Deep Water book
Carlos Marcello

Carlos Marcello
Feb. 6, 1910, to March 3, 1993.
Calogero Minacore

Marcello was born in 1910 to Sicilian immigrants in French-governed Tunisia. His family took him to New Orleans the following October but neither the parents nor Carlos himself ever took the steps to make him a citizen.

When he was 19, then the oldest of nine siblings, he was convicted of burglarizing a grocery store. In 1930 he received a sentence of 9-12 years. He served four years and was then pardoned. Upon his release in the early 1930s Marcello was welcomed into the New Orleans Mafia family, then headed by Sam Carolla.

Marcello operated within a crew commanded by Frank Tedaro and eventually married Tedaro's daughter in 1936. Marcello might have missed out on the lucrative bootlegging operations of the 1920s but he "arrived" just in time to grab a share of gambling rackets that were flooding the New Orleans area in the later 30s and 1940s. Early on, he specialized in pinball (a gambling game in those days) and jukeboxes. Supplementing his income with drug trafficking, Marcello was arrested for the sale of marijuana in 1938 and served another nine months behind bars.

When the U.S. entered the Second World War in 1941, Marcello found money-making opportunities in the black market. Within a few years, Carolla designated Marcello as his representative overseeing the operation of casinos, particularly the Beverly Club, in cooperation with New York crime boss Frank Costello (for whom gaming machines - particularly slots - were a fixation) and financial wiz Meyer Lansky.

Marcello quickly became the most visible member of the Carolla mob, as the Kefauver Committee focused on him as the local New Orleans big shot. One source indicates that Kefauver was premature. That source says another unidentified Mafioso ran the New Orleans family from the end of the Carolla regime - anywhere between 1947 and 1950 - until a natural death in 1963, when Marcello officially took the family reins. That may be correct, but Marcello had a great deal of personal power and political pull beginning in the 1950s.

His power, which stretched from Central and South American farming, Southeastern U.S. fishing and into Texas and California, brought him into open conflict with the Kennedy Administration. Attorney General Robert Kennedy had him deported to Guatemala (Marcello had fraudulently obtained a Guatamalan birth certificate as protection against deportation to Tunisia) in 1961.

Marcello was back in the country within weeks (his legal fight against deportation continued for many years) and appears to have held a grudge against the Kennedys. He is believed by conspiracy theorists to be one of the Mafia bosses involved with plotting the 1963 assassination of President John Kennedy. Some attempt to involve him in the 1968 murders of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy as well.

In 1981, Marcello was found guilty of RICO violations in one court and of bribing a judge in another court. He began a 17-year prison sentence in 1983. In 1989, he began suffering strokes and was released that summer in poor health. He died March 3, 1993.

Related Links:

2007 T.Hunt
The American "Mafia"