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The Genovese crime family is widely recognized as the largest, most powerful crime family operating in the United States. Since its foundation during the early twentieth century, the Genovese family has been famous for secrecy, but above all, for its power, wealth, and unity. Today, the family continues to be the most powerful (and the largest) operating crime syndicate in the United States; it is also one of the world’s most prominent crime families. After growing in power and wealth under a series of illegal activities, including racketeering, labor racketeering, conspiracy, loansharking, prostitution, bookmaking, illegal gambling, and murder, in later years the family shifted into drug trafficking, money laundering, extortion, pornography, prostitution, and even bookmaking. This being said, it is important to discuss the family’s structure, specifically in matters concerning its drug trafficking operations. Drug trafficking has not only allowed the family to continue securing an increased revenue stream, but also to secure its power, its position as the most influential family in the Cosa Nostra.

First, as far as the Genovese crime family’s national structure goes, it is important to point out that the family’s official boss holds leadership (although it is presently being exercised by the family’s acting boss, Daniel “Danny the Lion” Leo). Under the official/acting boss comes the underboss; this is the number two position in the family’s leadership. The underboss, apart from guaranteeing that the family’s (official) boss receives criminal profits, is in charge of overseeing the selection of capo regimes and soldiers. Another major position is that of the street boss (formerly known as the front boss). This is essentially a position created in order to divert attention from the family’s true leadership (the official boss and underboss positions). The consigliere is the boss’s right-hand man; the consigliere is a special advisor who provides counsel to the boss and is accountable only to him (although no one is accountable to the consigliere). The messaggero is a messenger; this position is charged with liaising between the different crime families (Raab, 2006). Finally, the structure is completed by capos (or capo regimes), who are in charge of making sure that the boss’s orders are carried out, and supervise the soldiers.

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Apart from its local (New York) structure, the Genovese crime family also operates on the other US territories. In addition to the family’s Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens factions in New York it also works in New Jersey,Connecticut, Massachusetts, Florida, Washington, and Illinois. Through a highly complex, yet closely knit, structure, the family has managed to secure a stronghold in the drug trafficking operation in the country’s East Coast. On this point, however, it is important to note that the family’s involvement in drugs is not as prominent as that of other criminal families and groups (most prominently the Sinaloa Cartel, which operates extensively in Mexico and the United States). The Genovese crime family is involved with distribution and sales, but not with drug production. Mexicans (Sinaloa Cartel) and Colombians are in charge of the drug production (as well as the transportation into the United States).

It may be stated that the Genovese crime family is not a prominent actor in the global drug trafficking arena, but it has a strong presence in the United States nonetheless. Furthermore, it becomes clear that through its highly organized crime activities, complemented by the family’s proclivity towards secrecy, the Genovese have managed what no other Cosa Nostra family has managed to do: secure its power, size, and wealth. In the future, it is likely that the family will stay the course and continue to be the largest, most powerful criminal family in the United States. However, it is difficult to say whether or not it will manage to build a stronger presence in the drug trafficking arena in the future.

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