Dec 31, 2020

The Former Underboss of the Gambino Crime Family is Telling His Story

Genevieve Montague

ammy "the Bull" Gravano has lived an interesting life. In fact, so interesting that his stories are things that movie creators cannot even think of. Gravano is infamous for his involvement of 19 different murders spanning nearly 20 years, being apart of the group who murdered former Gambino crime boss Paul Castellano in 1985 which elevated John Gotti as boss, shattering his blood oath to the mob by agreeing to testify as a government witness and spending 18 years in prison for playing a major role in organizing a substantial ecstasy trafficking ring in the early 2000's; he was released in September of 2017.

Now, at 75 years old, Gravano is one of the last few remaining mobsters of the John Gotti/Jimmy Hoffa era. Many of these stories of the mob life are from secondary accounts, and it is rare to hear this from someone who genuinely experienced all aspects of it.

"You shoot him in the head, I'll get rid of the body." --- Gravano nonchalantly describing one of his murders

The Mob Life

In New York, there were five primary mob families: The Gambino, Bonanno, Genovese, Lucchese, and the Colombo family. The mob life is incredibly harsh, with virtually no empathy whatsoever. Once you graduated from being an associate of a particular mob family for some time, and the leaders found you worthy, you go through a ritual which included a blood oath, declaring your lifelong allegiance to the mob which had you labeled now as a "made guy". This was a promise that you had to keep, and if the boss called, you came, no matter the circumstances that were occurring at home; the mob came first and your family second.

Each family was a very tightly ran organization, there was a clear organizational structure just like any major corporation, and there was a strong tradition of respect. Hits were discussed in detail and the decision making process went through lengthy conversations which were held at private meetings. There were many instances of a mob member killing their own best friend who was also apart of the same mob family, due to a violation of the code. The hits would be so swift and efficient, with the victim often not even realizing what was happening before he was dead on the floor, sometimes by his own lifelong friend. The boss would cruelly organize the hits this way to emphasize on the allegiance of the mob and it's traditions taking precedence over anything else.

Gravano Speaking Out

Sammy Gravano (Left), and John Gotti (Right).

Since Gravano was released from prison just over 3 years ago, it took him some time to get acquainted in today's society, especially from a technological point of view. Being known as one of the biggest access for investigators into the mafia life, Gravano has now started an ever growing Youtube channel with nearly 130 thousand subscribers and counting, with most of his videos being perfect to just listen to; he's an excellent story teller.

He also began a podcast about his life, with episode one centering around the FBI closing on himself and Gotti back in 1990, and how that story unfolded, which ultimately led to Gravano testifying against his own boss Gotti and confessing to 19 murders, in a deal he made with prosecutors.

Gravano has definitely mellowed out at this stage in his life, and regardless, has a legacy of being the underboss of one of the most powerful crime families in American history, with many fearing him. His podcast will continue and upcoming episodes are in the works.

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