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Lorenzo Mannino

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Lorenzo Mannino
Lorenzo Mannino
Photo of Mannino ca. 1928




August 15th, 1898
Catania, Sicily


November 18th, 1962 (Aged: 64)
Bayport, Minnesota


Mannino Crime Family


Don (1923-1962)


Roman Catholic

Lorenzo Mannino was the founding don of the Minneapolis based Mannino Crime Family. He is often cites as being the original founder of major organized crime in Minnesota.


Mannino was born on August 15th, 1898 in Catania, Sicily to a poor family of farmers. He had to drop out of school when he was only 10 to help run his family's farm. His father abused him, his mother and his other siblings. In 1913 at the age of 15 he murdered his father one night after he had beaten him severely and then ran away from home. He lived in Palermo for nearly a decade where he became acquainted with members of the local La Cosa Nostra clans and eventually began working for them. In 1921 at the age of 23 he decided to move to the United States. With the help of his Mafia friends, he was able to immigrate illegally to the United States by being smuggled aboard a cargo ship. Originally thinking he was headed for New York City, the ship actually was bound for the port of Duluth in Minnesota. After getting off, the poor, uneducated Sicilian, not knowing a word of English, made his way south to Minneapolis where he settled in the Little Italy neighborhood of the city. Having almost no way to make a suitable living, he returned to his old lifestyle of organized crime. Over the course of a few years he united various Sicilian and Italian gangs around the city into one in order to cash in on the lucrative bootlegging rackets. By 1923 he had established the Mannino Crime Family and throughout the remainder of Prohabtion the family greatly cashed in on bootlegging rackets as well as other Mafia rackets such as extortion, loansharking, illegal gambling, prostitution and hijacking. He, along with consigliere Henry Pannagila and underboss Alberto Castrogiovanni, both Sicilian immigrants, formed the ruling panel of the family and dominated organized crime activities throughout the city. He also worked on relations with other Mafia families establishing the Mannino family's reputation as apart of the nationwide Mafia. The success of the family under Mannino continued throughout the 1930's and into World War Two where the family came up with new ways of making money such as the illegal sale of rationed goods that were used in the war effort. Mannino was a short tempered man, often getting extremely angry when things didn't go his way. He had a great dislike for Irish people and despised local Irish gangs such as the family's long time rival the O'Malley Gang. Although he eventually learned English, he almost always spoke in Italian and preferred to use a translator when doing business with non-Italians. By the mid 1950's Mannino, as well as the family as a whole, reached their height of power. Mannino was one of the most powerful Mafia dons in the country and had established his family as one of the most influential outside of New York. In 1957, Mannino as well as many other high ranking Mafia members from across North America and Italy met at a meeting in Appalachian, New York. The meeting was raided by local police and Mannino, unable to get away in time was arrested. Law enforcement used this as an opportunity to put Mannino in prison for good. He was convicted of various racketeering, extortion, political corruption and illegal gambling related charges in early 1958 and was sent to Stilwater State Penitentiary in Bayport, Minnesota for life. His consigliere Henry Pannagila became acting boss that year and gradually took over his responsibilities as boss of the family. By the early 1960's Mannino's health was begging to fail and he handed over leadership of the family to Pannagila in early 1962. Mannino died of heat disease later the year in November at the age of 64. His legacy has had a lasting impact on organized crime not only in Minnesota, but all around the Midwest. He was buried in Minneapolis shortly after he died and Mafia members from all around the country attended his funeral. He survived by his wife and three children.

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