San Jose crime family

San Jose crime family
Founded by Onofrio Sciortino
Founding location San Jose, California
Years active 1900s-2009[1]
Territory San Francisco Bay Area, California (San Jose and other various neighborhoods in Santa Clara County, California)
Ethnicity Italian, Italian-American made men and other ethnicities as "associates"
Membership (est.) 30 (in Total)
Criminal activities Racketeering, loansharking, extortion, prostitution, drugs, and gambling
Allies Bonanno, Los Angeles, Dallas and San Francisco crime families.

The Cerrito Crime Family also known as San Jose Crime Family was one of the two families that controlled organized crime in San Jose, California, within the nationwide criminal organization known as the Mafia (or La Cosa Nostra). The other family that ran organized crime in San Jose was the Bonanno Crime Family of New York.

Early Years

The first probable organized crime in San Jose, California was founded by Onofrio Sciortino. The family was formed in 1942, during the second World War. Sciortino would derive a majority of his profits from loansharking, gambling, and prostitution. He was probably the first official La Cosa Nostra crime boss of San Jose up till the time of his death on September 10, 1959.


The first known Mafia boss of organized crime in San Jose was Onofrio Sciortino. Very little is known about the man except that his rackets included gambling, counterfeiting, shylocking, prostitution and extortion. Sciortino ruled over the San Jose Family from the early 1940s until his death in 1959.[2]

Joseph Cerrito Boss 1959

Joseph Cerrito took over the crime family after the death of Sciortino. Cerrito emigrated to the United States from Palermo, Sicily in the late 1920s and eventually settled in San Jose in the early 1940s. He owned three car dealerships in the San Jose area. Cerrito gained some popularity for being caught at the 1957 mob meeting in Apalachin, New York. In 1964, he was spotted meeting Bonanno crime family former underboss Frank Garofalo at a hotel in Palermo, Sicily. Many believe they were discussing the war within the Bonanno Family. Life Magazine listed Cerrito as the Mafia boss of San Jose in 1968. Angry over the accusation, he sued the company for libel. But the case was later thrown out of court. Cerrito died in 1978 from natural causes.

Angelo Marino Boss 1978

A loyal caporegime named Angelo Marino was selected the new don over the San Jose rackets in 1978. Marino had close connections with San Francisco mayor, from 1968–1974, Joseph Alioto. Marino was close with San Francisco crime family boss James Lanza and consigliere of the Los Angeles Crime Family and FBI informant Frank Bompensiero. He owned and operated the California Cheese Company. His father, Salvatore, a longtime member of the Pittsburgh crime family, handed the company to Marino. His company controlled eighty-five percent of the cheese distribution in California and fifty percent west of the Mississippi River. Marino brought over many Sicilian immigrants to work in his cheese factory.

Marino was indicted in October 1977 with his son, for the murder of Peter Catelli. The reason for the murder was Peter Catelli attempting to obtain a job with Marino’s company. When Marino refused him a positioning spot, Peter attempted to extort $100,000 from Marino. The father, Orlando, also was shot in the same attack which occurred at a trailer on the north side of the California Cheese Co. factory. Marino decided to order Orlando to kill Peter. Orlando refused and both were shot at. Orlando survived and agreed to testify against Marino for the prosecution. He told the prosecution that Marino's son Salvatore killed Peter and then shot Orlando in the head. Marino used his bad health to avoid going to trial for the next three years, but he continued to operate the crime family from a hospital. Joseph Piazza and Thomas Napolitano were also arrested for participating in the attack. On October 12, 1980 Angelo Marino was convicted of second-degree murder and attempted murder. His conviction was overturned on appeals and he was released. Angelo Marino died of a congestive heart failure due to diabetes in February 1983.

Emmanuel J. Figlia New Boss 1983

Emmanuel J. Figlia was the boss over the remaining crime family. He was considered an underboss to Marino. In 1998 Salvatore Marino, son of the previously mentioned Angelo, was released from San Quentin Prison. The crime family took a large blow after the deaths of Frank Maestri and Vito Adragna in 2008. Both members were considered soldiers. Figlia died of natural causes on September 25, 2009.

Current Status

Emmanuel Joseph Figlia was the boss over the remaining Cerrito Crime Family from 1983-1995. Salvatore "Sal" Marino was released from San Quentin Prison in 1998 and is said to have taken over the crime family. Figlia died on September 25, 2009. He was 91 years old. They also lost Vito Frank Adragna a year earlier. Adragna was a soldier in the crime family. There has been an increase of Asian and Mexican gangs located where the former position of the Cerrito crime family was. The family is now believed to be defunct.

See also


Further reading

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