[Editor's note: Following is a substantially revised 2018 version of an Edmond Valin article originally posted on this site in 2013.]
"It was [Angelo] Marino's opinion that someone in the organization was talking too much, because the interviews disclosed that the FBI appeared to have many specific facts about which to question them." 
In 1954, Harold Smith, an owner of Harold's Club in Reno, Nevada, allegedly offered Peter Misuraca $100,000 to kill his stepmother. Before the murder contract could be fulfilled, Smith called off the hit and refused to pay out any money. This didn't sit well with Misuraca.
Peter Misuraca was a down-on-his-luck kind of guy, and the contract money would have been the biggest payday of his life. Misuraca was also a member of the San Jose Crime Family. He wanted his money, hit or no hit. Misuraca and two mob cronies named Alex Camarata and Salvatore Costanza began an intimidation campaign against Smith to force him to pay up.
Over the next decade, the San Jose Crime Family would alternate between trying to collect the money from Smith and trying to kill him. Fallout from the shakedown would help to turn three members of the San Jose Crime Family into confidential informants for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
First informant profile
Anytime a mobster decides to secretly supply information to the FBI, he is assigned an informant symbol number to protect his anonymity. The symbol number is used in every FBI report to track information supplied by him. By looking at all the information associated with a particular symbol number, it's possible to create a profile that can help determine his true identity.
The first member-informant was assigned the symbol number "SF 2550-C-TE." While the FBI referred to this informant only by this number, at least two FBI reports contained clues about the informant that can help point to a suspect.
An FBI report from 1963 included a reference to "SF 2550-C-TE" living in Martinez, California. The report said:
SF 2550-C-TE advised SA Roy L. Erickson this date that he was visiting with Alex Camarata, a neighbor of his, last night. (It is noted the informant and Camarata are both members of the [LCN] and were involved with Peter Misuraca in an attempted extortion of Harold Smith...). 
According to the FBI, Costanza and Camarata were the only two San Jose Crime Family members who lived in Martinez at the time.  In addition, Costanza was identified in other FBI reports as the third primary individual involved in the extortion plot against Smith.
A second FBI report contained another detail pointing at Costanza. According to an FBI report from 1968, produced five years after the first one, the informant known as "SF 2550-C-TE" was now living in Fremont, California.  This is also consistent with Costanza.
Sometime after 1963, Costanza left Martinez and relocated to Fremont. According to other FBI documents, Costanza was the only San Jose Crime Family member who lived in Fremont at the time that report was produced. 
In all likelihood, Salvatore Costanza was "SF 2550-C-TE."
Prime suspect: Salvatore Costanza
Salvatore Costanza was born in 1912 in Sicily. It's unclear when he first came to the United States but he was still a child. He told federal agents that English was his first language and that he spoke poor Italian.
Costanza said he first became aware of the San Jose Crime Family around 1954. He explained that for some time he had been a close friend and neighbor of Alex Camarata in Martinez, California. 
Fifty-year-old Camarata was an associate of the San Jose Crime Family. He operated a dry cleaning business.  His wife was the daughter of Colombo Crime Family capodecina John Misuraca of New Jersey.
According to Costanza, Camarata asked him one day to help him do a "little job." It's unclear if Costanza had ever engaged in any serious illegal activity before he met him. Camarata said that the organization he belonged to had "checked [Costanza] out" and determined he would listen to orders and was a "safe risk." Costanza was led to believe that this organization was the Mafia.
Alex Camarata introduced Costanza to Peter Misuraca. The "little job" turned out to be trying to get Harold Smith to pay the $100,000 he "welched" on. Costanza also met Misuraca's brothers, John "Big John" and Arturo "Artie Price" Misuraca. They were both with the Colombo Crime Family. They were helping their brother get his money. John Misuraca told Costanza that, if things worked out, he might be asked to join the "organization."
The shakedown of Harold Smith was the central preoccupation of the San Jose Crime Family in the 1950s and 60s. Peter Misuraca, Alex Camarata and Salvatore Costanza made repeated visits to Reno, Nevada, to persuade Smith to pay up. They threatened to kill him and his brother. Smith was a tough customer and he told them to get lost. He even got his lawyers involved.
Sometimes, San Jose crime boss Joseph Cerrito would tell them to cool it for a while if he thought the police were onto to them and the team would be forced to stop. He didn't want any negative publicity to effect the operation of his automobile dealership. Cerrito's caution annoyed Peter Misuraca, who was gung-ho and wanted to keep the pressure on. 
By 1962, the shakedown attempt was going nowhere and Joseph Cerrito was afraid the San Jose Crime Family was becoming the "laughing stock" of the underworld - the shakedown was more like a "talkathon."
To regain some self-respect, Cerrito ordered a hit on Smith. The murder contract was assigned to Salvatore Costanza. Costanza wasn't a hardened criminal and he had no real interest in killing anyone. In order to get himself out from under this, he contacted the FBI and became a secret informant. Costanza was upfront about why he decided to cooperate: he didn't want to kill Harold Smith and he was in need of financial assistance. 
From that point forward, the FBI kept on an eye Smith to make sure nothing happened to him.  But the San Jose Crime Family continued to make half-hearted shakedown attempts, on-and-off, into the mid-1960s. Details of the shakedown emerged in a LIFE magazine article in March 1968. The FBI secretly released the information to embarrass Joseph Cerrito.
A few months earlier, LIFE had published an article that insinuated Cerrito was an LCN boss.  Despite being accurate, the article outraged Cerrito, who had no criminal record and considered himself a legitimate businessman. He ended up suing LIFE for $7 million for damaging his reputation. 
Instead of backing down, LIFE followed up with a second article that explicitly identified Cerrito as the boss of the San Jose Crime Family and outlined his attempts to extort Harold Smith.  Cerrito would end up suing LIFE twice for libel, but the federal courts would eventually dismiss the lawsuits in 1971. In the meantime, the articles would kick up a hornet's nest in San Jose and lead to rising tensions between members.
Constanza becomes a "made" man
Despite the failure of the shakedown, Salvatore Costanza was inducted into the San Jose Crime Family in 1956.  John Misuraca told Costanza that getting selected to join the organization was called getting "pinched." Misuraca said that he had heard good things about Costanza from Camarata and his brother, Peter. They said that he was a "cool customer." Misuraca said the organization used to be called the Mafia but now it was called "Cosa Nost(r)a", which means "Our Thing."
Costanza was told in advance what to expect at his induction ceremony. John Misuraca explained that his finger would be pricked by a needle. He said someone "might even throw a gun to him to see what he would do." 
Costanza was told the organization started long ago in Sicily, when peasants organized themselves against greedy land owners. This same attitude, Costanza said, was carried over by like-minded Sicilian immigrants who stuck together in the United States an effort to make money.
Costanza said his godfather was Leo Cusenza.  He met him for the first time at the induction ceremony. The oath was administered by capodecina Emmanuel Figlia and underboss Charles Carbone. Costanza later told the FBI only a Sicilian could join the organization.  That may have been true at one time in San Jose, but non-Sicilian members like Carbone showed that requirement had been dropped.
Costanza likened the induction ceremony to a wedding "in that a sentence would be stated and [he] repeated the sentence given. The climax of the ceremony was the pricking of a finger by the godfather using a needle or a knife." A picture of a saint was burned. Costanza said it was hard to understand the words used in the oath but he did recall the word "baptized" was used.
Costanza was told that the organization always came first. He was warned against cooperating with law enforcement. He was told he could never leave the organization except through death. The organization might ask him to commit a crime, including murder.
Costanza said the boss of the crime family was Joseph Cerrito. Costanza never said if Cerrito was at his induction ceremony. He did say Cerrito was a capodecina before he became boss.
According to Constanza, the San Jose Crime Family had its own jargon to describe some common LCN terms. The crime family was called the "Nostra Brigada." He said the "Nostra Brigada" was "controlled" by a "Council." The Council was made up of senior Mafiosi elected by members to help the boss run the crime family. And instead of Mafia "regimes," the "Nostra Brigada" was comprised of "groups" or "circles." Costanza said there were two "groups" or "circles" under Cerrito.
Costanza and Alex Camarata were assigned to the group headed by Angelo Marino. Marino was the son of former capodecina Salvatore Marino, an old time LCN member from the Pittsburgh-area. Peter Misuraca was put with Emmanuel Figlia, the brother-in-law of Joseph Cerrito. 
Costanza said any crime he committed had to be approved by the organization. He was also obliged to "clear any plans for business ventures, 'jobs,' or trips with Cerrito before they did anything." He said the San Jose Crime Family had nothing to do with narcotics trafficking. 
Costanza was told that he should go to his capodecina if he had a problem. He was told at first that he couldn't speak to anyone in higher rank, but that policy was later changed. He was told it was forbidden to speak with law enforcement, but that rule also was later amended. Constanza said it was now permissible for a member to speak with law enforcement where it was "practical." 
The Commission had overall control of the San Jose Crime Family and every other LCN family in the United States. Each crime family was independent, but policies and procedures were set by the Commission. The Commission was made up of the leaders of the most powerful LCN families. Commission members served individually as regional leaders with responsibility for different parts of the country. Northern California was under the supervision of Joseph Bonanno until Bonanno fell out with the other Commission members and was deposed in the mid-1960s. 
San Jose Crime Family members were required to pay five dollars per month in dues. That fee was dropped about 1960. Costanza said he never ever paid dues because no one told him who to pay. He said that if he made a score, 10 percent of it had to go to the organization. The organization kept no written records. The only a way a member could be identified is when another member introduced him as a "friend of ours."
The San Jose Crime Family had about 25 members in the 1960s. They were older and less active than members in other crime families in the United States. 
The San Jose Crime Family had "irregular" meetings led by Cerrito or one of his two capodecinas. Up to seventy-five people might attend a meeting. (Costanza only identified about twenty-five members of the San Jose Crime Family, so it's unclear who else might have attended.)  The meetings took place at Cerrito's home or at a restaurant. At restaurant meetings, Cerrito or one of his capodecinas paid for dinner using a Diner's Club card.
At one such meeting in the early 1960s, Costanza said members elected Stefano Zoccoli to replace Thomas Nicosia as the new "secretary" of the San Jose Crime Family. The secretary was part of the "council" of senior members that advised Joseph Cerrito. Nicosia was replaced because of ill health. Zoccoli was selected over the objections of capodecina Emmanuel Figlia, who wanted his father for the position.
Costanza did make one important contribution to the terminology of Italian-American organized crime. Costanza was the member who told the FBI that the "correct" terms to describe the organization were "Cosa Nostra" and "Our Thing." Before Costanza, the FBI had maintained the term was "Causa Nostra," translating that as "Our Cause." This was largely because earlier sources were unclear on the point.  Costanza said he had never heard other members call it La Cosa Nostra.
Costanza shares all
Salvatore Costanza furnished a wide-range of Intel that helped the FBI monitor LCN actives in San Jose. He may have been the most productive member-informant in San Jose during the 1960s. He reported to his contact agent on a monthly basis, sometimes even weekly.
Costanza confirmed to the FBI that Joseph Cerrito attended the Apalachin meeting in 1957. The FBI had found evidence at the time that Cerrito was in the area, but Costanza explained that he escaped the police dragnet by "jumping a fence and hiding in the weeds." Cerrito made his way back home via New Orleans, Louisiana. Costanza said he was told that John Misuraca allegedly put up $100,000 toward the costs of Apalachin meeting. 
In 1963, Salvatore Costanza was summoned by his capodecina, Angelo Marino, to discuss Peter Misuraca, a soldier in the same crew. Marino told Costanza that Misuraca was "crazy" and a "coward." Marino implied that he was upset with Misuraca for being unable to kill casino owner Harold Smith.  Marino told Costanza that he might have to kill Misuraca because they were friends and he could get close to him. Nothing ever came of this. Misuraca continued periodically to try to collect his money from Smith.
Marino also gave Costanza a hard time for avoiding Joseph Cerrito. Cerrito had complained that Costanza was ducking him because he owed him money for a car Costanza purchased from his lot. Costanza gave Marino seventy-five dollars to give to Cerrito. 
Costanza told the FBI that Angelo Marino was going to get him a job as a union organizer at the new General Motors plant in Fremont, California. Marino handled all union jobs for the crime family. Marino had a connection through LCN member Gene Bufalino. Gene Bufalino's brother served as attorney and right-hand man for Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa. 
Angelo Marino told Costanza that the San Jose Crime Family had "access to a very good gunsmith who knew his business." Marino gave Costanza a Smith & Wesson revolver in November 1962.
Angelo Marino told Costanza that he had a "contract" to kill a businessman by the name of John Repetti. Repetti had killed a Mafia member in Italy and fled to the United States.  According to Costanza, killing Repetti was an open contract and anyone who killed him "would be well rewarded by the 'organization' in the 'east.'"  Marino assigned Costanza and Alex Camarata to help him track Repetti. Marino said he wanted to kill Repetti himself but he complained the FBI was watching his [Marino] every move. Marino provided Costanza with an untraceable gun to kill Repetti. Before anyone from the San Jose Crime Family could kill him, Repetti was picked up by the police and deported to Italy. 
At another time, Joseph Cerrito asked Salvatore Costanza, Alex Camarata and Peter Misuraca to give a "beating" to an "individual in the San Francisco area, who had gotten completely out of line."  The beating never happened, and the victim was never identified.
The beating assignment was a trade with the "New York group" for taking over the extortion plot of Harold Smith. Cerrito had washed his hands of the whole Smith matter by 1965. There was some speculation that the intended victim was capodecina Angelo Marino.
Marino had allegedly been displaying a "big-shot attitude" and Cerrito felt a little "overshadowed" by him. Marino had also been cheating on his wife, who had powerful LCN connections in Philadelphia. Her relatives may have reached out to Cerrito to teach Marino a lesson. (Marino was never beaten and the available FBI reports don't contain any more references to the matter. But there may have been some truth to it. Years later, it was reported by another member-informant that Angelo Marino's in-laws had wanted to kill him for his mistreatment of his wife but that John Misuraca had stepped in to save his life.) 
Costanza told federal agents about a conversation he had with the wife of Alex Camarata. Rose Camarata was the daughter of Colombo Crime Family member John Misuraca. Rose said that, when she was a little girl living in New Jersey, a "member of the organization" named "Austino" was killed by a police officer in her father's grocery store. According to Rose, her father hid the police officer's gun and helped cover up the killing. 
Another time, Rose Camarata told Costanza that, because of the Gallo-Profaci War, wives of LCN members in New York had become "fearful of their personal safety" and "taken to carrying switchblade knives in their purses." She said her mother and sister now carried switchblades. 
Rose Camarata seems to have been unusually familiar with her husband's criminal activities. For example, Costanza told federal agents that Angelo Marino had received a tip that the "'Feds' were going to search the homes of members of the organization." Members were ordered to dispose of any guns or "contraband articles." Costanza said that Rose Camarata personally helped her husband dispose of two guns and ammunition and hide them with her relative. 
Costanza said John Misuraca was the right-hand man of Joseph Profaci before his death. He said Misuraca had recently been promoted to "district trouble shooter with the same stature of Joseph Bonanno." 
John Misuraca told Costanza that some LCN customs were going to be streamlined in the future.  The custom of cheek kissing would be eliminated and new signals would be developed for members to recognize one another. Misuraca said the New York City crime families had begun a fundraising drive to collect money to use to bribe officials, make payoffs and for the general protection of their members.
John Misuraca said LCN members in New York City blamed Vito Genovese for Joseph Valachi's cooperation and the increased scrutiny by law enforcement. Misuraca said that "steps would be take to eliminate close relatives of members who get involved in this matter." 
Costanza's knowledge of the underworld didn't extend much past the San Francisco Bay Area. This is understandable, since he was only an LCN member a short time before he began to cooperate.
Costanza said James Lanza was the boss of the San Francisco Crime Family.  He said Peter Misuraca told him that a senator from the Colorado/Wyoming area was an LCN member.  He told the FBI he wasn't familiar with the Detroit LCN family and couldn't identify any members. 
In 1962, the mayor of Palermo, Sicily, visited the home of Salvatore Marino, an LCN member and the father of Angelo Marino. Costanza was advised that the mayor was "one of the highest officials of the 'organization' internationally."  Joseph Cerrito was allegedly irritated that Marino hosted the visiting dignitary at his home.
In 1966, John Misuraca relocated to California. Misuraca moved there to be closer to his daughter but also to help make sure the extortion plot was finally resolved. His reputation had become tied up in the whole mess. 
Alex Camarata was excited when he first heard his father-in-law was coming. He told Costanza that "when John gets here things will be run like they should."  Peter Misuraca had fallen out with Costanza and Alex Camarata over the Smith extortion plan. Camarata told Costanza that he wouldn't "go anywhere with Peter." 
John Misuraca told him that "his superiors back East were very unhappy that the [Harold Smith] job had not been accomplished, and this matter had gone on for too long a time."  Misuraca said he felt partly responsible for the mess because he was their sponsor. He said the leadership in San Jose had failed them. He called them "fat and satisfied with their present existence." 
John Misuraca told Costanza, Camarata and his brother that they needed to shape up and get along better with one another. They needed to check-in with their capodecinas regularly like good soldiers. 
Misuraca told Costanza said the main priority now was killing Harold Smith. Collecting the money no longer mattered. Misuraca said, if the hit wasn't done soon, his mob superiors would send someone else to kill Smith and to kill them too. They would all be "dead pigeons." How much of this was bravado on Misuraca's part is unclear.
Misuraca told Costanza, Camarata and Peter Misuraca that they should be prepared to do the job at any time. He said when you intended to commit murder, "you don't tell anyone ahead of time, 'not even God.'" Every time they met, Misuraca kept the television volume up high so any imagined FBI listening devices couldn't overhear them.
The FBI treated John Misuraca's plan to kill Smith very seriously. Less than a week after Salvatore Costanza told the FBI about it, federal agents interviewed John Misuraca, Emmanuel Figlia and Joseph Cerrito, and turned the screws on them. The FBI bluntly told them they knew everything about the murder plot and warned them "no trouble was wanted in this regard." Cerrito was horrified by the whole mess and wanted nothing more to do with it. To drive the point home, the FBI parked two cars outside John Misuraca's house.
John Misuraca wondered aloud "how the FBI knew so much about this matter."
The FBI's aggressive intervention shook up everyone and had the desired affect.
Misuraca dropped his plan to kill Smith and left California afterwards. From this point on, Harold Smith received no more intimidating visits from Mafia thugs looking to shake him down. That's not to say a certain member didn't take another kick at the can a couple of years down the road. More on that later.
There were other things going on in San Jose besides the extortion plot against Smith. In February, 1967, Angelo Marino gave Costanza a "contract" to a kill a local businessman who owed Marino money. Marino told Costanza that he first approached the businessman's aunt and told to her that "if she didn't pay, [her nephew] would be taken care of." She replied she could "care less" and refused to pay. 
Marino advised Costanza to kill the businessman within twenty-four hours of first making contact with him. Marino said that, after the murder, he would give Costanza $1,000 to "lay low" in Palm Springs. Costanza played along and went so far as acquiring a gun from Alex Camarata to use in the murder. But he had no intention of using it. Costanza told the FBI the whole plan and they stepped in with "vigorous countermeasures" that resulted in the contract being canceled without blowing Costanza's cover. This was the second LCN murder murder that Costanza was unable to fulfill.
LA Times, Nov. 1, 1967
Throughout Joseph Cerrito's libel suit against LIFE magazine, Costanza kept the FBI updated about what other members were thinking. Costanza said that Cerrito was sick to death about the libel suit and probably wished he never pursued it in the first place. Costanza said all Cerrito ever wanted was a retraction and not the money. The adverse publicity ended up costing Cerrito his Lincoln-Mercury automobile dealership and earning him the wrath of his wife and family. 
Costanza stated most other members complained about the "mistrust" and the "resentment" that Cerrito's lawsuit had produced in the crime family. 
Available FBI reports don't contain additional information about Costanza after this. Salvatore Costanza died in 1994.
Second informant profile
The second member-informant active in San Jose during the 1960s was assigned the symbol number "SF 2745-C-TE." The available FBI reports contain at least three clues that point to a suspect.
First, the informant complained to the FBI that the LIFE article from 1968 named him "prominently" and put him "right in the middle" of the casino extortion attempt.   The only San Jose Crime Family member identified by name in the article, besides Joseph Cerrito, was Peter Misuraca.
The FBI also said the informant known as "SF 2745-C-TE" lived in Richmond, California, outside Oakland. The only San Jose Crime Family member who lived in Richmond at the time was Peter Misuraca. 
Another FBI report even more explicitly linked Peter Misuraca and "SF-2745-C-TE." The report said, "[SF 2745-C-TE] stated that from conversations with his brother, John Misuraca, and others, he understands that Joe Zerilli is currently the "big man" in the Detroit area in the LCN." [Emphasis mine] 
In all likelihood, Peter Misuraca was "SF 2745-C-TE."
Prime suspect: Peter Misuraca
Born in Sicily in 1905, Peter Misuraca immigrated to the United States at a young age with his family. Misuraca said he grew up in Detroit with his three brothers, John, Arturo and Sam.  He said, while the family was living there, his brother Sam was murdered by the Cusenza brothers, Paul, Joseph and Tony.  The Cusenza brothers were all connected to the Detroit underworld.
Misuraca said the murder was a "mistake" because soon afterwards, Tony Cusenza, the leader of the group, was himself murdered at his home over dinner. Misuraca didn't implicate anyone in the murder, but it seems likely he and his surviving brothers were behind it. Joseph Cusenza later moved to Modesto, California, and became a member of the San Jose Crime Family. 
John Misuraca left Michigan, moved to New Jersey and became affiliated with the Newark Crime Family. When it was disbanded, he transferred to the Colombo Crime Family, where he eventually became a capodecina. Arturo Misuraca was also a member of the Colombo Crime Family. 
Misuraca said his brother John was married to Jenny Ventimiglia. Her father and uncles were all members of the Detroit Crime Family. He said his brother was tight with some Detroit LCN members.
After a failed mob romance in Michigan, Peter Misuraca said he made his way to California in 1940.  He joined the United States Army during World War II but was quickly discharged for psychotic behavior. 
Along the way, Misuraca became connected to the San Jose Crime Family. It's unclear how that happened, but California was full of mobsters like Misuraca who had underworld ties to places like Michigan and New York before they moved west. In 1954, Misuraca met up with Harold Smith and began his shakedown scheme that would engulf the San Jose Crime Family for the next decade. 
Peter Misuraca was inducted into the San Jose Crime Family in 1956, alongside Salvatore Costanza and Alex Camarata. John Misuraca would be responsible for bringing two mob turncoats into LCN. 
Misuraca worked at a shoe repair shop in the early 1960s.  He would eventually stop working and begin to live off a government disability pension.
In October 1962, Misuraca suffered what appeared to be a mental breakdown. The breakdown happened at the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Oakland. He had checked himself in, complaining about poor circulation in his legs. According to Salvatore Costanza, who was there, Misuraca began to rant about the Mafia in front of the other patients and threatened to "take care of" Frank Sorce when he got out the hospital. He felt Sorce had done him an "injustice in connection with [the] attempted extortion in Reno, Nevada." 
Costanza brought Misuraca's erratic behaviour to the attention of Joseph Cerrito at a meeting of the crime family. Cerrito was completely frustrated by Misuraca at this point.
Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Jan. 10, 1968
Alex Camarata called John Misuraca and told him that he needed to come to California to get his brother "off of their hands." John Misuraca said he was too busy dealing with the Gallo-Profaci War to worry about his brother. His only advice was that maybe "Pete had to go." 
Cerrito considered reaching out to Joseph Bonanno, the "district head," to see if he could help. It appears Cerrito was unaware of Bonanno's own troubles with the Commission by this time.
Before the San Jose Crime Family could decide on a course of action, Peter Misuraca checked himself out of the hospital and disappeared for a couple of months. When he resurfaced, he apologized to Cerrito for his earlier indiscretion and explained that he lost his mind temporarily over the fear of possibly losing his legs to amputation. The boss accepted the apology and welcomed him back without any penalty. Cerrito attributed Misuraca's problems to "poor circulation in the head." Costanza said that Frank Sorce remained concerned about his safety after Misuraca's threats.
According to a healthcare worker who treated Misuraca at the time, he was generally healthy and only suffered from varicose veins. He characterized Misuraca as a chronic complainer. 
Based on Costanza's information, the FBI decided to interview Peter Misuraca soon after his mental breakdown in an attempt to persuade him to talk. Misuraca rebuffed their initial efforts but he answered a couple of questions. He denied that he was member of the San Jose Crime Family. He told federal agents that his brother probably "put his name on the list of members." Misuraca said he hated his brother and his nephew. 
Misuraca opens up
Peter Misuraca began to cooperate sometime in 1965. The available FBI reports don't spell out a specific reason for his cooperation. Unlike Salvatore Costanza, Misuraca had no qualms about killing Harold Smith. But his mismanagement of the extortion scheme did make him many enemies in the crime family, and he was was also facing financial strain at this time.  The FBI may have offered him a way out.
For all his erratic behavior and dislike of his criminal associates, Misuraca doesn't appear to have fed the FBI much incriminating Intel about other mobsters. In the available FBI reports, he gave limited information about himself and his criminal history. The most interesting details about Misuraca's activities were provided by other informants.
Misuraca never owned up to his central role in the Smith extortion plot until details were published in LIFE in 1968. It was only then that he talked to the FBI about it. So, for three years, the FBI knew he was involved in it but didn't broach the subject with him to avoid giving away their other sources.
Misuraca was convinced that Harold Smith was the source for the LIFE article.  He never contemplated that another member like Salvatore Costanza was feeding information to the FBI.
Once Misuraca opened up to the FBI, he tried to portray himself as the real victim. He said the article was "inaccurate" and that he never threatened to kill anyone. He said Smith was an alcoholic and a junkie, who liked to "play the big shot" but was "afraid of his own shadow." In fact, Smith threatened to kill him if he backed out of the contract.
Misuraca said he didn't learn that Smith's stepmother was the intended victim until sometime afterwards. He described her as a "vicious" and "vindictive" person, who would put her stepson in a "cement jacket" and dump him into the San Francisco Bay if she found out.
Misuraca said that although Smith "welched" on the "contract" in violation of the "Nevada Code," he now wanted "to [wash] his hands of the whole affair." He said he had been a "sick man" for several years and was "almost solely confined to his home." 
He did say that his brother, John, was looking to collect about $90,000 in expenses for his part in the extortion plot. He never elaborated on the nature of the expenses or how his brother expected to get his intended victim to pay "expenses." He said his brother "would never come to California again" because of the trouble the article stirred up.
As part of Cerrito's libel suit against LIFE magazine, Salvatore Costanza, Alex Camarata and Peter Misuraca were all required to give depositions. Cerrito ordered them to "take the fifth." Misuraca was unhappy with this strategy and said it wouldn't work: "That's the way Giancana in Chicago went to jail."
Alex Camarata told Misuraca that the libel suit was an "old Mafia trick used during the Prohibition Days to force publishers and law enforcement agencies into courtroom where they would be compelled to reveal identities of their informants." 
Oct. 13, 1971
Costanza and Camarata followed Cerrito's advice and only gave their names and addresses. Camarata remarked that there was "nothing to it." Misuraca ignored this advice and tried to answer questions. Misuraca's attorney who sat through the deposition told him he did a very poor job. Cerrito was concerned about what Misuraca said. 
Afterwards, Misuraca told Costanza that he blamed Joseph Cerrito's "greed" for the whole mess: "Someone is going to get stuck in this thing and it's not going to be me. Joe has millions. Why should I protect him? From now on, I'm going to look after myself." He wasn't going to be made a "patsy."
Misuraca said he was going after LIFE. "I'm going to make them pay for this stuff. I'm going to sue LIFE Magazine for twenty million dollars. I'm going to give each of you one million dollars."
Because the depositions didn't go so well, Joseph Cerrito tried to get Salvatore Costanza, Alex Camarata and Peter Misuraca to sign false affidavits to the effect that the FBI had offered them $10,000 each to testify against him. They refused to sign the affidavits after John Misuraca told them not to.  Cerrito would end up losing his libel suit against LIFE.
The available FBI reports dry up after 1969. It's unclear if Misuraca continued to cooperate with federal law enforcement beyond then. Peter Misuraca died in January 1988. 
Third informant profile
A third member of the San Jose Crime Family shared confidential information with the FBI during the period. He was assigned the symbol number "SF 2354-C-TE".
The informant was described as "a native-born, United States citizen. As a youth, he resided in New York City where he had associations and contacts with individuals who are members of the [LCN] and he has admitted having relatives belonging to it."
The FBI said the informant was "very close to the leadership of the organization in the San Jose, California, area and is a confidant of theirs. His close friends and associates include Joseph Cerrito, reported head of the organization in this area, and Angelo Marino and Emanuel Figlia." 
According to an FBI report from 1967, the informant had "recently" moved from California to the Reno, Nevada, area. The report stated the informant was "seeking employment and setting up a new residence for his family as he desires to secure employment in the gambling industry."  As a consequence of relocating to Nevada, the informant's FBI coverage was reassigned to the Las Vegas office.
The report said the informant began to cooperate with federal law enforcement in 1958, four years before Salvatore Costanza and seven years before Peter Misuraca.
A comparison of the informant's profile with known details of San Jose Crime Family members, points to a match with one mobster.
Prime suspect: Frank Sorce
Francesco Sorce was born in 1916. He grew up in New York. Sorce's father was described as an "expert gambler." He was close to organized figures but he wasn't an LCN member himself. 
At some point, Frank Sorce moved west and became affiliated with the San Jose Crime Family. Sorce worked at the Harold Smith Casino in Reno, Nevada, for a time in the 1950s. He may have been the individual that put Harold Smith in touch with Peter Misuraca.
Sorce operated Peter Piper Motors in San Jose with Dominick Anzalone, another LCN member.  He also owned a pizza parlor.  He did a little bookmaking too.  In 1967, the fifty-year-old Sorce relocated to Fallon, Nevada, outside of Reno. He opened the "Waterhole," a restaurant with slot gambling.
There were a number of similarities between the informant and Frank Sorce:
- Birthplace - The informant and Sorce grew up in New York. 
- Location - The informant and Sorce relocated to the Reno-area about 1967. 
- Industry - The informant worked in the gambling industry and Sorce operated a restaurant with slot machines and card games. 
- FBI coverage- The informant and Sorce were reassigned to the Las Vegas office about 1967. 
- Crime family - The informant and Sorce were the only San Jose Crime Family members that lived in Nevada in 1967. 
Based on these facts, in all likelihood, Frank Sorce was informant "SF 2354-C-TE."
Sorce talks LCN
Frank Sorce said the organization began in Sicily centuries ago to fight French rule on the island. Sicilians banded together kill the French and reclaim the island for themselves. To distinguish a Frenchman from a Sicilian, an individual was asked to pronounce the word for chick pea (garbanzo), a word each group pronounced differently. If the word was pronounced the French way, the Sicilians killed him. The purpose of the organization was "to help the weak". 
Sorce said the boss Joseph Cerrito answered to the Commission. The Commission "outlines the policies to be followed" by the local leadership. Joseph Bonanno was the Commission member that oversaw the San Francisco Bay Area. That didn't mean, however, that Bonanno could come into San Jose and tell Cerrito what to do. Sometimes the leaders would meet to discuss policies at a general meeting like at Apalachin in 1957.
According to Sorce, committing a murder was no longer a requirement to be a member. A prospective member only had to be open to doing anything asked of him, including murder. Sorce said a drug addict couldn't be a member. He said a member would be "doomed" if he became a drug addict. Pimps weren't supposed to become members but some members did do that sort of thing.
Peter Misuraca had told the FBI that LCN membership couldn't be inherited, but the son of a prominent member could probably obtain membership under most circumstances. Some requirements could be waived for him, but he would still have to be inducted like everyone else.
The ideal LCN member, according to Sorce, was "shrewd and sharp" so he could "handle most situations." But he also had to be "stupid" so he would be "willing and able to follow the leadership blindly." An individual had to be at least seventeen years old to be accepted as a member in the United States. In Sicily, the minimum age was thirteen.
Sorce said a new member had his finger pricked so that it would bleed and then it was "matched" with the bleeding wrist of an existing member. The new member becomes part of a "growing tree." The pricked finger is symbolically "grafted to the growing tree. It becomes part of it and is one." They become "blood brothers." The new member is then kissed on both cheeks. A religious card with a picture of saint is also burned during the ceremony and the new member has to pledge to put the organization before everything else.
Sorce's description of a "growing tree" and matching his bleeding finger to the wrist of another member differed from Costanza's experience.  Sorce and Costanza were roughly the same age, so they were presumably made around the same time. It's curious that the rituals of the two induction ceremonies were different.
Frank Sorce always denied to federal agents that he was an LCN member. Despite having so much insider information, Sorce would only say that "felt he would be initiated into the organization if he so desired." Salvatore Constanza confirmed to the FBI that Sorce was a member of the San Jose Crime Family.
Sorce lays it out
Frank Sorce was an unenthusiastic informant to begin with. In one of his first communications to federal agents in 1958, he said Joseph Cerrito wasn't a leading mobster in the San Jose underworld. He said that he "has been unable to develop any information which would indicate Joseph Cerrito is any power among [Sicilians] or is regarded or discussed as a leader among them.  This was a clear falsehood since the rank-and-file members knew Cerrito had attended the Apalachin meeting and was a high-ranking member of some sort.
Sorce told federal agents in 1961 that Angelo Marino, his capodecina, had gone to Hot Springs, Arkansas, for a big meeting of hoodlums.  Marino had been told to go there by John LaRocca, the LCN boss in Pittsburgh. Marino was originally from the Pittsburgh-area and his father, Salvatore Marino, was a onetime Pittsburgh Crime Family member. Marino told Sorce the meeting never took place because "the FBI was really watching them." Marino said LaRocca is now the "Bigga Bossa." 
Sorce kept the FBI updated on the marital drama inside Angelo Marino's home. Marino had been been caught having an affair by his wife. Marino's wife threw him and all his clothes out of the house. She told her family and friends that "if I catch them together, I will kill them both". 
The situation got so bad that Marino and his wife checked into the hospital for psychiatric evaluations. They reconciled for a time before eventually divorcing. Salvatore Marino was "disgusted" with his son's behaviour. 
The FBI questioned Marino about his relationship with his mistress. They told him he may have violated the Federal White Slave Traffic Act. According to Sorce, Cerrito disapproved of "Marino's philandering." He told Sorce that Marino "got himself into it, let him get himself out of it." 
Sorce sometimes acted as a messenger for Angelo Marino. Marino said he was "too hot" to meet with Joseph Cerrito in person. Marino had Sorce tell Cerrito that he was being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service. Marino said he expected to go to jail for three years for "bootlegging" some of his company's cheese products.  Cerrito called him "stupid."
Angelo Marino told Frank Sorce that he had learned that Peter Misuraca had been interviewed by the FBI. Marino was upset with Misuraca that he "talked to the agents for an extended period of time." Marino told Sorce he was convinced someone in the organization was talking because "the interviews disclosed that the FBI appeared to have many specific facts about which to question them." 
Sorce said Angelo Marino got very upset when the FBI interviewed in 1964. He was especially perturbed that FBI knew that he was an LCN member. Marino told Joseph Cerrito and Sorce that the interview lasted an hour and half. Cerrito was angry at Marino and he said that in the future, he should end the interview immediately and tell the FBI to contact his attorney. 
Sorce said that Angelo Marino contacted Sorce's brother-in-law in Arkansas to buy some mules to ship to Italy. 
Sorce told the FBI that he had no information about the Detroit Crime Family or its activities. 
Dominick Anzalone and Vito Adragna, two former Pittsburgh hoodlums who moved to San Jose in the early 1960s, were close friends of Sorce. He kept the FBI updated on their activities. For example, he revealed that Anzalone was a secret partner in Adragna's vending machine business.  And he told federal agents that Adragna had an ulcer condition that required treatment.
Sorce was close to Joseph Cerrito and kept the FBI updated on his activities. He may have been his driver for a time. He let federal agents know who Cerrito met with and what he was doing.  For example, Sorce said Joseph Marcello, the brother of Carlos Marcello, LCN boss in New Orleans, had visited San Francisco and met with Joseph Cerrito and Angelo Marino.  At other times, Sorce would tell the FBI when Cerrito met with his mob underlings for dinner. 
He was also a close associate of Los Angeles Crime Family members Frank Bompensiero and Jimmy Fratianno. In fact, Bompensiero and Fratianno had planned to make Sorce chief pit boss of their proposed casino in Las Vegas. 
Sorce reported that Salvatore and Joseph Profaci, the sons of former New York boss Joseph Profaci, were in Modesto, California, scouting out business opportunities. They were using Joseph Cerrito's automobile to get around town.  According to Sorce, Cerrito had advised the brothers to move away from New York City after their father died in 1962.
Frank Sorce tipped off the FBI about a murder in the Gallo-Profaci War in the early 1960s. The Profaci brothers told Cerrito that two Gallo gunmen from Los Angeles known as "Mike Rizzi" and "Lefty" Louie had killed John Guariglia, a member of the Profaci loyalist faction. 
Sorce said that his capodecina Emanuel Figlia had recently lost his gun permit. The San Jose police chief sent two officers to his house to collect the guns. Figlia wanted to lodge a complaint with city council to get back his permit. Joseph Cerrito advised against it. He said Figlia would be only cause himself more grief. 
Sorce told the FBI that Cerrito had bought three and a half acres of land in the San Jose area for $141,000. He said Cerrito also owned land in the Santa Cruz Mountains that was used for oil drilling. He kept the FBI in the loop on Cerrito's travel plans, who he was meeting and the purpose of the trip. 
He notified the FBI about the attendees of mob weddings and funerals in the Bay Area. 
He told agents that Anthony Vaccaro, an LCN member from Phoenix and an associate of Bill Bonanno, had come to San Jose looking for work. Sorce said Vaccaro was unsuccessful and ended up returning to Arizona a short time later. He informed the FBI that underboss Charles Carbone had suffered a stroke and was left paralyzed and speechless.  He died a couple of years later.
Sorce said that Joseph Valachi's testimony in Washington, D.C., had no effect on the local organization. Most members including Joseph Cerrito, Angelo Marino and Dominick Anzalone had no idea who Joseph Valachi was and doubted that he knew anyone locally. They also "scoffed" at the idea there was a bounty on Valachi's head.  Nonetheless, Sorce did report that members in San Jose curtailed their activities and avoided one another as much as possible. 
It's hard to know what part Sorce played in the extortion of Harold Smith. Salvatore Costanza said he heard Sorce's name mentioned in an early planning meeting but he didn't spell out his role. Sorce worked at Harold's Club in Reno for a time, so it's possible he acted as a point of contact between Smith and Peter Misuraca. In the available FBI debriefing sessions, Sorce doesn't say anything about it.
Frank Sorce died in 1985.
At a time when the FBI had limited knowledge about the San Jose Crime Family, Frank Sorce, Salvatore Costanza and Peter Misuraca identified members, revealed organizational history and structure, and updated federal agents on LCN activities.
For a brief period in the 1960s, there may have been more member-informants active in San Jose than any other LCN crime family. Their cooperation left the FBI better informed than Joseph Cerrito about LCN activities in the Bay Area.
In 1968, Henry Powell, an individual connected to Peter Misuraca, approached Harold Smith's stepmother, Iola Smith, and tried to extort $92,000 from her. Powell said he was representing "dangerous people" from the "syndicate." In a strange bit of motivation, he advised Smith that if she paid the money, Joseph Cerrito would drop his libel suit against LIFE. She went straight to the FBI.
Powell told the FBI he was acting as a "humanitarian" and the money wasn't for him. All he wanted was $500 to cover his travel expenses. Available FBI reports don't indicate happened to Powell. But Smith made it clear to the FBI that she wanted nothing more to do with Powell, Misuraca, the extortion plot or the FBI. 
6 Costanza was godfather to Camarata's son.
11 LIFE, September 1, 1967, p. 20. The only reference to Cerrito in the original article was an image of him.
12 FBI, La Cosa Nostra, Buffalo Office, Aug. 24, 1968, NARA Record No. 124-10288-10415, p. 4. Lawsuit may have been instigated by the Commission. FBI, Joseph Cerrito, San Francisco Office, Nov. 2, 1967, NARA Record No. 124-10293-10322. The FBI speculated that Cerrito's libel suit could be a way for organized crime to legally force the FBI to reveal the source of its information.
13 Smith, Sandy, "The Mob," LIFE, March 15, 1968, pp. 66-72. The article included a broad outline of the extortion plot. The article was meant to embarrass Cerrito and undercut his assertion that he was a legitimate businessman.
14 FBI, "Criminal 'Commission,'" San Francisco Office, Jan. 23, 1963, NARA Record No. 124-10217-10120. Costanza first became associated with the organization in 1955. He was inducted within a year of first being introduced to the group.
18 Cusenza's father and uncles allegedly murdered Misuraca's brother years earlier in Michigan.
21 FBI, La Cosa Nostra, San Francisco Office, Aug. 8, 1967, NARA Record No. 124-10287-10375; FBI, La Cosa Nostra, San Francisco Office, Sept. 16, 1963, NARA Record No. 124-10215-10235. Costanza did report a false alarm that Peter Misuraca had planned to go to Mexico to pick up "a load of dope."
22 FBI, La Causa Nostra, Philadelphia Office, May 14, 1963, NARA Record No. 124-10284-10246, p. 10. Philadelphia Crime Family member-informant Harry Riccobene also said it was "permissible to talk with law enforcement officials if 'you don't hurt anyone.'"
23 BI, La Cosa Nostra, C. A. Evans, Aug. 21, 1964, NARA Record No. 124-10223-10455. Bosses of the some of the smaller crime families like Frank Balistrieri from Milwaukee were slow to learn about Joseph Bonanno’s problems with the Commission. Chicago Outfit boss Sam Giancana reprimanded Balistrieri for helping Bonanno after he had run afoul of the Commission.
26 It's unclear if the money was to pay for hosting the meeting or if it went towards the legal expenses that came later.
30 Repetti's real name was Giuseppe Polimeni.
32 FBI, Joseph Cerrito, San Francisco Office, April 24, 1968, NARA Record No. 124-10288-10459. LCN informant Frank Bompensiero from San Diego said that Marino had asked him for help to kill Repetti. Bompensiero described Marino as "a very weak man who could not kill anyone if his own life depended on it." He added Marino had "no talent whatever for LCN racket activity." He was just good for "chasing women and gambling". He suspected that Marino, rather than killing Repetti himself, had made the call to law enforcement to have Repetti arrested. Another possibility is the FBI was behind it.
35 FBI, Criminal "Commission", San Francisco Office, Jan., 28, 1963, NARA Record No. 124-10213-10487. The police officer's name was Lombardino. Lombardino was a common name among LCN members connected to the Newark and Colombo Crime Families; FBI, La Cosa Nostra Newark Division, New York Office, Oct. 3, 1967, NARA Record No. 124-10293-10289.
38 This was around the time Joseph Bonanno first began to clash with the Commission over territorial rights in California. Bonanno allegedly wanted to promote his son Salvatore Bonanno as overall boss of the region.
39 FBI, La Cosa Nostra, New York Office, Dec. 13, 1963, NARA Record No. 124-10277-10297, pp. 10-11. Cerrito upset Misuraca when he failed to attend his daughter's wedding; FBI, La Cosa Nostra, New York Office, Jan. 29, 1964, NARA Record No. 124-10206-10406, p. 56. According to the informant (SF 2550-C-TE), John Misuraca shared this information with Salvatore Costanza and Alex Camarata in a private conversation at his daughter's wedding in New Mexico. The informant shared specific details that only someone on the trip was likely to be familiar with. For example, the informant (SF 2550-C-TE) told federal agents that Costanza, Camarata and their spouses drove to New Mexico together. He knew the model of Camarata's vehicle, the name of the church and the location of the wedding reception. No other San Jose Crime Family members attended the wedding besides Costanza and Camarata so it's unlikely any other mobster could know this information. This reinforces the notion Costanza was the informant.
42 FBI, La Causa Nostra, San Francisco Office, Feb. 27, 1963, NARA Record No. 124-10211-10308; FBI, La Causa Nostra, New York Office, June 1, 1963, NARA Record No. 124-10284-10270. The FBI looked into this allegation and dismissed it.
45 This may have been the tradeoff with New York that Cerrito talked about when he asked Constanza, Peter Misuraca and Alex Camarata to beat up someone.
48 FBI, La Cosa Nostra, San Francisco Office, Sept. 12, 1967, NARA Record No. 124-10293-10340, p. 24. Costanza and Peter Misuraca both updated the FBI on this meeting. Costanza gave a full account of what John Misuraca said to them. Peter Misuraca, on the other hand, was vague and didn't mention anything specifically about murdering Harold Smith. He may have been trying to protect his brother.
59 Sam Misuraca was murdered in 1919.
60 FBI, La Cosa Nostra, San Francisco Office, Aug. 23, 1968, NARA Record No. 124-10297-10131, p. 33. Joseph Cusenza died in an automobile accident in 1961. Leo Cusenza, his son, was the godfather of Salvatore Costanza.
64 There is some evidence that Misuraca may have met Smith as early as the 1940s.
65 FBI, La Cosa Nostra, San Francisco Office, Sept. 12, 1967, NARA Record No. 124-10293-10340, p.10. The Colombo Crime Family had longstanding ties to the San Jose Crime Family. Misuraca also sponsored a member of the Los Angeles Crime Family.
75 FBI, Joseph Cerrito, San Francisco Office, June 25, 1968, NARA Record No. 124-10226-10164. During the deposition, it came out that an unknown individual named "Pete Mayo" had cashed a $50,000 cheque from Harold's Club. Misuraca denied any knowledge of it. It did raise the possibility that Smith had tried to buy off Misuraca with a partial payment and he kept the money for himself.
76 FBI, Joseph Cerrito, San Francisco Office, April 15, 1969, NARA Record No. 124-10226-10156. The wives of Alex Camarata, John Misuraca and Salvatore Costanza were fully aware of the scheme to sign false affidavits.
83 FBI, La Cosa Nostra, New York Office, Dec. 11, 1964, NARA Record No. 124-10217-10178; FBI, La Cosa Nostra, San Francisco Division, New York Office, July 21, 1964, NARA Record No. 124-10208-10409, p. 18. Costanza said Sorce did some bookmaking without the involvement of any other members.
89 FBI, Activities of Top Hoodlums in the New York Field Division, New York Office, Sept. 14, 1959, NARA Record No. 124-90103-10093, p. 30. Gambino Crime Family member Guiseppe Traina gave a partly similar origin story when he was interviewed by the FBI in 1959.
90 Nonetheless, the report says Costanza "corroborated" this information even though he never mentioned anything about a "growing tree".
93 Marino and Sorce were both American-born so they were probably poking fun at someone they thought of as an old "moustache Pete".
106 Bompensiero and Fratianno were part of a consortium that made a failed bid to buy the Tally Ho Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
108 FBI, The Criminal Commission, New York Office, Dec. 21, 1962, NARA Record No. 124-10216-10237. Colombo Crime Family member Thomas Ricciardi was wounded in the attack. Michael "Mike Rizzi" Rizzitello became a member of the Los Angeles Crime Family.