Alessandro Vollero
1889 to Aug. 11, 1922.

Vollero served as leader of a Camorra gang in Brooklyn until his conviction for the 1916 slaying of Nicholas Terranova and Charles Ubriaco.

Vollero arrived in the U.S. as a teenager in 1909. He settled in Brooklyn and became involved with the Neapolitan gangs in the area. When a gang war erupted between the local Camorra and a Terranova Mafia organization in East Harlem, Vollero was one of the Camorra leaders (Pellegrino Morano, ten years older than Vollero, was another) who called Nicholas Terranova to a peace conference. The Sept. 7, 1916, conference turned out to be an ambush. Terranova and his bodyguard were slain.

The murders might have remained unsolved but the Camorra bosses were less than generous with the gunmen they hired. Those decided to cooperate with prosecutors.

It took two trials to convict Vollero. The first ended in a mistrial after Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Isaac M. Kapper became ill. Once convicted, the gang leader was sent off to Sing Sing Prison in 1919 to serve a sentence of 20 years to life.

While there, Vollero met up with a young Joseph Valachi, serving time for burglary. Vollero cautioned the Neapolitan Valachi against dealing with Sicilian Mafiosi. The old-timer told Valachi that Sicilians - even those who had been his friends for years - would always consider him an outsider.

During his term in prison, Vollero served as a subject for a science experiment. After undergoing surgery for gastric ulcers, he agreed to be a guinea pig for a new diagnostic tool, a gastro-camera. The prisoner swallowed the tiny camera device designed by Franz Gerard Bach of Vienna and allowed his insides to be photographed.

Forty-three-year-old Vollero was released from Sing Sing on April 28, 1933, after serving 14 years.

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The American "Mafia"