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Sal Vizzini

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Vizzini: The Secret Lives of America's Most Successful Undercover Agent
Sal Vizzini  More Info

About the South Miami Police Department
According to the City of South Miami, “The South Miami Police Department (SMPD) is a full-service law enforcement agency with 52 sworn positions and 10.5 civilian staff serving the 2.5-square mile city.  The full time residential, tri-ethnic population is approximately 10,500, but the number of people served and protected by the SMPD is much greater due to several factors.


Geographically, South Miami is approximately 3 miles south of the City of Miami.  It borders the University of Miami’s main campus and the cities of Coral Gables and Pinecrest.  U.S. Highway 1 (South Dixie Highway) carries tens of thousands of vehicles through the city on a daily basis and there are several main arterial roadways that provide commuters the ability to pass through the city.  There are 2 major hospitals in the city providing employment and services to people throughout the county and beyond. The “town center” area of South Miami is a vibrant shopping, dining and entertainment venue. With a hometown ambiance, it also includes a 500,000 square foot mall, the Shops at Sunset Place.


The Police Department is headquartered in a building connected to City Hall at 6130 Sunset Drive. The Police station was renovated in the early 1990’s and dedicated in memory of Officer L. Daniel Schulz, the only officer ever killed in the line of duty in South Miami. The rank structure includes the Chief of Police, 2 Majors, 3 Captains, 3 Lieutenants, 4 Sergeants and 40 officers and detectives.  The Communications Supervisor oversees the Communications Unit supervising 6 communications officers.  That supervisor is the Crime Analyst for the agency.


The Operations Section oversees the Patrol Unit which is the basic backbone of the Police Department. The response times, visibility and professionalism of that unit are second to none in the South Florida area. The commitment to traffic enforcement is evident with over 15,000 citations issued in the most current year.  This agency has also risen as a leader in DUI enforcement in the area.


The Investigations Section consists of several highly trained and skilled investigators, including a Special Investigations Unit that focuses mostly on narcotics-related crime.”




After a career as an undercover federal agent, Sal Vizzini became the chief of police of the South Miami Police Department.  Sal Vizzini is the co-author of Vizzini: The Secret Lives of America's Most Successful Undercover Agent. According to Judy Smith (Judy Lynns Books), Vizzini: The Secret Lives of America's Most Successful Undercover Agent,  “Charles "Lucky" Luciano (Salvatore Lucania) also knew Sal Vizzini as a "friend," a U.S. Air Force Major called "Michael Anthony Cerra" who for three years conducted an off-and-on palship in Naples with the exiled Mafia capo.


Here, in his own words and for the first time, Vizzini draws on hitherto classified Bureau files to detail the proof of Luciano's influence from overseas with the syndicate, especially in his beloved New York. It was at Luciano's villa in Rome that "Major Mike Cerra" saw Luciano receive pay off money from Frank Costello; send warnings to such as Vito Genovese and Carlo Gambino that their accounts were in arrears (they paid up, plus interest); as judge and jury of a Mafia court condemn or reprieve wayward associates (they called him "the peacemaker").


It was also at Luciano's villa or Naples apartment that Vizzini, during games of gin rummy, heard from The Man his charge that he'd been framed by one-time Governor of New York Tom Dewey, his story of how he helped the U.S. Navy during WWII, how he got the name "Lucky" and why his friends who knew better never used it, and his disclosures about the Mafia, who ran it, and his continuing role in it...indiscretions that led to arrests thousands of miles away.


For 13 years Sal Vizzini was undercover, infiltrating a heroin factory in Palermo, exposing the top-and-underdogs of the heroin traffic in Istanbul, Beirut and Marseilles, blowing up the largest concentration of hard drugs under one roof in a Southeast Asian heroin factory, and finally blowing his cover as a croupier in San Juan while trying to expose the cocaine smuggling that allegedly helped finance Castro's regime.


Sal managed to live to retire, and then to take on the position of Chief of Police, City of South Miami.”

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