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Inside The Rise And Fall Of The Mafia — Mob Is Now Little-Feared & Barely Respected

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After decades of ruling America's underworld with a blood-soaked iron grip, the mob is now little-feared — and barely respected, law enforcement sources tell RadarOnline.

And the gangsters have only themselves to blame — selling each other out for greed, power or lighter prison sentences!

Former FBI agent and Mafia expert Lin DeVecchio says the current generation of wise guys don't follow the old rules like "omertà" — the chilling code of silence — and are easier to bust!

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"The younger guys are not interested in spending the rest of their lives in jail," DeVecchio notes. "If they can make a deal, they make a deal."

Teflon Don John Gotti's 1992 murder and racketeering conviction was the beginning of the end for the Mafia, lawmen say.

"Their heyday was up through the early '80s," says DeVecchio, who ran a string of mob informants for 30 years and headed a squad that hunted New York's notorious Colombo crime family.

Using new crime-busting RICO statutes, "we threw them out of a lot of their traditional businesses — construction, trash-carting, those kinds of things," says DeVecchio.

As the money dried up, the racketeers started turning on each other.

In December 1985, power-mad Gotti made a bloody play that would prove his downfall. He had his lieutenants gun down his Gambino family crime boss Paul Castellano outside a Manhattan steak house.

John Gotti
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Overnight, Gotti rocketed from common thug to high-profile big shot. Nattily dressed in $2,000 suits and $200 hand-painted ties, he liked publicity and became known for his ability to stay out of jail by bribing witnesses — and more extreme means.

While he was boss, the Gambino family prospered — raking in $500 million a year from gambling, drugs, extortion and stock fraud.

Gotti took the lion's share for himself, so his livid underlings settled the score — by squealing to the feds!

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The Teflon Don's right arm, Salvatore (Sammy the Bull) Gravano, led the canary choir. In return for a slap-on-the-wrist plea deal, he gave testimony that put Gotti and other mobsters in prison for life.Gotti died of throat cancer at age 61 in a federal slammer in Missouri 10 years later.

Following Gotti's fall from power, the mob got "hit again and again and again with indictments and prosecutions," says expert George Anastasia.

"As they've turned on one another, their influence has deteriorated."

Last year, the feds rounded up 46 mobsters in a massive bust of Mafia strongholds along the East Coast.

Authorities believe that crackdown, using informants and bugging devices, has finally smashed the Mafia "for good."

But stepping into the Mafia's shoes are terrifying new gangsters — the brutal, ruthless Russian mob.

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