Joe Valachi

Valachi blew the whistle on the inner workings of the Mafia, or La Cosa Nostra.

“Dis is my duty.” And with those words, Valachi unveiled what many people refused to believe, thatcrime was organized.

He was busted in 1959 on a narcotics charge, he ended up in an Atlanta Federal Prison sharing a cell with his boss, Vito Genovese.

Valachi begamn to believe that Genovese suspected him of being a snitch, and was planning to have him murdered.

Valachi confronted and killed a man he had mistaken for a known mob assassin that he thought was sent to kill him in the prison yard by Genovese. It was the wrong guy, and now Valachi faced the death sentence for the prison yard murder. One year later, Valachi offered to expose the inner-workings of the mob in exchange for leniency.

In Sept. 1963, Valachi appeared before a Senate SubCommittee chaired by Arkansas Democratic Senator John McLennan.

He described the ritual of pricking your finger and swearing an oath to the Family and burning a Holy Picture, swearing allegiance or surrenduring in death.

Valachi told his story to author Peter Maas, who published the book The Valachi Papers, originally suppressed by the FBI.

Valachi died in prison in 1971. Vito Genovese died several months before Valachi.