Silvestro Carollo

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Silvestro Carollo
Born(1896-06-17)June 17, 1896
Terrasini, Sicily, Kingdom of Italy
DiedJune 26, 1970(1970-06-26) (aged 74)
Resting placeMetairie Cemetery, Metairie, U.S.
Other namesSilver Dollar Sam
Sam Carollo
OccupationCrime boss
Spouse(s)Catherine Carollo
Children3, including Anthony Carollo
AllegianceNew Orleans crime family
Conviction(s)Murder (1932)
Criminal penalty2 years' imprisonment

Silvestro Carollo[a] (/kɑːˈrɔːl/, Italian: [silˈvɛstro kaˈrɔllo]; June 17, 1896 – June 26, 1970), nicknamed "Silver Dollar Sam", was an Italian-American mob boss, boss of the New Orleans crime family. He transformed the New Orleans's Black Hand gang into a Cosa Nostra crime family, and acted as street boss from 1922 to 1944. He was the boss from 1944 until his deportation in 1947. In 1970, he came back to the United States, and died on June 26, 1970.

Early years[edit]

Carollo was born on June 17, 1896 in Terrasini, Sicily, and immigrated to the United States in 1903 to join his parents in the French Quarter of New Orleans. By 1918, Carollo was a high-ranking member of the New Orleans Black Hand gang. In 1922, Charles Matranga retired with Corrado Giacona as boss, and Carollo as street boss. Taking over Matranga's minor bootlegging operations, Carollo waged war against rival bootleggers.

In December 1930, with the murder of rival gang leader and suspected informant William Bailey, Carollo gained full control over bootlegging in New Orleans.

Carollo was married to Catherine Tenie Carollo and had three children, Anthony Carollo, Michael Carollo and Sarah Misuraca.[1] Carollo owned several businesses in the New Orleans area, including the St. Charles Tavern, and a cafe in Terrasini.

Height of power[edit]

As his power increased, Carollo gained considerable political influence in New Orleans. In February 1928, Al Capone's brother Ralph Capone, was trying to force Carollo to supply his brother's Chicago Outfit with imported alcohol and cut off Joe Aiello, a rival bootlegger in Chicago.[2] Arriving by train in New Orleans with several Outfit mobsters to press his case, Capone's party was intercepted at the station by Carollo and several New Orleans policemen. Carollo's cops reportedly disarmed Capone's henchmen and then broke their fingers. Capone was forced to immediately board another train to Chicago without any concessions from Carollo.

In 1930, Carollo was arrested for the shooting of federal narcotics agent Clarence Moore during an undercover drug buy. Despite testimony by several New Orleans policemen that Carollo was in New York at the time of the murder, he was sentenced to two years in prison.

Released in 1934, Carollo negotiated a deal with two New York mobsters, Frank Costello and Phillip "Dandy Phil" Kastel of the Luciano crime family, along with Louisiana Senator Huey Long, to bring illegal slot machines to New Orleans. The new mayor of New York, Fiorello La Guardia, had started attacking mob gambling establishments in that city, and Costello thought that New Orleans might be a safer environment for them. Therefore, it was arranged that Carollo and his lieutenant Carlos Marcello would run illegal gambling operations in New Orleans undisturbed for several years.

Giacona died on July 25, 1944, and was succeeded by his underboss Frank Todaro; however he died of natural causes in November of that year, and Carollo became leader of the family. It has been speculated that he had a hand in Todaro's death with a little poison, but there is no concrete evidence to support this theory.[3]

Deportation and later years[edit]

In 1938, a narcotics arrest would signal the decline of Carollo's fortunes. In 1940, after Carollo had served two years in the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary, a court ordered him deported to Italy. However, in 1941, this order was delayed indefinitely when Italy declared war on the United States. Throughout World War II, Carollo was able to continue running the New Orleans crime family. At the end of the war, Louisiana Congressman Jimmy Morrison proposed a special bill in the U.S. House of Representatives making Carollo a naturalized citizen. If this bill had passed, it would have nullified the original 1940 deportation order. However, Washington D.C. reporter and columnist Drew Pearson exposed this deal, and the bill never passed Congress. In April 1947, seven years after the original order was issued, Carollo was finally deported. At this time, control of the family passed to Carlos Marcello.

Arriving in Sicily, Carollo organized a partnership with fellow exile Charles "Lucky" Luciano, establishing criminal enterprises in Mexico. In 1949, Carollo returned to the United States, but was deported again in 1950. In 1952, Carollo was arrested in Italy for swindling and narcotics trafficking. In 1970, after living in Palermo, Sicily for 20 years, Carollo once again returned to the United States. According to Life Magazine, Marcello had asked Carollo to come home to mediate disputes within the New Orleans family. Despite another deportation attempt, Carollo continued to live in the United States until his death on June 26, 1970.[4] He is buried in Metairie Cemetery.

His son Anthony Carollo remained active in the New Orleans Mafia for many years. At the time of his arrest and conviction in the Federal Bureau of Investigation's "Hardcrust" sting in the mid-1990s, Anthony Carollo had become the boss of the family.


  1. ^ "February 2007 Obituaries Orleans Parish Louisiana". USGenWeb Archives Project. February 2007. Retrieved April 10, 2020. Anthony S. Carollo [...] Brother of the late Sarah C. Misuraca and Michael P. Carollo. [...] Son of the late Silvestro (Sam) and Tenie Carollo.
  2. ^ "Silver Dollar Sam – Creation of The New Orleans Crime Family (Part 2)". National Crime Syndacate. Retrieved April 10, 2020.
  3. ^ "Where New Orleans Buries it's Dead Mobsters: Metairie Cemetery". National Crime Syndacate. Retrieved April 10, 2020. Some speculation claims Silver Dollar Sam had a hand in his death with a little poison. Not a lot of info out there on Frank.
  4. ^ "Sylvestro Carollo". The San Francisco Examiner. June 29, 1970. Retrieved April 10, 2020 – via


  1. ^ Also spelled Silvestro Carolla, Sylvestro Carollo and Sylvestro Carolla.

Further reading[edit]

  • Davis, John H. (1989). Mafia Kingfish: Carlos Marcello and the Assassination of John F. Kennedy. New York: Signet. ISBN 0-07-015779-0.
  • Scott, Peter Dale (1993). Deep Politics and the Death of JFK. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-20519-7.
  • Bureau of Narcotics; U.S. Treasury Department (2007). Mafia: the Government's Secret File on Organized Crime. HarperCollins Publishers. ISBN 0-06-136385-5.

External links[edit]

American Mafia
Preceded by
Charles Matranga
New Orleans crime family
Co-Boss with Corrado Giacona

Succeeded by
Frank Todaro
Preceded by
Frank Todaro
New Orleans crime family

Succeeded by
Carlos Marcello