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The Trafficantes: Godfathers from Tampa, Florida; The Mafia, the CIA and the

JFK Assassination

In   this   page-turning   narrative,   noted   true   crime   writer   Ron   Chepesiuk   chronicles   the   story   of   one   of   history’s   lesser   known   but   most important   mob   dynasties.   For   nearly   seven   decades,   Santo Trafficante,   Sr.   and   his   son,   Santo,   Jr.   were   prominent   gangsters   on   the Tampa   crime   scene.   Santo,   Sr.   arrived   in   Tampa   in   1902   and   settled   in   the   Ybor   City   area   where   he   slowly   began   his   climb   to   the top   of   the   Tampa   mob   scene.   Along   the   way,   he   became   a   clever   and   ruthless   gangster   who   preferred   to   operate   in   the   shadows. By   the   mid   1920s,   Santo,   Sr.   had   become   a   powerful   force   in   the   Tampa   mafia.   Two   decades   later,   the   U.S.   government   reported that   he   was   “strongly   suspected   of   having   financed   important   narcotics   transactions.”   During   Tampa’s   “Era   of   Blood”   from   1930 through   the   1950s,   in   which   several   local   gangsters   were   murdered,   Santo,   Sr.   emerged   as   Tampa’s   most   powerful   mobster.   He would remain so until his death in 1954. His   successor,   Santo,   Jr.,   lead   the Tampa   mob   for   more   than   three   decades   and   became   involved   in   some   of   history’s   most   seminal events.   They   include   Mob   dominance   of   the   gambling   scene   in   pre-Castro   Cuba,   the   CIA   plots   to   kill   Castro,   the   spectacular   mob hit   of   godfather Albert Anastasia   in   1957,   the   famous   Mob   meeting   at Apalachin   in   upstate   New   York   that   followed   shortly   after,   the John   F.   Kennedy   assassination,   and   the   development   of   narcotics   networks   in   Latin   America   and   Southeast   Asia,   among   others. Unlike   most   other   godfathers,   Santo,   Jr.   never   spent   more   than   a   night   in   an American   jail.   When   he   died   in   1987,   organized   crime expert   Ralph   Salerno   described   Santo,   Jr.’s   death   as   “the   end   of   an   era”   and   the   godfather   as   “the   last   of   the   old   time   (gangland) leaders.” In vivid prose and concise detail, Chepesiuk weaves the fascinating story of the legendary gangsters, the Trafficantes.