Birth Location – Montedoro, Province of Caltanissetta, Sicily
Other Names – McGee and The Old Man
Died – February 25, 1994
Russell Bufalino also known as “McGee” and “The Old Man” was born on September 25, 1903 in Montedoro, Province of Caltanissetta, Sicily. He was the boss of Bufalino Crime Family formerly the Volpe crime family, assuming control after the death of Santo Volpe in 1958. He exerted significant influence over organized crime nationally.
As a teen ager, Bufalino became involved in criminal activities and underworld rackets including: gambling, extortion, robbery, and debt collection. His criminal record showed arrests for petit larceny, receiving stolen goods, drug dealing, and conspiracy to obstruct justice and fencing stolen jewellery.
In the early 1920s, Bufalino started working with Joseph Barbara, another young New York bootlegger. They both were Sicilian and had mutual friends in the underworld. He moved to Endicott, New York in Barbara’s territory with his new wife Carmela (Caroline) Sciandra .Buffalino established a close relationship with Barbara who was overseeing operations in central NY state and north eastern Pennsylvania for the Buffalo and Pittston crime families. In 1940 Russell Bufalino moved to Kingston, Pennsylvania where he supervised the family operations.
In 1957, Buffalo crime family boss Stefano Magaddino asked Barbara to host the American mafia summit at Barbara’s ranch house in rural Apalachin, New York. Barbara had reservations about holding meeting there but Magaddino insisted and Barbara agreed to host what was to become known as The Apalchin Conference. Bufalino helped organize the meeting, communicating with the delegates, arranging food and hotel acomodations.The meeting was raided by the NY State Police ending in disaster.
The Apalachin Fiasco was a huge blow to the secrecy of organized crime in the USA and took a tremendous toll on Barbara’s reputation. This humiliation convinced Barbara to retire in 1958. Russell Bufalino became the de facto street boss of the North Eastern Pennsylvania crime family. Following the death of Santo Volpe in
1958, he became the official boss of the family.
From 1960 to 1970, Bufalino increased his interests in gambling, bootlegging and labour racketeering. In the1970s, Bufalino had become a senior member of Cosa Nostra… In 1977, He was indicted for extortion charges.
End of His Life
In 1980, Bufalino became the high-priority target for federal investigators. He was indicted for plotting the murder of a witness who had testified against him in 1977.He was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Bufalino died of natural causes at age of 90on February 25, 1994