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Daily Archives: September 1st, 2009

Joseph Ligambi

Joseph Ligambi leaving court in 2001. The reputed mob boss and his organization are said to be the targets of an FBI probe.

By George Anastasia

Inquirer Staff Writer

ATLANTIC CITY –   Mafia kingpin Joseph Ligambi, reputed boss of the Philadelphia-South Jersey mob, of La Cosa Nostra,  heads a criminal organization that has nearly as many active members in jail as it does on the streets.

Decimated by a 20-year onslaught of federal prosecutions, bloody internecine power struggles, and turncoat testimony, the local branch of La Cosa Nostra – which in the 1980s had roughly 80 Mafia members – now has a base of about 20 “soldiers.”

And nine of them are in prison.

Simply put, the Philadelphia Mafia has fallen on hard times. It is no longer the dominant player in the underworld, and is dwarfed in size by some of the area’s more violent drug gangs.

That’s the picture that has emerged based on a crime-family organizational chart compiled by the Philadelphia Police Department and introduced as evidence at an ongoing hearing into a casino service-industry license for Joseph N. Merlino, cousin of jailed Philadelphia mob leader Joseph S. “Skinny Joey” Merlino.