Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Colombo Family

Behind Bars

Ruling the family from his federal prison cell in Lompoc, California, Carmine Persico continued to pull strings in the hope of getting his son Alphonse on the throne.  The college-educated Allie Persico was scheduled to be released from prison in May 1993, after which he would have taken over as boss.  But the government had other ideas.  They charged him with crimes relating to his participation in the Colombo War, hoping to keep him locked up, but in August 1994, he was found not guilty.

Andrew Russo
Andrew Russo
Perhaps not wanting to risk a parole violation for consorting with known criminals, Alphonse Persico laid low while one of his fathers cousins, Andrew Russo, took over as acting boss in 1996.  Three years later, Russo was tried and convicted on racketeering and jury-tampering charges.  Alphonse took his place as acting boss, but within a few months he was arrested by the Coast Guard off the Florida Keys for gun possession.  A search of his speedboat, the Lookin Good, yielded a loaded pistol and shotgun.  In 2000, he was tried on the gun charges and sentenced to 18 months in prison. 

On the day of his scheduled release, January 24, 2001, Alphonse Persico was indicted for loan sharking and held without bail as a suspect in the murder of William Wild Bill Cutolo.  A staunch Orena supporter during the war, Cutolo had been appointed underboss by Persico as a peace gesture in 1999, but then suddenly disappeared on his way to a meeting with the boss.  Within a week of his detainment on the new charges, Alphonse Persico and ten other key Colombo members were slapped with federal indictments.

According to, Alphonse Persico threw in the towel on December 20, 2001, pleading guilty to loan-sharking, money-laundering, and racketeering charges.  A plea-bargain deal called for him to pay the government $1 million and serve 13 years in prison.  Persico still faces the possibility of execution if the government tries him for the murder of Wild Bill Cutolo.

In January 2005, New York Magazine cited Carmine Junior Persico as the boss of the Colombo Family, with John Jackie DeRoss as his underboss,  Joel Joe Waverly Carcace as his consigliere, and Thomas Tommy Shots Gioeli as his street boss.  According to the magazine, Gioeli has been able to bridge the gap that exists between mobsters who were shooting at each other a decade ago.  But given their history, one has to wonder if the wounds of the Colombo War will ever heal.

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