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He [Lucky Luciano] came in 1906 at the age of 8 as part of the great tide of Italian immigrants to the Lower East Side, Little Italy ... At the age of 18 he was sent to the notoriously harsh Hampton Farms Penitentiary for a year for peddling narcotics. His reward for keeping silent when arrested was to be made a full member of the Five Points Gang alongside the infamous Al Capone, Frankie Yale and Johnny Torrio. Great Crimes & Trials: Lucky Luciano and the Mob: Narcotics
[Thomas] Dewey had to battle to extradite him from Arkansas. But at last in May 1936 Charles Lucania, as he was called on the Charge Sheet, found himself in a New York courthouse ... He was sent down for a minimum of thirty years. The heaviest jail sentence ever given for vice. Examined on arrival in prison he was found to have syphilis and to be a drug addict. ibid.
As he reached his car his features contorted with a heart attack that killed him within minutes. ibid.
Miami was the fashionable sixties hangout where the beach boys and girls of the East Coast showed off their tans and their physiques. Great Crimes & Trials: Murph the Surf
A trio of surfers left their boards in Miami and flew north to the chill of New York. They were Roger Frederick Clark aged twenty-nine ... Alan Kuhn ... Jack Roland Murphy also known as Murph the Surf. ibid.
On the night of 29th October they went museum-visiting again after it had closed ... The windows were left routinely two inches open. Amazed to realise there were no alarms they helped themselves to twenty-four of the choicest stones and escaped undetected. ibid.
The Museum of Natural History where the robbery had only been discovered when a guard arrived for work. ibid.
The burglar alarm system had been disconnected several years before as an economy measure. ibid.
New York’s press were shocked at the daring of the robbery. ibid.
The Midnight Star sapphire – one hundred and sixty-one carats; on the right, the de Long Star ruby – a hundred carats; and as big as a golf ball the Star of India – at five hundred and sixty-five. ibid.
Explaining that there was a world of difference between beach boys which they were and beach bums which were parasites. ibid.
Actress Ava Gabor identified Murphy and Kuhn as the men who had forced their way into her apartment, beating her up and stealing her jewellery worth $50,000. ibid.
They pleaded guilty ... In the end they each got three consecutive one-year sentences. ibid.
Murph the Surf kept popping up in the public eye. ibid.
He was arrested for murder. ibid.
Charles Lucky Luciano: the Number One gangster of all time. Intelligent, ruthless, and a visionary. Luciano transformed the Mafia from warring street gangs into a highly sophisticated empire. Mafia’s Greatest Hits s1e2: Charles Lucky Luciano, Yesterday 2012
Why was nobody able to stop him? ibid.
Luciano had begun his career as a top hitman for New York Mafia Don, Giuseppe Joe the Boss Masseria. Ibid
In 1925 another boss arrived in town ... The streets of New York turned red. The underworld called it the Castellammarese War. ibid.
With Masseria’s murder, Luciano signalled to the underworld that the Castellammarese War was over. ibid.
The gangs of New York would be organised into five families to control the boroughs. ibid.
Luciano then contacted his childhood friend Meyer Lansky to arrange the hit. ibid.
Lansky was able to do complex calculations in his head. ibid.
Arnold Rothstein ... a fabulously rich New York businessman. ibid.
Luciano, Lansky and Rothstein proved to be quick learners, and soon they became very rich indeed. ibid.
Luciano was able to expand his vision and develop new ways for the Mafia to grow. ibid.
There would be no boss of bosses. Instead, Luciano introduced a more democratic form of leadership. ibid.
Luciano was also a bachelor and party animal. ibid.
In the 1930s Luciano was the face of organised crime. And Dewey was after him. ibid.
The trial began on May 12th 1935. Dewey reigned forth in his opening statement. ibid.
Frank Costello ... took over the day to day running of his empire. ibid.
Dewey, the man who had put him away for 30-50 years, granted Luciano executive clemency in 1946. ibid.
In 1962 Luciano was targeted for arrest as an alleged member of a ring that smuggled $150,000,000’s worth of heroin into the United States. ibid.
Charles Lucky Luciano’s reign had been a remarkable one. ibid.
Brooklyn 1962: this was Mafia country. The hunting ground of Joseph Colombo. The 40-year-old mobster lived and worked these streets. He was Capo. Or Captain. Mafia’s Greatest Hits s1e3: Joe Colombo: The Maverick Mobster
The target this time was none other than Carlo Gambino. From a young hoodlum he had become New York’s biggest Mafia godfather. He was unquestionable the most fearsome mobster in town. Gambino had built his family in New York’s toughest clan. ibid.
Colombo decided to tip him off ... He went straight to the man he’d been told to kill. The move worked well. ibid.
The Profaci family became the Colombo family in 1964. ibid.
Colombo also made money from hijacking trucks and cargos. ibid.
Loan-sharking, trucks & fencing, extortion, protection rackets, and infamous Mafia-run union scams. Unions controlled everything from construction to garbage. So the Mafia took over the unions. They plundered the pension plans. ibid.
He realised what attracted the FBI and police to him was his wealth without any visible source of income. ibid.
What a lifestyle it was. The money flooded in from his numerous rackets. ibid.
Colombo would stand up for rights of ordinary Italian Americans ... picketing the very heart of law enforcement in New York. The crowds grew, and media attention followed. Columbo revelled in it ... It was in marked contrast to his silence at the Grand Jury years before. ibid.
In 1970 Colombo shifted his protest movement up a gear – he created the Italian American Civil Rights League. ibid.
Producers of The Godfather movie started to have trouble filming in New York. Production was threatened by walkouts, obstructions and delays. The League came to the rescue. Offering to smooth the process if the producers agreed to remove all references to the Mafia or Cosa Nostra from the script. ibid.
In December 1970 he was arrested ... Colombo was immediately called before a Grand Jury to explain himself. ibid.
Colombo headed to the podium to speak ... The newsman moved forward. [shoots Colombo] Then something even more remarkable happened – the man who hit him was dead before he hit the floor. Colombo was immediately rushed to hospital. ibid.
It began to tear itself apart in the decades that followed. ibid.
He died a maverick godfather. ibid.
John Gotti was the most famous gangsta since Al Capone. He brutally murdered his way to become head of the most powerful crime family in America. Mafia’s Greatest Hits s1e4: John Gotti
The assassination of Paul Castellano was one of the most dramatic hits in Mafia history. ibid.
In 1973 Gotti was given the opportunity to join the most powerful of the five Mafia crime families in New York: the Gambinos. ibid.