EME AND ITALIAN MAFIA CONNECTION
A reader asked if there has ever been a connection between the Mexican Mafia and the Italian Mafia. The short answer is, yes. The closest tie I'm aware of involved the late JOE MORGAN, widely regarded as the GODFATHER of the Eme and an Italian mobster named JIMMY COPPOLA. Coppola was reputed to be tight with CARLO GAMBINO, the New York mobster whose family eventually came under the flag of JOHNNY BOY GOTTI.
Morgan and Coppola had some dealings in the heroin business, the exact nature and extent of which is unknown to me. From the sketchy, but so far reliable information I have, Morgan had a heroin pipeline to Mexico and was bringing it across the border in RVs piloted not by homies but by otherwise innocent looking vacationers. Coppola went in on some of the heroin deals.
What prevented this long-ago coperation from blossoming into a full-fledged alliance was the difference in style and culture between the Italians and the Mexicans. While both did business employing the accepted tools of murder, violence and intimidation, the Italians came to see the Mexicans as being too high profile and lacking in the sort of discipline that made the Italians into a criminal empire.
The Italians have traditionally tried to move through society as average citizens. No tattoos, no shaved heads and no standard uniform of the day. In short, nothing to raise suspicion. Even low-level Wise Guys just making their bones look like any other guy getting on the subway in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn or Bayside, Queens. The crew bosses and capos, in three-piece suits and alligator shoes, looked like prosperous lawyers and businessmen.
The same can't be said for the Hispanics. They fly the gangster flag proudly and don't seem to care that even to an untrained eye, the clothes, tattoos and attitude just scream SUSPECT.
The differences go beyond appearance and extend to organizational and operational structures.
The Eme was founded on the principle that there would never be leaders. It was and remains an orqanization of equals. One man, one vote. A true democracy perhaps, but as its history has shown, it often leads to chaos and personal agendas that undermine the growth of the organization as a cohesive group.
In LA COSA NOSTRA, the org chart is rigid. There's the national council, the family heads, capos, crew chiefs and soldiers. Areas of operation as clearly defined and transgressions, as we've seen in countless movies, are settled by meetings. The result -- murder -- is often the same, but the means of getting there are different and they're harder for law enforcement to decode and make sense of.
Unless there's a major change in the way these entities do business, the connections will probably never develop into anything significant.