10 Facts About Charles “Lucky” Luciano

Charles “Lucky” Luciano, a well-known Sicilian mobster, is considered the father of modern organized crime due to his involvement in the heroin trade. His influence reached international scale.

1. Bootlegging Moonshine

Luciano made a name for himself during the time of prohibition. Alcohol was illegal at the time, which gave him and other mobsters an opportunity to bootleg it, in addition to the other illegal substances they were already distributing ’underground’. Luciano bribed politicians and police, imported alcohol from all over the world and made a name for himself in New York.

2. Model Mobster

Luciano eventually became the model mobster. He directed criminal behaviors with other highly influential mob bosses. He controlled rackets in New York that included gambling, bookmaking, loan-sharking, drug trafficking and extortion. Luciano also believed in the brotherhood of the mob, stressing the importance of rituals and the oath of silence as part of making those who were a part of the mob feel like they needed to belong.

3. “The Commission”

Luciano took it upon himself to set up the mafia’s ruling body. It was called, “The Commission.” It operated much like the Supreme Court operates in that the commission was responsible for handling gang disputes.

4. Running The Mob From Jail

Luciano’s new position of standing made him the target of special prosecutors. Evidence was gathered against him and he was arrested. After a brief escape and then recapture, Luciano was tried and convicted of the charges against him. Luciano was sent to prison but continued to rule the mob family from behind bars.

5. Relaying Messages

Different mobsters would visit Luciano in prison and relay his messages to the mob family. These men were called family counselors. The family counselor was not always known so Luciano was able to direct the affairs through these counselors for quite some time.

6. A Deal With The U.S. Government

During WWII, the U.S. government reportedly struck a secret deal with the imprisoned Luciano. Luciano helped to provide mafia assistance to counter filtration attacks, to influence international resistance groups and to participate in the liberation of Sicily, among other activities. In exchange for his participation, Luciano was allowed to continue leading his mob family from prison.

7. Conditional Early Release

In exchange for his help in times of war, Luciano was released from prison early on the condition that he returned to Sicily and not to the streets of New York.

8. The Havana Conference

Luciano secretly moved from Sicily to Cuba, where he worked to resume control over American mafia operations. Luciano made his money in the tourism and gambling trades. Those who were close to him were responsible for ensuring that the mob money was well invested and that money was made. The Havana Conference was the name of the week-long conference between mobsters that took place. One member, Bugsy Siegel, was unable to successfully run his Las Vegas casino and was, therefore, assassinated.

9. Battle for the Top Spot in The American Mob

A battle over the top spot in the American mob led to betrayal. Information as to Luciano’s whereabouts was leaked to the American government and he was forced to return to Italy. Luciano set up a number of different smuggling schemes but none of them really made a big impact.

10. Betraying The Mob

Luciano was desperate to be back in America. When he heard that his position as the boss of mob bosses was in jeopardy, he turned the other mob boss in to authorities. This set forth a chain of reactions that would lead to the incarceration of several more mob bosses as well as increased police undercover involvement in the mafia.


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"10 Facts About Charles “Lucky” Luciano." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 7 Mar. 2009. Web. 2 Sep. 2015. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/go/1199/charles-lucky-luciano/ >.

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