THE MUSTACHE PETES : - Influential Italian Gangsters [ pre Cosa Nostra ].
NYC / Brooklyn.
This man is mentioned by Al D’Arco in his book Mob Boss, as a power in the 4th ward on the LES. Several future members started out under his leadership, such as David Petillo, Rosario DiMaggio, George Filippone, Frank Caruso and Phil Albanese. After his death his followers joined the Genovese Family, except Angelo Tuminaro who joined the Lucchese Family. Tracing Aiello has proved difficult, and the only biographical details i can find are on the 1920 Census. He was born around 1896 in Italy [Province unknown], came to America in 1903, was a Naturalized Citizen and lived in the Bronx. We have no date of death for him.
Giovanni DeSalvio [Jim Kelly].
Along with Jack Sirocco, he was a founder, and leader, of the Five Points Gang. Born in 1881 in NYC to parents from the Italian mainland, he lived on Hester Street. He and Sirocco first became associated in the King Boxing Club in the 1890’s. Later they opened the Five Points Social Club, which was associated to Tammany Hall, the local Democratic Party organisation. The club ran boxing, athletic and dance events, and organized votes for Tammany on election days. Their HQ was on White Street, and later Pell Street, in the Five Points district. Conflicts ensued with rival gangs, the Eastmans , and Paul Kelly’s Association . It was the shooting of Paul Kelly by two Five Pointers in 1905 that drove him out of the LES, and allowed Sirocco and DeSalvio to dominate the area’s rackets. Around this time the gang split into several factions, with DeSalvio organizing his own Jimmy Kelly gang. His faction opposed two others led by Sirocco and Chick Tricker, and fought for control of the area around Chinatown. Continuing to run rackets from his 14th Street Saloon HQ, DeSalvio rose within the Tammany organization to become a power in local politics. In 1908 he was wounded, and the fued with Sirocco lasted till1913. Future Genovese Capo Anthony Carfano [Augie Pisano] married DeSalvio’s daughter. Carfano became a power on the Brooklyn docks, as the right hand of Frankie Yale during the 1920’s. With his father-in-law offering political protection, Carfano took-over the Yale faction after Yale’s murder in 1928. According to the NYCDI, DeSalvio died in 1948, while living in the Bronx.
Known as the King of Little Italy, Gallucci controlled numerous business in Harlem, including the Italian Lottery. Born in 1865 in Naples he, and his 3 brothers, were Camorristi and had long criminal records in Italy. He arrived in NYC in 1892 and operated a store on Mott Street. In 1898 his brother Vincenzo was killed, and he was arrested for the murder of a woman. He gained Naturalization in 1899, and later moved to East 109th Street in Harlem. The area was dominated by the Sicilian Morello gang, although 109th Street was settled mostly by Neapolitans. Gallucci became a “Padrone” and ran a lottery from his Bakery. Rivals and Black Handers continually attempted to extort him, and in 1909 another brother, Gennaro, was killed. After the 1910 conviction of Morello and Lupo, Gallucci’s influence grew. A fellow Neapolitan Anniello Prisco, who was involved in the “Murder Stable” fued, became his enemy. After several Gallucci associates were killed in 1911, Prisco was finally killed in 1912 by Gallucci’s nephew. Now a millionaire, Gallucci had political connections to Tammany and controlled the Ice and Coal supplies in Harlem. A new alliance between the Sicilian Morello’s, and a Brooklyn Camorra gang now threatened Gallucci. Wounded in both 1913 and 1914, and with several bodyguards killed, Gallucci grew fatalistic. They eventually cornered and killed him, and his Son, in his bakery in 1915.
Born in Gallico, Calabria in 1879, he arrived in the USA in 1898 and settled in Brooklyn. We first hear of Giordano as a Blackhander arrested in 1903 for trying to extort a Neapolitan called Cappiello. The source for this is the book The Black Hand. He probably went to prison, and is not heard from again until 1922. By the early 1920’s he led a gang of fellow Calabrians which included Gregorio Lagana, Joseph Florino and Umberto Anastasio. A fued erupted in 1922, and Giordano was wounded in July. Lagana who was also from Gallico, was suspected of murder in 1916, was himself killed in November by a Palermo Mafioso called Joseph Busardo. Within a month another Calabrian from Gallico was killed in Boston [Annibale Stilo]. The following February a Sicilian was killed in Vincenzo Busardo’s home. In April Vincenzo Busardo was murdered, and Anastasio and Florino arrested. The climax was reached 3 weeks later, when Giordano and Anastasio were driving in Red Hook. Gunfire from an apartment window killed Giordano and gravely wounded Anastasio.
Giovanni Sirocco [Big Jack].
Born 1882 in NYC, his parents were from the Italian mainland. Became involved in the King boxing club, and associated with a boxer called Giovanni DeSalvio, known as Jim Kelly. They co-founded the Five Points Social club, with a HQ in White Street. They also worked as organisers for Tom Foley, a leader in the Tammany Hall political organization. By 1902 the Five Points gang came into conflict with the Eastman gang, which required Tom Foley to broker a peace. This was followed in 1905 with a bloody fued with Paul Kelly’s association. This involved several hundred thugs on both sides. Eventually two Five Pointers shot Kelly in his dance hall HQ, and the Five Pointers ruled supreme on the LES. Soon however the gang split into factions, with DeSalvio forming his own gang. Sirocco, and his associate Chick Tricker [Tricca], ruled over allied gangs. Sirocco ran his rackets from a saloon on Chatham Square, and became a Union organiser. Another small war with Jack Zelig’s gang erupted in 1911, which ended with his murder in 1912. Sirocco and Tricker were also fueding with Benny Fein and their old associate DeSalvio. The old style gangs started to break-up, and the advent of Prohibition  revolutionised the underworld. Sirocco disappears from view, and on the 1930 Census he is recorded as a cook living in Brooklyn. He died in 1954.
Vaccarelli-Paolo [Paul Kelly].
Let’s state something straightaway, Paul Kelly was not a member, let alone the leader of the Five Points gang. The best source for this is a book called Manhattan Mafia Guide, written by Eric Ferrara. Vaccarelli was born in 1876 in NYC, to parents from Potenza, Basilicata. At 18 he was working on the East River docks. As with many early gang leaders, he was a boxer in his youth. Boxing professionly by the mid-1890’s, he used the name Kelly. Soon he organised his own Paul Kelly Association, and promoted boxers. He soon made enemies, as in 1901 he was shot at a boxing match. That same year he served some Jail time for assault. In 1903 his HQ on Mulberry Street was raided by the police. Kelly moved his HQ to Stanton Street, and opened branches in Harlem and Newark, NJ. Also that year came a conflict with the Monk Eastman gang, with a gun battle on Rivington Street that forced the police to close the Stanton Street HQ. Kelly moved to the New Brighton dancehall on Great Jones Street. John Torrio, who also originated in Basilicata, became a protégé of Kelly. Throughout 1904 both Kelly’s gang, and the Five Pointers were in the newspapers for various incidents. The gangs finally clashed in 1905 with Kelly’s bodyguard killed and Five Points leader Jack Sirocco wounded. In November, two Five Points gunmen invaded the Kelly HQ and shot him, also killing another bodyguard. Police closed the New Brighton, and Kelly retired from the LES gang scene and moved to East Harlem. Reinventing himself he became a Union racketeer, as well as joining his brother Joseph in Real Estate management. Over the next decade, despite constant police attention, he continued both his legal, and illegal activities. He was back in the limelight by 1915 as powerful ILA official, causing huge strikes in both 1916 and 1919. Ousted from the ILA, he started his own riverfront union. He continued to be a power until his death in 1936.
Giuseppe Viserti [Diamond Joe Pepe].
Born 1891 in Sarno, Salerno Province and arrived in the USA in 1900. Seems to have been a gun for hire, suspected of several murders in the 1910’s. He lived in Harlem and may have belonged to one of the local gangs. He was a suspect in the killing of Gallucci enemy Amadio Buonomo in 1913. The same year he was convicted of the Manslaughter of police informant Jerry Maida. Sentanced to a long prison term, he was paroled in 1918. On his WW1 Registration card, he stated he lived on 113th Street, worked as a truck driver and was not a citizen. Believed to be involved in white slavery, he was arrested again for murder in 1919. With the advent of Prohibition in 1920 he entered into partnership with Vincent Terranova, and became an active bootlegger. He soon became wealthy, wearing flash jewelry, being named Diamond Joe. He purchased a gambling club in the Bronx, although still residing in Harlem. Around this time a young Joe Valachi associated with a Viserti relative called Tonno, who was killed. Viserti showed Valachi a dead enemy hanging in his basement at the Bronx club. There was considerable conflict in NYC at this point, and Viserti as an ally of the Terranova’s was deeply involved. In October 1921 he was in a cafe on Broome Street, when a gunman burst in and shot him dead. Joe Masseria, who may have been a close associate, was reputed to be present.