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New York Gangster Lucky Luciano is arrested in Arkansas

Today on April 1st 1936, one the greatest gangsters in history, Lucky Luciano, was arrested after fleeing from New York.

Charles "Lucky" Luciano, known as the father of modern organized crime, was born in Sicily, Italy in 1897. As a young boy, he immigrated with his family to New York City and settled in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. He started his first gang when he was only a teenager after joining the infamous Five Points Gang. It's not entirely clear how he earned his nickname, however, most believe it started after surviving a brutal attack. In 1929, he was abducted by three men and severely beaten. The attackers slit his throat and left him for dead. As a result, he lived up his nickname "Lucky" by surviving the savage attack.

The Italian-born American mobster is best known for engineering the structure of modern organized crime. Lucky established the “Five Families” which peacefully ruled over New York. He personally headed the Genovese family and later created the National Crime Syndicate, which maintained peaceful relations with leaders from other Jewish and Italian crime organizations. The syndicate coordinated the nationwide control of narcotics, prostitution, bootlegging and loan sharking. In the early 1930s, Lucky was enjoying the high life. He lived in the luxurious Waldorf Towers, wore custom-made suits and rode around in chauffeur driven cars.

However by 1935, the Governor of New York decided to promote District Attorney, Thomas Dewey, as a special prosecutor to eliminate organized crime. Within months, Dewey had launched a massive police raid across 200 brothels. A few weeks later, Lucky received a tip that he was next to be arrested. He fled to Arkansas, but was apprehended by local authorities in Hot Springs. Dewey successfully tried and convicted Lucky on charges of compulsory prostitution and secured a thirty-year prison sentence. During WWII, one of Lucky’s old mob associates struck a deal with the government to help protect New York harbors from German U-Boats. In exchange, Lucky was released and deported back to Italy, living out his final years in Naples.


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