Michele A. (Mike) Miranda was born on July 27, 1893 at San Giuseppe Vesuviano, in the province of Naples, Italy. He was aka “Big Mike”, “Frank Russi”, and “Saverio Ambrosio”.
He immigrated to the U.S. in 1912 and was naturalized as a citizen in Lower Manhattan in 1932.
He lived for years at 36 Kenmore Street, off Mulberry Street in the Little Italy section of Manhattan. This is where he would get his start and “make his bones”.
In 1938, his wife Lucia (Lucy) Miranda became the owner of record for 110-02 68th Drive in the Forest Hills section of Queens County.
Years laters (by the 1950s), they had moved to a fancier residence within that same exclusive hamlet to 167 Greenway North, a palatial all brick Tudor-style home.
This is where he would reside for the remainder of his life.
They also owned a summer house out at 629 East Olive Street in Long Beach by the Atlantic Ocean.
Side Note: Miranda was also known to travel frequently, both for mob business and socially to Florida, Cuba, Canada and Southern Italy.
FBI #91524, NYCPD #B-129648, BUPD #9081, PBPD #5131, SFPD #2731, BNPD #14002
Mike stood a stout 5-foot 5-inches tall and weighed 160 pounds. He had salt and pepper hair, brown eyes, and a quiet persona.
He also had two brothers, Pasquale of Italy, and Antonio (Nino), who was a Connecticut-based mafioso aligned with Mike and the Genovese Family. Nino died very young in 1930.
Miranda was a partner in a Queens jukebox and vending machine firm – Local Vending Co., off Queens Blvd., in Rego Park.
This location also served for years as his de facto base of operations, where his two closest aides, Antonio (Tony the Sheik) Carillo and his nephew Bonaventura (Barney) Miranda (NYPD #B-352049), would meet him to receive and carry messages out to other hoodlums.
Carillo, in turn, had his brother Salvatore (Sally the Sheik) and brothers Michael and Ciro Perrone as his assistants.
Mike also listed employment for years as a salesman at Huntoon & Raffo, Inc., a Manhattan-based Cadillac automobile dealership.
Other favored hangouts were the Little Italy section of Manhattan, especially off the corner of Broome Street and Mulberry Street, and Progressivo Ristorante of 254 W. 55th Street in Midtown.
Miranda had a long list of known associates, but many of his closest associates were affiliated with the “Napolitano faction”, having originated from the Campania and Calabria sections of Southern Italy including:
• Vito Genovese
• Cosmo Frasca
• Salvatore Luciano
• Frank Costello
• Giuseppe Doto
• Meyer Lansky
• Calogero Iacono (of Italy)
• Anthony Strollo
• Thomas Eboli
• Pasquale Eboli
• Joseph Stracci
• Robert Cerbone
• Ciro Perrone
• Michael Perrone
• Thomas Lucchese
• Peter DeFeo
• Antonio Carillo
• Barney Miranda
• Mike Clemente
…. as a top capo and ultimately the consigliere of the powerful Luciano/Genovese Family, Miranda was in the unique position to meet virtually a Who’s Who of The Brotherhood in both America and Italy. During the late 1960’s-early 1970’s era, Miranda was reputed to have served for a time as “Acting Boss” of the entire Family while Vito served his narcotics term.
In 1957, he was one of sixty top mafiosi nabbed during the infamous Apalachin Meeting up at Binghamton boss Joe Barbara’s estate. Considered a nationwide Commission meeting by federal law enforcement authorities, this event exposed and haunted him for years to come.
And again in 1966, Miranda was one of a dozen top hoodlums to be arrested and detained after a police raid at the ever popular LaStella Italian Restaurant in Queens Boulevard in Forest Hills.
Some of the biggest names in the underworld was nabbed including New York bosses Carlo Gambino, Thomas Eboli and Joseph Colombo; New Orleans boss Carlos Marcello; and Tampa head Santo Trafficante Jr.
It was a top Commission meeting. They, along with the hierarchies of their respective borgatas, were well represented.
Among the underbosses, consiglieri and top capo di decina were Aniello Dellacroce, Frank Gagliano, Antonio Carillo, Joseph N. Gallo, Vincent Aloi, Anthony Carollo, and Dominick Alongi.
It was in fact a top meeting to allegedly iron out differences of the New Orleans and Tampa LCN Families. All were charged and indicted for consorting with known criminals and conspiracy.
Both these events helped elevate him in the eyes of the FBI.
Miranda was a very low-key guy – it was the only thing that saved him from additional scrutiny and arrest over the years.
These incidents clearly reflected Mike’s exulted underworld status.
Digressing to 1944, probably his most publicized arrest/indictment was for the murder of Ferdinand (The Shadow) Boccia, a small-time Brooklyn hoodlum who squawked a bit too loud after being cheated of his end for setting up a sucker who they all had fleeced of $160,000 in a confidence game.
They will all be released from jail and the murder charges dismissed after hoodlum-gunman Peter LaTempa was found dead on the floor of his jail cell.
Authorities said the coroner’s toxicity reports confirmed that LaTempa had enough animal tranquilizers in his system to have killed 8 horses…..And that was the end of that!
Side Note: In 1964, a second hoodlum rat who gave testimony against Miranda, Genovese, and the others was found floating off Jamaica Bay in Queens. Ernest (Ernie the Hawk) Rupolo’s chained and bloated corpse washed ashore.
A notorious freelance gunman from Brooklyn, Rupolo had avoided mob assassins and his ultimate fate for years after ratting about the Boccia homicide and other mob mayhem. Mob assassins finally settled the score by shooting, stabbing, gutting Rupolo and attaching cement blocks to his chained ankles, and running motorcycle chains up and down his body to weigh him down. Despite the effort (and punctured lungs), he still surfaced ashore.
Miranda’s criminal record started when he was 22 years old and lists arrests for:
- 1915 – disorderly conduct-pickpocket (30 days in the workhouse)
- 1917 – suspicious person (Boston MA)
- 1917 – (bomb) in Manhattan
- 1918 – vagrancy-pick pocket (Buffalo, NY)
- 1918 – larceny (6 months jail)
- 1918 – NY city loafer law
- 1919 – suspicious person (Boston, MA)
- 1919 – vagrancy (Springfield, MA)
- 1920 – suspicious person (Pittsburg, PA)
- 1939 – inquiry (Buffalo, NY)
- 1944 – inquiry (NYC)
- 1946- homicide by gun (NYC)
- 1957 – conspiracy to obstruct justice 1966 consorting with known criminals
To express how authorities viewed Miranda, they stated that, “He is one of the most feared and ruthless Mafioso in the United States. He has engaged in narcotics smuggling, murder, extortion and is one of the controlling racketeers in NYC’s garment district.”
In his later years, ill health forced Miranda to slow down.
Although a longtime consigliere, he had aspired to be named as the official “acting boss” of the Family by his pal Vito Genovese who was serving a 15-year federal narcotics jail term and was disappointed that Vito chose Tommy Eboli and Jerry Catena to lead instead…. Genovese would die in jail in 1969.
Miranda was also not in the best of health, and it was thought that he had stepped down shortly before his death.
Note: The above intel came from “bugs” planted in several New Jersey locations frequented by the hierarchies of both the Genovese and DeCavalcante clans.
Many conversations between, and about the Catenas, Tommy Eboli, Miranda, and others by Angelo (Gyp) DeCarlo, boss Sam DeCavalcante, and his top men that were recorded by the FBI gave an insiders view of mob politics of the day.
And Mike Miranda and his activities and viewpoints was a topic of conversation on more than one occasion.
Michele (Mike) Miranda died on July 16, 1973. He was just days short of celebrating his 80th birthday.
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