Bronx-based jukebox operator Alfred Miniaci allegedly was "registered" to Genovese mobster Benjamin (Benny the Bum) DeMartino who in the 1950s took an interest in his company according to multiple sources in recently-released FBI files as detailed in an earlier post. Benny the Bum also was known as Juke Box Benny, and further had alleged involvement with loan sharking and securities fraud. Benjamin DeMartino died in 1993 at eighty years old.
Benny and his brothers Theodore (Teddy the Bum) and Anthony (Tony the Bum) -- collectively known as the Bum Brothers -- were all soldiers in the 116th Street crew of Genovese capo Michael (Trigger Mike) Coppola in East Harlem according to federal investigators. Joseph Amato headed the investigation section of the Bureau of Narcotics in New York City which targeted the Mafia's role in heroin trafficking, and testified on November 13, 1957 before a U.S. Senate Committee that "Theodore and Benjamin DeMartino are on the major violators of the Federal Narcotics Bureau." Indeed, Teddy the Bum previously was convicted on drug charges pursuant to a Narcotics Bureau investigation.
A Bureau of Narcotics letter had identified Coppola as a "major narcotics law violator in New York City" as early as 1939, and an FBI report in 1958 stated "that COPPOLA has risen to leadership of Upper East Side Italian narcotic wholesale distributors and smugglers of opium and heroin, from Mexico and elsewhere."
Paul Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, on November 26, 1957 appeared before the New York State Joint Legislative Committee on Narcotics Study, and stated that the Mafia controlled the heroin trade in East Harlem which "is bounded by 125th and 100th Streets on the north and south and Paladino and Third Avenues on the east and west": "it is within this section of the city that large quantities of smuggled heroin are stored and that top level conferences regarding the importation, preparation and distribution of bulk shipments of drugs takes place."