The Los Angeles crime family is an Italian American criminal organization based in California, as part of the American Mafia (or Cosa Nostra). Since its inception in the early 1900s, it has spread throughout Southern California. Like most Mafia families in the United States, the L.A. crime family gained power bootlegging during the Prohibition Era. The L.A. family reached its peak in the 1940s and early 1950s under Jack Dragna, who was on The Commission, although the L.A. family was never bigger than the New York or Chicago families. Since his death the crime family has been on a gradual decline, with the Chicago Outfit representing them on The Commission.
In the late 1970s, Aladena "Jimmy the Weasel" Fratianno became the second member in American Mafia history to testify against the Mafia. In 1981 a biography of Fratianno was published, The Last Mafioso by Ovid Demaris, which along with his court testimonies is the source for a lot of information on the history of the family. Since the 1980s, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO Act) became a highly effective law in convicting mobsters and shrinking the American Mafia. Like all families in the United States, the L.A. Mafia only holds a fraction of its former power.
The current family is small compared to other families and is involved in fraud, extortion, loan sharking, illegal gambling, drug trafficking, and legitimate businesses. Although not having to share power with other Mafia families like New York's Five Families, never having a strong Italian-American population in the region leaves the family to contend with the many street gangs in the "Gang Capital of America". The Los Angeles crime family is the last Mafia family left in the state of California.
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“If Los Angeles is not the one authentic rectum of civilization, then I am no anatomist. Any time you want to go out again and burn it down, count me in.”
—H.L. (Henry Lewis)
“The family is the test of freedom; because the family is the only thing that the free man makes for himself and by himself.”
—Gilbert Keith Chesterton (18741936)
“I wish so much of crime didnt take place after dark. Its most unnerving.”
—Ketti Frings (19151981)
“There are two modes of transport in Los Angeles: car and ambulance. Visitors who wish to remain inconspicuous are advised to choose the latter”
—Fran Lebowitz (b. 1951)
“Cities are ... distinguished by the catastrophic forms they presuppose and which are a vital part of their essential charm. New York is King Kong, or the blackout, or vertical bombardment: Towering Inferno. Los Angeles is the horizontal fault, California breaking off and sliding into the Pacific: Earthquake.”
—Jean Baudrillard (b. 1929)