Research Project

Research Project - Arreola 1 Rene Arreola Montemayor...

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Arreola 1 Rene Arreola Montemayor English 1A 29 May 2006 The Truth about Organized Crime The topic of organized crime elicits the feelings of many different people. The “man on the street” might think of fictional mobsters like Tony Soprano and well-known historical figures like Al Capone. Law enforcement agencies might think of the innocent people who are exploited by corrupt groups, and even the clout they may have with their politically partisan superiors. Organized crime is an enterprise with a lengthy and mythical past, and an unsure future. Nevertheless, organized crime is in the midst of a golden age akin to the one that took place over 40 years ago. As far as most are concerned, the history of organized crime ironically begins in Italy, one of the birthplaces of democracy and the rule of law. Secret fraternal societies offering security and vigilante justice dating back thousands of years evolved into what came to be known as the Mafia in Sicily and southern Italy by the mid to late 1800s (Griffin and DeNevi 14). Mobsters had long been among the immigrants arriving in port cities along the Eastern seaboard, although many more set sail for America following the crackdowns of fascist dictator
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Arreola 2 Benito Mussolini during the early 1920s (15;28). At the time, most of these unsavory figures settled in major cities along the East Coast (New York and Buffalo, NY), the Midwest (Chicago, IL, Cleveland, OH, and Detroit, MI), and even the South (Miami, FL, and New Orleans, LA). From these initial beachheads and after the establishment of a governing body (“The Commission”), the Mafia spread its tentacles to virtually every corner of the US. Now that you know a little about how and where organized crime was born, you can learn about some of the notorious figures involved. At the time, there were several different groups and individuals engaging in various illicit lines of business. Irish Americans like Vincent “Mad Dog” Coll, Owney “The Killer” Madden, and Jack “Legs” Diamond were active underworld figures of that era. Jewish gangsters, US (Louis “Lepke” Buchalter, Waxey Gordon, Jacob “Little Augie” Orgen, Arnold Rothstein, Dutch Schultz, and Bugsy Siegel) and foreign (Meyer Lansky) born, were also on the scene then. And yet, none of these influential men could rival the supremacy of Italians like Joe Bonanno, Joe Colombo, Carlo Gambino, Tommy Lucchese, and Lucky Luciano and the crime families that each headed (Jacobs 8). Their line of work was so lucrative that Meyer Lansky once proclaimed that “We’re bigger than US Steel,” one of the largest corporations in the world during at the time (Griffin and DeNevi
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Arreola 3 27). Accordingly, the Italian families pocketed the largest share of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of profits from their illegal activities. These enterprises were involved in various lines of
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Research Project - Arreola 1 Rene Arreola Montemayor...

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