|Scranton - Pittston|  Santo Volpe

Birth: 1880 - Sicily

Death: 1958

Santo Volpe was born in Sicily, 1880, and became one of the first bosses in the Pittston area. He rose to lead a northern Pennsylvania coal company and the Scranton-Pittston crime family. He is widely credited with forming the first Mafia clan in Pennsylvania's coal-mining region in 1908. However, there is evidence of Mafia activity in the area dating back to the turn-of-the-century, when Tommasso Petto entered the city after running away from New York to avoid murder charges in 1903.

Volpe was born in Montedoro, Sicily, and seems to have entered the United States at Boston on Jan. 28, 1906. The manifest of the ship Romanic from Naples, Italy, shows him traveling with his wife Dorotea and their newborn daughter Gaetana. The young family was headed to Pittston, Pa., where Volpe's brother-in-law Stefano LaTorre lived in a Main Street apartment. Volpe and his family eventually settled on Wyoming Avenue in West Pittston. Newspapers across the country first became aware of Volpe when he was arrested with 13 other suspects in connection with a Brooklyn, NY, murder in August of 1932. The victim of the killing was Pittsburgh Mafia leader John Bazzano, believed responsible for the deaths of 3 rivals named Volpe in Pittsburgh. Bazzano's body, which had been stabbed 23 times and strangled, was found in a sack at Centre and Hicks Streets in Brooklyn.

One of those initially accused of the Bazzano murder was Samuel DiCarlo of Buffalo. Police identified him as the brother of "public enemy" Joseph DiCarlo, a senior Mafia statesman in western New York. Others arrested were from New York City; Trenton, NJ; Pittsburgh, PA; and Niagara Falls, NY. While police were satisfied that they pieced together the details of Bazzano being lured to an underworld convention in Brooklyn and being assassinated by attendees, evidence was lacking. Charges were dropped and Volpe was quickly released. Volpe appears to have followed up his arrest by dropping out of sight for a while. He next turned up as a management negotiator during the coal miners' strike of 1943. Negotiations proved fruitless, and President Franklin Roosevelt - citing the dire circumstances of war - ordered the federal takeover of the nation's coal mines.

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