made man called Tommy “The Nose” Federici supported them and had a plan. Larry, ecstatic at this news immediately called over everyone on his side. When they arrived they only saw Tommy and a couple of guys they didn’t recognize. They were led into the basement where he had some weapons to show them. Tommy picked up a machine gun and handed it to Larry, putting his mind to ease. Unbeknownst to him, the gun was loaded with blanks. While discussing the details of this fake plan, the unknown thugs took out uzis and gunned down all of Larry’s crew. They then dragged the bodies into the back of a truck they borrowed from a crew in the Gambino Family, and lit the house on fire. 

 

A week later, dirty cops arrested 3 of the Dominicans, and a Hungarian hitman from Newark and two of Patsy's best killers assassinated 4 of the Dominicans. The last Dominican, Alejandro Zoido, fled the country and moved to the Dominican Republic. With the two factions eliminated, Patsy was now able to focus on getting back to business, and the survivors had to figure out what to do next. Patsy told them that due to the heat surrounding them they’d best move out of the city for a while. Patsy reached out to the DeCavalcante Family in North Jersey and was able to secure their protection for the young gangsters. 

 

In New Jersey, multiple families had interests there. The Lucchese and Genovese families had crews over there that rivaled the DeCavalcante Family, and the Philadelphia Family controlled South Jersey and Atlantic City. The North Jersey Family was always looked down on by the New York families, considered to be a small time family which they called the farmers. Many gangsters in the family only were made as a last resort if not able to get made in any of the five families. 

 

The Survivors (the new name for their crew) started working in Newark with the Hungarian hitman mentioned earlier, named Szalai Barna. Barna was in his mid 30s whereas the survivors were in their late teens to early 20s, so he took up a leadership position among them. He had them sell LSD he got supplied from Switzerland. They sold mainly in the Ironbound District which was a mainly Portuguese and Spanish neighborhood. The Survivors started dating some of the local Brazilian and Portuguese girls, eventually moving to the Ironbound. Barna and mob captain Jerry DeMarco became their bosses, with Barna acting as their LSD supplier and DeMarco having them sell meth that he received from the Philadelphia gangs. 

 

They kept selling and making money for the next decade and a half, with the Survivors becoming one of the biggest drug gangs in the North half of the Ironbound district now with a crew of 23 members like back in Staten Island. In the year 1991 Silvio was now married to a woman named Sabrina Gonzalez with a three year old son named Bobby Bascarelli. He was 33 years old and was recognized as a valued associate for the Newark organization. On September 20th of 1991 he was called down to a club named Temptation Boulevard in Elizabeth, New Jersey. He was greeted by some of North Jersey's biggest mobsters, when he realized he was going to be made into the family.  The acting boss of the family, John “Johnny Boy” D’amato, was the one leading the ceremony, swearing Silvio into the life. After the ceremony they celebrated, drinking and watching a football game. 

 

He began to expand the operations, getting into credit card fraud. He hired a Czechoslovakian criminal named Daniel Kohout to set up the operation, running it out of a basement in Elizabeth. He was also involved in the construction business, forcing contractors to give him the contracts for different development projects. He was behind the construction of two Burger Kings, a school gym, and a shopping center. He was also involved in truck hijacking, selling the goods at pawn shops and selling stolen dvds through different video rental stores he controlled. With his drug trafficking and credit card rackets, as well as construction and truck hijacking, Silvio was on the rise in the family. Around this time acting boss John D’Amato was killed over rumors of engaging in homosexual activity. Silvio saw this time of turmoil as a good time to rise even further in the family, and so he contacted Barna and ordered him to kill Jerry DeMarco, his captain. If Jerry died, the Philadelphia meth wouldn’t be coming into Newark anymore so Barna would become one of Newark’s most important drug kingpins and due to their close association, Bascarelli would be promoted to Capo.

 

The day was February 16th of 1992. Around 2 pm, Jerry DeMarco was buying ice cream with one of his soldiers, Bobby “Woody” Galante. They were walking up and down the block, discussing upcoming college basketball games and their plans to fix them. They weren’t paying attention to the brown SUV following them, where a man in a black ski mask jumped out with a 44 magnum and blew holes into both of them. He quickly got out of the area, went back to his home in Clinton Hill. Over the next few days, the media dubbed the assassination the “Bloody Sundae Murders”. 

 

Although there were people who suspected that Barna and Bascarelli were behind the murders, they still got their promotions in the underworlds. Silvio became one of the most powerful captains in Newark during the early 1990s, running LSD trafficking and dealing, truck hijacking, credit card fraud and extortion rackets. He got all of his friends from the original Staten Island crew made in the family, and so now he was in the best place he’d ever been in his life. 

 

Every once in a while he was contacted by New York mobsters whom he did favors for, as they were still his superiors. He retained a close alliance with the Bonnano family especially, due to their history. Around this time the other four families of New York had been going through a rough time. The Commission trial resulted in the arrests of the heads of the Lucchese, Genovese and Colombo families. Along with this, the killing of Gambino boss Paul Castellano caused a major shift in the families. The war between the Lucchese and Gambino that followed, which led to the murders and arrests of both families bosses, which caused a major power vacuum. At the same time, a bloody civil war in the Colombo family weakened both of its warring factions. During all this time, the Bonnanos were considered the weakest of the five families, so they remained under the radar while all this was going on. With all of this, the Bonnanos would rise from the ashes and become the most powerful crime family of the mid 90s due to the weakening of the other four families. 

 

The Bascarelli crew was successful for the next 12 years. Silvio was even promoted to underboss in 1999, while still managing his own crew. He was overseeing his LSD operation, coke and heroin coming from New York, gambling, loansharking, labor racketeering, extortion and truck hijacking. His construction company was better than ever, having contracts for building malls, recreational centers and a hotel. He oversaw half of the family’s capos, Charles “Little Charlie” Stango in Elizabeth, Umberto “Bert” Bionoventi, and Oscar “The Grouch” Gulgieri. As the family was small, 60 made men and a few hundred associates, compared to the hundreds of made men and thousands of associates that New York had, they only had five crews in Jersey excluding his crew, and one in South Florida. 

 

Everything changed however when in 2004, Bonnano boss Joseph Massino was arrested, and then subsequently became a state informer. He ratted out multiple people in his family, including Patsy. Without his backing in New York and gangsters all over flipping, Bascarelli panicked. He left the country, leaving his right hand man Arthur “Artie” Pesci as acting capo and acting underboss. 

 

He was 47 when he moved to Portugal with his 43 year old wife Sabrina and their 16 year old son Bobby and 10 year old daughter Rose Bascarelli. They stayed with Sabrina’s relatives in Lisbon city. They stayed there for the next 5 years, with Silvio partnering with the ‘Ndrangheta in the city in a restaurant. He was then finally deported to the United States due to his organized crime connections. His family stayed in Portugal however. A month later he was put on trial for running a prostitution ring and for extorting local record labels. He got the prostitution charge dropped but was sentenced to 5 years for the extortion charge. He would be serving his time in the East Jersey State Prison. Due to his reputation as the former underboss of the North Jersey mob, he was treated with great respect by the inmates. There were a handful of Bonnano, Colombo and Genovese family members from New York who were serving time there as well as a result of the Massino indictments. The different mobsters got along and ran the prison like a well oiled machine. They had TVs in their rooms, ate pork chops and baked ziti, had access to weed, cigarettes  and alcohol. They ran the prison’s drug trade, controlling the meth, heroin, and ecstasy coming in. 

 

By this time there was a new Underboss in the DeCavalcante family but Artie became official capo of the Bascarelli crew. 

 

In 2014 he was released from prison, greeted by his family. His son was 26 and his daughter was 20. His son became a lawyer and his daughter was studying to become a therapist. He returned to mob life at age 57, becoming an unofficial consigliere to Artie. The two began planning to take over the family. They were waiting for the boss John Riggi to die in prison, and for the acting boss to lose his power. They got their wish in 2016, when both of them died. They then got the other captains to vote in their favor, putting up Charles “Big Ears” Majuri as a front boss for them. With Majuri as the face of the organization and lighting rod in case any indictments came down, they ran North Jersey from 2016 to 2019. They formed an alliance with the Salantes after they rose to power in 2016, defeating the Colombo family and taking their spot in the five families. When the Salantes defeated the rest of the five families in 2018, they started supplying North Jersey with pills and heroin, in exchange for getting a piece of the Jersey construction contracts and a piece of their record label extortion operation. 

 

After the fall of the Salante family and its break off faction the Avellino family between late December 2018 and early February 2019, the Jersey Family became independent. New York was currently in a power vacuum with the city’s Italian and Russian families destroyed. New Italian and Russian gangs rose up to fill the void, but they weren’t tied to the Commission or the American Cosa Nostra.

 

Following the fall of the Salante family, the last mafia group tied to the New York five families, the Commission fell apart. The New York families were destroyed, and as they were the leaders of the commission there was a power vacuum within the mafia as well as New York’s underworld. The other families across the country had multiple meetings to figure out what would happen now, which families would step up and take their places. The Chicago Outfit, the only Midwest family that had a seat on the Commission, were considered the new leaders of the Italian mob, with its boss, former underboss Salvatore Cataudella as the chairman and godfather of the American mob. Despite this, their position was disputed, as their power had been severely reduced from what it was 20 years ago when it was a powerhouse in organized crime. The other families that stepped up were the Detroit Partnership, the St. Louis Family, the Philadelphia family, the North Jersey family and the New England Family. Three East Coast families and three Midwest families to split control. The de facto head family of the East Coast is the Philadelphia family, led by Skinny Joey Merlino. This new version of the Commission exists to this day, but it has much less influence than when it was run by the old New York families, and has no control of the New York underworld anymore. 

 

The DeCavalcantes with their new freedom had opportunities on the horizon. They reached out to New York’s heroin suppliers, a group of Vietnamese and Chinese drug traffickers. They set up a deal, taking over much of the East Coast drug trade in mid 2019. They were selling heroin in Boston, Rhode Island and all throughout North Jersey. New York had new Italian and Russian gangs at the time, including a second, different Colombo family, which meant that the DeCavalcantes couldn’t operate there, but New York didn’t have control over North Jersey anymore. They operated freely, but this freedom was short lived. 

 

In November, a series of indictments were handed down, arresting many of the family’s members. Artie was arrested for drug trafficking, gambling and grand larceny, along with 47 other made men and associates of the family. Majuri and Bascarelli were both safe, but now Majuri started acting power hungry, taxing the captains and even ordering the deaths of two made men. He had to be dealt with. 

 

All of his power was stripped from him, with his operations split up among the various crews. Majuri continued to be considered boss on paper, but had no influence whatsoever anymore. 

 

A new secret boss was voted on, and it was decided that the capo for the South Florida crew, Philip Abramo would run the family. Known as the “King of Wall Street”, the 74 year old mobster ran stock fraud and white collar crime when he was released from prison in early 2018. He promoted Frank Nigro to consigliere and kept Joseph Miranda as underboss. He promoted Bascarelli to capo once again, and charged him with setting up operations in New York. At this point, there was only one Italian organization still operating in the city, after previously having multiple mafia families operating in the city. They saw this as an opportunity to set up operations and to expand their power. 

 

Abramo’s decision was approved by the new Commission, as the North Jersey family was the closest to and had the most business interests and experience in New York. With this, Bascarelli has now become the official Commission representative for New York. His goal is to satisfy his boss back in Jersey, while trying to reach his old station within the family as a high ranking member and at one point de facto boss. He wants to run a peaceful and profitable operation in New York, to do business with the new gangs in the city and to maintain order. This business is organized crime, so in his mind, he wants to help keep it that way. Recently things have been out of control, only together can the underworld get back on track to their one true goal, power and wealth. Blood is a business expense, and enough blood’s been spilt.

 

In late January of 2020, Silvio along with his three close associates , Stephen “The Slug “ Clyde, Anthony “Bones” Bellatoni and Vince “Sticks” Bellatoni formed what was known as the Bascarelli crew, the official New York faction of the North Jersey Mob, and the primary Italian-American criminal enterprise at the time. It was around this time that Silvio gained his nickname “The Cyclops” after him and taxi driver and veteran Gunthar Parker drove to the city impound to pick up a ride. It was there that a young criminal who had a grudge with Parker shot at him, and then engaged in a shootout with Bascarelli. The shootout resulted in shrapnel from a bullet hitting the ground shooting into his eye, blinding his left eye. Later at a party at Alfie Warrens’s country club, Parker and Bascarelli got into an argument, where Parker called him a cyclops. 

 

On the 19th of February, Bascarelli flew to Florida to meet Abramo, as he had a job for him. There was a rat in the family, Franklin “Frankie Porkchops” Guglieri, an old friend of Bascarellis, who lived in the Bronx. Franklin and Silvio did a lot of crimes together, from loansharking to truck hijacking, to gambling and drug dealing. They were both made men in the family, but an arrest and conviction in 1997 for extortion stunted Franklin’s career. He remained a made man for the rest of his career in the family. In January of 2020, he was arrested for heroin trafficking and became an informant, which the family discovered a few days before Bascarelli flew to Florida. They spent a long time finding Guglieri, and wanted to be sure that they’d deal with him in a way that wouldn’t expose them and get them negative attention from the government.

 

In the middle of march, Bascarelli was able to convince Antonio Capizzi, head of the Barone family who was locked up for life, to have all the Barone members in New York join Bascarelli’s crew. The two most important members, Frank DiSalvo and Benny Giordano, would help make up the upper echelon of the crew. The crew was led by Silvio, with Clyde, the Bellatonis, DiSalvo and Giordano as his most trusted men, and multiple other made men and associates to help keep operations running and to keep the crew going. 

 

In late march, Bascarelli was told to go to Florida to meet with Abramo again. Before leaving, he reached out to his friends in Jersey, other capos who held influence in the family, because he wanted to make his move to become a street boss in the family. When he met with Abramo, he made his move, and with the help of his friends in Jersey and the success of his operation in New York, he was promoted to a street boss. Usually a family will have one to three street bosses at most, the fourth higheset rank in a mob family. He then used his time in Miami to get even closer with Abramo, and proposed two members of his family for membership. He received permission from Abramo, and then began planning to induct some new blood into the crew, and the DeCavalcante family as a whole. He flew back to New York after a week and a half, promoting Stephen Clyde and Benny Giordano as capos in the family. It was around this time that the Bellatonis had started an operation in Chicago, with plans to form their own organization independent of the DeCavalcantes and the Bascarelli crew, now known as the Bascarelli Outfit. Bones and Silvio talked for about an hour after he came back to New York, with the two reaching an understanding, remaining good friends but departing as immediate business partners. They still respected one another, and would have each other’s backs if the other needed it. 

 

Today, the Bascarelli Outfit is the main representative of the Italian-American Mafia, known by its members as Cosa Nostra, in New York City, with Silvio as the highest ranking Cosa Nostra member in New York at the moment.

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