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|New York|  Salvatore D-Aquila

Birth: 1877 - Palermo, Sicily

Death: October 10, 1928 - New York












Salvatore "Toto" D'Aquila was an early Mafia boss who's Brooklyn organization would eventually be known as the Gambino Family.

Rivalry with the Morello gang
D'Aquila was born in Palermo, Sicily in 1877 and moved to New York somewhere in 1906 where he started to work as an olive oil and cheese importer. During the early 1900's the Manhattan based Morello Gang dominated the New York Mafia. When Morello bosses Giuseppe Morello and Ignazio Lupo were arrested and jailed in respectively 1909 and 1910, D'Aquila took his chance and stepped forward to claim the throne of "Boss of Bosses". In 1913 D'Aquila is believed to have participated in the murder of Giuseppe Fontana, a former Black Hand leader in Palermo and associate of Morello. When also the Brooklyn Camorra started to move in on Morello's territory, D'Aquila may have backed them. However, the Camorra lost it's short war against the Morello's causing Camorra bosses Pellegrino Morano and Alessandro Vollero being convicted for the murders of Nicholas Terranova and Charles Umbriaco.

During the early years of prohibition D'Aquila and his lieutenant, Alfredo Manfredi, had the advantage that they were starting to control a large part of the New York waterfront. By this other gangs who also wanted to benefit from the waterfront alligned themselves to D'Aquila. D'Aquila was also closely associated to Joseph Lonardo, the Cleveland boss, and fellow Brooklyn gangleaders Frankie Yale and Cola Schiro.

In 1920 Giuseppe Morello was released from prison and rejoined his gang. D'Aquila, who disliked the Morello gang and everything in it wasn't so eager to give back his powerposition. Feeling threatened by him D'Aquila forged a plot against the Morello leadership. Notorious gunman Umberto Valenti, a former Camorra member, alligned himself with D'Aquila and would become a serious threath to Morello and his associates. On May 8, 1922, Morello cousin Vincent Terranova was murdered by Valenti and his gunmen. Giuseppe Masseria, another Morello gangmember, was also targetted a few times but each time luck was at his side as he lived through every attempt. Morello and Masseria eventualy reacted with the murder of Valenti. With Valenti out of the way the violence also came to an end and as time passed by D'Aquila was losing his influence again. Although D'Aquila was getting to be shoved away, he still had some authority in Brooklyn and kept his strong contacts within law and politics which he would prove in 1927, when he helped one of his enforcers, named Franscesco Caruso, to escape the death penalty by offering him the best lawyers in town. D'Aquila was also noted for his fancy cars and clothes.

On October 13, 1927, D'Aquila lost another allie as Joseph Lonardo was murdered during a power struggle. In July 1928 yet another allie, Frankie Yale, was slain on the streets. However, D'Aquila was still regarded as the Boss of Bosses but Masseria and Morello were sure to make an end to that. On October 10, 1928, three men stepped up to D'Aquila in the early evening as one of them suddenly fired nine deadly bullets in D'Aquila's body. His underboss Al Mineo is believed to have plotted against his boss in order for him to take over. Masseria, who became the Morello leader, had also appointed Mineo as the successor to D'Aquila to have a strong allie in Brooklyn. Masseria however also stood above Mineo, who would later act as Masseria's lieutenant during the Castellammarese War. The dominance of the Morello gang, which was once suppressed by D'Aquila, had now returned to the streets. Later in 1928 a meeting was being held in Cleveland with, amongst others, Joseph Profaci and Vincent Mangano. One of the items to be discussed was the recent murder of boss of bosses Salvatore D'Aquila. This fact could be backed because D'Aquila representative Giuseppe Traina was present during that meeting. The murder of D'Aquila is also seen as one of the katalyst for the Castellammarese to stand up against Masseria and to head to war in 1930 under Salvatore Maranzano. D'Aquila left along a wife, Marianna (1885-1946), and six children.


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