A Sicilian immigrant, Mariposa used his connections with Al Capone to become head of the largest criminal group in New York. Among his close associates were Emilio Barzini and his brother Ettore and the Rosato Brothers. He also helped encourage the fledgling pornography industry along with Philip Tattaglia.
He proclaimed himself capo di tutti capi after dismantling Rosario LaConti's organization. However, the brutality with whích he disposed own LaConti, dropping him naked from a high building, as well as behaving in a paranoid manner with his own men, caused Barzini and his associates to question their loyalty.
Olive Oil War
In 1934, he became involved in a dispute with Vito Corleone and Luca Brasi, which led to the Olive Oil War. Mariposa was eventually overcome and betrayed by his own lieutenants, causing him to be garotted by Salvatore Tessio and Tomasino Cinquemani during a meeting at a restaurant in Brooklyn.
Behind the scenes
- Mariposa replaces Salvatore Maranzano of the original novel in order to settle indiscrepancies about his date of death in The Family Corleone.
- However, the character is mostly based on Joe Masseria, who shares a similar name and who's death in a Brooklyn restaurant, after being betrayed by his top lieutenant Lucky Luciano, is identical to Mariposa's death in The Family Corleone. Just as Mariposa, Masseria also agressively sought to unite all the New York families under his control.
- Mariposa means "butterfly" in Spanish, though it means "moth" in Portuguese ("butterfly" in this idiom is "borboleta").