In 1984, thanks to the work of the special agent Joe Pistone, the FBI made another hit: on the godfather of the Mafia. His name was Gaetano Badalamenti, and he was the former boss of the Sicilian Mafia.
After being banished from Sicily by his rivals, he came to New York to carry on with his business. He was one of the most influential Mafia bosses that ever lived in New York, leading the top major drug cartels at the time. It is to be considered that he made more than $1.6 billion worth of heroin.
The media called this operation “Pizza Connection” because they used pizza parlors as a front for their drug sales. In over more than four years, the FBI struggled with gathering information about the business, conducting surveillance on multiple targets in multiple countries.
They traced telephone calls but given the fact that the mobsters spoke in Sicilian and in their own codes, it was very laborious work. The money they made from the heroin that came from Sicily, the morphine from Turkey and the cocaine made in South America, were laundered through several banks and brokerages in the United States and overseas.
In 1985, the “Pizza Connection” trial began and it had 22 Sicilian convicts. Gaetano Badalamenti received then a very heavy conviction and went to prison.