- Category : 1928-births
- Type : GE
- Profile : 6/2 - Role Model / Hermit
- Definition : Split - Small (1,48)
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Cycles 1
Sicilian Mafiosa, the first major figure in the Sicilian Mafia to break the code of omerta, the traditional vow of silence. In late 1984, nearly 3,000 Italian police made a massive sweep in Palermo, arresting 66 suspected Mafiosa with warrants for another 140. The dragnet followed the extraordinarily detailed testimony of Buscetta, who provided a comprehensive description of the Mafia's internal structure and precise information on 122 recent murders. He also provided previously unknown information about the mob operation in the U.S. His testimony was without precedence.
Buscetta's betrayal was directly linked to progress. Up to the mid-1970s, about a hundred top Mafia families controlled organized crime, focusing on their traditional areas of agriculture, construction, extortion, prostitution and some drug smuggling. They did have their codes; politicians and police were "cultivated," not murdered, women and children were off-limits and heroin was to be delivered only to the U.S. where their counterparts assured the Sicilians that it was "only going to blacks and Puerto Ricans, not to your grandsons."
All that changed when the French Connection was broken in the early '70s and Sicily succeeded Marseilles as the world's heroin capital. The traffic became immense and new groups began fighting for a piece of the action. Wives and children were massacred along with their Mafia husbands and troublesome officials. The heroin market began to sell to local buyers with the competition of Syrians, Lebanese and Turks.
Buscetta said, "I no longer recognize this Mafia, it is no longer my life." His motives may also be linked to his connection with the side that was losing in the underworld wars.
Buscetta's record began in 1949 with bootlegged cigarettes. He soon began traveling to Brazil and America where at one time he opened a chain of pizza parlors that reportedly served as a cover for drug dealing. Arrested in New York in 1970, he fled to Brazil. Two years later he was arrested there and extradited to Italy.
Returning to Brazil in 1980, Buscetta took the name Jose Roberto Escobar, working as an agent for both Sicilian and American Mafia families.
Unfortunately, he aligned himself with Gaetano Badalamenti and the five Badalamenti family members in the U.S. When the Greco and Corleone clans came down on Badalamenti, Buscetta was not neglected. Two of his sons disappeared in September 1982, and his brother and nephew were gunned down at work. In all, at least 14 members of his family were slain, which he bitterly reported in his testimony.
On 10/25/1983, Buscetta was arrested in Brazil. He was unable to buy his way out from the authorities and the following June, Italian magistrate Giovanni Falcone flew to Sao Paulo to question him. In turmoil, Buscetta attempted to commit suicide on July 3. Extradited to Italy, he sought assurance that he would be protected, should he talk. When he began his story, authorities were amazed at the amount and detail of his accounts. He explained the command structure and how each clan had its territorial base. Though each clan was autonomous, a supreme commission was composed of representatives from a dozen major families, making all decisions on crimes and investments and arbitrating disputes. His lengthy confession in 1985 precipitated the most determined crack-down on organized crime that has ever been instigated.
At the New York "pizza connection" heroin-smuggling trial of the 1980, his testimony helped put away hundreds of mobsters on both sides of the Atlantic. Buscetta then effectively disappeared into the witness protection program, assuming a new name and identity somewhere in the U.S. In early April 2000, Buscetta died of cancer at an undisclosed location.