ep. 55 - Jack Garcia: NYT Bestselling Author of “Making Jack Falcone” & Fmr. Undercover FBI Agent
Joaquin "Jack" Garcia is considered by his peers and leading FBI experts to be the most successful Undercover Agent in the history of the FBI.
In his 26 years of service with the FBI and as an Undercover FBI Agent in over 100 major Undercover operations, Jack Garcia is best known for his Undercover role as "Jack Falcone," a self-described Sicilian jewel thief and drug dealer from Miami, Florida, who infiltrated the Gambino crime family of La Cosa Nostra in New York for nearly three years. The case resulted in the arrest and conviction of 39 mobsters, including the top members of the Post John Gotti Gambino crime family. Agent Garcia, played his Undercover role so convincingly that he was even proposed for membership into La Cosa Nostra.
Jack Garcia's history as an Undercover Agent is far more extensive than that. This highly decorated FBI Agent is also renowned for his roles in successful cases against corrupt politicians in Atlantic City, New Jersey, corrupt police officers in the Hollywood Police Department, the Broward County Sheriff's Office, the Boston Police Department and in the San Juan, Puerto Rico Police Department. He has also worked Undercover against hundreds of drug dealers and leaders of both the Colombian and Mexican drug cartels, while posing as either a money launderer, transporter or trafficker. He has done Undercover work on National and International Terrorism cases as well as National Security investigations. Garcia has also worked Undercover against Russian and Asian organized crime groups and several Murder for Hire undercover investigations. Most remarkably, Garcia worked on many of these cases simultaneously, as he juggled his various undercover identities and roles. Garcia successfully managed to work as an undercover FBI Agent for 24 out of his 26 years of service without detection.
ep. 55 - Jack Garcia: NYT Bestselling Author of “Making Jack Falcone” & Fmr. Undercover FBI Agent
Kyle Davis: Okay with us today on GDA Podcast is Jack Garcia, he is a New York Times bestselling author of the book "Making Jack Falcone" and he used to be an undercover FBI agent and instead of me giving you his entire background, I'm gonna [00:01:00] let Jack tell his story. With that being said, Jack, welcome.
Jack Garcia: Thank you, Kyle, appreciate the opportunity and I thought I'd tell you a little bit about myself first before we get into my final days in the FBI.
Kyle Davis: Sounds good.
Jack Garcia: I was born in Havana, Cuba, came to this country in 1961, two years after the revolution and then we came to live in Washington Heights, New York. Of course, came here with just the clothes [00:01:30] on our back, none of us spoke English and my father wound up having to work three separate jobs and send us to schooL and then after a few years went by and we learned how to speak the English language, we went to a Catholic school that was in the Bronx which was called Mount Saint Michael Academy. From there I started playing football, I was always a big kid, and in Havana there was no such thing as American football, there is of course baseball, [00:02:00] so while I was there I did well and I received quite a few scholarships. And my first year I went out to West Texas State which was up in canyon Texas, tip of Texas, and it was a little hard adjusting especially when they got rid of the coach so then I went back to New York and I played in a junior college there. And then I subsequently wound up getting a scholarship to University of Richmond where I graduated.
It was there really my senior [00:02:30] year when I realized I was not gonna get drafted that what exactly was I gonna do? So we went, like usually, to one a movie theater to watch a film and the film that we saw was Serpico. And I was instantly hooked on this is what I wanted to do. I wanted a career in law enforcement, I was fascinated with undercover life, I was also like every other person, who isn't fascinated with Al Pacino? So [00:03:00] this is kind of where I wanted to do so I immediately when I graduated went to the local FBI office in Richmond, Virginia and I made an application [inaudible 00:03:11] actually another football player and we waited. And went back home and I was waiting to see what would happen with my application but I never heard from them so then I was watching Spanish television, Univision, and there was this non-native Spanish speaker saying they [00:03:30] were looking for Spanish speaking agents in the bureau and I said, "Wait a minute, I have an application in the bureau, I speak Spanish fluently as well as English, what happened to my application?"
So I called up and they found that I was not an American citizen. So I immediately went and became, which was one of my proud moments of my life, and I became an FBI agent and restarted the application process. And it was finally in 1980 that I was sent down to Quantico, Virginia for 16 weeks [00:04:00] in order to become a special agent of the FBI. When I left Quantico, I went back to the Newark division and when I was working in Newark, I worked some terrorism at that time with the Cuban anti-Castro group as well as bank robberies and fugitives. This is in the early '80s and then I dabbled in some undercover work in national security cases which of course I'm not at liberty to discuss. From then on I finished this successful case [00:04:30] and the bureau came back and said, "For the great job that you did, you get to pick any office you want to go to and we'll send you there."
So I scoured all the 59 field offices and decided that I was gonna move down to Miami, Florida like all good Cubans do, I guess that's our Mecca, we go there and the bureau came back and sent me to Philadelphia. So here I was in Philadelphia in the city of brotherly love and I wound up doing five years there [00:05:00] working narcotics and it was in 1984 that the FBI started also working narcotics, prior to that it was solely devoted to the DEA. So we were there, we worked some major investigations dealing with the Colombian cartels, in fact one of the cases where I was doing the undercover work, we took about 180 subjects down and we seized millions and millions of dollars as well as cocaine. So from there I wanted to come back home to New York and I put in the [00:05:30] paperwork and I did get in New York and I came back and I was fortunate enough to have been assigned to probably one of the best squads in all of New York, it was a drug squad out of Queens, New York, and quite well known.
In fact, it was the squad that [inaudible 00:05:45] who subsequently became the director of the FBI worked in and we worked all these major cases [inaudible 00:05:53], that's solely what I did. I was posing either as a drug trafficker, I was a money launderer, [00:06:00] I was an importer, as well as taking on all these other investigations and then finally so at the end of my career, having worked over a 100 undercover investigations and at that time it was 20-some odd years that I had of service, someone asked me if I wanted a role to infiltrate the Gambino crime family 'cause they were shaking down strip clubs in New York and they were working in cahoots with the Albanian mafia. [00:06:30] So I thought it was challenging, especially the part that they wanted me to pose as an Italian. Here I am a Cuban kid born in Cuba, speak Spanish fluently, loves rice and beans and fried bananas, and they're asking me to pose as an Italian. I didn't really feel I could do this but I did find that to be such a challenging role that is something that I really thought it would be really interesting to pursue.
Well, sure enough, went through it, the case agent who happened to [00:07:00] be from Italy, Italian guy named [inaudible 00:07:03], he walked me through, he educated me in the process about the mob because all my experience had been dealing with narcotics before and I felt comfortable enough to see if I could pull it off being maybe a third generation Italian. Well I got in, made some extortion payments to the mob to ensure they were working in cahoots with the Albanians, that they would not come in and terrorize [00:07:30] anymore, and then from then on I started hanging around this captain of the Gambino crime family named Greg [inaudible 00:07:38] who was well known having posed with Frank Sinatra in the famous photograph with all the mobsters at the club that he once owned called the Westchester Premier Theater.
So I hung out with him, became his personal driver, his confidant. As time went on, he proposed me to be made which is a high honor [00:08:00] in organized crime and that's to be part of that secret society, that inner circle, and what had happened is there was some issues with the bureau, they didn't want that to happen, it was kind of a repeat of the Joe Pistone case which he did back in the early '80s and they opted instead to take down the whole hierarchy of the Gambino crime family. And this was the post-John Gotti era. So we took down the boss, the under-boss, numerous [00:08:30] captains and soldiers and associates and form then after which the case was over all the subjects that we took down pled out because I have gathered so much evidence, I chose to wear a body recorder capturing all of their conversations and all of the criminal acts.
And except for one who chose to go to trial and that was Greg [inaudible 00:08:57], the guy that we had the most [00:09:00] evidence on but of course he was found guilty and sentenced to prison and he subsequently died in prison of old age. Afterwards I decided to retire from the FBI and was approached to write a book, fortunate enough to have made the New York Times bestseller and the day that my book came out, I was featured on 60 Minutes which I think catapulted my book into the bestseller list. And a [00:09:30] few weeks later, President Obama was elected so all the books were all about him and I lost that spot.
Kyle Davis: It happens.
Jack Garcia: Yes, it happens. So now I'm doing some work working as a volunteer for an animal cruelty investigative company called the Guardians of Rescue, we promote pet adoption. Actually there was a TV show called The Guardians [00:10:00] that just aired on NatGEO which I didn't want to be part of it because I'm doing more like volunteer work and that's kind of keeping me busy as well as some speaking engagements that I get through Gail Davis Associates.
Kyle Davis: GDA Speakers, [inaudible 00:10:20].
Jack Garcia: GDA [inaudible 00:10:21].
Kyle Davis: Yes. So one of the questions that comes into my mind that I'm a huge fan of Netflix and I've been [00:10:30] just going through Narcos like it's going out of style so seeing maybe a more fictionalized version of what Pablo Escobar was doing back in the '80s and early '90s, my question then is for you what were the similarities that you saw between the cartels of the '80s and '90s versus the mob family that you had and also the Albanian crime syndicate [00:11:00] that's also in New York as well?
Jack Garcia: Well that's a very good question. Big fan of Narcos as well. Just so you know, I think it's pretty on point, we worked a lot of cartel and high members of the Escobar organization as well as all the other cartel heads, it's depicted properly, they're very violent, they have so much money, and it really surprises [00:11:30] me why the mafia is so glorified by Hollywood when the mafia doesn't even make a small percentage of the money that these cartels make. So it really is amazing and I think a lot has to do with the romantisation of la cosa nostra and because they depict these gangsters as these pious men with fedora hats and 45s and they're out there [00:12:00] somehow romanticized and people love them but if you take the amount of brutality that the cartels have committed and I'm talking about not only the Colombian cartels but the Mexican cartels today, it really pales in comparison. The mob has really nothing on them.
The only thing the mob I think has besides being romanticized by Hollywood is because [00:12:30] they are the only criminal organization that's out there that really has infiltrated all aspects of our institutions in our society. They've infiltrated the court system with corrupt judges, politics they've corrupted, they've corrupted police departments, they've corrupted unions, the labor companies, they've corrupted construction companies so that's the only criminal group. You'd never hear about that through The Bloods, [00:13:00] or The Crips, or MS-13, or even the cartels. Yes, the cartels do that in their country but here in America ... And that's why I think they remain to be this powerful group that they are and have been in the past but as far as in numbers, as far as in brutality, as far as strength, as far as money-making, the cartels are way over to deal with.
In fact, the funny part of me having worked both [00:13:30] with the cartels and with the mob is that if we're following a mobster around and let's say that mobster's looking in his rear view mirror, we can find that mobster, eventually you will. He's either gonna go to the social club, he's gonna go to his mother's house, he's gonna go to this girlfriend's house, or he's gonna go to his wife's house but you will find him. What happens when the cartels know that somebody's following them, when there's a tail on them, [00:14:00] all of a sudden they disappear. They drop their phones, they drop their beepers, the next thing you know they're on a payphone somewhere in let's say in Jackson Heights, Queens and they're on a plane to back to Columbia or they're on a plane to a reassignment in California. So you're dealing with a bit more sophisticated group and also it's very compartmentalized, the cartels.
Where a mob guy, we all know the structure. We know that each family has an [00:14:30] administration consisting of the boss, the under-boss, and the consigliere, you have your captains, then you have your soldiers. All those guys are all made guys and then you have what they call your associates. But with [inaudible 00:14:42] you don't really have that, you just have so many people that are like disposable, those little red cups, what are they called? Those beer drinking cups?
Kyle Davis: Solo cups. Yeah.
Jack Garcia: Yeah, solo cups. That's what they are. Simply if somebody is arrested which we've arrested [00:15:00] so many guys in my day, they really can give up that many guys because all they know is, "Look, I have somebody told me to call this number and I would be getting paged and it will contain this code and when I call this number I'm told the sky is blue and the guy will say, 'No, it's red.' So then he'll tell me where to go and I'll either pick up the cocaine or the money and then I go to another place and go through the process." Where in the mob, everything is structured so they [00:15:30] know that the soldiers deal with the captains, captains with the administration. And that kind of the difference so as far as your question is, the cartels, in my opinion, are by far more powerful than the mob. They just don't have the recognition or the Hollywood persona that the cosa nostra has.
Kyle Davis: Mm-hmm [00:16:00] (affirmative). Kind of in thinking through your answer and what I was hearing it sounds to me as if the mob with the very romanticized view of them is kind of a by-product of them attempting and successfully so by infiltrating as many aspects of ordinary life as they could. If you look back into the 1950s and '60s, they're also owning the movie studios and they're running Vegas and this, that, and the [00:16:30] other, I mean they're everywhere. Whereas the cartels just do what they do and they don't try to do anything else. I mean they do but they don't.
Jack Garcia: Exactly 'cause to them well what happens is this, the cartels are either Colombian or Mexican so what do they do is they make money here in the America and then they are not gonna live here, they're gonna send it back and build their farms and build their mansions and put, just like the movie Narcos [00:17:00] which we've known this to be factual, put then bury the money because they just don't know what to do with this money. The money is ... Where the mob, they're Americans, they're not Ital- yes, they're Italian by ethnic group but they don't bring the money back to Italy. Italy has it's own mafia. See the way it works is in Italy that's called the mafia, in America it's called cosa nostra. Cosa nostra means "this thing of ours". [00:17:30] So in America what happens is these families, they raise their money and of course they put their money in hidden in relatives' homes, in mattress, buried in the wall, whatever it is because why? They're not [inaudible 00:17:44], their kids are here, they're gonna live here, and they're gonna die here.
Where the Colombians, they're just passing through. They're just going to the money so all of that money really leaves our country and it goes over there and from then on it's bought [00:18:00] with toys and just secured for a lifetime. And we see that because the mob, it's all about making money as well as the cartels, it's all the greed factor with these guys, it's how much money. But the difference will be is like in the mob, the money flows upward, so if you are an associate and you make the score, you by being under this umbrella coverage of the mafia, you have to kick up. If you're on record, you [00:18:30] have to kick up to your soldier who then kicks up to his captain, who then kicks up to the administration. Money never flows down, it always flows up. And that's the way it works.
Now there is not a similar structure with the cartels. The cartels, everybody's making money. A kilo of cocaine used to cost maybe 2- or 300 dollars to produce in Columbia, by the time that money comes here with the transportation costs, [00:19:00] with the distribution costs, with the warehousing of it, and goes on, sometimes we bought kilos up to 36,000 dollars a kilo and we've also have bought it as low as 12,000 dollars a kilo. So there is that fluctuation like the market of supply and demand. Now a kilo, as we all know, is a thousand grams or 2.2, now that kilo, the most expensive part of add-on is to distribution of bringing it from Columbia [00:19:30] to America. That's where all the money is really made and of course there's so many ingenious ways of doing it, they have brought it in by air, they've dropped it into the sea and they get picked up by sailboats or speedboats, the other ways they do it is they body carry it.
Other ways they do it they've now, and this is 10 years ago, they make it into a liquid form. They make it into a liquid form then smuggle it in. They also make it into a plastic form [00:20:00] and they even have semi-submersible submarines that are made where they carry the stuff and they're green in color, spotted from the air. And then of course you have the tunnels which El Chapo made famous which are these amazing things that go from one part of Mexico into America and all of these tunnels are equipped with not only lighting, it's equipped with a circulation [00:20:30] system, it has rails, so there is so much money to be made with that but it only deals with drugs.
The cosa nostra, the mobsters, they deal in everything. Their pride and joy, so their staple, has always been book-making, loan-sharking, extortion, but then from then on comes narcotics, prostitution, [inaudible 00:20:56], robbing the Wall Street [00:21:00] by doing pump-and-dumps, they also do any way that they can make money, the mob's got his hands on it and they have been very successful in some elaborate schemes that we've been able to take down over the years with the FBI. So it really is a fascinating study but I could tell you this that the Colombians would really wipe the mob off the face of the earth as well as the Mexicans if there was such a war because [00:21:30] they are more people involved in the cartel because of the more money you have, the more power you have.
Kyle Davis: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, I was just thinking about some of the things that I've read and I'm trying to remember what the markup is but in like Mexico, for instance, the cartel influence over avocado growers and lime growers has inflated the price of avocados and limes because they're running [00:22:00] a protection racket very similar to that of the mafia in New York or whatnot and so now they're starting to kind of get into that but to your point, all the money's made on the drugs. If you look at the Mexican cartels, they don't really manufacture much aside from the mega-super-meth labs that they may have, instead they're really just a logistics company at the end of the day.
Jack Garcia: Well, I tell you having worked dope in the '80s is interesting. When [00:22:30] I first started, it was solely we were dealing with Colombians, they were the major group. Of course they had the Dominicans up in Washington Heights that aided them, of course they had the Cubans down in Miami in the '80s, all of that came in then all of a sudden, the Mexicans came in. Now what the Mexicans did is really amazing, they said to the Colombians, "Look, you just want to bring your dope here. That's the transportation. We have a network in these border towns [00:23:00] that we can get the dope in here without tractor trailers, concealed in our way of bringing it, so what we want is you don't need to pay us, you only have to pay us," usually they pay sometimes 3-, 4,000 dollars per kilo to transport into the US. The Mexicans say, "we don't want a dime, we want half your load. So if you're bringing in a 1,000 kilos, 500 of those kilos are earmarked for us. We'll get your kilos in here and then just give us the five.
[00:23:30] And we were there for the beginning of that and then what happened was they grew. Immediately they started networking, sending their dope to Chicago, of course LA, of course all the big cities, and in time the Mexicans became what they are today a so powerful and brutal group of transporters. But that's how they've made their money. They chose to ... And of course it was a great deal for the Colombians 'cause the Colombian goes, "Well we don't have to pay for any money, we just give [00:24:00] them half the kilos, so what? We grow coke all day long, what do we care?"
And then the other thing that the Colombians started doing is they started growing poppy seeds to do heroin in Colombia which was unheard of and they brought in a bunch of Chinese chemists, they started growing their poppy seeds there, and they produced such a high quality heroin that the price of heroin went down 'cause I was buying it on a mob case. I paid [00:24:30] 150,000 dollars for a kilo of heroin which turned out to be about 85 percent pure. Then when the Colombians started growing it, I paid 60,000 for a kilo and it was almost pure. So the Colombians started making the heroin also one of their big money-makers because they were really in competition with the Chinese, they were in competition with Pakistanians, from Afghanistan, [00:25:00] and that's how they did it. So you see there is always money for them but if you are the producer of the dope, of course you're gonna make the money and that's a give me where you say, "You mean I don't have to ... You're gonna insure the safe passage of dope to our organization in New York and I don't have to pay you anything?"
And we know this through wiretaps, there have been instances when we have the coast guard out there at sea, they receive phone [00:25:30] calls to say, "Such and such ship is gonna be passing this shipping lane and it's gonna contain a 1,000 kilos." The coast guard goes, they see the ship, they pull it over, they search it, next thing you know they find the hidden dope and they're high-fiving each other and as they're doing that, six, seven ships are going that are full of dope. This is the stuff that goes on almost every day. And then of course you got your body carriers that you can die if one of [00:26:00] the balloons explode in your system, you have that. And you have, of course, all of their ... As long as there's always the demand, that's when you're gonna have this. And the people who ... These cartels are the ones who for years, think about this, this is going back from the '80s, we're talking 36 years that these guys have been making money on America. And because there's still people out there using dope and [00:26:30] these guys are providing it.
Kyle Davis: Yeah.
Jack Garcia: And what are the mob doing? Okay the mobs are doing the scams, yes, when I was out there, we identified a scam where they went into the internet fraud, where they went in and they advertised a 1-800 psychic reading or 1-800 astrology and then what happened was they would bill you your card more money than it was worth. It was also the porn sites, it will say, "Free porn, [00:27:00] look at it," then after three or four minutes of teasing you, they'll say, "All we need is a credit card, you're not gonna be charged, just to confirm that you are, indeed, and adult."
Then they hit you with that. And then they went out to the mid-west, bought a bank, and created a whole internet fraud where, and a phone company, when in the old days when you would get your readout of your phone bills, there would be 1,000s of 50 cents, 30 cents, they would [00:27:30] have [inaudible 00:27:30] of when AT&T broke apart and they would be like 30 cents, well they did that for years. We figured it was close to two billion dollars that the mob made, the guys were all arrested, they pled to around 700 million and guess how much time they did? Five years. Are you kidding me? Five years.
Kyle Davis: Seems reasonable. Yeah, no it should've been way longer than that.
Jack Garcia: Okay, exactly. Five years [00:28:00] for that hustle but while they were out there, John Gotti didn't allow them to go to weddings, didn't allow them to go to funerals, because he did not want them exposed to the surveillance of the FBI or law enforcement because this was such a money-making venture and the only reason we found out about it was somebody actually read the bill and said, "What the hell are all these charges?" And then they look [inaudible 00:28:28], "What's this 30 cents for this? What [00:28:30] is that?" And they did the research and everybody said, "Well, we don't know." And they realized that something's funny about this and fishy and next thing you know, but think about that, they go out to the mid-west, I think it was in Kansas, and you get these mob guys from Brooklyn wearing sharkskin suits, [inaudible 00:28:47], and alligator shoes, they're coming off the plane in the middle of Kansas.
Kyle Davis: Yeah, they super fit in. They really, right, with their leisure suit, yeah.
Jack Garcia: "Hey, how you doin', you got any espresso?"
Kyle Davis: With their leisure suits [00:29:00] and [inaudible 00:29:02] and yeah that works in Kansas.
Jack Garcia: Exactly. But it's funny with these mob guys, they're all around money and the mafia's just a fascinating study. You look that it's supposed to be a criminal, secret society but then you got a guy like John Gotti who loved the limelight, he appeared on front of in People Magazine, the cameras were [00:29:30] chasing him, the guy looked impeccable, that's no-no's. In the old days, the gangsters never had any of that. And what do they do is nowadays they're of course more cautious, if you noticed there hasn't been that many killings. Kyle, you were in New York so you know once in a while you hear about bodies winding up in the street or in the trunk of a car with two in the back of the head but now they know that leaving bodies in the street is bad for business. So that's also the reason why a lot [00:30:00] of these guys in the mob are totally changing in which it wasn't a way of life like for the old-timers, it's now like a business decision. They get arrested, you got the power of RICO statute which puts them away for 30 years and then they scratch their head and go, "Wait a minute, do I really want to do 30 years for this stuff? This so-called cosa nostra? This oath of [inaudible 00:30:25]? Am I kidding me or what?"
So they make their deals. In the old [00:30:30] days, you had Joe Valachi, one guy who flipped and that was unheard of. Now, you gotta slap these guys just to shut them up 'cause they're all talking. All of them are flipping 'cause they realize the mob is changed, the mob doesn't take care of the family, nowadays when these guys have become gangsters, they know they gotta put their money away because, yes, they're gonna wind up in jail one day or they're gonna wind up dead. And the mob is not gonna take care of them so they gotta put your money away and [00:31:00] you go about your business and some of these guys are not doing it as a way of life like the old guys used to do it.
Kyle Davis: What you're talking about with the scheme that they were running out in Kansas, I guess my question is for you and just based off of more the history of the American mafia, would it be that their trend now is more towards more sophisticated [00:31:30] white collar crime that's harder to detect or is it still ... Obviously they're probably still running backroom games and different things like that but are they trying to do more sophisticated stuff?
Jack Garcia: Yes. That's exactly what they're trying to do is it's now these pump-and-dumps which is buying on speculation stocks and you force it to go up and then you dump them, you sell them. They've done a lot of that because that's a quick scheme way of making [00:32:00] money. The sophisticated ... The problem that you have with these mobsters, not only a lot of them are psychopaths but a lot of them are dumber than a box of rocks. They are good street-wise guys, they are, they know how to handle the street, how to do the hustle, how to do all of that stuff, but sometimes the sophisticated scheme is very tough. That's why a lot of these guys rely on these contracts with the construction companies like one guy, [00:32:30] Fat [inaudible 00:32:31], he got the contract to replace all the windows in all the tenements in New York, that's a huge lucrative contract. So a lot of these guys are looking for those schemes but those money-making schemes or sophisticated schemes are far and few in between because some of these guys don't have it.
However, they may have an associate who may be smart or a guy who worked in an industry that they feel [00:33:00] that they could infiltrate, course they'll do it. But their bread and butter has always been lone-sharking and it's been bookmaking. You want to get these guys, these degenerate gamblers to bet on every football game on the Superbowl, on the baseball, basketball, all this spread that they got going and then when they bet over their heads, so happens that right there where they're making the bet there's a guy who loan-sharks, he charges them five, six points a week [00:33:30] just for the vig. So now all of a sudden this guy is caught up into this thing so now it's making money.
Those are kind of always been their staple and then of course you have the extortion but nowadays they have to be very delicate how they handle that because a lot of people know cops, a lot of people are also might be fed up so to just go like in the old day and start a window cleaning company and go to your business [00:34:00] and say, "Hey, you know what, I have a window cleaning office I could clean your windows." And you say, "No, I'm not interested, I gotta guy who does it." "Well how much does he do it?" "He charges me 20 bucks a week." "Oh really? Well I'll do it for 15." "No, that's not interested." Well that night, the guy comes in, throws rocks through your window. So then he says, "Hey, what happened?" The next day, "What happened, that guy broke your windows?" He says, "Well, we can make sure that doesn't happen again." So now that's the shakedown. And stuff [00:34:30] like that they're being very careful about doing these days because some of them realize that people will call the cops 'cause they've known that they have lost some of their strength.
And by that I mean is not too many bodies are winding up on the streets. So a lot of people may do that or other people may just give in and say, "You know what? You do it." But the mob just this final kind of thing you should [00:35:00] know is the mob, how it works is if I am on record as an associate or a made guy and your business or establishment is on record with that particular mob family, everything that goes into that job, let's say you have a restaurant, well your linens are being handled by another associate, your liquor comes from another associate, your meats come from another associate, your garbage is picked up by another associate, so you see it's all this big [00:35:30] everybody taking care of each other. And that's the way the game is played. So when you go to bed with a mobster, keep in mind that you're pretty much done. That you are now become part of that wheel and you're just gonna go round and round and they're just gonna pick your pockets.
Kyle Davis: So take me back to New York, we were talking about this a little bit prior to recording and I guess the question that I have for you and this was something that was brought up to me when I first moved to the upper west side [00:36:00] and I went to a pizza shop and a friend of mine who did some undercover work actually in Virginia, believe it or not, before going to Colombia to get his education finished pointed out into the back of this pizza store, he goes, "This is an Albanian place." So my question for you is who's running New York? Is it the Albanians, the Italians, the Russians, the Chinese, who's running Manhattan, who's running the streets, if you [00:36:30] will?
Jack Garcia: Well, good question, okay, because in the old days the answer would've been easier to say, it was the mob. The mob ran everything. But nowadays, I think now pieces of the pie are being circulated. Just so you know about the Albanians, we took down in my case a very serious, bad group of Albanians, they went by the name of The Corporation and they wanted to become the sixth family in New York. Now keep in mind, New York has five families [00:37:00] that operate in that small area. You have the Colombos, the Bonnanos, the Genovese, the Gambinos, and the Luccheses. Well the Albanians came in and what they did is they did kind of the work that the Westies did which was an Irish gang that worked on the you remember [inaudible 00:37:20] in New York? That area?
Kyle Davis: Yep.
Jack Garcia: Well they worked on that area and what they did, by the way there's a great book by T. J. English called "The Westies", I recommend you [00:37:30] read that, anyway, they were subcontracted by the Gambinos to do some killings, beating up, and torturing, etc, etc, well, the Albanians became that group. So the Albanians wound up getting so ruthless that they started taking over some mob joints. They really started getting very full of themselves because they saw that the mob was subcontracting them so that means they saw that they were getting weak. So they started moving in on them. So the Albanians started owning pretty much all [00:38:00] that story of Queens but we wind up locking them all up so now that left that void.
So to answer your question is it's broken up by territories. Just like in New York there's ethnic [inaudible 00:38:14], your Asian gangs that operate in Chinatown. You have your Italian groups that operate in predominantly Italian areas including a lot of other areas because, keep in mind, they have been controlling book-making [00:38:30] and the numbers racket and the loan-sharking with all the money that they have and these guys like the Asians and the black gangs and some of these people may need mobsters so they could tap into hedging bets. If they're taking book, they might not be able to afford a big hit so may have to hedge their bet in another with the mob guys. So then you have, of course, the Albanians, they're pretty much [00:39:00] right now not as powerful because we took this group down and they haven't really been making too much noise.
Then of course you got the Russians up in Brighton Beach. Another force to be reckoned with. But they're strictly territorial, they're handling their Russian neighborhoods that they're doing. So every neighborhood has their own ... Then you got the Cubans in Florida who are handling the Bolita which is the book-making but they, too, also work together with the mob guys so I [00:39:30] think the answer to that question is every ethnic group or neighborhood has his own type of mob type of group, organized crime, that kind of feeds off these people and takes advantage of them.
Kyle Davis: Yeah, I just find it so fascinating 'cause like you said when you go into certain neighborhoods, when you're going out to let's say Coney Island and you're passing through Brighton Beach and stuff like that, you know you're in a Russian neighborhood. I'm not saying like Russian because [00:40:00] everybody speaks Russian and you see a lot of Cyrillic signs and different things like that, no, you're in a Russian neighborhood. Or if you go to certain parts of east Harlem or Brooklyn or whatnot, I'm like, "Okay, yeah, I know what's going on here. Gotta get out of here."
Jack Garcia: Right. And see that's one thing about New York, it is so territorial but then also there's other places. Chicago is somewhere- there is all these ethnic groups and keep in mind that [00:40:30] the beginning of the mafia which was back in the old Sicilian was with these invaders from Spain and all these countries where coming into these farmers and they went in with the right intentions like, "Hey, we'll protect you." And then after they managed to protect them then they started robbing them. And that's what these other neighborhoods do is they figured some of these people are afraid that maybe they're illegals so who are they gonna go? They're afraid of [00:41:00] going to the police 'cause they may get deported so they have their own group that kind of becomes their own police force to do that.
And the beauty about New York is that these neighborhoods do blend among each other but there's still that territory that like you're talking about the Latin kings, we could even expand on the motorcycle gangs. Look over on 3rd Street in Manhattan, you got that area there that's the Hell's [00:41:30] Angels. [crosstalk 00:41:31].
Kyle Davis: I know exactly what you're talking about, 3rd Street, 1st Avenue. Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Jack Garcia: Right, exactly. So you see they control that block but I think what has happened it groups have learned that they need to work with each other because that's the only way they're gonna survive. Like for instance, the Italian guys who deal in junk and don't let that whole Hollywood Godfather [00:42:00] stuff about, "Oh, we don't feal in dope, we're gonna kill you," that's bullshit, they deal in dope, all these guys, because it's a money-maker. They're gonna have their connections in the neighborhoods of people that they're being supplied with with dope. They don't have or at least some of them don't have direct access to the actual Colombian cartel to deal directly. And of course they're not dealing in those numbers either, they're dealing in just a few kilos, they're not dealing [00:42:30] in massive bulk of dope.
So my opinion is and the way I saw it when I was out there that every group kind of respects each other. They all like to work under a brand name, you don't work as an individual 'cause there's more power. And I think people do respect each particular group because they have to ... As long as they don't cross into their neighborhoods and that even applies with the mob. The Gambinos have a certain rule [00:43:00] that you can't open a book-making shop within a 1,000 feet from them or from any of the five families. So if you open up, if you're another family, let's say the Bonannos, and you open up something 500 feet from an existing Gambino, you're gonna have a sit-down, you may even have a possible war. So there are lines of demarkation, there are lines of you can't cross, you could cross, and all of that has to be respected in order for all of them to co-exist.
Kyle Davis: [00:43:30] Well that is fascinating and I think that's a good place for us to wrap up. If you want to get Jack Garcia to come out and tell you his story of life undercover and becoming Jack Falcone, you can do so by contacting GDA Speakers, formerly known as Gail David & Associates at 214-420-1999 or by going to gdaspeakers.com. If you'd like the transcript, the book as well, for today's podcast, you can go to gdapodcast.com. [00:44:00] With that being said, thanks, Jack.
Jack Garcia: Thank you very much, Kyle. It was a pleasure, okay?
Kyle Davis: All right, thanks.