During Prohibition, it was booze. Then gambling, racketeering and cocaine. But today, the New York mob makes big money from an unlikely product — marijuana. And the godfather of ganja is from one of the storied names in Mafia lore: Eboli.
Silvio Eboli (a first-name pseudonym), 44, is the grandson of Tommy Eboli, who ruled the Genovese crime family from 1969-72, and grandnephew of Patsy Eboli, a Genovese capo and head of the what the family called the Greenwich Village Crew.
Tommy Eboli was killed, his family believes by Vincent “The Chin” Gigante, a k a the “Oddfather,” who replaced him as boss of the Genovese. Patsy, the family tells me, figured he was next, so he fled to Lagos, Nigeria, then made his way over land and by boat to Sicily, where he lived in exile.
Lettieri had to ask Tommy Eboli for permission to take the role, and during filming, the cast and crew came over to Patsy’s house in Fort Lee, NJ, for dinner. Legend has it Al Pacino leaned over into the crib of infant Silvio and kissed the ring finger of the “little Don” as a joke.
It was a bit of foreshadowing. In 2013, during the Feast of San Gennaro, Silvio took over what was left of the Eboli crime family — forging his own enterprise outside the Genovese.
Silvio Eboli has been steadily building his marijuana-delivery empire since the 1980s. He started at the bottom, “muling” bud in from Jamaica strapped to his legs. When Rudy Giuliani cracked down on street dealing in the mid- 1990s, the rise of the marijuana home-delivery market began.
Silvio rode a bike throughout Manhattan delivering bud to customers earning $250 a day. One day Silvio met Chris Farley at a party and he introduced Silvio to others in the “Saturday Night Cast” cast, all of whom became clients of Silvio. Some of them, even the ones who branched out into big film stars, still remain in contact with Silvio and buy weed from him regularly.
Besides celebrities, Silvio delivers regularly to many professional athletes in the tri-state area. Silvio personally handles all his “star” clients orders and over time has developed deep friendships with many of them.
Silvio has recently launched a new business venture where the rich and famous he knows that have either moved out of New York or drop in for business can purchase a whole weekend or two-three day package deal that includes hotel rooms, escort girls, the type of drugs they want and invites to VIP parties. Pictures of escort girls are neatly arranged in a binder for clients to look over and select women like they would a meal off a menu.
Silvio personally picks the client up at the airport in a limousine, gets them to the hotel, hands them the drugs they requested, picks them up to hit a nightclub or a party and introduces the girls to the clients.
He is really proud of what he has created and looks at himself as successful business man or a CEO, despite the blatant illegality of it all.
How much money he makes is a mystery, but he has several storage closets in Westchester filled with locked trunks of cash.
But Silvio says the best way for a mobster to wash his dirty money is to spend it, which he certainly does a lot of. When we go out to eat, sometimes he orders several dinners at once, eating just a little off each plate. Why? Silvio doesn’t like to make choices. He wants it all.
Why tell me all of it? I have come to conclusion that Silvio Eboli is blinded by pure narcissism. He wants people to know his position in the mob, to know how powerful he is — that’s why he let me follow him around as a reporter (though his brazenness does have limits — he refuses to be photographed or have his real first name used). His personal life is the “live today, die tomorrow” mentally, the daily revolving door of escort girls and heavy drug use.
Silvio Eboli has made Eboli a name again in crime; but for how long?
Toby Rogers is the author of “The Ganja Godfather: The Untold Story of NYC’s Weed Kingpin” (Trine Day), out now.