February 13, 2014

Skier Julia Mancuso's drug kingpin father

A Mancuso family reunion
at Lake Tahoe *
I was working on a theory about the family background of American Winter Olympians, and decided to look up Julia Mancuso (b. 1984), who has won more medals than any other American woman ski racer. The NBC profile of her said she has always spent a lot of each year in Hawaii ever since she was a child. She appears to have a couple of dozen relatives and friends with her who have taken time off from whatever it is they do to fly to Russia to root her on. So, I decided to look up her family background on Wikipedia:
Mancuso of Italian descent, was born in Reno, Nevada, and grew up in the Lake Tahoe area as the middle of three sisters, between older sister April and younger sister Sara. Her father, Ciro Mancuso, was arrested and convicted of running a $140 million marijuana smuggling operation when Julia was five years old.[17] Her parents divorced in 1992, and her mother said that Julia "took everything out on the slopes."[17] After his release from prison in 2000, Julia and her father became close.[17] 
Ciro Mancuso's welcome home party *
Mancuso's sentence was greatly reduced because of his cooperation with the government in cases against other alleged organization members and Mancuso's lawyer Patrick Hallinan. As a result of his assistance to the government, Mancuso was allowed to keep $5 million in proceeds from his trafficking business.

Her father Ciro Mancuso was a prominent enough drug dealer to get his own Wikipedia page:
The son of immigrants from Italy, Mancuso was a real estate developer before venturing into the lucrative narcotics business. His smuggling operation began in the late 1960s, when he teamed up with a group of college friends from Tahoe Paradise College. At first, they only sold marijuana at their college, but soon the business grew. ... Mancuso soon realized that there was more profit to be made selling cocaine and integrated it into his marijuana operation. 
It took the government twelve years to build a case against Mancuso.[3] Anthony White, assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Nevada, brought charges against Mancuso in 1990 and it was hailed as one of the largest drug conspiracy cases in state history. The indictment alleged that Mancuso used a multi-state cocaine and marijuana smuggling operation to buy ranches, mountaintop retreats, beach-front estates and anything else he might want.[4]
Ciro and Uncle Fredo discuss Mancuso family business
Mancuso was sentenced to nine years in prison on June 27, 1995[5] His sentence was greatly reduced because of his cooperation with the government in cases against other alleged organization members and Mancuso's lawyer Patrick Hallinan.[1] As a result of his assistance to the government, Mancuso was allowed to keep $5 million in proceeds from his trafficking business.[6] Hallinan was subsequently acquitted of obstruction of justice and drug conspiracy charges.[7] Mancuso's property in Hawaii was seized by the federal government and sold; the $800,000 proceeds were forwarded to the California and Nevada law enforcement agencies that pursued him.[8] 
His daughter, Julia Mancuso, is a current member of the U.S. Ski Team. She won the gold medal in the giant slalom at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy,the silver medal in the downhill at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, and the bronze metal in the women's combine event at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. After his release from prison in March 2000,[9] Ciro Mancuso again became involved in Julia's skiing career.[10] Father and daughter have maintained a close relationship, and she credits him with helping her in her ski career, particularly when it comes to setting her up with a trainer in Maui.[11] He was in the crowd cheering his daughter to victory as he and other relatives waved their "Super Jules" flags.[12]
  
I'm not sure how I'm going to fit that into my upcoming theory, but I couldn't resist passing it on.  

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* Just kidding: the photos are stills from The Godfather, Part II.
    

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

Reno, Lake Tahoe, Italian...sounds like The Godfather.

Steve Sailer said...

Grandfather Fredo Mancuso's body was dredged up from the bottom of Lake Tahoe.

Nah, just kidding.

Anonymous said...

There was a massive international mafia drug bust recently:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2556914/Notorious-Gambino-crime-family-linked-international-drug-trafficking-ring-authorities-bust-gangsters-advanced-stages-BILLION-dollar-cocaine-deal-Italian-mobsters.html

"Police in Italy and New York broke up a major trans-Atlantic mafia ring on Tuesday, arresting 24 people accused of plotting to move hundreds of millions of dollars in drugs between South America, Italy and the United States.

The sting operation involving undercover agents and wire taps offered more evidence the Calabria-based 'Ndrangheta had overtaken its Sicilian cousin, the Cosa Nostra, and was trying to make inroads in the United States by forging ties with one of the traditional New York mob families, the Gambinos.

FBI and Italian agents jointly carried out 'Operation New Bridge' simultaneously just after midnight in Brooklyn and just before dawn in Italy, American and Italian officials told a news conference in Rome."

Anonymous said...

This story gets brought up every four years when she competes in the Olympics.

Anonymous said...

This is why Don Vito Corleone said no to narcotics.

Shouting Thomas said...

That's a pretty sweet deal, keeping the $5 million cash.

I'd take the hit of prosecution for that.

The guy's drug dealing career has to be terms a smashing success.

Anonymous said...

http://old.post-gazette.com/win/day9_1c.asp

Charles Laidley said...

Lucky Julia.

From all the media background stories, it sounds like most of the American Winter Olympians are barely scraping by at poverty levels - excepting the Shaun Whites and the NHL hockey players.

What do they do at age 28, having finish 8th after a lifetime getting good at an activity with no real-life value? What are former non-medal Olympians doing now?


Anonymous said...

>>Steve Sailer concluded his post:
"""He was in the crowd cheering his daughter to victory as he and other relatives waved their "Super Jules" flags.[12]"""


In other words, at the request of her father, Julia currently has a couple of 'FAMILY' Jules'.

And that offer (from her dad) she simply could not refuse!

Bada bing.

Anonymous said...

She's better looking than Vonn too.

Auntie Analogue said...


From that Wikipedia page on Ciro Mancuso:

"[Julie] credits him with helping her in her ski career, particularly when it comes to setting her up with a trainer in Maui."

I did not know, I really did not know, that there was a ski slope - or snow from any source - in Maui.

Wowie.

Anonymous said...

What's with Fredo's Mao hairstyle?

Anonymous said...

What do they do at age 28, having finish 8th after a lifetime getting good at an activity with no real-life value? What are former non-medal Olympians doing now?

You can get lucrative coaching gigs, especially if you have even the most tenuous connection to national level teams and competition in your playing career.

Anonymous said...

Watching the Winter Olympics, I'm struck by how much more awesome they'd be if they had mass starts and simultaneous competition, instead of the single run time trial format they tend to have.

Imagine 5 guys launching themselves at the same time down a massive ski jump. You could see who won in real time, plus there'd be spectacular collisions. Bobsled and luge on a massive track with multiple racers would be incredible.

Cail Corishev said...

What do they do at age 28, having finish 8th after a lifetime getting good at an activity with no real-life value?

Steve's talked about this before, but pretty much any sports career will get you a job in sales -- cars, real estate, basically anything where people will buy your stuff because they want you to like them -- or the kind of management position where you spend most of your time pressing the flesh. There's also local TV sports news if you're telegenic, or coaching if you're not.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a movie. Mafia father redeems himself and finally goes legitimate by funding Olympic hero daughter.

Steve Sailer said...

I suspect more than a few ex-Winter Olympians have made some money in real estate development over the years. We live in an age where the rich get richer, so being an expert at a costly form of recreation puts you into contact with trends in how the well-to-do will want to spend their money in the future.

Anonymous said...

I worked with Eric Heiden when he was a ortho resident. So that is one path for an ex-Olympian. Of course, with his record, he could've just lived off speaking and sponsorships.

BTW, he was soft-spoken and unassuming. Most of the hospital staff knew who he was, but I don't think he was treated any differently than other residents.

Anonymous said...

The son of immigrants from Italy ..


You see? Without immigration who would smuggle our drugs?

Anonymous said...

What do they do at age 28, having finish 8th after a lifetime getting good at an activity with no real-life value? What are former non-medal Olympians doing now?

Let it be known that you're gay. It's good for at least one NYT sad sack hasbeen profile.

Auntie Analogue said...


Let's wait for the meth dealer dad whose kid is - wait for it - a speed skater.

Anonymous said...

>>Steve Sailer said:
""...being an expert at a costly form of recreation puts you into contact with trends in how the well-to-do will want to spend their money in the future.""

Glad you said real estate development,because for a moment I was thinking about the other way he made his money.

The well-to-do spending their money to finance their own private stash of weed. Never mind, its fine now.




""She's better looking than Vonn too."""

Ok, you were one of her father's former clients to make you say that, right?








She's better looking than Vonn too.

Dave Pinsen said...

"What do they do at age 28, having finish 8th after a lifetime getting good at an activity with no real-life value?"

Several years ago, I had a temp gig at Goldman Sachs, editing the proposals they send out to pension funds when those funds are looking to hire a company to manage a slice of the assets. Those proposals would include bios of the relevant portfolio managers. One of them listed a gold medal in swimming at the Barcelona games.

I had forgotten the guy's name, but a quick Bing search brings up the this page on the Goldman Sachs website, which says the guy is one of 20 current or former ("alumni") GS employees who have competed in the Olympics. This guy is in portfolio management, but I wouldn't be surprised if most of the rest were in sales, as another commenter suggested. In another line of work, I met a handful of former NFL players who worked as stockbrokers.

Dave Pinsen said...

"She's better looking than Vonn too."

That was my impression when they both competed in Vancouver. She also seemed to be a bit more laid back in the bio fluff piece on her (which didn't mention anything about her dad's drug business, btw -- just said she was avid surfer in addition to skiing, etc.).

countenance said...

What do they do at age 28, having finish 8th after a lifetime getting good at an activity with no real-life value? What are former non-medal Olympians doing now?

Maybe some of the big corporate sponsors of the USOC and of NBC's Olympics telecasts give them sinecures?

Anonymous said...

About post-Olympics at age 28:

With a medal(s) you can prob. live off it for a while. Without a medal, you aren't going to get lucrative speaking engagements or sponsorships.

Sales? You need a naturally outgoing personality and the knack to mention incidentally your 10th place finish as the lead on the curling team. Some of the sports seem to attract extraverts galore. For example, everyone on the snowboard events can do well in the legal weed shops of Colorado.

Colbert had a recent hilarious segment with the US speed-skating team, and none of the 5 seemed to have much pizazz.

Wall Street? I'm sure the firms have Olympians glad-handing, but I bet they also have Ivy-League or equivalent credentials.

Orthopedic surgery? Besides Heiden, there is also Debi Thomas, Dot Richardson, and I'm sure others. But Heiden was already a medical student when he dropped out for the Olympics, and I think Richardson was a resident.

Someone should do a "where-are-they-now" story on all the American non-medal Olympians from, say, the class of 2002.



Reg C├Žsar said...

Cue Charlie Brown's quizzical expression in the closing panel: "Tahoe Paradise College?"

I can imagine what you might major in at such a place…

Rob said...

I wonder did she grow up under some kind of police protection from the people her dad snitched on.

Anonymous said...

I did not know, I really did not know, that there was a ski slope - or snow from any source - in Maui.

Here's a pciture of the Mauna Kea Observatories in the snow. (Hawaii is about the world's best place for telescopes.)

And here a picture of a snow covered Mauna Kea.

Anonymous said...

Mike Eruzione is known to wags around Boston as America's Guest. Thirty years of "motivational speaking" and a sinecure job at his alma mater have been kind to him.

If you watched Miracle, the movie about the 1980 US Olympic hockey team, they ran photos and "Where Are They Now" blurbs about the players during the closing credits. Quite a few went into the financial services industry. Others went into commercial real estate. My old high school classmate Ralph Cox, the last man cut from the 1980 team, went into real estate when he retired from scouting for the Penguins.

pat said...

Two memes closely associated with you are illustrated by 'The Godfather II'.

The first is of course 'regression to the mean' and the second is 'the exception that proves the rule'.

Godfather Two is almost the only sequel Hollywood has ever made that was better than the original.

Albertosaurus

Anonymous said...

"Godfather Two is almost the only sequel Hollywood has ever made that was better than the original."

As good, not better.

The rule is sequels are useless if the story thread ended with the first installment.
But if the thread was left hanging, sequels can not only be good(or better)but are necessary.

Bourne Trilolgy makes sense but a sequel of Chinatown made no sense; it could only be anti-climactic or extraneous.

Anonymous said...

Someone should do a "where-are-they-now" story on all the American non-medal Olympians from, say, the class of 2002

About the only truly great "up close and personal" NBC Olympics piece I've seen like this was in the 1996 Atlanta Games, when they followed up with the legendary US boxing team twenty years after the Montreal Games. Unbelievably depressing to see how they mostly turned out.

Anonymous said...

"If you watched Miracle, the movie about the 1980 US Olympic hockey team, they ran photos and "Where Are They Now" blurbs about the players during the closing credits. Quite a few went into the financial services industry. Others went into commercial real estate. My old high school classmate Ralph Cox, the last man cut from the 1980 team, went into real estate when he retired from scouting for the Penguins. "

But, these guys won, and in one of the most celebrated Olympic events ever.

What about the non-medalists who spent more than half their lives preparing and then finish 8th at age 28? It would be fascinating to see what they are doing at age 40. Kinda like the 7-Up series for Olympians.


Anonymous said...

On a similar note,

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2558696/Lebanese-Olympic-skier-posed-topless-racy-calendar-shoot-hate-figure-home-country-footage-appears-online.html

She's the great-granddaughter of Lebanese President Camille Chamoun and a member of the Francophone Lebanese Maronite aristocracy.

Dave Pinsen said...

One of the characters in the movie Two Days in the Valley was a fourth place Olympic skier. I forget what she was doing.

Willis said...

"Grandfather Fredo Mancuso's body was dredged up from the bottom of Lake Tahoe."

A few years ago some mixe-gas divers at Tahoe discovered the extremely well preserved body of a diver who drowned 17 years ago (Google "Donald Windecker"). It was lying on a shelf around 250 feet down.

Bodies don't deteriorate down there, though the fish nibble on them. It's so cold that bacteria in your body don't produce the gases they would in warmer water. There's a legend around Tahoe that the body of an Indian woman finally surfaced still preserved and wearing 19th Century Indian regalia.

Anonymous said...

I work with the guy who won a gymnast medal in the Barcelona Olympics. He's a K9 officer for the Border Patrol. Very humble, nice personality.

Apparently he was outed when Bruce Jenner (pre Kardashian) drove through the I 8 checkpoint and they recognized each other, got to talking and his secret was out.