Philadelphia Mob Losing Power


ATLANTIC CITY, N.J.—An ongoing hearing before the Casino Control Commission of New Jersey has revealed information about the dwindling status of the mob in Philadelphia and South Jersey.

Down to 20 members, from 80 at the height of its power, the Philadelphia-South Jersey Mafia family has fallen from its position of influence and power, being replaced by larger, more violent drug gangs. With about 20 “soldiers” still in the group, its reach doesn’t extend nearly as far as it used to, especially considering that nine of these are currently serving jail sentences. Family infighting, competition from drug lords, and federal crackdowns on organized crime have all taken their toll on the group, which once held a powerful position in the city.

Evidence presented in the Casino Control Commission hearing shows an organizational chart put together by the Philadelphia Police Department that outlines the family’s hierarchy – or what’s left of it. Testimony was given in the hearing, which seeks to block a casino service-industry license for Joseph N. Merlino and his mother, both the heads of Bayshore Rebar, a Pleasantville construction company.

Merlino is the cousin of Joseph S. “Skinny Joe” Merlino, the jailed leader of the Philadelphia wing of the group. Joseph Ligambi is listed as the head of the Philadelphia-South Jersey mob, with Martin Angelina as his underboss. The two, who have been monitored by Philadelphia police, have been seen meeting together on a regular basis with Anthony Staino, listed as captain of “South Jersey.” Nine members of the family were listed as “soldiers” for the group, including Joseph Stanfa, the son of jailed leader John Stanfa.

Sgt. Daniel McCullough, who presented the chart, would not go into further detail to avoid “jeopardizing ongoing investigations,” an indicator that some think means the FBI is investigating the family for racketeering.


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