Edmond Valin in 2021 added four new articles to the growing Rat Trap collection. The articles are described below:

Chicago Outfit

Extortionist ‘Jukebox Smitty’ informed

(January 2021)

Fred “Jukebox Smitty” Smith’s brutality allowed him to dominate the jukebox industry in Chicago for decades. Secretly, he provided information about Chicago Outfit members, rackets and murders to the FBI beginning early in 1964.

https://mafiahistory.us/rattrap/infsmitty.html


Chicago Outfit

The politician, the singer and the Mob

(April 2021)

George Vydra, a businessman and local politician in the Chicago suburb of Berwyn, became obsessed with local singer Jane Darwyn. In an effort to aid Darwyn’s career, Vydra began dealing with Chicago racketeers. In 1962, he began providing information to the FBI.

https://mafiahistory.us/rattrap/infgeorgevydra.html


Chicago Outfit

Car-bomb corrected Cerone’s biggest mistake

(May 2021)

Louis Bombacino, Jr., was killed in an Arizona car-bomb explosion in 1975. He had been living in the Grand Canyon State under an assumed identity since betraying Chicago underworld bosses, talking to the FBI and taking the witness stand against crime boss John Cerone.

https://mafiahistory.us/rattrap/infbombacino.html


Kansas City Mafia

Member’s son guided Feds on KC Mafia

(November 2021)

Joseph Crapisi, son of Kansas City racketeer Salvatore “Charles” Crapisi, provided the FBI with information about local mob bosses. His cooperation with the feds may have made him a target for the mob.

https://mafiahistory.us/rattrap/infcrapisi.html

Valachi testifies

The unpublished autobiography of turncoat New York Mafioso Joseph Valachi is an important primary source of information on American Mafia history. The document, which runs 1,201 pages, was written by Valachi while in federal custody in 1964. Used as source material for The Valachi Papers by Peter Maas, Valachi’s document has been available to the public through the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston since the end of 1980. It is now presented online for the first time.

Our effort to provide the document to web visitors began some years ago with a selection of several hundred pages. Most of the document was photographed at the JFK library in the summer of 2019, and we stepped up the web publication of the document at that time. (Project progress was tracked through this Blog post.) We also won access to related National Archives documents at about that time and added those to our online collection.

Images of some missing pages were acquired through the assistance of researcher Richard N. Warner in the fall of 2020. Creation of the web-formatted document was completed on November 11, 2020.

Our work on the project continues: We intend to complete an online index of the document, to add explanatory footnotes and to closely proofread and correct the web document.

Our Valachi material is separated into a number of web pages:

  • A Contents page includes an introduction, a partial index, links to the four online sections of the Valachi autobiography, links to individual pages in the work and a link to the papers included in the National Archives Deed of Gift and Donor File. [LINK]
  • Part 1 of the autobiography, which includes 313 pages (due to reuse of some numbers, the pages are numbered 1 through 299). In this section, Valachi discussed his home life, friendships, burglary career, time in prison and early associations with Mafia organizations in East Harlem and the Bronx. [LINK]
  • Part 2 of the autobiography, which includes 307 pages (due to reuse of some numbers, the pages are numbered 300 through 599). In this section, Valachi discussed the Castellammarese War, Salvatore Maranzano, the post-Maranzano Mafia in New York and his experiences in horseracing and the WWII black market. [LINK]
  • Part 3 of the autobiography, which includes 300 pages. In this section, Valachi discussed more about horseracing, narcotics and counterfeiting rackets and the assassination of Guarino “Willie Moore” Moretti. [LINK]
  • Part 4 of the autobiography, which includes 281 pages. In this section, Valachi discussed the assassination of Albert Anastasia, the Apalachin convention, his own narcotics convictions and the events that led him to provide information to the FBI. [LINK]
  • Deed of Gift & Donor File page shares the text of the documents involved in author Peter Maas’s donation of Valachi’s memoirs to the JFK Library. [LINK]

The latest article by Edmond Valin examines the FBI’s fairly abrupt adoption of the term “La Cosa Nostra” in the early 1960s to refer to traditional Sicilian-Italian organized crime. Valin digs through FBI records to turn up the earliest sources of the term and considers the reasons it may have been preferred by federal authorities over the traditional term, “Mafia.”

http://mafiahistory.us/rattrap/mafialacosanostra.html

 

Rat Trap logo

The FBI makes every effort to hide the identities of its confidential underworld informants, even long after the informants have passed away. Unlike the famous Joe Valachi and other Bureau cooperating witnesses, who exchange public testimony for government protection, confidential informants continue in their dangerous underworld roles while secretly feeding information to investigators.

In reports, the FBI refers to its informants only by code numbers. Before any reports are made available to the public, revealing details about the informants are deleted. But subtle clues to their identities may remain within the text.

For years, Toronto-based crime historian Edmond Valin has been combing through publicly available information, including declassified files of the FBI, for these clues. He has shown a remarkable ability to discover the identities of some of the most important and most secret Mafia turncoats by comparing seemingly insignificant details from different documents.

Valin has consented to allow the American Mafia history website to publish a collection of his ground-breaking articles online. These articles, grouped under the heading of “Rat Trap,” deal with informants from major U.S. Mafia organizations, including the Chicago Outfit, the Philly Mob, the Bonanno Crime Family and the Gambino Crime Family. Six articles are in the collection at this time, and more are on the way.

Valin’s often shocking conclusions are painstakingly defended through document citations (many of the related documents can be accessed online through links provided in the articles’ endnotes).

Visit Edmond Valin’s Rat Trap articles.

‘Rat Trap’

Rat Trap logo

The website recently added a collection of articles by writer (and history detective) Edmond Valin.

Based in the Toronto area, Valin’s specialty is deducing the identities of confidential underworld informants through clues left in government documents, such as FBI files, and other sources. We are calling the article collection, “Rat Trap.” At the moment, there are three articles, and we hope to add more soon.

Valin’s articles all provide source citations. And we have tried to include web links to online source material and book purchase sites whenever possible.

Click here to check out the Rat Trap articles on the site.