How America Met The Mob

Organized crime? Mafia? A lot of people, including J. Edgar Hoover, said it was mere folklore—until one day in 1957 an alert New York state trooper set up a roadblock in a small town. What followed was low comedy with high consequences.

The day was mild for November; the blanket of sodden clouds promised rain. By noon the hilltop estate was fragrant with the prehistoric aroma of roasting meat. The visitors, dressed in silk suits, white-on-white shirts, gleaming shoes, and lush camel’s hair coats, looked distinctly out of place in the tiny upstate New York hamlet of Apalachin. “A meeting of George Rafts,” an observer would note.

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