Salvatore Santoro

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Salvatore T. "Tom Mix" Santoro, Sr. (November 18, 1915 [1] – January 2000)[2] served as underboss in the Lucchese crime family during the 1980s before being convicted in the Mafia Commission Trial and sentenced to 100 years in federal prison.

Early life[edit]

He was born in Leonia, New Jersey to Antonio and Teresa Bargio. He married Mary Zangaglia but did not father any children. He is the uncle to Lucchese family soldier and union boss Anthony DiLapi. He earned the mob moniker "Tom Mix" because in his younger years he closely resembled the Dutch-German-American western film actor by that name.[3]

107th Street gang[edit]

Santoro started working for the Gagliano crime family, forerunner of the Lucchese family, in the early 1930s. He served as an associate of future boss Tommy "Three-Finger Brown" Lucchese's 107th Street gang [4] in operating extortion, loansharking, narcotics and prostitution rings 1930s. He was made sometime in the 1940s operating drug trafficking and loansharking rings.

On July 6, 1942, Santoro received six months to two years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiring to import narcotics from Mexico.[5]

In March 1951, Santoro was indicted on charges of conspiracy to import opium from Mexico and convert it into heroin. Santoro went into hiding and allegedly spent time in Europe before returning to Oyster Bay, New York. On September 24, 1951, he surrendered to federal authorities in New York City.[6] On January 7, 1952, after pleading guilty to narcotics charges, a judge labeled Santoro as a "bad fellow" and sentenced him to four years in prison.[7]

In 1951 or 1953, longtime boss Tommaso "Tommy" Gagliano died. Underboss Tommy Lucchese took over what was now called the Lucchese crime family. Lucchese then promoted Santoro to capo of the family's powerful Bronx faction.

Lucchese captain[edit]

Drug conviction[edit]

As capo Santoro operated out of East Harlem and the Bronx controlling a large heroin drug trafficking operations during the 1950s. In 1958 he was arrested and tried for narcotics charges, as well recognizing him as a partner and associate of Ellsworth "Bumpy" Johnson, although this never was confirmed. Santoro was convicted of all charges in 1959 and was given a twenty-year prison sentence.[4]

Death of Lucchese[edit]

In 1967, Lucchese died of a brain tumor and Santoro's longtime friend Anthony Corallo was seen as the most obvious candidate for boss, however, Corallo was imprisoned during the time and the family leadership went to Carmine "Gribbs" Tramunti, who also favored the imprisoned Santoro, as well as Corallo. After Corallo was released in the early 1970s from prison, he reputedly took over the crime family. Corallo put Paul Vario in charge as underboss of the family on an acting basis, until Santoro was released from prison.


During the late 1970s, Vario and most of the Vario Crew members were sent to prison on various charges. When Santoro was released from prison in 1978 he took over as underboss, continuing to oversee the powerful Bronx faction of the family.[4] He left the drug trade alone and instead took over the labor and construction racketeering operations for the family in New York City.[4] Santoro gained a reputation as a labor racketeer and worked with consigliere Christopher "Christie Tick" Furnari and other top capos in the family. He bought a home on City Island Avenue in City Island, Bronx.[8]

Tony Ducks & the Jag[edit]

In the early 1980s, Anthony "Tony Ducks" Corallo found a new way to discuss business without ever meeting his top underlings Santoro and Furnari. Corallo used his Jaguar with a phone inside and talked to mostly Santoro on the phone while he was driving around in New York with his chauffeur Aniello "Neil" Migliore. This way succeeded mostly because the noise of the old Jag was so loud that it wasn't possible to hear anything, however, after the Jaguar came with a new engine and new filter, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents planted a bug in it, and listened to a lot of the conversations Corallo had with Santoro, mostly about the profit from the labor and construction racketeering operations in the Bronx, where they extorted unions and had influence in the construction industry.

Commission case[edit]

As US law enforcement decided to crush most of the organized crime activities in New York City during the mid-1980s, they put eleven top members of all the Five Families on a trial, called the Mafia Commission Trial or the Commission Case, including the entire administration of the Lucchese crime family; Corallo, Santoro and consigliere Christopher "Christie Tick" Furnari. The defendants were all arrested on February 25, 1985, on various of charges, including labor racketeering, extortion, loansharking, illegal gambling and murder charges. The trial began in September 1986. The charges also involved the execution of Bonanno crime family de facto boss Carmine "Lilo" Galante in 1979, which were allegedly on the orders of the Commission because they saw Galante as a potential rival and thought he planned to take over everything.

On November 19, 1986, Santoro and the other defendants were convicted on all counts.[9] Santoro was sentenced to 100 years in prison and fined $250,000.

After the sentencing, Santoro and the other defendants met with their lawyers and together in a backroom of the courthouse for a final Italian meal and a bottle of wine. Corallo gave the traditional Italian toast of Cent'anni, may we live 100 years, at which time Santoro stated, "I think it's time to get a new toast", prompting laughter from the rest of the mobsters.

New leadership[edit]

As the entire Lucchese crime family administration was sent to prison, Corallo chose Anthony "Buddy" Luongo as the new boss of the family to run the day-to-day activities, however, toward the year of 1987 Luongo was allegedly murdered by Furnari's protégés and Brooklyn faction leaders Vittorio "Vic" Amuso and Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso who seized the complete power of the family. As nobody wanted a new war within the organization, Furnari advised Corallo to make Amuso and Casso the new bosses in early 1987, although Santoro is to have strongly advised against it, knowing the succession of Amuso and Casso would be the biggest mistake in the crime family's history. However, Corallo still made Amuso the new boss of the Lucchese crime family that same year.[10]


In January 2000, Santoro died at age 87 of natural causes [2] at a medical center for federal prisoners.

Months later Corallo died in August 2000.[2] Furnari was released in 2014 while Colombo crime family boss Carmine "Junior" Persico Was imprisoned until his death on the 7th of March 2019. He was the last survivor of the defendants from the Mafia Commission Trial who received 100 years in prison.[2]



  1. ^ Bureau of Narcotics, Sam Giancana, The United States Treasury Department. Mafia: The Government’s Secret File on Organized Crime. 2007. (pg. 626)
  2. ^ a b c d Capeci, Jerry. "The complete idiot's guide to the Mafia." (pg. 251)
  3. ^ Capeci, Jerry. "The complete idiot's guide to the Mafia." (pg. 419)
  4. ^ a b c d Volkman, Ernest. "Ganbusters: The Destruction of America's Last Great Mafia Dynasty". (1998) (pg. 131)
  5. ^ "5 in Narcotics Ring Sentenced". New York Times. July 7, 1942.
  6. ^ "2 Fugitives Yield in Narcotics Case" (PDF). New York Times. September 25, 1951. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
  7. ^ "'Bad Fellows' Sentenced" (PDF). New York Times. January 8, 1952. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
  8. ^ Mckelvey, Gerald; and Hurtado, Patricia."Mob's Commission Is Guilty on All Counts Family Heads Facing Heavy Prisons Terms", Newsday, November 20, 1986. Accessed October 16, 2009. "...underboss Salvatore Santoro, 71, of 90 City Island Ave., Bronx..."
  9. ^ Lubasch, Arnold H. (November 20, 1986). "U.S. JURY CONVICTS EIGHT AS MEMBERS OF MOB COMMISSION". New York Times. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
  10. ^ American Mafia

Further reading

  • Sifakis, Carl. The Mafia Encyclopedia: Second Edition. New York, Checkmark Books. 1999
  • Capeci, Jerry. The Complete Idiots Guide to the Mafia. Indianapolis. Alpha Books. 2002
  • Raab, Selwyn. The Five Families. New York. St Martins Press, 2005.
  • Lawson, Guy and Oldham, William. The Brother Hoods: The True Story of Two Cops Who Murdered for the Mafia. New York. Pocket Books, 2006.

External links