Articles/Biographies/Criminals/Persico, Carmine "The Snake"

Carmine Persico was born in Brooklyn on August 8, 1937. His father served as a soldier in the Genovese Family, greatly encouraging Carmine to become a criminal himself. He was a born leader, finding a group of young thugs to serve under his banner on the streets. His enemies began to call him the snake for his sly crimes.

At the age of seventeen, Carmine killed a man and was witnessed by a person nicknamed the "Blue Angel". Before he could be convicted, his brother Alphonse confessed to the murder and was sentenced to prison for nearly twenty years.

Carmine eventually joined the Colombo Family, becoming a Capo that mainly consisted of hitmen, including his brother. Carmine suffered his first serious injury when he and his friend Alphonse D'Ambrosia were in their car and a passing vehicle drove by with members of the Gallo gang. The gang fired at their vehicle, hitting Alphonse in the chest and Carmine in the face. Carmine reputedly spit out the bullet and drove the vehicle to the hospital. Carmine was known to walk around carrying an ice pick that he wasn't afraid to use on anyone that got in his way or insulted him.

After a prison term, Carmine was made boss of the Colombo family when the previous boss, Thomas DiBella, handed him the position. Carmine ran the family from the Diplomat Social Club. Unfortunately, he spent most of his time as boss in prison and was forced to run the family through connections.

During the 1980s, the FBI was waging an all out war on the mafia. In 1986, Carmine was convicted of labor and construction racketeering and extortion and sentenced to one hundred years in prison. Other major players in the family received similar convictions, effectively crippling the Colombo Family.

While serving time at the Lompoc Penitentiary in California, Carmine made Vic Orena boss of the family, but he went to jail in 1992, causing a war to erupt between the Persico faction and Orena faction within the family. The Persico faction triumphed, resulting in Alphonse Persico (Carmine's son) being appointed boss. On December 20, 2001, Alphonse pleaded guilty to a number of charges, including racketeering, money laundering, and loansharking, resulting in a thirteen year prison term.

Carmine appears to have retired from his criminal activities and is a happy gardener in prison. He is pictured on the left in his prison band, playing the drums, and riding a mechanical bull on the prison grounds.