Polish organized crime

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Polish Mob
Founding location Poland, United States
Years active 1920s–present
Territory Poland, Western and Central Europe, New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Chicago, New Jersey, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Buffalo
Ethnicity Poles, Polish Jews, and Polish Americans (in the USA)
Criminal activities Drug trafficking, weapon trafficking, Racketeering, loansharking, extortion, kidnapping, chop shop, cigarette smuggling, gambling, murder, theft
Allies Chicago Outfit
Rivals Irish Mob, Russian Mafia

Polish-American organized crime has existed in the United States throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. Although not as well known as Russian, Italian-American, Irish, or Jewish mafias, the Polish mob has a presence in many urban Polish American communities.


During Prohibition, many Polish-American criminal gangs took advantage of the opportunity to make money through the illegal sale of alcohol. In Chicago, Joseph Saltis and Jake Guzik allied themselves with Al Capone's Chicago Outfit. However, fighting Capone was the North Side Gang, which, while mostly Irish-American, had a large Polish presence as well, with leaders Bugs Moran and Hymie Weiss both having a Polish heritage. Fred Goetz was involved in carrying out the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.

In Philadelphia, the organization led by Mickey Duffy, born William Michael Cusick, was the dominant bootlegging gang in the Delaware Valley until his murder in August 1931.

The infamous gangster Meyer Lansky, one of the leaders of the so-called National Crime Syndicate and associate of Lucky Luciano, was actually a Polish Jew.

Joseph Filkowski led a mostly Polish bootlegging ring in Cleveland, Ohio, along with gangster Joseph Stazek. In Pittsburgh, Paul Jarwarski was also a prominent figure, carrying out the first armored car robbery.


The Kielbasa Posse[edit]

The Philadelphia Polish Mob, known as the Kielbasa Posse, are a Polish American organized crime group operating from the Port Richmond area in Philadelphia. Named after the polish word for sausage, the gang is made up of Polish immigrants living in Port Richmond, Kensington, North Philadelphia, Northeast Philly, Bucks County, and South Jersey, as well as second-generation Polish Americans.

The gang moved into territory occupied by Irish, Russian, and Italian Mafia outfits, namely the trafficking and dealing of Ecstasy, and are said to have moved into bookmaking and loansharking operations as well. They would meet several times a week at a local Polish bar having a tough and fearsome reputation, they have been known to attack innocent people within their neighborhood. Many residents in the Port Richmond area of Philadelphia can tell of multiple accounts where these so-called gang members have caused trouble. They do not have a good relationship with the K&A Gang who controls most of Northeast Philly, due to the fact that the Northeast is predominantly Irish. According to local residents, they are not well known and the older Polish residents of the neighborhood choose to ignore the existence of the gang.[1]

The Greenpoint Crew[edit]

In March 2006, the United States Attorney's Office in New York published a press release covering the indictment of twenty-one members of the so-called Greenpoint Crew, an infamous Polish criminal organization operating out of the heavily Polish neighborhood of Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Led by Ostap Kapelioujnyj and Krzysztof Sprysak, the gang ran its operations of gunrunning, armed robbery, drug trafficking, extortion, car theft, credit card fraud and fencing (reportedly including a stolen 18th century Stradivarius violin) mostly in New York City, as well as having connections back in Poland and Eastern Europe. The gang was not above resorting to violence to achieve their aims, as one video used as evidence shows Kapelioujnyj discussing his threatening to kill a debtor with a golf club after already taking two computers, a camera, and an iPod.[2]

The Korney Gang[edit]

John "Korney" Kwiatkowski led a gang in Buffalo, New York called the "Korney Gang" that was involved in multiple murders and robberies.[3]

Organized crime in Poland[edit]

The most well known of the Polish organized crime groups in the 1990s were the so-called Pruszkow and the Wolomin gangs.[4]

The first war against organized crime was won by Poland in the 90’s. This war was aimed at large gangs. The state triumphed and so we no longer have the gangs of Wolomin and Pruszkow,” said Mr Bartłomiej Sienkiewicz at the press conference at the MI.

Head of the MI added that at the moment there were about 200 criminal groups operating across Poland which were under constant police monitoring. “For none of them the situation is likely to return to the one observed in the 90’s” said Minister Bartłomiej Sienkiewicz.

Polish organized crime majorly emerged in the 1990s, when the traditional criminal underworld became better organized not only partly in thanks to the at that time rising corruption.[5] Nowadays Polish organized crime groups are well known for operating sophisticated car theft-rings,[6] as well as for their involvement in drug trafficking (the main drug being methamphetamine) and weapon trafficking.

Pruszków mob[edit]

The Pruszków mafia is the name given to the organized criminal group that emerged from the suburb of Pruszków in the beginning of the 1990s. The group is known for being involved in large car-theft rings, drug trafficking (including cocaine, heroin, hashish and methamphetamine), kidnapping, extortion, weapon trafficking (including AK-47's) and murder. Even though law enforcement dealt a severe blow to the Pruszków mafia, it is alleged that Pruszków-based gangs, with or without notice from their former leaders, have regained their strength in recent years and have began setting up their car-theft rings and connections with Colombian drug cartels again.[7] Andrzej Kolikowski, who was killed in 1999, was the most well-known member of the Pruszków mafia.

Wołomin mob[edit]

The Wołomin mafia is also a term used for the organized crime group from Wołomin, a town near Warsaw. They operate the same criminal activities the gang from Pruszków does and were in the 90's the Pruszków group's biggest rivals, with whom they fought bloody turf wars.[8] The Wołomin mafia too had been dealt a heavy blow by law enforcement, but they are nowadays still active albeit not on the same scale as in the 90's.[9]

See also[edit]