|Palermo|  Salvatore Inzerillo

Born:  1944 - Palermo

Dead:  May 11, 1981 - Palermo

Salvatore Inzerillo was a member of the Sicilian Mafia. He was born in the capital, Palermo, and rose to be a powerful 'capo' of the city's Passo di Rigano Family. Inzerillo was a close ally of Stefano Bontade and Gaetano Badalamenti and a relative of the New York City Mafia boss Carlo Gambino. He became a member of the Sicilian Mafia Commission in 1978 succeeding his uncle Rosario Di Maggio, and formed a strong alliance with Bontade against the growing power of Totò Riina and the Corleonesi who were increasingly challenging the established Mafia families of Palermo.

Heroin trafficking

In the 1970s, like many Sicilian mafiosi, Inzerillo got involved in heroin trafficking. The Inzerillo-clan allied with relatives in Sicily such as the Spatola and Di Maggio families and other Mafia clans like the one ruled by Stefano Bontade. The Inzerillo-Spatola-Di Maggio-Gambino network and other Sicilian suppliers dominated heroin trafficking since the mid-1970s until the mid-1980s when US and Italian law enforcement were able to significantly reduce the heroin supply of the Sicilian Mafia (the so-called Pizza Connection). According to the Palermo prosecuting office: "These four families, living partly in Sicily and partly in New York, form a single clan unlike anything in Italy or the United States – the most potent family in Cosa Nostra. John Gambino is the converging point in the United States for all of the group’s activities in Italy, and the final destination for its drug shipments. Salvatore Inzerillo has emerged as the Gambino brothers’ principal interlocutor, the central personage in Sicily, with myriads interests and heavy capital investments. … Rosario Spatola is just below them in structure."

Salvatore Inzerillo coordinated most of the heroin trafficking to the US for the Mafia families involved. They supplied the Sicilian faction of Gambino Family – the so-called Cherry Hill Gambino’s who were related to the Inzerillo’s – in New York through Inzerillo’s cousins John, Giuseppe and Rosario Gambino with heroin that was refined in laboratories on Sicily from Turkish morphine base. According to Giovanni Falcone, the investigating magistrate who was assigned the investigation into heroin trafficking case, the group had made about US$600 million. The proceeds were re-invested in real estate. Inzerillo's brother-in-law, Rosario Spatola, who in his youth peddled watered milk in the streets of Palermo, became Palermo’s largest building contractor and biggest taxpayer of Sicily, thanks to his close relationship with Christian Democrat politician Vito Ciancimino.

The second Mafia war

The bullet riddled body of Salvatore Inzerillo Salvatore Inzerillo ordered the killing of prosecuting judge Gaetano Costa – the boss of Falcone – who signed the 53 arrest warrants against the Spatola-Inzerillo-Gambino clan and their heroin-trafficking network in May 1980. Costa was murdered on August 6, 1980. Inzerillo acted without asking permission from the Mafia Commission to prove he could commit a murder in rival territory (that of Giuseppe Calò) just as the Corleonesi.

On May 11, 1981, Inzerillo was gunned down in Palermo as he strolled towards his recently acquired bullet-proof car after leaving the house of his mistress. He was rendered almost unrecognizable by a hail of bullets from a machine gun. The firearm used was an AK-47, the same gun that killed Bontade the previous month. The deaths of these two powerful mafiosi kick-started the Second Mafia War that lasted almost two-years and saw hundreds of mafiosi killed as Totò Riina and the Corleonesi decimated their rivals in order to take over Cosa Nostra by sheer brute force. It is believed Inzerillo was murdered by Pino Greco, one of Riina's most lethal hitmen. At Inzerillo's funeral, his 15-year-old son vowed to avenge his father, and not long afterwards the boy was kidnapped and killed. A number of informants, including Tommaso Buscetta, said that it was Pino Greco who abducted the youth and shot him through the head, but first hacked his arm off, symbolically removing the arm the youngster had vowed to shoot Salvatore Riina with. One of Inzerillo's brothers subsequently turned up murdered in New Jersey, proving the Corleonesi's reach stretched across the Atlantic.

Inzerillo heritage
His other son, Giovanni Inzerillo (b. 1972) survived the slayings and lived in the home of his father since 2000 and reputidly worked as a building constructor. In 2008 he was arrested together with 3 others, Frank Cali (b.1965, he is a Gambino capo), Filippo Casamento (b.1925) and Gianni Nicchi (b.1982) and is now jailed in New York due to mob connections and business.

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