The San Francisco Crime Family was formed after a large gang war, which started in 1928 and ended in 1932. The Lanza gang proved to be the strongest gang after murdering San Francisco gang leader Luigi Malvese on May 18, 1932. Francesco Lanza was the leader of the Lanza gang and became the first real crime boss of San Francisco. He divided his income from loansharking, gun running, prostitution, gambling and narcotics. Lanza founded the famous Fisherman's Wharf along with his partner Giuseppe Alioto. Lanza passed away of natural causes on July 14, 1937. He was 57 years old.
Anthony J. Lima
Anthony J. Lima was succeeded as the next crime boss following Lanza's death. Lima was involved in the murder of Chicago mobster Nick DeJohn. It was believed that Lima and his underboss, Michael Abati, ordered his murder. On April 27, 1953 Lima was sentenced to the California State Prison for grand theft. Lima lost control of his crime family and was replaced by Abati.
Michael Abati took over as boss in 1953. As boss he attended the famous Apalachin mob convention. There, dozens of top mobsters from accross the country had attended a failed crime meeting. The media attention given to La Cosa Nostra as a result of the meeting settled down but picked up again in 1963 when Joseph Valachi, a soldier in the Genovese crime family agreed to cooperate with the federal government. Abati was deported to Italy on July 8, 1961. He died of natural causes on September 5, 1962.
James Lanza would rise to become the most successful don the San Francisco mob ever had. He was well connected in Las Vegas by his friend William "Bones" Remmer, a Jewish associate with ties to the Genovese crime family of New York. Remmer was Lanza's link to Las Vegas. Lanza became wary of the serious damage that defectors could cause and took precautions against the risk of turncoats like Joseph Valachi. As a result, he brought very little new blood into the San Francisco mob as the membership aged. Lanza paved the way for Los Angeles family capo Aladena Fratianno to open operations based out of San Francisco. He later told Los Angeles crime boss Dominick Brooklier that he wanted Fratianno out of the Bay Area. It was over Fratianno bringing heat to the San Francisco mob. Fratianno would later testify against mobsters in California, Ohio and New York. Lanza was suspected of giving permission for the murder of former New England family associate Joseph Barboza in 1976.
By the start of the 90's, there were only a few made men left in the San Francisco mob, one was Sergio Maranghi, who was involved in cocaine and heroin trafficking. Maranghi moved to the United States from Florence, Italy in 1975 and eventually settled in San Francisco in 1978. He first began working as an employee of Starfish Co., a small fish processing company, which did a lot of business with Alioto's Restaurant. In 1980 Maranghi opened the Anchor Bay Cafe in North Beach. Lanza quickly noticed Maranghi's ability as a money maker and soon made him a member of the crime family. Maranghi was spotted many times meeting with Lanza and other San Francisco mob figures at the Anchor Bay Cafe until it closed down in 1983. He was one of many involved in a cocaine bust in October 1991. Maranghi decided to become an FBI informant instead of facing a long prison sentence and told federal agents of cocaine transactions he had with his associates over a period of several years. Another man arrested was Gaetano Balistreri, a San Francisco mob soldier, who owned the Portifino Cafe on Colombus Ave. Balistreri was arrested for distributing cocaine but the charge was eventually dropped. In 1994, the San Francisco Police raided the Portifino and arrested Balistreri again. This time for running an illegal gambling operation with video poker machines. Another member still living at the time was Steve Trifiro, who ran a small gambling operation in Sacramento, CA. On February 14, 2006 Lanza died of natural causes at the age of 102.