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Cosa Nostra, La
by Laurence Bergren
Cosa Nostra, La is the startling insight into the countries biggest most organised criminal gang. Born on the banks of the Mersey, Cosa Nostra, La were pioneers in drug smuggling, gun running and all manor of illegal activities that made the American Mafia look like a bunch of petty thieves.
Starting off as a bunch of dock robbers in the 1700's they stayed that way until the 70's when they started smuggling pot, after seeing the drugs popularity at a Hawkwind concert in Liverpool Stadium. The pioneer was Thomas 'Tommy' Thompson.
Tommy: I was working security at the stadium and we usually had biker types that I took great pleasure in volleying all over the shop when they got out of line, because they had long hair and stunk of petuella oil. But this time it was different, they weren't causing any trouble and were in a trance due to the combination of the bands space rock funny farm songs, the naked dancer with the massive bongos and the sweet smelling cigarettes they were toking.
Tommy soon set up what was locally known as the Red Seal Line.
Tommy: we started scoring weed direct from Morocco, taking precautions by only bringing back flim deals stuffed into toothpaste and then shoved up my nans arse, because the Customs wouldn't stop an auld granny. We used to call her Nana Colgate, her shit defo didn't smell like the rest of us!'
Tommy soon up scaled operations by joining forces with the Black Panthers from Kirkdale, the north end brothers who were harder than their Toxteth counterparts. They were called the 'Scotty Dogs' on account of their colour and the main man was a notorious individual by the name of Fred X.
Fred X: Blacks in Granby think they had it tough, try walking along Vauxhall Road dressed as one of the Miracles on a Saturday night.
Fred X had connections in North Africa and used to smuggle hash by the suitcase, moulding the resin into the sole of his tennis shoes which they nicknamed Dunlop Green Hash.
Fred X: Although we were doing great, I got talking to Tommy who had the financial clout and distribution to increase imports. We got the Moroccans to mould 10 tonnes of weed into 20,000 African Fertility statues of Alkazaar the Relaxed. Things just went through the roof after that like.
With race divisions set aside, Cosa Nostra, La went into overdrive. The city quickly became THE place to score high quality pot in vast amounts.
Tommy: things were going well but we knew if we were gonna compete with the big firms from the smoke, we'd need an overtly gay psychopathic leader, preferably one who loved his mam.
Their wish came true as a local villain Jerry 'Two Tap' Jones was released from the jug after serving two months for not paying his TV licence.
Fred X: Everyone thinks Two Tap got his name because he liked to put two in your head when he ironed you out but he was infact a world class tap dancer with 20 years of tap and modern jazz under his lavender belt.
Tommy: Jerry was outrageous, often turning up to a straighter with a pair of straightners, sometimes dressed as Barbra Striesand singing 'Memories' from the hit musical Cats while he dished out punishment. He was nobodies fool though, he wouldn't allow anyone to walk behind him - you could see him on a busy Saturday afternoon walking down Bold Street, constantly pirouetting and spinning around to avoid a tail or a sneak up from behind merchant, unless it was one of his gay friends like.
Despite their power and wealth, a new breed of criminal was popping up in the city, more fierce and ruthless than the first generation. Some of the new school preferred to steal the drugs and money direct from the dealers. One particular taxman was renowned for using alterative torture techniques on his victims. This man was known simply as the Priest, and he always got a confession.
The Priest: Sometimes pouring molten lead into the rectal cavity of a man strapped to an electrified mattress just wasn't enough, I had to resort to irony. I walk up beside them and aim a well executed ironic jibe that would have them pissing their pants in fear, worked everytime.
The new breed took over, using their know how to construct a pipe from Bogota to Dingle that was co funded by the Cali Cartel. The main protagonist was a smooth operator who was half Italian. Shoecati was his name, such was his innate ability to escape the peelers on foot.
Shoecati: We went halfies with the Cali boys and employed local urchins keep the pipeline maintained. I knew Pablo Escoba, he'd quite often come over for the Liverpool Sunday games at the dockers club, especially if it was the National Cup. Everyone would stare at him as he strolled up Townsend Lane with two ocelots on leash and a highly trained cabal of mercenaries armed to the teeth with Israeli issue weapons, not as common on Breck Road then as it is now...like.
With the fortunes pouring in, the Cosa Nostra, La had to find ways of laundering their cash which was coming in by the bin bag full. They enlisted a man who was simply referred to as Brain.
The Priest: Brain was a smart fucker, he'd leave the house before 09:00 wearing a suit and glasses, the busies didn't have a boogaloo, la. He'd come up with ingenious schemes to wash the dosh like winning crap on ebay like an auld guitar then pretend it was used by John Lennon when he was in the Quarrymen and sell it to a phoney buyer.
As well as having the smuggling and money laundering boxed off, the Cosa Nostra, La had all manner of public officials on the payroll. This made it near impossible for the Police to get on the inside, even their surveillance techniques were superseded by the money no option gangsters.
Shoecati: We had Joey Mack take flying lessons, then blagged we had one of them wing walking shows I'd seen on Record Breakers. I'd get on the wing of Joeys plane with a telescope and spy on the busies and of course my local rivals.
Brain: This backfired when one night, the over zealous Shoecati left his moby on after he fell asleep watching the Wire or the Sopranos or the Godfather trilogy, I can't remember. Anyway he started talking in his sleep and the police caught it all on a scanner, Shoecati had effectively grassed himself up, another first for the Cosa Nostra, La.
Tommy: I'd heard what this tit had done and at the same time, Brain was getting sloppy. He'd started leaving the house after nine and had stopped wearing his glasses.
Police got the thumbs up to tap the phones of the gang bosses and in time they got the reward their patients deserved. This is an exact transcript that led to the downfall of the Priest and Brain:
Brain: Who's that?
Priest: It's the man of the cloth fella
Priest: The church bloke
Brain: Sorry, you're breaking up
Priest: Let me go into another room, hang on
Brain: Who is it?
Priest: The Prabeest
Brain: The Police?
Priest: No you f***in tit, the Prabeest, the Priest
Brain: Listen, call me back from a landline, I can't hear a thing
For this the Priest and Brain got 30 years each for conspiracy.
Brain: I couldn't do a 30, I wasn't a hardened con like the Priest and Shoecati, I didn't really see it as grassing cos they'd have done the same.
Priest: Tell yeh what, I'd never use Vodafone again kidda, f***in last!
All the gang were locked up for a total of 1200 years, but the Shoecati managed to get out early after telling the then Home Secretary, Jack Straw, where a stash of collectable birds eggs had been stashed and the club badge for Holland in the Euro 96 Panini Album.
Shoecati: I put the word out to all the firms I'd done business with to buy up all the Panini stickers they could get their hands on, I new Jack Straw was a keen collector of both Panini and birds eggs.
The lad who had the egg collection was a well known left wing assassin who used to take all the eggs from the nest, no matter how rare. This infuriated Shoecati.
Shoecati: It was an unwritten rule that you took one egg from the nest and only slashed people at the match in self defence.
Shoecati walked after serving only 2 days of his 700 year sentence. He was back behind bars in 2007 after a rigging a Blue Peter phone in competition and lying in his CV on 'The Apprentice'.
The Priest is currently a presenter on CBEEBIES, he does the feed live from his cell in Garth. Brain is in the witness protection programme, running a successful bicycle repair shop in Wales. Tommy still does the doors, though only as ivory tickler Ray Manzerek in a cover band from Neth called Hotel by Morrisons. Two Tap is still treading the boards and got to the last sixteen in that Joseph thing on BBC1 with Andrew Lloyd Webber and the acceptable face of gay, Graham Norton.
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