The Colombo crime family is the youngest of the Five Families that dominates organised crime activities in New York City, United States, within the nationwide criminal organisation known as the Mafia. It was during Lucky Luciano’s organisation of the American Mafia after the Castellammarese War, and the assassinations of Giuseppe “Joe The Boss” Masseria and Salvatore Maranzano, that the gang run by Joseph Profaci was recognized as the Profaci crime family.
The family traces its roots to a bootlegging gang formed by Joseph Profaci in 1928. Profaci would rule his family without interruption or challenge until the late 1950s. The family has been torn by three internal wars. The first war took place during the late 1950s when capo Joe Gallo revolted against Profaci, but it lost momentum in the early 1960s when Gallo was arrested and Profaci died of cancer. The family was not reunited until the early 1960s under Joseph Colombo. In 1971, the second family war began after Gallo’s release from prison and the shooting of Colombo. Colombo supporters led by Carmine Persico won the second war after the exiling of the remaining Gallo crew to the Genovese family in 1975. The family would then enjoy over 15 years of peace under Persico and his string of acting bosses.
In 1991, the third and bloodiest war erupted when acting boss Victor Orena tried to seize power from the imprisoned Carmine Persico. The family split into factions loyal to Orena and Persico, and two years of mayhem ensued. It ended in 1993, with 12 family members dead and Orena imprisoned, leaving Persico the winner more or less by default. He was left with a family decimated by war. Persico continued to run the family until his death in 2019, but it has never recovered from the war. In the 2000s, the family was further crippled by multiple convictions in federal racketeering cases and numerous members becoming government witnesses. Many levels of law enforcement believe that the Colombo crime family is the weakest of the Five Families of New York City.