'''Francesco Marino Mannoia''' (born March 5, 1951) is a former member of the Sicilian+Mafia+ who became a pentito+ (government witness) in 1989. His nickname was ''Mozzarella''. He is considered to be one of the most reliable government witnesses against the Mafia. Antimafia magistrate Giovanni Falcone+, who was to first to interrogate him, recalled Marino Mannoia as an intelligent and reliable witness.
He was raised in Palermo+, the capital of Sicily, and joined the Santa Maria di Gesù+ Mafia Family, headed by Stefano Bontade+. He was highly sought after by all Mafia families for his skills in chemistry to be used to refine heroin+ for the Spatola-Inzerillo-Gambino ring.Stille, ''Excellent Cadavers'', p. 302-10 Marino Mannoia recalled having refined at least 1000 kilograms of heroin for Bontade. He had learned how to refine heroin through Antonino Vernengo+, alias ‘u dutturi’ (the doctor) who was the first to set up a refinery in 1977. He was also suspected of being involved in at least seventeen homicide+s.
During the Second Mafia War+ of the early 1980s his boss, Stefano Bontade, was murdered along with hundreds of associates. Mannoia only survived because he was in prison+ at the time for drug trafficking. He escaped from prison in 1983 with the help of his younger brother, a hitman+ named Agostino Marino Mannoia. They met with Corleonesi+ boss Salvatore Riina+ to establish their position in the dramatically altered landscape of the Sicilian Mafia and were both allowed to live and work under the auspices of the Corleonesi boss. Francesco Marino Mannoia became a major refiner of heroin for the Corleonesi.
In 1986 he was recaptured and returned to prison. On 20 April 1989, his brother Agostino Marino Mannoia - then aged twenty-three - vanished and was never seen again. His bloodstained car was found later that day. Francesco Mannoia realised his brother had been killed. As it turned out, both Mannoia brothers had been plotting along with Vincenzo Puccio+ to overthrow Salvatore Riina as the boss of the Sicilian Mafia. Somehow word had gotten out and Agostino Marino Mannoia was the first of the conspirators against Riina who would die. Puccio and his brothers followed soon afterwards.
In the fall of 1989 Marino Mannoia’s mistress contacted the police’s Antimafia unit in Rome, indicating the mafioso was ready to talk. After negotiations over security Marino Mannoia and magistrate+Giovanni Falcone+ started a series of testimonies on October 8, 1989. He followed in the footsteps of Tommaso Buscetta+ and Salvatore Contorno+ in becoming an informant. Falcone recalled Marino Mannoia as an intelligent and reliable witness.
His collaboration was important because he was the first pentito+ that came out of the winning faction of the Second Mafia War+. He was able to update the authorities on the activities within Cosa Nostra throughout the 1980s, including the fates of Filippo Marchese+ and Giuseppe Greco+. Not long after he began to talk to the authorities Mannoia's mother, aunt and one of his sisters were murdered in their Bagheria+ home as revenge, it being a common tactic by the Mafia to kill the relatives of the pentiti+ to discourage others from similar cooperation with authorities.
Marino Mannoia was admitted into the Witness Protection Program+ in the United States (Italy had no such programme at the time). In the US, he testified against the Sicilian faction of the Gambino+ Family, the so-called Cherry Hill Gambinos, John+, Rosario+ and Joe Gambino+. He had met with John Gambino+ personally, who had inspected the quality of the heroin Marino Mannoia was refining in Palermo.
Marino Mannoia provided the first eyewitness account tying Andreotti directly to bosses of the Mafia. He described a high-level meeting in 1980 with Salvatore Inzerillo+ and Stefano Bontade+ at which Andreotti allegedly arrived with Lima in a bulletproof Alfa Romeo+ belonging to the Salvo cousins+. Andreotti had come to protest the killing by the Mafia of Piersanti Mattarella+ in January 1980.Stille, ''Excellent Cadavers'', p. 391
He lived in an undisclosed location with a new identity in the FBI+Witness Protection Program+, having been granted American citizenship+ after testifying against a number of Sicilian Mafiosi at work in the US. It was claimed, and not denied, that Marino Mannoia received US$ 600 000 when he gave evidence against Giulio Andreotti+ in the spring of 1993. At the time he was living at liberty in the US on US$3000 per month plus his father’s pension, all paid from Italy.
He served a cumulative 17 year jail sentence in Italy and the U.S. which he finished in February 2010.it iconLink: Il pentito Marino Mannoia è tornato in Italia, La Repubblica, June 15, 2011 In June 2011, after 16 years under protection by the US Marshall Service, he returned to Italy. Forced to not have an own identity and live in uncomfortable conditions, he considered the conditions of life in the United States unacceptable to him and especially his family. His wife and two children could not adapt to life in the United States. His monthly allowance in Italy was cut back to mere 1,000 euros a month.
Marino Mannoia was disillusioned by the little reward and support he received from the Italian government in relation to the sacrifice he made and family members that had been killed. "I am disappointed, embittered, after everything I have done for the fight against the Mafia since 1989," he said.it iconLink: Il dramma del superpentito Marino Mannoia; tenta il suicidio: "Lo Stato ci ha abbandonati", La Repubblica, July 27, 2011 He attempted a suicide by taking a cocktail of pharmaceuticals in July 2011, but was saved by his wife who got him to the hospital in time.
*"Many believe that you enter Cosa Nostra for money. This is only part of the truth. Do you know why I entered Cosa Nostra? Because before in Palermo I was Mr. Nobody. Afterward, wherever I went, heads lowered. And this for me was worth any price."
*Gambetta, Diego (1993). ''The Sicilian Mafia: The Business of Private Protection'', London: Harvard University Press, ISBN 0-674-80742-1
*Jamieson, Alison (2000), ''The Antimafia. Italy’s Fight Against Organized Crime'', London: MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-80158-X
*Paoli, Letizia (2003). ''Mafia Brotherhoods: Organized Crime, Italian Style'', Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press ISBN 0-19-515724-9
*Stille, Alexander+ (1995). ''Excellent Cadavers. The Mafia and the Death of the First Italian Republic'', New York: Vintage ISBN 0-09-959491-9