Luciano, Lucky

(redirected from Salvatore Lucania later Charles Luciano)

Luciano, Lucky

(Charles Luciano), 1896–1962, American crime boss, b. near Palermo, Sicily, as Salvatore Luciana. His family emigrated in 1906, settling in New York City, where he almost immediately embarked on a life of crime. Jailed briefly (1916) for narcotics sales, he was soon associated with Meyer Lansky, "Bugsy" Siegel, and Frank Costello. In 1920 he entered the crime family of "Joe the Boss" Masseria and within five years was overseeing bootlegging, prostitution, and other illegal enterprises. A gang war with Salvatore Maranzano's crime family ended in 1931 when Luciano had both older gangsters murdered. Thereafter, he helped bring a corporate structure and approach to organized crimeorganized crime,
criminal activities organized and coordinated on a national scale, often with international connections. The American tradition of daring desperadoes like Jesse James and John Dillinger, has been superseded by the corporate criminal organization.
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 as a leader of the newly formed Syndicate. Luciano lived up to his nickname until 1935 when reformer Thomas E. DeweyDewey, Thomas Edmund,
1902–71, American political figure, governor (1943–55) of New York, b. Owosso, Mich. Admitted (1925) to the bar, Dewey practiced law and in 1931 became chief assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.
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 targeted him. A year later he was convicted of prostitution charges and imprisoned, but he continued as a mob boss from his cell. During World War II he helped U.S. naval intelligence end waterfront sabotage in New York, and in 1946 his sentence was commuted. Deported to Italy, he maintained considerable control over American drug traffic until his death.

Bibliography

See biographies by H. Powell (1939, repr. 2000) and S. Feder and J. Joesten (1954, repr. 1994); M. A. Gosch, The Last Testament of Lucky Luciano (1975).